Jennifer Cafarella

National Security Fellow, Institute for the Study of War

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

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

Cafarella previously served as ISW’s research director from 2019-20, 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. Cafarella received her BA from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in global studies with a focus on the Middle East.

Reengaging Assad: What's Behind Arab Outreach to Syria?

On July 22, AGSIW hosted a discussion examining Gulf Arab reengagement with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.