Thomas H. Henriksen

Senior Fellow, Emeritus

Thomas H. Henriksen is an emeritus senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he focuses on American foreign policy, international political affairs, and insurgencies. He specializes in the study of US diplomatic and military courses of action toward terrorist havens in the non-Western world and toward rogue regimes.

Henriksen's most recent book is Cycles in U.S. Foreign Policy since the Cold War , which was published by Palgrave in 2017. The year before, Eyes, Ears & Daggers: Special Operations Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency in America's Evolving Struggle against Terrorism was published. 

Earlier his book, America and the Rogue States, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012. It analyzes Washington’s interactions with Iran, North Korea, and other rogue nations since the Cold War. It was preceded by American Power after the Berlin Wall (2007), which examines US policy through the prism of US interventions in Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq (twice). Other books and monographs include Foreign Policy for America in the 21st Century: Alternative Perspectives, Using Power and Diplomacy to Deal with Rogue States, and an edited collection, North Korea after Kim Il Sung (Hoover Institution Press, 1999).

He also authored or edited the following books and monographs: One Korea? Challenges and Prospects for Reunification; The New World Order: War, Peace, and Military Preparedness; Revolution and Counterrevolution: Mozambique's War of Independence; The Struggle for Zimbabwe: Battle in the Bush; Soviet and Chinese Aid to African Nations; and Mozambique: A History, which was selected by Choice magazine for its Outstanding Book Award for African History. Additionally, he has written numerous journal articles and newspaper commentaries concerning international politics and security.

He is also a senior fellow at the US Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), where he concentrates on counterinsurgency practices. For JSOU, he has authored monographs entitled Dividing Our Enemies; The Israeli Approach to Irregular Warfare; Is Leaving the Middle East a Viable Option?; What Really Happened in Northern Ireland's Counterinsurgency; and Afghanistan, Counterinsurgency, and the Indirect Approach. His most recent monograph is WHAM: Winning Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan and Elsewhere.

He is a trustee of the George C. Marshall Foundation. During the 1979–80 academic year, he was the Susan Louise Dyer Peace Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He taught history at the State University of New York from 1969 until he left in 1979 as a full professor. During 1963–65, Henriksen served as an infantry officer in the US Army. His other national public service includes participation as a member of the US Army Science Board (1984–90) and the President's Commission on White House Fellowships (1987–93). He also received a Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Civilian Service from the US Department of the Army in 1990.

Henriksen received his BA from Virginia Military Institute and his MA and PhD from Michigan State University. He was selected for membership in Phi Alpha Theta, the history honorary society, as a graduate student.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary


Tale Of The Tape: North Korea Vs. Joint US-ROK Force

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia The Hill
Thursday, August 24, 2017

Escalating threats and counter-threats arising from the United States and North Korea have created an ominous standoff. President Trump warned Pyongyang that it faced “fire and fury” for aggression. The American leader added that “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded” should it act foolishly. The Democratic People’s Republic kept up the rhetorical duel by threatening to engulf Guam with an “enveloping fire” of ballistic missiles.

Blank Section (Placeholder)FeaturedRelated Commentary

The North Korean Threat

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How should the U.S. contain a rogue regime on the brink of acquiring nuclear-tipped intercontinental missiles?


Holding North Korea At Bay - What Trump Needs To Do

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Fox News
Friday, July 7, 2017

North Korea’s missile and nuclear advances have vaulted the reclusive country to a top-level security priority for the Trump administration. On July 4th, while Americans celebrated Independence Day, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile (usually considered with a range of at least 5,500 kilometers or 3,420 miles). To date, Pyongyang has detonated five nuclear explosions, of which four took place during Barack Obama’s presidential tenure. 


Latest Trump-Russia Report Lacks 'Smoking Gun' Of Illegality

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia The Hill
Thursday, May 18, 2017

The exclusive Reuters’ report of at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russian sources potentially adds another drop of gasoline on an already roaring fire torching the Trump administration. The operative word is “potentially,” however.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Featured

Post-American World Order

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Thursday, March 23, 2017

As Russia and China rise, the days of unrivaled U.S. power are over. 

Blank Section (Placeholder)Featured

Eyes, Ears, And Daggers

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Tuesday, November 29, 2016

From the beginning of America’s history, special warriors and intelligence officers have served a critical role in the defense of the nation—sometimes in cooperation, sometimes at cross-purposes.

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

Foreign Policy Course Correction

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Strategika
Monday, October 31, 2016

Barack Obama’s retrenchment policies may be unprecedented in degree, but not in kind. Other presidents have implemented pullbacks from an overseas engagement, usually after a war. These retreats have all been followed by pendulum swings back toward re-engagement. This pattern will, no doubt, hold after Obama. Historical determinism does not account for the oscillations, which are instead due to partisanship between the major political parties, domestic considerations, and ideological convictions of the commanders-in-chief as well as the need for course corrections.


Where Warrior-Spies Fight In The Shadows

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia The Washington Times
Thursday, October 20, 2016

America’s special operations forces fill the breach left by U.S. disengagement.

Eyes, Ears, & Daggers by Hoover Institution senior fellow Thomas Henriksen.
BooksBlank Section (Placeholder)

Eyes, Ears, and Daggers: Special Operations Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency in America’s Evolving Struggle against Terrorism

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Hoover Institution Press
Thursday, October 13, 2016

Both the Special Operations Forces (SOF) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have served as the nation’s eyes, ears, and daggers, often in close cooperation but occasionally at cross- purposes throughout their histories. In this book, Thomas H. Henriksen examines the warrior-spy connection both before and after the formation of the SOF and the CIA, suggesting that their history is notable for instances of cooperating, competing, circumventing, and even cutting each other out of the action before the 9/11 terrorist attacks brought about their present close alignment.

Analysis and Commentary

Letter to the Editor: War Powers, the Islamic State and the War Powers Act

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In an otherwise spot-on op-ed, former Sen. Joseph Lieberman miscasts how the Vietnam War ended. In fact, Congress withheld funding to the South Vietnamese in early 1975 after all U.S. military ground combat forces had been withdrawn by late March 1973.