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Anthony H. Cordesman (born August 1, 1939) holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and is a national security analyst on a number of global conflicts.

Anthony Cordesman
Anthony Cordesman by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Born (1939-08-01) August 1, 1939 (age 80)
OccupationNational security analyst
OrganizationCenter for Strategic and International Studies


At CSIS, he has been the director of the Gulf Net Assessment Project and the Gulf in Transition study, and Principal Investigator of the CSIS Homeland Defense Project. He directed the Middle East Net Assessment Program, acted as Co-Director of the Strategic Energy Initiative, and directed the project on Saudi Arabia Enters the 21st Century. He is the author of a wide range of studies of energy policy, and has written extensively on oil and energy risks and issues, and is the co-author of The Global Oil Market: Risks and Uncertainties, CSIS, 2006. He is a former Professor of National Security Studies at Georgetown University and fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution.[1][2][3]

Cordesman served as national security assistant to Senator John McCain of the Senate Armed Services Committee and as civilian assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. He is also a former director of intelligence assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.[1] He directed the analysis of the lessons of the Yom Kippur War for the Secretary of Defense in 1974, coordinating the U.S. military, intelligence, and civilian analysis of the conflict. He was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award.[1]

He has been visiting and lecturing in Asia since the 1960s, and is a Senior Advisor to the U.S.-Asia Institute. He was a guest lecturer in China on energy and Middle East security for the State Department in 2007. He is the co-author of Chinese Military Modernization: Force Development and Strategic Capabilities, CSIS, Washington, 2007.

Cordesman also served in other government positions, including at the United States Department of State, Department of Energy, and director of International Staff at NATO. He carried assignments posts in the United Kingdom, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and West Germany, and worked in Saudi Arabia.[4]

Cordesman has authored over 50 books on U.S. security policy, military strategy, energy policy, and the Middle East. He is also a long-term contributor to the American hi-fi magazine, The Absolute Sound.[5]

Gaza War analysisEdit

On February 2, 2009, Cordesman published an analysis of the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict. The report relied on Israeli briefings before and after the conflict, including visits to the Israeli Defense Spokesman, interviews with Arab officials, and experts. The report analyzes the views and reactions of Arabs, but emphasized that Hamas has not provided more than "minimal details on the fighting, other than ideological and propaganda statements". Cordesman points out improvements in the capability of the Israeli Defense Forces since the fighting against Hezbollah in 2006. He believes the military used "decisive force" against legitimate military objectives, in spite of their humanitarian cost.[6][7]

Cordesman's analysis also claimed that Israel did not violate the laws of war. Norman Finkelstein, a noted critic of Israel, claimed in an article on CounterPunch that this assumption lacks credibility because it relies solely on information from the Israeli Ministry of Defense whilst allegedly ignoring reports from the United Nations, NGOs and other News media reports.[8]

War in Iraq and AfghanistanEdit

He has criticized the Bush Administration's efforts in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.[9][10] According to an article in National Business Review, Cordesman was said to have been only "48 per cent" convinced on the need to invade Iraq in 2003, but contends that "concerns over Saddam's weapons of mass destruction were valid". He considers the current "chaos" in Iraq as the result of "pre-existing fractures in the country's social makeup", and a "tribal, clan-based society".[11]

Iraqi Security Forces: A Strategy for SuccessEdit

In 2006, Cordesman published Iraqi Security Forces: A Strategy for Success, documenting "both the initial mistakes and the recent changes in U.S. policy that now offer real hope of success in Iraq".[12] Michael Rubin of the Middle East Quarterly has accused the book of being a "typical work for [Cordesman] with much information but little analysis".[13]

Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear programEdit

In March 2009, Cordesman issued a detailed assessment entitled "Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran's Nuclear Development Facilities". He concludes with the opinion that "Any realistic resolution to the Iranian nuclear program will require an approach that encompasses Military, Economic, Political interests and differences of the West vs Iran. There will be no lasting resolution to the Iranian nuclear program until the broader interests of Iran, the US, the region and the world are addressed. Iran should be engaged directly by the U.S. with an agenda open to all areas of military and non-military issues that both are in agreement or disagreement."[14]


  1. ^ a b c Cordesman's biography, CSIS website; accessed November 22, 2014.
  2. ^ Iraqi Elections – Analysis with Anthony Cordesman,, 2005; accessed November 22, 2014.
  3. ^ Ten Reasons for Reforging the US and Saudi Relationship Archived July 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine,; accessed November 22, 2014.
  4. ^ Anthony H. Cordesman profile Archived March 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine,; accessed November 22, 2014.
  5. ^ Pearson, Harry (Feb 1992). "The Absolute Sound". The High End Journal. 16 (77): 1.
  6. ^ The "Gaza War": A Strategic Analysis summary,; accessed November 22, 2014.
  7. ^ Full analysis,; accessed November 22, 2014.
  8. ^ Finkelstein, Norman (February 19, 2009). "The Cleanser". CounterPunch. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  9. ^ Worse Than Lyndon Johnson's Team?
  10. ^ Two Winnable Wars
  11. ^ Hall, Jeremy (September 17, 2006). "The clash within civilizations". National Business Review. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
  12. ^ Iraqi Security Forces: A Strategy for Success,; accessed November 22, 2014.
  13. ^ Michael Rubin Review,; accessed November 22, 2014.
  14. ^ “Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran's Nuclear Development Facilities”,; accessed November 22, 2014.

External linksEdit