Author & National Security Analyst

About Kathleen

Kathleen J. McInnis is a national security policy analyst who has worked in the Pentagon, the UK Parliament, and in think tanks on both sides of the Atlantic.

As an International Security Analyst for the Congressional Research Service and a Senior Non-Resident Fellow for the Atlantic Council of the United States, she currently analyzes international security and defense issues for the United States Congress. Prior to that, she was a research consultant at Chatham House in London, working on NATO and transatlantic security matters.

Kathleen also served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Policy), working NATO-Afghanistan matters and stability operations capability development. During her time there, she helped formulate and support US policy for two NATO summits, eight NATO Defense Ministerial meetings, and four Regional Command- South Ministerial meetings. Prior to joining Stability Operations, Ms. McInnis spent several years at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), analyzing US nuclear weapons strategy, strategic capabilities, NATO, European security, and transatlantic relations. 

Before joining CSIS, she was a researcher in the United Kingdom House of Commons, working on NATO, the European Union, and US-UK political-military relations. She has contributed to outlets including The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Times, The Washington Quarterly, Buzzfeed, Defense One, Foreign Policy, War on the Rocks, and Defense News. She has appeared on CNN, Sky News, BBC, CNBC, Al Jazeera English, and Voice of America to comment on international affairs. Some of the places she has traveled for her work includes the Republic of Djibouti, the Norwegian Arctic, China, Tokyo, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Australia.

Kathleen received her PhD in War Studies at King’s College in London; her MSc in International Relations at the London School of Economics; and her Bachelor of Arts at Towson University in Maryland. Born in Annapolis, Maryland, Kathleen is a self-professed “base brat” who grew up on US bases overseas. She lived in D.C., Baltimore, London, and Yorkshire before returning to Annapolis, where she currently lives. 


Other Books

Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict


The most successful film franchise of all time, Star Wars thrillingly depicts an epic multigenerational conflict fought a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But the Star Wars saga has as much to say about successful strategies and real-life warfare waged in our own time and place. Strategy Strikes Back brings together over thirty of today’s top military and strategic experts, including generals, policy advisors, seasoned diplomats, counterinsurgency strategists, science fiction writers, war journalists, ground‑level military officers, and yours truly to explain the strategy and the art of war by way of the Star Wars films. Order here. 

How and Why States Defect from Military Coalitions


How do states defect from military coalitions, and why?  Particularly since the end of the Cold War, state leaders are choosing to prosecute military operations through coalitions with increasing frequency. Yet surprisingly, the academic literature exploring military coalitions is relatively thin; still less scholarship focuses upon the specific dynamics of how coalitions begin to lose cohesion and fall apart. Ultimately, this book concludes that coalition defection is prompted by heightened perceptions of political and military risk. Yet the choice of how to defect – whether to completely withdraw forces or instead find another, less risky way to participate – is largely a function of international and alliance pressures to remain engaged. 

To be published by Palgrave in late 2018.  

Policy & Academic Writing


Military Coalitions

On Cats and Coalitions, War on the Rocks, August 22, 2013. Available at: 

Lessons Learned in Coalition Warfare: Past, Present and Implications for the Future, International Politics Reviews, November 28, 2013. Available at:

  'The Many Challenges of Building an International Military Coalition,' Defense One, August 2013.  Available at:

NATO & Transatlantic Security

NATO: Charting the Way Forward (with Xenia Wickett), Chatham House, July 2014.  Available at:

  “Four Questions NATO Must Ask,” Chatham House Expert Comment. Available at:  

Co-authored with: Michele Flournoy, Julianne Smith, David Scruggs, Guy Ben-Ari, "European Defense Integration: Bridging the Gap Between Strategy & Capabilities" Available at:

U.S. Defense Strategy & Policy

"The North Korean Nuclear Challenge: Issues for Congress" (Coordinator), Congressional Research Service, November 2017.  Available at:

"Extended Deterrence: The U.S. Credibility Gap in the Middle East, The Washington Quarterly," Summer 2005. Available at:

"Goldwater-Nichols at 30: Defense Reform and Issues for Congress," Congressional Research Service, April 2016

"A Canary in the Coal Mine for U.S. Global Leadership?"  War on the Rocks, October 28, 2013.  Available at:

  “The Goldilocks Approach to U.S. Foreign Policy,” Dialogue, Autumn 2014, Available at:  

Co-authored with Nate Lucas, "Building Partner Capacity: Background and Issues for Congress," Congressional Research Service, December 2015

"Statutory Restrictions on the Position of Secretary of Defense: Issues for Congress," Congressional Research Service, January 2017.

Fiction & Fun Writing

Cultural Commentary


I wrote a piece for The Atlantic a while back about why the show "Homeland" drives me absolutely insane.  Apparently the show has gotten better over the years, but I'm not convinced.

Art of War


For a while, I wrote a column called, "The Art of War" for an online national security magazine, War on the Rocks.