Audrey Kurth Cronin

Distinguished Service Professor; Director, International Security Program



Center for Security Policy Studies


Curriculum Vita


Professor Audrey Kurth Cronin joined George Mason University’s School of Policy, Government and International Affairs in Arlington, Virginia as a tenured senior faculty member in September 2011. She became director of the International Security Program in January 2015. Prior to that, she was director of the core course on war and statecraft at the U.S. National War College, Washington, D.C., in charge of a team of more than thirty senior military and civilian faculty at the Colonel and Ambassador levels. She has led or co-led field studies research trips in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, India, Pakistan, Mexico, and Colombia.

Professor Cronin’s career has combined both academic positions and government service. She came to the war college from Oxford University, where she was Academic Director of Studies for the internationally renowned Changing Character of War program. She continues to be a non-residential Senior Research Associate at Oxford. Before that, Dr. Cronin was Specialist in Terrorism at the Congressional Research Service, where she was responsible for advising Members of Congress in the aftermath of 9/11. She has also served periodically in the Executive branch, for example in the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Policy, where she drafted portions of the Secretary’s strategic plan; the Office of the Secretary of the Navy; and the American Embassy in Moscow. She advises agencies in both the Legislative and Executive branches, including the White House.

Professor Cronin has a longstanding interest in the question of how conflicts end. While on the faculty at Oxford, she completed How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns, her fourth book, published by Princeton University Press. She also wrote Ending Terrorism: A Strategy for Defeating Al-Qaeda, a policy-oriented Adelphi Paper published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London). Notable recent articles include “ISIS is Not a Terrorist Group,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2015; “The ‘War on Terrorism’: What Does it Mean to Win?” Journal of Strategic Studies, April 2014; and “Why Drones Fail: When Tactics Drive Strategy,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2013.   She is widely published in peer-reviewed academic and policy journals, also including International Security, Orbis, International Affairs, Parameters, The Washington Quarterly, and Survival.

Professor Cronin graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and held a Ford postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University under Stanley Hoffman and Samuel Huntington. She won a Marshall Scholarship to Oxford University, where she studied with Michael Howard, Hedley Bull, and Adam Roberts, earned MPhil and DPhil degrees in International Relations, and captained the first women’s rowing team for St. Antony’s College.

Areas of Research

  • Cybersecurity
  • How Conflicts End
  • The Changing of Character of War and Peace
  • International Relations
  • International Security
  • Terrorism and Counterterrorism
  • Security Policy
  • Political Economy
  • Comparative Politics
  • Homeland Security and Emergency Management
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