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Heritage Expert

James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

  • Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow

James Jay Carafano, a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges, is The Heritage Foundation’s Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, E. W. Richardson Fellow, and Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.

Carafano is an accomplished historian and teacher as well as a prolific writer and researcher whose most recent book is “Wiki at War: Conflict in a Socially Networked World” (Texas A&M University Press, 2012), a survey of the revolutionary impact of the Internet age on national security. He was selected from thousands to speak on cyber warfare at the 2014 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas, the nation’s premier tech and social media conference.

Before assuming responsibility for Heritage’s entire defense and foreign policy team in December 2012, Carafano had served as deputy director of the Davis Institute as well as director of its Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies since 2009.

His recent research focused on developing the national security required to secure the long-term interests of the United States -- protecting the public, providing for economic growth and preserving civil liberties. (Many of his writings for Heritage appear below.)

He writes a weekly column on national security affairs for the Washington Examiner and is editor of a book series, The Changing Face of War, which examines how emerging political, social, economic and cultural trends will affect the nature of armed conflict. From 2012 to 2014, he served on the Homeland Security Advisory Council convened by the secretary of the U.S.  Department of Homeland Security.

Carafano, a 25-year Army veteran with a master’s and doctorate from Georgetown University, joined Heritage in 2003 as a senior research fellow in homeland security and missile defense. He worked with Kim R. Holmes, his predecessor as vice president and director of Davis Institute, to produce Heritage’s groundbreaking documentary film “33 Minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age.”

Carafano now directs Heritage's team of foreign and defense policy experts in four centers on the front lines of international affairs: the Allison Center, the Asian Studies Center, the Center for International Trade and Economics and the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. The Davis Institute also includes the Washington Roundtable for the Asia-Pacific Press (WRAPP).

Carafano also is president of a nonprofit organization, Esprit de Corps, which educates the public about veteran affairs. In this capacity he co-produced and co-wrote the documentary “Veteran Nation,” an official selection of the 2013 G.I. Film Festival.

Before coming to Heritage, Carafano was a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington policy institute dedicated to defense issues.

In his Army career, Carafano rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He served in Europe, Korea and the United States. His assignments included head speechwriter for the Army Chief of Staff, the service's highest-ranking officer. Before retiring, Carafano was executive editor of Joint Force Quarterly, the Defense Department's premiere professional military journal.

A graduate of West Point, Carafano holds a master's degree and a doctorate from Georgetown University as well as a master's degree in strategy from the U.S. Army War College.

He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and the Institute of World Politics and has served as a visiting professor at National Defense University. He previously served as an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., and as director of military studies at the Army's Center of Military History. He taught at Mount Saint Mary College in New York and was a fleet professor at the U.S. Naval War College.

He is the co-author with Paul Rosenzweig of Winning the Long War: Lessons from the Cold War for Defeating Terrorism and Preserving Freedom (2005). The authors, first to coin the term “the long war,” argued that a successful strategy requires a balance of prudent military and security measures, continued economic growth, zealous protection of civil liberties and prevailing in the “war of ideas” against terrorist ideologies.

Carafano also co-authored a textbook, Homeland Security (McGraw-Hill, second edition 2012), designed as a practical introduction to everyday life in the era of terrorism. The textbook addresses such key details as the roles of first responders and volunteers, family preparedness techniques and in-depth looks at weapons of mass destruction.

His other works include Private Sector/Public Wars: Contracting in Combat--Iraq, Afghanistan and Future Conflicts (2008); G.I. Ingenuity: Improvisation, Technology and Winning World War II (2006); Waltzing Into the Cold War (2002); and After D-Day (2000), a Military Book Club main selection.

As an expert on foreign affairs, defense, intelligence and homeland security issues, Carafano has testified many times before Congress.

He is a regular guest analyst for the major U.S. network and cable television news organizations, from ABC to Fox to MSNBC to PBS, as well as such outlets as National Public Radio, Pajamas TV, Voice of America and the History Channel. From SkyNews to Al Jazeera, he also has appeared on TV news programs originating in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Estonia, France, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Iran, Japan, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Vietnam.

Carafano’s op-ed columns and commentary are published widely, including the Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, New York Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today and Washington Times in addition to the Washington Examiner.

He is a senior fellow at George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute. He serves on the board of trustees of the Marine Corps University Foundation and advisory boards for the West Point Center of Oral History, the Hamilton Society and Operation Renewed Hope Foundation, which serves homeless veterans. He previously served on the National Academy's Board on Army Science and Technology and the Department of the Army Historical Advisory Committee.

In 2005, he received Heritage's prestigious W. Glenn and Rita Ricardo Campbell Award. The honor goes to the staff member determined to have made “an outstanding contribution to the analysis and promotion of the free society.”

All Publications by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.