William Rosenau, Ph.D.
Senior Policy Historian


William Rosenau is an expert on United States and international military advisory roles and missions, international police training, terrorist innovation and political warfare. Some of his recent research has examined threats, governance and diplomacy in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Balkans, East Africa and Cuba. His articles appear regularly in the media, including The National Interest, Foreign Policy, Homeland Security Today, The Atlantic and War on the Rocks, where he is a regular panelist on podcasts. His books include "Acknowledging Limits: Police Advisors and Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan" and "Internal Security Assistance to South Vietnam: Insurgency, Subversion, and Public Order."

Prior to joining CNA, Rosenau was a political scientist at the RAND Corporation, a senior policy advisor in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State, and an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. At Harvard University, Rosenau was a Teaching Fellow in the Department of History and a Research Coordinator for the National Security Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. On Capitol Hill, Rosenau was a legislative assistant for defense and foreign policy in the U.S. Senate. In the Department of Defense, he served as a professional staff member at the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces and a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict.

Rosenau holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from King's College at the University of London, an M.A. in History from Magdalene College at Cambridge University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University.


July 25, 2019

Zack Gold and William Rosenau write, "The Cold War and the Global War on Terror suggest that the future of conflict will more likely be limited to indirect skirmishes at the fringes of great-power influence."

Defense One: "The Future of Conflict Is Proxy Warfare, Again"

June 26, 2019

According to the CNA report, The Origins and Development of A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, CNO Greenert "was looking for a document that was generally authoritative for any audience: The naval officer corps, Capitol Hill, [Office of the Secretary of Defense], friends and allies, potential adversaries . . . whomever."

Naval War College Review: "Running Silent and Algorithmic: The U.S. Navy Strategic Vision in 2019" [pg. 36]

April 23, 2019

William Rosenau writes, "Her release, scheduled for next month, is bringing to a close a bizarre story of homegrown violent extremism and ideological insanity that stretches back to the 1950s."

Spectator: "The Amazing Tale of Judith Alice Clark"

January 28, 2019

Bill Rosenau says that the right-wing interest reflects “a certain amount of obsession that I don’t see how it’s possibly justified. I think the fact that the members are Muslim and almost all African-American is a source of a lot of the anxiety. I think it’s straight up religious and racial fear.”

The New York Times: “They Created a Muslim Enclave in Upstate N.Y. Then Came the Online Conspiracies”

March 20, 2018

According to the CNA report Shining a Light on the Western Balkans, "Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia—have internal vulnerabilities including dangerous strains of nationalism, historical grievances, corruption, weakened state institutions, weak media, economic instability, terrorism and radicalization, and transnational organized crime."

Foreign Policy Research Institute: "Rallying the West: The Case for Coordinated Leadership to Counter Instability in the Balkans"

May 19, 2017

War on the Rocks publishes “Cuba: From Threat to Partner?” by CNA analysts William Rosenau, Ph.D. and Ralph Espach, Ph.D.

Stability and Development ProgramStability and Development Program