Ben Connable

Photo of Ben Connable
Senior International Policy Analyst; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office


M.A. in national security affairs, Naval Postgraduate School; M.A. in strategic intelligence, American Military University; B.A. in political science, University of Colorado-Boulder; A.B.D. in war studies, King's College London

Media Resources

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Ben Connable is a senior international policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, and a retired Marine Corps intelligence and Arabic-speaking Foreign Area officer. He focuses on irregular warfare issues and intelligence methodology, and also works on Middle East regional and other warfighting issues in support of U.S. Department of Defense sponsors. Connable has an extensive background in military cultural terrain theory and application, having served as cultural advisor to general officers in Iraq and as the head of the Marine Corps cultural intelligence program. He currently leads RAND's support to the Marine Corps' analytic efforts on Iraq and the Middle East. Connable received his B.A. in political science from the University of Colorado–Boulder, his M.A. in strategic intelligence from American Military University, and his M.A. in national security affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is A.B.D. at King's College London in war studies.

Recent Projects

  • Geospatial Sociocultural Analysis of Beirut Lebanon
  • Open Source Intelligence for the U.S. Army
  • Assessing the Commanders Emergency Response Program

Selected Publications

Ben Connable, Defeating the Islamic State in Iraq, RAND (CT-418), 2014

Ben Connable, et al., Modeling, Simulation, and Operations Analysis in Afghanistan and Iraq, RAND (RR-382), 2014

Ben Connable, Leveraging Development Aid to Address Root Causes in Counterinsurgency: Balancing Theory and Practice in, RAND (WR-983), 2013

Ben Connable, et al., Assessing Freedom of Movement for Counterinsurgency Campaigns, RAND (TR-1014), 2012

Ben Connable, Embracing the Fog of War: Assessment and Metrics in Counterinsurgency, RAND (MG-1086), 2012

Ben Connable, Military Intelligence Fusion for Complex Operations: A New Paradigm, RAND (OP-377), 2012

Ben Connable and Martin Libicki, How Insurgencies End, RAND (MG-965), 2010

Honors & Awards

  • Lemuel C. Shepherd Memorial Dissertation Fellowship, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation
  • Silver Medal for Research, RAND


  • Mehdi Army fighters loyal to a Shi'ite cleric march during a military-style training in Najaf, June 18, 2014

    A Long-Term Strategy for a Democratic Iraq

    Unfortunately, no strategic option for a unified, democratic Iraq has a good chance of success. But any well-considered option that doesn't involve ineffective killing or risking U.S. lives is preferable to simply allowing Iraq to disintegrate and feed broader regional instability.

    Jun 30, 2014 |

  • Masked Sunni Muslim gunmen take up positions with their weapons during a patrol in the city of Falluja

    Iraq Picture May Not Be as Bleak as It Seems

    Over the past month, al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made a concerted effort to seize the Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah. The attacks have received a lot of attention, but ISIS does not represent a majority of Iraqi Sunni in Anbar. Many Sunni Anbari leaders continue to reject al Qaeda.

    Jan 31, 2014 | CNN

  • Syrian Americans rally in support of the Bashar al-Assad regime and against proposed U.S. military action against Syria

    A Smarter Way to Stop Syria WMD Attacks

    President Obama made a strong case that the U.S. should take the lead in punishing the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons and actively enforce the near-global ban on these weapons. Now, the possibility of a diplomatic solution to this problem offers an opportunity to improve the request for the authorization of force currently before Congress.

    Sep 19, 2013 | CNN

  • Combat Camera,Makinano,OIF,Patrol,3/3ACR,Al Zarai,Saddam Mosque

    The Deeply Mixed Results of the Iraq War

    Ten years after the United States and its allies invaded Iraq, it seems appropriate to ask a bottom-line question: Did the U.S. succeed? The U.S. came very close to losing the Iraq war of 2003-2011, writes Ben Connable.

    Mar 21, 2013 | U.S. News & World Report