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Michael Eisenstadt

Kahn Fellow
Director, Military & Security Studies Program

Tel: 202-230-9550 (media inquiries only) 202-452-0650 (all other inquiries)
[email protected]

Michael Eisenstadt is the Kahn Family Fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program.

Areas of Expertise

Iran, Iraq, Israel, Persian Gulf States , Military and Security

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Current Research

Iran's nuclear program and its implications; Iran's regional influence; Iranian strategic culture; the military campaign against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria; undermining Islamic State's appeal; the role of the military instrument and the utility of force in U.S. policy; grey zone/irregular/hybrid conflict; and the Arab-Israeli military balance.

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Michael Eisenstadt is the Kahn Fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program. A specialist in Persian Gulf and Arab-Israeli security affairs, he has published widely on irregular and conventional warfare, and nuclear weapons proliferation in the Middle East.

Prior to joining the Institute in 1989, Mr. Eisenstadt worked as a military analyst with the U.S. government.

Mr. Eisenstadt served for twenty-six years as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve before retiring in 2010. His military service included active-duty stints in Iraq with the United States Forces-Iraq headquarters (2010) and the Human Terrain System Assessment Team (2008); in Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan with the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (2008-2009); at U.S. Central Command headquarters and on the Joint Staff during Operation Enduring Freedom and the planning for Operation Iraqi Freedom (2001-2002); and in Turkey and Iraq during Operation Provide Comfort (1991).

He has also served in a civilian capacity on the Multinational Force-Iraq/U.S. Embassy Baghdad Joint Campaign Plan Assessment Team (2009) and as a consultant or advisor to the congressionally mandated Iraq Study Group (2006), the Multinational Corps-Iraq Information Operations Task Force (2005-2006), and the State Department's Future of Iraq defense policy working group (2002-2003). In 1992, he took a leave of absence from the Institute to work on the U.S. Air Force Gulf War Air Power Survey.

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Mr. Eisenstadt earned an MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and a BA in political science from SUNY Binghamton and has traveled widely in the Middle East. He speaks Arabic and Hebrew, and reads French.

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Languages Spoken / Read

  • Arabic
  • French
  • Hebrew

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Operating in the Gray Zone:

January 7, 2020

Policy Focus

Regional Pushback, Nuclear Rollback:

January 11, 2018

Policy Notes

Defeating ISIS:

November 4, 2014

Policy Notes

Iran's Influence in Iraq:

April 26, 2011

Policy Focus

Deterring an Iranian Nuclear Breakout

May 20, 2015

Research Notes

Between Not-In and All-In:

May 16, 2014

Policy Notes

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Most Recent Analysis

An October Surprise with Iran? Calculations and Policy Implications

October 8, 2020

Were Iran and the United States Really ‘On the Brink’? Observations on Gray Zone Conflict

September 27, 2020

Training Better Arab Armies

August 20, 2020

How Might Iran Respond to Foreign Sabotage?

August 4, 2020

Podcast: Deterring Iran in the 'Gray Zone'

July 23, 2020

If the Arms Ban Ends: Implications for Iran’s Military Capabilities

July 23, 2020

U.S. Strategy Toward Iran: Restoring Deterrence, Enabling Diplomacy

February 14, 2020

Operating in the Gray Zone:

Countering Iran's Asymmetric Way of War

January 7, 2020

Deterring Iran’s Next Attack

December 11, 2019

Operating in the ‘Gray Zone’ to Counter Iran

September 18, 2019

See all analysis by this author