Michael O’Hanlon has spent 20 years at the Brookings Institution, after spending the 5 previous years on Capitol Hill at the Congressional Budget Office. He studied both physics and international relations at Princeton, where he received his Ph.D. in 1991 from the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs under a National Science Foundation scholarship (and where he was also assistant coach for the women’s tennis team). Between college and graduate school at Princeton, he was a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching college physics in French, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In college at Princeton, among other things he was part of a research team under Professor Robert Dicke that built a solar telescope to investigate the validity of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. His previous summer jobs included field work on two upstate New York dairy farms.
At Brookings, O’Hanlon has devoted his primary energies to defense strategy and budgeting, to decisions on the use of military force, to ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, to East Asian security, and to issues of military technology. His signature books include his latest study on the Pentagon, Healing the Wounded Giant: Maintaining Military Preeminence While Cutting the Defense Budget; his coauthored 2012 book (with Martin Indyk and Kenneth Lieberthal), Bending History: Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy; his 2010 Brookings book, A Skeptic’s Case for Nuclear Disarmament; his 2009 Princeton textbook, The Science of War; and his 2000 study, Technological Change and the Future of Warfare. O’Hanlon has been a consultant to the U.S. Central Command, a member of the External Advisory Board of the Central Intelligence Agency under General David Petraeus, a member of the State Department’s International Security and Arms Control advisory board under Dr. Condoleeza Rice, and an advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He has appeared on radio or television more than 3,000 times since 9/11 and written hundreds of opeds in the country’s major newspapers, including for several years his quarterly “op-charts” in the New York Times documenting trends in Iraq and Afghanistan. O’Hanlon lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife and two daughters.