Bruce Hoffman

Shelby Cullom and Kathryn W. Davis Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

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Expert Bio

Bruce Hoffman is Shelby Cullom and Kathryn W. Davis senior fellow for counterterrorism and homeland security at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He has been studying terrorism and insurgency for almost half a century. He is a tenured professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he was the director of the Center for Jewish Civilization from 2020 to 2023 and previously director of both the Center for Security Studies and the Security Studies program from 2010 to 2017. Hoffman is also an honorary professor and professor emeritus of terrorism studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He previously held the corporate chair in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and was director of RAND’s Washington, DC, office and vice president for external affairs. Together with Jacob Ware, he is the author of God, Guns, and Sedition: Far-Right Terrorism in America, forthcoming from Columbia University Press. 

Appointed by the U.S. Congress to serve as a commissioner on the Independent Commission to Review the FBI’s Post-9/11 Response to Terrorism and Radicalization (9/11 Review Commission), Hoffman was a lead author of the commission’s final report. He was scholar in residence for counterterrorism at the Central Intelligence Agency between 2004 and 2006; an advisor on counterinsurgency to the Strategy, Plans, and Analysis office at Multi-National Forces-Iraq Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, from 2004 to 2005; and an advisor on counterterrorism to the Office of National Security Affairs, Coalition Provisional Authority, in Baghdad in 2004. Hoffman was also an advisor to the Iraq Study Group and member of the U.S. Congress–directed review of the curriculum, organization, and staffing of the U.S. National Intelligence University.

Hoffman was the William F. Podlich distinguished fellow and visiting professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in 2016. At the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, he has been a Global Wilson fellow since 2013; a distinguished scholar in 2012; and a public policy fellow from January to July 2010. He was a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University, between September and December 2009. He was also a visiting professor at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore, where he was the S. Rajaratnam professor of strategic studies for 2009.

Hoffman was the founding director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, where he was also reader in international relations and chairman of the department of international relations. He is editor-in-chief of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, the leading scholarly journal in the field; a contributing editor to the National Interest; and editor of the Columbia University Press series on terrorism and irregular warfare.

In November 1994, the director of central intelligence awarded Hoffman the U.S. Intelligence Community Seal Medallion, the highest level of commendation given to a nongovernment employee, which recognizes sustained superior performance of high value that distinctly benefits the interests and national security of the United States. 

A revised and updated edition of his acclaimed book, Inside Terrorism, which has now been in print for nearly three decades, was published in September 2017 by Columbia University Press in the United States and was published in 2019 by Fischer Verlag in Germany. Foreign-language editions of the first edition have been published in ten countries. His other recent books include The Evolution of the Global Terrorist Threat: From 9/11 to Osama bin Laden’s Death and Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917–1947, which was awarded the Washington Institute for Near East Studies’ gold medal for the best book published in 2015 on Middle Eastern politics, history and society and also named the Jewish Book of the Year for 2015 by the Jewish National Book Council.

Hoffman holds degrees in government, history, and international relations and received his doctorate from Oxford University.

affiliations

  • Charles Sturt University, Canberra, Australia, visiting professor
  • Combating Terrorism Center, U.S. Military Academy, senior fellow
  • Community Security Service, security advisory council member
  • Georgetown University, professor
  • Interdisciplinary Center, International Institute for Counterterrorism, Herzliya, Israel, visiting professor
  • International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, Department of War Studies, King’s College London, England, member, board of directors
  • James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, advisory council member
  • Jamestown Foundation, board member
  • National September 11 Memorial and Museum, advisor
  • Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, editor-in-chief
  • The Hoffman Group, president & ceo
  • University of St. Andrews, Scotland, honorary professor
  • War on the Rocks, contributing editor
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