Jessica Lewis McFate

Director of Tradecraft and Innovation

Jessica Lewis McFate is the Director of Tradecraft and Innovation at the Institute for the Study of War. She joined ISW after eight years of service on Active Duty as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.  Her military career includes 34 months deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, where she provided intelligence support to tactical, operational, and theater commands. She has twice been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for her impact upon operations.

She is the author of The ISIS Defense in Iraq and Syria: Countering an Adaptive Enemy, The Islamic State of Iraq Returns to DiyalaAl-Qaeda in Iraq Resurgent, and Al-Qaeda in Iraq Resurgent, Part II. Additionally, Ms. McFate is the co-author of A Strategy to Defeat the Islamic State. She has also authored several of ISW's Iraq Updates including "Al-Qaeda in Iraq's ‘Breaking the Walls’ Campaign Achieves Its Objectives at Abu Ghraib" and "The ISIS Battle Plan for Baghdad."

Click Here for One Page BioMs. McFate's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal (“The Terrorist Army Marching on Baghdad” and “Islamic State’s Global Ambitions”) and she has made frequent appearances on both television and radio programs, including Fox News, CNN, Al-Jazeera America, BBC (TV and radio), Voice of America (TV and radio), National Public Radio, and Wall Street Journal Live.  In addition, she has been cited as a source for numerous articles in The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalFinancial Times, The Daily Beast, Yahoo News, McClatchy News, and other publications.


Ms. McFate holds a B.S. in Strategic & International History and International Relations from West Point and an M.A. in Strategic Intelligence from American Military University.

Recently from Jessica Lewis McFate

ISIS Forecast: Ramadan 2016

Executive Summary:  The next forty-five days constitute a high-risk period for a surge of attacks by ISIS during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. ISIS traditionally uses Ramadan – which begins on June 6 and ends on July 5, 2016 - as a justification for its attacks and as an occasion to reorient its strategy. This year, ISIS will likely take action to reverse serious losses in Iraq and Syria while expanding its attacks against the non-Muslim world in an attempt to spark an apocalyptic total war. ISIS is still operationally capable in its core terrain and stands poised to expand its operations over the next six weeks, particularly in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. This forecast will outline the most likely and most dangerous targets that ISIS may seek to operate against during Ramadan.

See the full report here.