Fredrick Kagan

Frederick W. Kagan


Frederick W. Kagan is the Christopher DeMuth Chair and director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He was a contributor to the Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict at the Hoover Institution from 2013-2016.

In 2009, he served in Kabul, Afghanistan, as part of General Stanley McChrystal's strategic assessment team; he returned to Afghanistan in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to conduct research for Generals David Petraeus and John Allen. In July 2011, Admiral Mike Mullen, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, awarded him the Distinguished Public Service Award. He is the author of the series of AEI reports, including Choosing Victory, which recommended and monitored the US military surge in Iraq. Previously an associate professor of military history at West Point, Kagan is a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard. Video: Fred Kagan on human nature and war.

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Recent Commentary

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Missile Defense Makes Sense

by Frederick W. Kaganvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 18, 2016

How outdated strategic thinking is leaving us wide open.

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It’s Mad To Forgo Missile Defense

by Frederick W. Kaganvia Strategika
Friday, October 30, 2015

American thinking about missile defense has been incoherent from the very beginning. The issue is superficially simple: the Soviet Union threatened the American people with nuclear missiles, so the U.S. should naturally have tried to defend them against those missiles.

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How Not To Be Prepared

by Frederick W. Kaganvia Strategika
Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The U.S. Army is on course to an active-duty strength of 420,000 if sequestration returns as scheduled in 2016. This force size, down from 545,000 at the end of the Iraq War, would be the lowest since the Interwar Period.

Related Commentary

Western Military Aid for Ukraine

by Frederick W. Kaganvia Strategika
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Vladimir Putin’s neo-imperialism has already brought inter-state warfare back to Europe for the first time since World War II. Its likely continuation threatens the existence of Ukraine, but is also the first traditional military test of the NATO alliance in Europe since the end of the Cold War. Western responses to Russia’s unprovoked and illegal aggressions in Georgia and Ukraine have been inadequate.

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Realism about Allies: What the U.S. Can Expect from Middle Eastern Partners

by Frederick W. Kaganvia Analysis
Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Americans must be realistic about what they expect from allies. We rightly prefer to engage on a multilateral basis and with as broad a coalition as possible. But too often we find ourselves surprised, offended, and alienated when our partners, especially regional states, seem to pursue their own interests at the expense of what we see as the common good.

Strategika: “The Wars of the Future" with Fred Kagan

by Frederick W. Kaganvia Strategika
Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Will Irregular Warfare Counteract the Power of Conventional Arms?

Okhrana Records, Box 237, Hoover Institution Archives.
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Be Prepared For Conventional War, Even If It’s Unconventional

by Frederick W. Kaganvia Strategika
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Kharkov. Dnepropetrovsk. Odessa. Mariupol. Sites of great armor battles seven decades ago, these cities are once again the front line of war. Tanks are massed but remain idle. Protesters, separatists, and “little green men” are the foot soldiers in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Snipers are the most effective weapons. Ukraine may fall to this “invasion” more easily than to an armored assault. Is this quasi-war the ultimate proof of the irrelevance of conventional forces today?

A Long and Trying Season

by Frederick W. Kaganvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Arab Spring has settled one question: the Muslim world does want representative government. It also showed that democracy there has far to go.