Dr. Eliot Cohen

Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

In July 2019, Eliot A. Cohen was appointed the ninth dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Cohen has been a respected member of the school’s faculty since his appointment as the Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies in 1990. Over the years Cohen has held several leadership roles at the school including directing the strategic studies program, founding and directing the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies, and serving as the Executive Vice Dean this past year. He has twice won the school’s Excellence in Teaching Award and has extensive experience in executive education, including serving as an adjunct professor at the US Army War College.

Cohen is a 1977 graduate of Harvard College and earned his PhD in political science from the university in 1982. From 1982 to 1985 he was Assistant Professor of Government at Harvard, and Assistant Dean of Harvard College. In 1985 he became a member of the Strategy Department of the United States Naval War College. In February 1990 he joined the Policy Planning Staff of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and in July of that year he was appointed Professor of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

From April 2007 through January 2009 he served as Counselor of the Department of State. A principal officer of the Department, he had special responsibility for advising the Secretary on Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia, as well as general strategic issues. He represented the Department of State in interagency coordination with senior National Security Council staff, Department of Defense, and intelligence community officials on a number of issues, including the Syrian/North Korean reactor crisis of 2007.

Eliot Cohen is the author of The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force(2017), Conquered into Liberty: Two Centuries of Battles along the Great Warpath that made the American Way of War (2011), Supreme Command:  Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime  (2002). His other books are Commandos and Politicians (1978) and Citizens and Soldiers (1985). He is, as well, co-author of Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War (1990), Revolution in Warfare? Air Power in the Persian Gulf (1995), and Knives, Tanks, and Missiles: Israel’s Security Revolution (1998), and co-editor of Strategy in the Contemporary World (2002) and War over Kosovo  (2001). From 1991 to 1993 he directed and edited the official study of air power in the 1991 war with Iraq. For his leadership of The Gulf War Air Power Survey, which included eleven book-length reports, he received the Air Force’s decoration for exceptional civilian service. His articles have appeared in numerous scholarly and popular journals, he publishes often in national newspapers such as the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times and is a contributing editor at The Atlantic.

In 1982 he was commissioned as a military intelligence officer in the United States Army Reserve. In the past he has served as a member of the Defense Policy Advisory Board and the National Security Advisory Panel of the National Intelligence Council, and of the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and of the Committee on Studies of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.