Jennifer Cafarella

Position: 
National Security Fellow


Jennifer Cafarella is the inaugural National Security Fellow at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a position created to sponsor rising national security leaders. Ms. Cafarella’s work focuses on U.S. defense strategy including how the U.S. must adapt to current and future threats. She is an established expert on Syria, the Middle East, and jihadism.

Ms. Cafarella regularly briefs senior policy and decision-makers as well as U.S. and allied military units. Her written work has been featured across major media outlets including Foreign Affairs Magazine, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and others. She frequently appears in the media and in public events to discuss the evolution of national security threats and their consequences for how the U.S. must engage.

Ms. Cafarella previously served as ISW’s Research Director from 2019-2020, when she was responsible for setting the organization's research priorities and overseeing their execution by ISW’s team of open source intelligence analysts. She is a graduate of ISW's Hertog War Studies Program and was the Institute's first Evans Hanson Fellow, which sponsors outstanding alumni of the War Studies Program and seeks to help build 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.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennycafarella

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