Jennifer Cafarella

Position: 
Director of Intelligence Planning


Jennifer Cafarella is the Director of Intelligence Planning at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), where she is responsible for leading the development of ISW’s detailed plans and recommendations on how to achieve U.S. objectives abroad. Ms Cafarella also leads ISW's simulation exercises and has conducted such exercises for various U.S. military units deploying overseas. In 2015, she participated in a multi-week assessment mission in the Middle East focused on the conflicts in Iraq and Syria at the invitation of senior U.S. Army commanders. 

Ms. Cafarella has written extensively on the Syrian war, including detailed analysis of al Qaeda and ISIS. Her essays have been published by Foreign Affairs, The Hill, and Fox News, among other outlets. She has appeared extensively in the media. Her analysis has been cited by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, NPR, Voice of America, the BBC, and USA Today. 

She is a graduate of ISW’s Hertog War Studies Program and was ISW’s first Evans Hanson Fellow. The Evans Hanson Fellowship draws from the outstanding alumni of the ISW Hertog War Studies Program and helps develop the next generation of national security leaders. Ms. Cafarella received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in Global Studies with a focus on the Middle East. She is proficient in Arabic.

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