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


Dr. Jonathan Schroden is the Director of CNA's Center for Stability and Development (CSD), whose mission is to support decision-makers charged with planning, conducting, and assessing/evaluating prevention, stability, and development operations with objective analysis grounded in an understanding of operations. Specifically, CSD focuses on the following:

Development and assessment of foreign security forces (e.g., security cooperation, security force assistance, foreign internal defense, building partner capacity)

Conflict prevention, crisis response, and post-conflict reconstruction efforts

Terrorism and counterterrorism, insurgency and counterinsurgency, stability operations, and political, unconventional, and information warfare

Assessment, monitoring, and evaluation of security sector programs

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.

Since joining CNA in 2003, Dr. Schroden 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; has traveled throughout the Middle East; has gotten under way with numerous Navy ships; and has supported Hurricane Katrina disaster relief operations. He 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 field representative to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. Most recently, he directed CNA's assessment of the Trump Administration's South Asia Strategy and an independent review of the US Marine Corps' force design efforts. Dr. Schroden is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University where he lectures on military power and effectiveness.

Dr. 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 such venues as War on the Rocks, The National Interest, and the Small Wars Journal. Dr. Schroden 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 Diplomat, Financial Times, Politico, Stars and Stripes, Voice of America, Reuters, Associated Press, al-Monitor, Military Times). You can follow him on Twitter (@jjschroden) and LinkedIn (


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"

October 26, 2020

Jonathan Schroden says, "There do remain some fault lines within the of their major focuses over the last 4 or 5 years or so has been on the maintenance of the cohesion of their organization."

Indus News: "In Focus South Asia: U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue"

October 15, 2020

Jonathan Schroden says, "One of the Taliban's primary concerns about its own weaknesses as it goes into these negotiations, is the cohesion of its organization."

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: "Afpak File Podcast: What's Behind the Rising Violence in Afghanistan's Helmand Province?" [12:15]