Kim R. Holmes, a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation, oversaw the think tank’s defense and foreign policy team for more than two decades. He continues to write about international affairs and America’s place in the world.
Holmes was Heritage’s vice president for foreign and defense policy studies and director of the Davis Institute for International Studies from 1991 through 2012. The exception: his service, during most of the first term of President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2004, as assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs.
Holmes directed Heritage's team of foreign and defense policy experts in four centers on the front lines of international affairs: the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, the Asian Studies Center, the Center for International Trade and Economics, and the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.
Holmes joined Heritage in 1985 and rose to vice president in 1991. He was a founding editor of the annual Index of Economic Freedom, which has become a signature Heritage publication, and in 2014 celebrated its 20th anniversary.
He led the think tank’s efforts to convince the United States to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. He launched Heritage’s widely respected homeland security program after September 11, as well as the think tank’s program on international trade. He expanded missile defense studies.
Holmes left Heritage in late 2001 to serve as an assistant secretary of state. After rejoining the think tank in 2005, he authored the book “Liberty's Best Hope: American Leadership for the 21st Century.” His next book, “Rebound: Getting America Back to Great” (November 2013), offers a timely roadmap for the nation to bounce back from a perceived decline by reconnecting with the roots of its greatness—culture, style of government, economic policies, and place in the world.
His latest book, “The Closing of the Liberal Mind,” is to be published in April 2016.
Recognized around the globe as one of Washington’s foremost foreign and defense policy experts, Holmes is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, where he formerly served on the Washington Advisory Committee. Previous appointments include the Defense Policy Board, the U.S. defense secretary’s primary resource for expert outside advice; the Board of Directors of the Center for International Private Enterprise; and public member of the U.S. delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
While at the State Department, Holmes was responsible for developing policy and coordinating U.S. engagement at the United Nations and 46 other international organizations. Important goals achieved at that time include the U.N. mandates enabling Iraq to make the transition to democracy; the Security Council's first binding nonproliferation resolution; the U.N.'s first mandate requiring the Office of Internal Oversight Services to release reports to member states; and establishment of the U.N. Democracy Caucus and U.N. Democracy Fund. His tenure also saw an international outcry over Libya's assuming chairmanship of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which culminated in that body's refashioning.
Holmes holds doctoral and master’s degrees in history from Georgetown University. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He was a research fellow at the Institute for European History in Germany and adjunct professor of European security and history at Georgetown University.
Other published works include Defending the American Homeland, a post 9/11 task force report; Defending America: A Near and Long Term Plan to Deploy Missile Defenses; and Restoring American Leadership: A U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy Blueprint.
His scholarly articles have appeared in journals such as National Interest, Journal Aspenia (Italy), Harvard University's International Security and Columbia University's Journal of International Affairs. The Washington Times publishes his bi-weekly column on current affairs.