Thomas Donnelly

Thomas Donnelly


Thomas Donnelly, a defense and security policy analyst, is the codirector of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of numerous articles, essays, and books, including Operation Just Cause: The Storming of Panama and Clash of Chariots: A History of Armored Warfare. He is currently at work on Empire of Liberty: The Origins of American Strategic Culture. From 1995 to 1999, he was policy group director for the House Committee on Armed Services. Donnelly also served as a member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission and is a former editor of Armed Forces Journal, Army Times, and Defense News.

Thomas Donnelly transitioned in October 2018. Please visit Giselle Donnelly's current bio page for more recent work.

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Recent Commentary

Related Commentary

Five Points for Success in the Middle East

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Friday, December 19, 2014

To reestablish a favorable balance of power across the Greater Middle East—the region stretching from the northwest coast of Africa through the Arab lands of the Levant and Persian Gulf into South Asia—the United States must first be clear about its geopolitical goals.

Drones and the Next War

by Thomas Donnellyvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Drones revolutionized aerial warfare—but so did zeppelins. Why strategists should exercise caution in relying on the latest weapon or tactic.

Poster Collection, RU/SU 2575, Hoover Institution Archives.

Strategika: “Vladimir Putin’s Ambitions” with Thomas Donnelly

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Friday, May 9, 2014

Thomas Donnelly explains why resisting Russian expansion into Ukraine is an American security interest, examines whether Vladimir Putin’s ambitions will continue to grow, and makes recommendations for an American response.

Do drones present new military opportunities or are they simply an updated techn

Drones . . . in Context

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thomas Donnelly discusses the significance of drones within the historical context of advancements in airpower.

Related Commentary

The Perils of the Pivot

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Hoover Archives poster collection: UK 2756
Background Essay

Drones: Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, January 1, 2014

In 1907, just four years after the Wright Brothers had flown a few hundred yards across the beaches of North Carolina, H. G. Wells imagined The War in the Air. In Wells’ dark fantasy, the German Empire employs a fleet of airships to preemptively attack the United States, its only potential scientific, industrial, and geopolitical peer. The German target was New York.

What exactly are the strategic aims that North Korea hopes to achieve by the pos

Greetings, Americans: Understanding North Korea

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Friday, August 23, 2013

The American Enterprise Institute’s Thomas Donnelly examines what North Korea hopes to gain through its nuclear weapons program.