The International Security Program aims to provide evidence-based analysis of some of the thorniest questions facing American policymakers and the public. The program is largely focused on South Asia and the Middle East, al-Qaeda and allied groups, the rise of political Islam, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), homeland security, and the activities of U.S. Special Forces and the CIA. The program is also examining how warfare is changing because of emerging technologies, such as drones, cyber threats, and space-based weaponry, and asking how the nature and global spread of these technologies is likely to change the very definition of what war is.

There are many complex questions that policy makers and ordinary Americans need answers to in these fields of study, for instance, the likely shape of post-2014 Afghanistan once American and other NATO combat troops are pulled out of the country, the exact scope of the threat posed by al-Qaeda and its affiliates, the precise level of threat from “homegrown” militants in the United States, and the scope of the CIA drone warfare program in Pakistan and Yemen.

We aim to provide answers to these questions. For instance, given the official silence about the CIA drone program, for the past four years, New America has provided the most transparent and authoritative accounting of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and the types of casualties these are causing. We are building one of the most comprehensive databases on domestic terrorism cases in the United States since 9/11. We also aim to provide the most comprehensive analysis of South Asia on Foreign Policy magazine’s South Asia Channel, which is widely regarded as providing some of the deepest sources of commentary about Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. This is all supplemented by hosting dozens of public events every year and publishing books and articles that delve into the topics mentioned above.

Funding for the International Security Program’s efforts is provided by a number of organizational grants, as well as the generous donations of several individuals on the program’s Advisory Council:


Arizona State University
Brown Advisory
Carnegie Corporation of New York
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Open Society Foundations
Smith Richardson Foundation


Chip Kaye, co-chair
Tom Freston
Fred Hassan
Rita Hauser
Bob Niehaus