Our Mission

The Institute for the Study of War works to ensure that American security strategy is well formulated by improving how our leaders understand conflict and military issues. ISW enhances the quality of policy debates on national security by providing independent analysis, accurate data, and superior insight on today’s most challenging crises. ISW researchers also support our military and civilian leaders in conflict zones by providing timely on the ground analysis. ISW is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)3 public policy research organization.

We believe ground realities must drive the formulation of strategy and policy. In pursuit of this principle, ISW conducts detailed, open-source intelligence analysis to provide the most accurate information on current conflicts and security threats. Through reports and timely events, our research educates military and civilian leaders, reporters, and the public. ISW also contributes to developing the next generation of national security leaders and thinkers by identifying fresh talent, educating them on national security issues, and helping them launch their careers.


ISW is dedicated to the independent study of war and national security issues. Our rigorous, fact-based research aims to help decision makers formulate sound policy in order to advance America’s security. ISW also enriches and shapes public debates about strategy and foreign policy by providing detailed and accurate data and competitive analysis. ISW is non-partisan, does not accept government funding, and has strict independence and conflict of interest policies for both staff and funders.

ISW is an agile and innovative organization that can flex its research to focus on emerging national security priorities. Our research agenda reflects the complexity and fluidity of crises and conflicts. Three factors determine our prioritization of a particular conflict or national security issue: its relative importance to America’s national security; the relative intensity of U.S. involvement; and the relative supply of quality analysis on the topic.

ISW’s rigorous research is based on carefully-evaluated, open-source materials. Our analysis is meticulously documented in order to make our sources and methods transparent and ensure that others can evaluate our conclusions. ISW understands the benefit of, and is committed to, integrating innovative technologies into traditional analysis of military conflicts and associated political risks. Our analysts work side-by-side with technology leaders to implement creative software solutions and pioneer new analytical methodologies.

ISW has real and demonstrable impact. Our research is used by policymakers and opinion leaders to aid in their understanding of critical national security issues and polices. ISW’s unmatched reputation for excellence, accuracy, innovation has made us the first place the nation’s military, political, and thought leaders turn to for trusted analysis of ongoing conflicts and emerging national security threats.

About the Hertog Foundation

An educational, non-profit philanthropy that offers a number of programs for individuals who seek to influence the intellectual, civic, and political life of the United States. These programs included Hertog Advanced Institutes, Political Studies, and War Studies. Each program is taught by the finest teachers in the country and focuses on unique and challenging topics of today. For more information: http://hertogfoundation.org/