Jonathan Schroden

Professorial Lecturer
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Irregular warfare (counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, special operations), building and assessing foreign militaries, Afghanistan, assessment and evaluation of military strategies and operations.

Dr. Jonathan Schroden is the Director of CNA’s Center for Stability and Development (CSD), whose mission is to support decision-makers charged with planning, conducting, and assessing/evaluating prevention, stability, and development operations with objective analysis grounded in an understanding of actual operations. Dr. Schroden also directs CNA’s Special Operations Program, which focuses on bringing CNA’s “full spectrum” research and analysis capabilities to bear on the most complex and challenging issues facing special operations forces (SOF) today and in the future. Dr. Schroden has been with CNA since 2003, during which time he has deployed or traveled thirteen times to Afghanistan (twice at the request of the Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)) and twice to Al Anbar, Iraq; traveled throughout the Middle East; gotten underway with numerous Navy ships; and supported disaster relief operations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Jonathan has served as a strategic advisor to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF), Multi-National Force – West (MNF-W) in Iraq, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. He also served as CNA’s first interim field representative to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC). Schroden holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from Cornell University and B.S. degrees from the University of Minnesota – Duluth. His decorations include CNA's Phil E. DePoy Award for Analytic Excellence and the Cornell University Tunis Wentink Award. He has written articles on a variety of topics in publications such as Defense and Security Analysis, the Naval War College Review, the Journal of Strategic Studies, the Armed Forces Journal, and the Journal of the American Chemical Society. He has also published on-line in venues such as War on the Rocks, The National Interest, and the Small Wars Journal.

You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@jjschroden) and LinkedIn (


Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, Cornell University (2003); M.S. in Physical Chemistry, Cornell University (2000); B.S. in Physics and Chemistry with Honors, University of Minnesota-Duluth (1998). Graduate of MIT’s Seminar XXI Program (2014).


J.J. Schroden, “Military Pressure and Body Counts in Afghanistan,” War on the Rocks, May 17, 2019, available at:

J.J. Schroden, “Weighing the Costs of War and Peace in Afghanistan,” War on the Rocks, March 21, 2019, available at:

J.J. Schroden, “Getting Ahead of the Implications of a U.S.-Taliban Deal in Afghanistan,” War on the Rocks, January 31, 2019, available at:

J.J. Schroden, “So the President Wants out of Afghanistan: What Happens Next?” War on the Rocks, December 21, 2018, available at:

J.J. Schroden, “How Special Ops Can Step it Up,” War on the Rocks, December 19, 2018, available at:

J.J. Schroden, “Five Years Ago, We Assessed the War in Afghanistan for Congress: How Did We Do?” War on the Rocks, December 18, 2019, available at:

J.J. Schroden and J. McQuaid, “Congress Asked for An Assessment of the War on Al-Qaeda. Here’s What We Told Them,” War on the Rocks, available at:, November 23, 2017.

J.J. Schroden and J. McQuaid, Future Policy Options for U.S. Efforts Against Al-Qaeda, Unclassified, October 2017 (CNA Publication DOP-2017-U-016307-1Rev).

J. McQuaid, J.J. Schroden, P.G. Faber, P. K. Hammerberg, A. Powell, Z. Gold, D. Knoll, and W. Rosenau, Independent Assessment of U.S. Government Efforts against Al-Qaeda, Unclassified, October 2017 (CNA Publication DRM-2017-U-015710-2Rev).

J.J. Schroden, W. Rosenau, and E. Warner, “Asking the Right Questions: A Framework for Assessing Counterterrorism Actions,” MCU Journal, Fall 2016, 7, p. 77-102. J.J. Schroden, “Assessing War,” Joint Force Quarterly October 2016 83.

J.J. Schroden, W. Rosenau, and E. Warner, Asking the Right Questions: A Framework for Assessing Counterterrorism Actions, Unclassified, Feb 2016 (CNA Publication DRM-2015-U-012261-Final).

J.J. Schroden, “Mission Accomplished? How to Measure Success against ISIS,” The National Interest, 30 Dec 2014.

E. Mushen and J.J. Schroden, Are We Winning? A Brief History of Military Operations Assessment, Unclassified, Aug 2014 (CNA Publication DOP-2014-U-008512).

J.J. Schroden, “Obama’s Confusing al Qaeda Strategy,” The National Interest, 19 Jun 2014. J.J. Schroden, P. Asfura-Heim, C. Norman, and J. Meyerle, “Can the Afghan Security Forces Stand Up to the Taliban?” Small Wars Journal, 13 Mar 2014.

J.J. Schroden, “What Does ‘Small Footprint’ Really Mean?” War on the Rocks, 13 Mar 2014.

J.J. Schroden, Patricio Asfura-Heim, Catherine Norman, Jerry Meyerle, Were the Afghan National Security Forces Successful in 2013? Unclassified, Jan 2014 (CNA Publication DOP-2014-U-006817).

J.J. Schroden, et al. Independent Assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces, Unclassified, Jan 2014 (CNA Publication DRM-2014-U-006815).

J.J. Schroden, “Operations Assessment at ISAF: Changing Paradigms.” In Andrew Williams, et al, ed. Innovation in Operations Assessment: Recent Developments in Measuring Results in Conflict Environments (NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transition: Norfolk, VA), 2013.

J.J. Schroden, R. Thomasson, R. Foster, M. Lukens, and R. Bell, “A New Paradigm for Assessment in Counterinsurgency,” Military Operations Research, Sep 2013, 18, p. 5-20.

E. Gons, J.J. Schroden, R. McAlinden, M. Gaul, and B. Van Poppel, “Challenges of Measuring Progress in Afghanistan using Violence Trends: The Effects of Aggregation, Military Operations, Seasonality, Weather, and other Causal Factors.” Defense and Security Analysis, Jun 2012, 28, p. 100-113.

J.J. Schroden, A Strait Comparison: Lessons Learned from the 1915 Dardanelles Campaign in the Context of a Strait of Hormuz Closure Event, Unclassified, Sep 2011 (CNA Publication D0025888.A1).

P. Dobias, P.T. Eles, J.J. Schroden, and J. Wanliss, “Quantitative Assessment in Support of Military Intelligence: Predictive Analysis and Risk Assessment in the Current Security Environment.” Proceedings from the 28th International Symposium on Military Operational Research, New Place, Hampshire, UK, Aug 2011.

J.J. Schroden, “Why Operations Assessments Fail: It’s Not Just the Metrics.” Naval War College Review, Autumn 2011, p. 89-102.

J.J. Schroden, “Measures for Security in a Counterinsurgency.” Journal of Strategic Studies 2009, 32, p. 715-744.