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Samuel Plapinger, Ph.D.

Samuel Plapinger, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

Samuel Plapinger is an expert on strategic competition, irregular warfare, combat effectiveness, insurgency, terrorism, and Middle East security issues. He has led or contributed to studies for senior decision-makers on will to fight, urban warfare, domestic extremism, civilian harm, disinformation, recruitment, force design, mission development, and command structures, among other topics. Plapinger has served as the CNA field representative to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, where he conducted on-site research and analysis directly for the senior U.S. Navy commander in the Middle East.

Prior to joining CNA, Plapinger was a pre-doctoral fellow at the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence at Yale University, where his research focused on civil wars. He also worked at the RAND Corporation as a summer associate and adjunct researcher. His academic research has been published in the journal Security Studies, and his policy commentary has appeared in outlets such as the Modern War Institute and Defense One.

Plapinger has a Ph.D. and Master of Arts in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia, and received his Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University, Connecticut, with a double major in government and economics. He is fluent in written and spoken Arabic.

Areas of Expertise

Geographic areas of expertise: Middle East