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

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In Praise Of Difficult Allies

by Kori Schakevia Military History in the News
Thursday, August 27, 2015

This week, we friends of France celebrate the liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation in 1944. Four years earlier, the Wehrmacht’s combined arms had roared through the Ardennes forest from the Netherlands, bypassing from the north France’s eastern line of defenses.


The Military Shouldn’t Have To Reflect Society

by Kori Schakevia The New York Times
Thursday, August 20, 2015

The issue of whether women should be permitted assignment in combat units is the kind of issue on which almost every American has a view, but by which almost no Americans are affected.

Poster Collection, IQ 2, Hoover Institution Archives.
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A Foreign Diplomat Just Taught America How to Win the War of Ideas

by Kori Schakevia Military History in the News
Monday, August 17, 2015

It is conventional wisdom in Washington that the United States is losing the “war of ideas” to the Islamic State, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, al Qaeda, and even the Taliban.  All those forces of entropy and intolerance that practice and support terrorism are somehow proving superior at messaging to the country with Madison Avenue advertising, Silicon Valley innovation, Hollywood image-making, the 24-hour news cycle, and permanent political campaigning.

Analysis and Commentary

Hot Take On The GOP Debate: National Security

by Kori Schakevia War on the Rocks
Friday, August 7, 2015

Yes, I did watch the Republican debates so that you serious-minded defense types at War on the Rocks didn’t have slog through the two hours to know how the national security parts went. I admit there were moments when I had that 1950s horror movie reaction — as when Donald Trump doubled down on his shameful allegations of “evidence” those evil geniuses in the Mexican government were outsmarting us stupid Americans and sending criminals and rapists over the border.

Analysis and Commentary

Killing The Nuke Deal Doesn’t Mean War With Iran

by Kori Schakevia Foreign Policy
Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Obama White House tried to invoke John Kennedy with the choice of American University as the venue for President Barack Obama to make his case for support of the Iran deal. Which made President Obama’s divisive, bitter defense of the agreement all the sadder.

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Presidents Obama And Wilson Play The Politics Of Fear

by Kori Schakevia Military History in the News
Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Is President Obama deploying the “politics of fear” to push the Iran deal through on the domestic front? That’s what Eli Lake writes in his latest article for Bloomberg View.

US-Iran Relations
Analysis and Commentary

How To Get The Most Out Of The Iran Nuke Deal

by Kori Schakevia Foreign Policy
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Let’s be clear about what the Iranian deal does not achieve: it does not prevent Iran from getting the bomb; it does not in any reliable way extend breakout capability to a year; and there is zero probability sanctions will “snap back” if Iran violates the agreement.

US-Iran Relations
Analysis and Commentary

Iran: Why The Best Outcome Now Is To Keep Negotiating Without Reaching A Deal

by Kori Schakevia America's News HQ (Fox News)
Thursday, July 9, 2015

Another deadline lapsed Thursday in the seemingly endless negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons programs.

War Plane
Analysis and Commentary

The GOP Is Not Going To Win This Election On Foreign Policy

by Kori Schakevia Foreign Policy
Monday, June 15, 2015

Why Republican hawkishness doesn’t play well with American voters.

Analysis and Commentary

Is Stan McChrystal Right About Adapting To Win?

by Kori Schakevia War on the Rocks
Monday, June 15, 2015

Stan McChrystal has written an interesting and important book about organizational change. His argument, told through the experience of reconfiguring the Joint Special Operations Task Force in Iraq from 2003-2009, is that organizations, to be successful, need to create cultures of sustained adaptation.