Kiron K. Skinner

W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow
Biography: 

Kiron K. Skinner is currently on leave from the Hoover Institution to serve at the U.S. Department of State as Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State and Director of Policy Planning. 

Skinner is the W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow and has participated in three important 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 (CMU), she is founding director of the Center for International Relations and Politics; founding director of the Institute for Strategic Analysis; director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy, a new academic unit in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences; director of the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program; and Taube Professor of International Relations and Politics at CMU. In addition, Skinner is a Distinguished Fellow at CyLab, a cyber-oriented research center associated with the College of Engineering, and holds courtesy faculty positions at CMU’s Heinz College and the Institute for Software Research, an academic department in the School of Computer Science. She has also taught political science courses at Hamilton College, Harvard University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. Her areas of expertise are international relations, international security, US foreign policy, and political strategy.

Professor Skinner is an award-winning and best-selling author. Her coauthored books Reagan, In His Own Hand (2001) and Reagan, A Life in Letters (2003) were New York Times best sellers. Reagan, In His Own Hand won the Hoover Institution’s Uncommon Book Award and was serialized in the New York Times Magazine on December 31, 2000. Reagan, A Life in Letters was selected as one of the best books of 2003 by the Los Angeles Times, was Time magazine’s cover story on September 29, 2003, and was the subject of a September 29, 2003, editorial written by the New York Times editorial board. The Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin (2007), a book Skinner coauthored with Serhiy Kudelia, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, and Condoleezza Rice, was excerpted on the opinion page of the New York Times on September 15, 2007. A frequent contributor of opinion essays, Skinner has written for CNN.com, Forbes.com, Foreign Policy.com, National Review Online, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Skinner is a Fox News contributor and appears on both Fox News and Fox Business. She also regularly provides scholarly commentary on national and international television and radio programs.

Among Skinner’s numerous awards are the Truman Scholarship for the State of California (1979); Glamour magazine’s Top Ten College Competition for Women (1981); Harvard University’s Sidney Matz Prize for excellence in advising undergraduates (1989); Delegate to the Bellagio “New Faces” Conference sponsored by the Arms Control Association and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (1989); University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow (1996-98); Olin Foundation Faculty Fellowship (1999-2001 and 2001-2002); BMW Transatlantic Forum Fellow (US and Germany, 2004 and 2005); and Kennedy Middle School Hall of Fame (Redwood City, California, 2005).

Professor Skinner’s government service includes membership on the US Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board as an adviser on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (2001–07);  the Eisenhower Commission’s Legacy Committee of historians (2002-03); the Chief of Naval Operations’ (CNO) 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 served as a foreign policy surrogate for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004, a senior foreign policy adviser in 2011-12 to Speaker Newt Gingrich during his presidential campaign, and a senior foreign policy surrogate in the fall of 2012 to the Governor Mitt Romney for President campaign. Professor Skinner served on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs from 2012 to 2015.

Skinner serves on the boards of the American Australian Education Leadership Foundation in Washington, DC; the Atlantic Council of the United States in Washington, DC; Grove City College in Grove City, PA; Propel Schools in the Pittsburgh area; and Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. She is a life member of the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.

Professor Skinner holds MA and PhD degrees in political science and international relations 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

Analysis and Commentary

Margaret Thatcher Led in Fighting Terrorism

by Kiron K. Skinnervia CNN.com
Thursday, April 11, 2013
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An Argument for Containment

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Strategika
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One Bright Spot in All This

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Room for Debate (New York Times)
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
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Win Over Blacks Via the Military

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Room for Debate (New York Times)
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

A Time For Strength

by Kiron K. Skinnervia BET Politics
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
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Why I Support Mitt Romney

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Shadow Government (Foreign Policy)
Monday, October 22, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

Before Taking on Syria, U.S. Should Heed Lesson of the Past

by Kiron K. Skinnervia CNN.com
Thursday, July 19, 2012

Syria becomes a greater emergency with each passing day...But U.S. must think twice before entering yet another Middle East battlefield...

Kiron Skinner Wants You to Stand With Newt

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

By Cynthia Gordy

From a political perspective, it's been an eventful Women's History Month as debate over women's health has continued to bubble up in state houses and Congress, as well as on the presidential campaign trail.

Analysis and Commentary

Iowa Is Deceptive; Political Artistry Matters

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Success in Iowa is no guarantee of subsequent victories, but candidates and their advisers who dismiss the importance of the caucuses do so at their own peril...

Iowa Is Deceptive; Political Artistry Matters

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Success in Iowa is no guarantee of subsequent victories, but candidates and their advisers who dismiss the importance of the caucuses do so at their own peril.

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