Kori Schake

Research Fellow

Kori Schake is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

During the 2008 presidential election, she was senior policy adviser to the McCain-Palin campaign, responsible for policy development and outreach in the areas of foreign and defense policy.

From 2007 to 2008 she was the deputy director for policy planning in the state department. In addition to staff management, she worked on resourcing and organizational effectiveness issues, including a study of what it would take to “transform” the state department so as to enable integrated political, economic, and military strategies.

During President Bush's first term, she was the director for Defense Strategy and Requirements on the National Security Council. She was responsible for interagency coordination for long-term defense planning and coalition maintenance issues. Projects Schake contributed to include conceptualizing and budgeting for continued transformation of defense practices; the most significant realignment of US military forces and bases around the world since 1950; creating NATO's Allied Command Transformation and the NATO Response Force; and recruiting and retaining coalition partners for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

She has held the Distinguished Chair of International Security Studies at West Point, and also served in the faculties of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, the University of Maryland’s School of Public Affairs, and the National Defense University. She is on the boards of the journal Orbis and the Centre for European Reform and blogs for Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government.

Her publications include State of Disrepair: Fixing the Culture and Practices of the State Department (Hoover Institution Press, 2012), Managing American Hegemony: Essays on Power in a Time of Dominance (Hoover Institution Press, 2009), “Choices for the Quadrennial Defense Review” (Orbis, 2009), “Dealing with a Nuclear Iran” (Policy Review, 2007), and “Jurassic Pork” (New York Times, 2006). She coauthored “How America Should Lead” (Policy Review, 2002), and coedited The Berlin Wall Crisis: Perspectives on Cold War Alliances (2002), and “Building a European Defense Capaibility” (Survival,, 1999).

From 1990 to 1996, she worked in Pentagon staff jobs, first in the Joint Staff’s Strategy and Policy Directorate (J-5) and then in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

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Recent Commentary

Featured Commentary

America Strikes Oil, Literally and Figuratively

by Kori Schakevia Strategika
Thursday, March 26, 2015

J. Paul Getty advised young people to rise early, work hard, and strike oil. It was the recipe to success for many an American robber baron of the nineteenth century, a fortune in both senses of the word being made all over again as hydraulic fracturing enables American energy production to burgeon. American energy production is advancing our national security, as well, emboldening our friends and impinging on our enemies

Podcast: Strategika: “Energy Resources: A Curse or a Blessing?” with Kori Schake
Featured Commentary

Choose Your Own Nuke Deal Adventure

by Kori Schakevia Foreign Policy
Monday, March 16, 2015

On Iran, the Obama administration is running a master class in how to trap yourself between a rock and a hard place.

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Featured Commentary

Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right

by Kori Schakevia Foreign Policy
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Senate Republicans’ letter to Iran was a foolish act of pique that’s likely to backfire. But the president’s shortsighted dissing of Congress has weakened his hand for executive action.

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Featured Commentary

A Narrow Focus That Undercuts Trust

by Kori Schakevia Debate Club (U.S. News & World Report)
Monday, March 2, 2015

President Barack Obama does deserve credit for increasing economic sanctions and espionage against the Iranian nuclear programs. Keeping the Russians, Chinese and Europeans supporting economic and diplomatic isolation of Iran is a major achievement, and probably had more to do with Iran agreeing to negotiate than did the election of a reformist president in Iran.

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Featured Commentary

Syriza Rolls The Dice

by Kori Schakevia Foreign Policy
Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Greece's new government rolled out its audacious plan to drag the country out of austerity. It might be in for a rude awakening.

Featured Commentary

Patience Isn’t Always A Virtue

by Kori Schakevia Foreign Policy
Monday, February 9, 2015

The White House released its long-overdue National Security Strategy (NSS) on Friday. Criticisms of the administration’s leadership failures have clearly gotten under the White House’s skin, because this is a document drowning in the term leadership. So we will “lead with purpose,” “lead with strength,” “lead by example,” etc.

Featured Commentary

The Opportunity Obama Missed In The State Of The Union

by Kori Schakevia Foreign Policy
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It was perversely fascinating to watch the man who condescendingly explained to the Republican congressional leadership in 2009 that “elections have consequences” sail with such imperious disdain through a speech wholly unconnected to the political realities of the legislative body to which he delivered this speech.

Related Commentary

Too Many Questions and Too Much Doubt

by Kori Schakevia Strategika
Friday, December 19, 2014

That fine strategist Groucho Marx said that in politics, authenticity is everything; once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

White House at night
Featured Commentary

Keeping The Public In The Dark

by Kori Schakevia US News
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Yes, the Bush administration did go too far. In the fearful days after the 9/11 attacks, the administration made choices, putting our security ahead of our values. They worried enemies we knew little about were poised to strike again – and they were right. They worried we were unprepared for the nature of a jihadi challenge – and they were right.

Featured Commentary

What Was Chuck Hagel’s Biggest Mistake?

by Kori Schakevia Politico Magazine
Monday, November 24, 2014

Was it his Syria policy? A distrusting White House? Poor management at the Pentagon? All of the above? As Chuck Hagel steps down as defense secretary, Politico Magazine asked top national security thinkers to tell us what his biggest mistake was—or what went wrong otherwise in his tenure—and here’s what they had to say.