Jonathan Schroden, Ph.D.
Research Program Director
Special Ops Research Coordinator


Dr. Jonathan Schroden is the Director of CNA's Countering Threats and Challenges Program (CTCP), whose mission is to support US government efforts to better understand and counter state and non-state threats and challenges. CTCP includes geographic research portfolios focused on the Middle East, Africa, South and Central Asia, Latin America, and North Korea.

It also includes functional portfolios focused on terrorism and counterterrorism, security cooperation, and irregular, proxy, and information warfare.

Dr. Schroden also directs CNA's Special Operations Program, which focuses on bringing CNA's "full spectrum" research and analysis capabilities to bear on the most complex and challenging issues facing special operations forces (SOF) today and in the future.

Dr. Schroden has been with CNA since 2003, during which time he has deployed or traveled 13 times to Afghanistan (twice at the request of the Commander, ISAF and once at the request of the Commander, CSTC-A) and twice to Al Anbar, Iraq; traveled throughout the Middle East; gotten underway with numerous Navy ships; and supported Hurricane Katrina disaster relief operations. Jonathan has served as a strategic advisor to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, Multi-National Force – West in Iraq, US Central Command, and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. He also served as CNA's first interim advisor to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. Most recently, Jonathan directed CNA's independent review of the US Marine Corps' force design and the congressionally-mandated independent assessment of special operations force structure. Schroden is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University where he lectures on military power and effectiveness.

Schroden holds PhD and MS degrees from Cornell University and BS degrees from the University of Minnesota – Duluth. His decorations include CNA's Phil E. DePoy Award for Analytic Excellence and the Cornell University Tunis Wentink Award. He has published in academic journals such as Defense and Security Analysis, the Naval War College Review, the Journal of Strategic Studies, the Armed Forces Journal, and the Journal of the American Chemical Society. He has published online in venues such as War on the Rocks, Lawfare, Real Clear Defense, The National Interest, and the Small Wars Journal. He is also a frequent commentator on television (e.g., Indus News, France 24), radio (e.g., BBC NewsHour, NPR's Here and Now), podcasts (e.g., WarCast, PopularFront), and print (e.g., The New York Times, The Diplomat, Financial Times, Politico, RFE/RL, Stars and Stripes, Voice of America, Reuters, Associated Press, al-Monitor, Military Times, Yahoo! News). You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@jjschroden) and LinkedIn (


July 7, 2022

Afghan Guns Are Arming Regional Insurgents

July 5, 2022

US Navy to offer cash for tips on smugglers in Middle East

December 20, 2020

Jonathan Schroden writes, "If the Taliban refuse to reduce violence and move toward compliance with the deal, the Biden administration should begin a graduated—and clearly communicated—set of steps to indicate to the Taliban where the red lines are for its violent activities."

Lawfare: "Afghanistan Will Be the Biden Administration's First Foreign Policy Crisis"

November 28, 2020

Jonathan Schroden says, "One could have imagined the US tying the drawdown to 2,500 troops to something tangible like a limited ceasefire, or real reductions in violence, but the US will gain nothing by the unilateral withdrawal."

The National: "U.S. Withdrawal Leaves Afghan Soldiers Feeling Abandoned"

November 19, 2020

Jonathan Schroden says on a potential troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, "If they were going to zero, I would say it would be a logistical nightmare to do that by January, to go to 2,500 is still going to be challenging because they're going to have to close a number of fairly sizable military installations."

The World: "Military Experts Say a U.S. Troop Withdrawal Complicates Conditions on the Ground"

November 19, 2020

Jonathan Schroden says, "The Taliban will try to maintain as much pressure as they can over the winter months and then to continue ramping up their operations in the spring."

Gandhara: "Emboldening the Taliban? Accelerated U.S. Troop Pullout Risks Increased Violence in Afghanistan"