Kiron K. Skinner

W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow

Kiron K. Skinner is the W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.  She is a member of three Hoover Institution projects:  the Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy; the working group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict; and the Arctic Security Initiative. At Carnegie Mellon University, she is the founding director of the Center for International Relations and Politics; founding director of the Institute for Strategic Analysis; university adviser on national security policy; associate professor of political science in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences; associate professor by courtesy in the Institute for Software Research, a department of the School of Computer Science; and a distinguished fellow in Cylab, a major cyber-security research center within the College of Engineering. Her areas of expertise are international relations, international security, US foreign policy, and political strategy.

Skinner’s coauthored books, Reagan, in His Own Hand and Reagan, a Life in Letters, were New York Times best sellers. Reagan, in His Own Hand won Hoover Institution’s Uncommon Book Award; Reagan, a Life in Letters was named one of the best books of 2003 by the Los Angeles Times. The Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin, coauthored with Serhiy Kudelia, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, and Condoleezza Rice, was excerpted on the opinion page of the New York Times.  Skinner is a contributing writer to

Skinner’s government service includes membership in the US Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board as an adviser on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (2001–7); the Chief of Naval Operations’ Executive Panel (2004–present); the National Academies Committee on Behavioral and Social Science Research to Improve Intelligence Analysis for National Security (2009–11); and the National Security Education Board (2004–11). In 2010, Skinner was appointed to the advisory board of the George W. Bush Oral History Project. She was a foreign policy surrogate for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004, a senior foreign policy adviser to Speaker Newt Gingrich during his presidential campaign in 2011–12, and a foreign policy surrogate during the final stretch of Governor Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. In 2012, Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett appointed Skinner to his Advisory Commission on African American Affairs.

Skinner is a lifetime director on the board of the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. 

Skinner holds MA and PhD degrees in political science from Harvard University and undergraduate degrees from Spelman College and Sacramento City College. She received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Molloy College, Long Island.

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Recent Commentary

US flag on military helmet
Featured Commentary

Honor The Sacrifice of Our Troops

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Room for Debate (New York Times)
Monday, June 16, 2014

According to the Obama Doctrine, making a lighter footprint around the world and ending the wars inherited from President George W. Bush will improve U.S. global standing and encourage other states to take greater responsibility for their own peace, security, political liberalization and prosperity.

Ronald Reagan
Featured Commentary

The Most Misunderstood And Least Appreciated Aspect Of Ronald Reagan's Legacy

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Forbes
Sunday, June 8, 2014

The tenth anniversary of President Reagan’s death, observed on June 5, is a fitting time to review the most misunderstood and underappreciated aspect of his legacy.

Vladimir Putin
Featured Commentary

As Putin's Confidence Grows, Cold War Concerns Gain Credibility

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Forbes
Monday, May 26, 2014

Concerns about reigniting a Cold War gain credibility as President Putin continues his militarism in Ukraine and draws his country into the on-going crisis in Egypt.  Thus, it is time to look back at the Reagan administration’s strategy that helped end the Cold War by breaking with long-held policies enshrined in US-Soviet détente of the 1970s.

Gold Globe

Special: the John Batchelor Show from the Hoover retreat

by Peter Berkowitz, Abbas Milani, Kori Schake, Kiron K. Skinnervia John Batchelor Show
Friday, May 9, 2014

As part of the annual Hoover Spring Retreat, John Batchelor of the John Batchelor Show and Mary Kissell of the Wall Street Journal did a special live taping of the John Batchelor Show featuring Hoover senior fellow Peter Berkowitz and Hoover research fellows Abbas Milani, Kori Schake, and Kiron Skinner. The topic of the discussion was President Obama’s Biggest Foreign Policy Challenges.

Is Russia now an enemy, neutral, irrelevant to US strategic interests, or a poss

Russia, the United States, and the Middle East

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Strategika
Monday, November 25, 2013

Kiron Skinner discusses how the relationship between the United States and Russia bears on the future of foreign policy in the Middle East.

Poster Collection, RU/SU 2429 (OS),  Hoover Institution Archives
Featured Commentary

Russian Revival

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Strategika
Friday, November 1, 2013
Global Puzzle Pieces
Featured Commentary

Diplomacy Requires Trust Among Allies

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Room for Debate (New York Times)
Friday, October 25, 2013

If Washington undermines its own leadership or that of its allies, the collective ability of the West to combat terrorism will be compromised. By Kiron K. Skinner.

Featured Commentary

Protecting & Preserving the American Idea

by Kiron K. Skinnervia TribLive
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It is a common belief that the main role of conservatives in U.S. national security during the second half of the 20th century was to ...

Featured Commentary

What ‘The Butler’ Gets Wrong About Ronald Reagan and Race

by Kiron K. Skinner, Steven Hayward, Paul Kengorvia Washington Post
Thursday, August 29, 2013

Four presidential historians say the film gets it wrong.

Featured Commentary

The Dream Today

by Kiron K. Skinnervia National Review Online
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fifty years after the March on Washington