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Thomas H. Johnson

Thomas JohnsonStatus
Associate Research Professor

National Security Affairs


Research Interests
Afghanistan; South and Central Asia; Terrorism; WMD proliferation; Peace operations and peacekeeping; Modeling and simulation


Professor Johnson is the Director of the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies (CCS). Under his direction, the program coordinates anthropological research activities on the human terrain of Central and South Asia.

Professor Johnson was appointed to the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School’s National Security Affairs Department in December 2003. At NPS, Professor Johnson teaches courses on Afghanistan, Central Asian crises, politics, terrorism, and security. He also regularly contributes to the Regional Security Education Program and the Leadership Development and Education for Security and Peace Program at NPS where he briefs deploying troops on subjects such as Afghanistan, Iraq, WMD proliferation, and the global jihad.

Professor Johnson also serves as a Senior Research Associate for NPS’ Center for Contemporary Conflict where he has conducted research on Afghanistan, Central Asia, the jihad, and Terrorism.

Professor Johnson serves as a member of the U.S. delegation to the NATO WMD Warning and Reporting Panel and serves as co-chairman of the NATO sub panel of NBC Communication and Information System Interoperability and Integration.

Before joining the NPS faculty, Professor Johnson was a Principal Senior Analyst with the Research Institute of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IITRI) and Director of the Modeling and Simulation Technical Research Institute, a collaborative research and educational organization between IITRI and the University of Virginia. Before coming to IITRI, Prof. Johnson was a member of the research faculty of the Institute of Public Policy, George Mason University.

For two decades, Johnson has conducted research and written on Afghanistan and South Asia. He has directed major research efforts for the United States Government on Afghanistan and U.S. policy towards this country. He has written and published numerous studies on Afghanistan and its politics, culture, and anthropology. He is a member of the Afghanistan Editorial Board of the National Security Archive. Johnson has also published in the areas of Central Asia and Afghanistan, insurgencies, foreign policy analysis, peace research/conflict resolution, political and defense economics, and modeling and simulation. His publications have appeared in the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs, Central Asian Survey, China and Eurasian Forum Quarterly, Small Wars and Insurgencies, Strategic Insights, The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Strategic Review, Politikon: South African Journal of Political Science, Journal of Modern African Studies as well as numerous scholarly edited volumes and texts.

He regularly conducts field research in Central and South Asia and he is presently working on two book manuscripts: one dealing with the culture and implications' of the Taliban as expressed through their narratives especially in the form of shabnamah or "Night Letters" and an edited volume on Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (the Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le Combat, or GSPC), a terrorist organization active in west and north Africa.

A selection of Professor Johnson's recent publications can be found on the CCS Research page.

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