Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Kenneth M. Pollack is an expert on Middle Eastern political-military affairs, with particular emphasis on Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the other nations of the Persian Gulf region. He is currently a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He served as the director of the Center from 2009 to 2012, and its director of research from 2002 to 2009. His most recent book is Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy.
Pollack began his career as an Iran-Iraq military analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he was an employee from 1988 until 1995. During that time, he was the principal author of the CIA’s classified post-mortem on Iraqi strategy and military operations during the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991. Pollack received the CIA’s Certificate of Distinction for Outstanding Performance of Duty for work before and during the Persian Gulf War. He also twice received the CIA’s Exceptional Performance Award, also for work related to the Persian Gulf War.
Pollack has twice served on the staff of the National Security Council. In 1995-1996, he was director for Near East and South Asian affairs, and in 1999-2001 he served as director for Persian Gulf Affairs. In this latter capacity, he was the principal working-level official for U.S. policy toward Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and the Gulf Cooperation Council States at the White House.
In addition to these positions, Pollack has been a senior research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, where he principally worked on long-term issues related to Middle Eastern political and military affairs for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has been the director for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.