Eliot Cohen is the Robert E. Osgood Professor at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where he has taught since 1990. He served as Dean of SAIS from 2019 to 2021. Cohen received his BA and PhD degrees from Harvard University and, after teaching there and at the Naval War College, founded the Strategic Studies program at SAIS. His books include The Big Stick (2017), Conquered into Liberty (2011), and Supreme Command (2002). In addition to public service in the Department of Defense, he served as Counselor of the Department of State from 2007 to 2009. He writes frequently for major newspapers and is a contributing writer at The Atlantic.
A 1977 graduate of Harvard College, he received his Ph.D. there in political science in 1982. From 1982 to 1985 he was Assistant Professor of Government at Harvard, and Assistant Dean of Harvard College. In 1985 he became a member of the Strategy Department of the United States Naval War College. In February 1990 he joined the Policy Planning Staff of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and in July of that year he was appointed professor of strategic studies at SAIS.
From April 2007 through January 2009 he served as Counselor of the Department of State. A principal officer of the Department, he had special responsibility for advising the Secretary on matters pertaining to Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia, as well as general strategic issues. He was the lead Department of State liaison with the Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan. He represented the Department of State in interagency coordination with senior National Security Council staff, Department of Defense, and intelligence community officials on a number of issues, including the Syrian/North Korean reactor crisis of 2007, and the Somali piracy problem in 2008.
In 2021, he joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy, a prestigious position which centers on long-term strategic competition, advanced technology and the changing character of war, and issues of liberal democracy and national security.