Jennifer Cafarella is the Chief of Staff and inaugural National Security Fellow at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). Her work focuses on US defense strategy including how the United States must adapt to current and future threats, with particular depth on Syria, jihadism, and the Middle East. Her expertise has been recognized through fellowships at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College in London as well as the George Mason University’s National Security Institute.
Ms. Cafarella regularly briefs senior policymakers and decisionmakers as well as US 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 US must engage.
Ms. Cafarella previously served as ISW’s Research Director from 2019-2020. 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.