skip to main content
ArticlePodcastReportQuick LookVideotriangleplus sign dropdown arrow Case Study All Newsfeed
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. He has led or contributed to studies on a variety of topics, including urban warfare, competition below armed conflict, logistics, disinformation, recruitment, force design and mission development. Plapinger has served as the CNA field representative to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, where he conducted research and analysis 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. For his dissertation, Plapinger outlined a framework for assessing insurgent combat effectiveness and leveraged 10 months of fieldwork in Jordan and Lebanon that included 105 interviews he conducted in Arabic with ex-insurgents and former military and intelligence officials. He also worked at the RAND Corporation as a summer associate.

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