Kimberly Marten is a Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, and a faculty member of Columbia’s Harriman Institute for Russian and East-Central European Studies, and Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. She specializes in international relations and international security, with a keen interest in Russia. In summer 2021 she is starting a new research project on the politics of the changing Arctic, with plans to teach a new colloquium for Barnard Political Science majors on that theme in Spring 2022.

Her most recent published research focuses on a variety of Russian security and foreign policy issues. One strand investigates and analyzes Russia’s Wagner Group “private” military company, and its uses by the Russian state (in Ukraine, Syria, Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Libya). Her writings on that topic have appeared in Post-Soviet Affairsthree PONARS-Eurasia memos (herehere and here), Lawfare, and War on the Rocks. She was honored to give congressional testimony about the Wagner Group in July 2020 (written testimony here). She also explores Russia’s overall aims in Africa in the Washington QuarterlyAnother strand of her research unpacks and analyzes the history and status of Russia’s relationship with NATO and NATO enlargement, in International Politicsthe European Journal of International Securityan H-Diplo International Security Studies Forum roundtable, and a Council on Foreign Relations report. She has also analyzed Russia’s intelligence agencies under Putin (Routledge Handbook and the Journal of Slavic Military Studies), and explained (International Politics) Putin’s decision to meddle in the 2016 U.S. elections, and to intervene militarily in Ukraine (The Washington Quarterly)Other Russia-related work is in The New RepublicForeignAffairs.comH-Diplo, the Huffington Post, and the Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage Blog (hereherehereherehere, and here). Marten has discussed Putin’s foreign and security policy on the The Daily Show (extended interview here) with Jon Stewart, CBS This Morning Saturday (here and here), the Charlie Rose Show, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, PBS NewsHour Weekend with Hari Sreenivasan (herehereherehere, and here), NPR’s All Things Considered with Ari Shapiro and Audie CornishFresh Air with Terry Gross, The 1A (herehere, and here) with Joshua Johnson, Here and Now with Robin Young, KQED’s Forum, and WNYC’s The Takeaway.

Marten’s previous research project analyzed the politics of warlords, asking how their patronage networks impact sovereignty and state failure. In Warlords: Strong-Arm Brokers in Weak States (Cornell University Press, 2012), Marten traces the development of warlordism and its consequences in the tribal areas of Pakistan, Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, and post-Soviet Georgia and the Republic of Chechnya in Russia. She discussed the book on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show and Wisconsin Public Radio.  The book was reviewed in an H-Diplo/International Security Studies Forum roundtable. In International Security, she compared warlordism in Afghanistan and Somalia to medieval Europe and Republican-era China. She researched militias and security sector reform in weak states, including work on the Palestinian Authority Security Forces, published in International Peacekeeping and in the International Herald Tribune/New York Times. Her chapter on the Afghan Local Police appears in an edited volume on The Transnational Governance of Violence and Crime, following an earlier opinion piece in the IHT/NYT. With Olga Oliker she wrote about the threat of warlordism in Ukraine’s patriotic militias in War on the Rocks.

Her other books include Engaging the Enemy: Organization Theory and Soviet Military Innovation (Princeton, 1993), which received the Marshall Shulman Prize; Weapons, Culture, and Self-Interest: Soviet Defense Managers in the New Russia (Columbia, 1997); and Enforcing the Peace: Learning from the Imperial Past (Columbia, 2004).

Marten earned her A.B. in 1985 at Harvard magna cum laude and Ph.D. in 1991 at Stanford. She was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation; a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies; a visiting scholar at Tokyo’s Institute for International Policy Studies (via a Hitachi/Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship); and a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. She has served as chair of the Barnard Political Science Department twice (2006-2009 and 2018-2021), and held the 5-year term Ann Whitney Olin Professorship from 2013-18. Her research has been supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Social Science Research Council/MacArthur Foundation, and the Government of Canada. She is a founding member of PONARS-Eurasia, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.



Kimberly Marten, Warlords: Strong-Arm Brokers in Weak States (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2012).
Kimberly Marten, Enforcing the Peace: Learning from the Imperial Past (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2004).
Kimberly Marten, Weapons, Culture, and Self-Interest: Soviet Defense Managers in the New Russia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997).
Kimberly Marten, Engaging the Enemy: Organization Theory and Soviet Military Innovation, 1955-1991 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).

Principal Articles

Kimberly Marten, “NATO Enlargement: Evaluating Its Consequences in Russia,” International Politics 57, no. 3 (June 2020).
Kimberly Marten, “Reckless Ambition: Moscow’s Policy toward the United States, 2016/17,” International Politics 56, no. 6 (December 2019).
Kimberly Marten, “Russia’s Back in Africa: Is the Cold War Returning?,” The Washington Quarterly 42, no. 4 (December 2019).
Kimberly Marten, “Russia’s Use of Semi-State Security Forces: The Case of the Wagner Group,” Post-Soviet Affairs 35, no. 3 (March 2019).
Kimberly Marten, “Reconsidering NATO Expansion: A Counterfactual Analysis of Russia and the West in the 1990s,” European Journal of International Security 3, no. 2 (June 2018).
Kimberly Marten, “The ‘KGB State’ and Russian Political and Foreign Policy Culture,” Journal of Slavic Military Studies 30, no. 2 (May 2017).
Kimberly Marten, “Trump and Putin, through a Glass Darkly,” Asia Policy 23 (January 2017).
Kimberly Marten, “Putin’s Choices: Explaining Russian Foreign Policy and Intervention in Ukraine,” The Washington Quarterly 38, no. 2 (Summer 2015).
Kimberly Marten, “Informal Political Networks and Putin’s Foreign Policy: The Examples of Iran and Syria,” Problems of Post-Communism 62, no. 2 (April 2015).
Kimberly Marten, “Reformed or Deformed? Patronage Politics, International Influence, and the Palestinian Security Forces,” International Peacekeeping 21, no. 2 (June 2014).
Kimberly Marten, “Patronage vs. Professionalism in New Security Institutions,” PRISM (National Defense University Center for Complex Operations) 2, no. 4 (September 2011).
Kimberly Marten, “From Kabul to Kandahar: The Canadian Forces and Change,” American Review of Canadian Studies 40, no. 2 (June 2010).
Kimberly Marten, “The Danger of Tribal Militias in Afghanistan: Learning from the British Empire,” Journal of International Affairs (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs) 63, no. 1 (Fall-Winter 2009).
Kimberly Marten, “Correspondence: Misunderstanding Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas?” International Security 33, no. 3 (Winter 2008-2009).
Kimberly Marten, “Statebuilding and Force: The Proper Role of Foreign Militaries,” Journal of Intervention and State-Building 1, no. 2 (June 2007); Reprinted in David Chandler, ed., Statebuilding and Intervention: Policies, Practices and Paradigms (New York: Routledge, 2009)
Kimberly Marten, “Russian Efforts to Control Kazakhstan’s Oil: The Kumkol Case,” Post-Soviet Affairs 23, no. 1 (January-March 2007).
Kimberly Marten, “Warlordism in Comparative Perspective,” International Security 31, no. 3 (Winter 2006-2007).
Kimberly Marten and Alexander Cooley, “Base Motives: The Political Economy of Okinawa’s Anti-Militarism,” Armed Forces and Society 32, no. 4 (July 2006).
Kimberly Marten, “Bases for Reflection: The History and Politics of U.S. Military Bases in South Korea,” IRI Review (Seoul University) 10, no. 2 (Autumn 2005).
Kimberly Marten, “Warlords as Stakeholders” (letter to the editor), Foreign Affairs 83, no. 4 (July-August 2004).
Kimberly Marten, “Defending Against Anarchy: From War to Peacekeeping in Afghanistan,” The Washington Quarterly 16, no. 1 (Winter 2002-2003).
Kimberly Marten, “Japan’s United Nations Peacekeeping Dilemma,” Asia-Pacific Review 8, no. 1 (May 2001).
Kimberly Marten, “Contact Lenses: Explaining U.S.-Russian Military-to-Military Ties,” Armed Forces and Society 25, no. 4 (Summer 1999).
Kimberly Marten, “Arzamas-16: Economics and Security in a Closed Nuclear City,” Post-Soviet Affairs 11, no. 1 (January-March 1995).
Kimberly Marten, “The Russian Military-Industrial Sector and Conversion: A Comment,” Post-Soviet Geography 35, no. 9 (November 1994).
Kimberly Marten, “Soviet Academic Theories on International Conflict and Negotiation: A Research Note,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 34, no. 4 (December 1990).

Book Chapters

Kimberly Marten, “The Intelligence Agencies and Putin: Undermining Russia’s Security?” in Roger Kanet, ed., The Routledge Handbook of Russian Security (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2019).
Kimberly Marten, “Debunking the Stationary Bandit Myth: Violence and Governance in Statebuilding History,” in Stefano Ruzza, Anja P. Jakobi and Charles C. Geisler, eds., The Jackals of Westphalia? Non-State Challenges in a Re-ordered World (New York: Routledge, 2015)
Kimberly Marten, “Warlords and Governance,” in Anja P. Jakobi and Klaus Dieter Wolf, eds., The Transnational Governance of Violence and Crime: Non-State Actors in Security (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
Kimberly Marten, “Warlords,” in Hew Strachan and Sibylle Scheipers, eds., The Changing Character of War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).
Kimberly Marten, “Failing States and Conflict,” in Robert A. Denemark, ed., The International Studies Encyclopedia (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
Kimberly Marten, “Is Stability the Answer?” in Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World, eds. Pamela Aall, Chester A. Crocker and Fen Osler Hampson (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007).
Kimberly Marten, “Is Stability the Answer?” in Pamela Aall, Chester A. Crocker and Fen Osler Hampson, eds., Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007).
Kimberly Marten, “Lending Forces: Canada’s Military Peacekeeping,” in Patrick
James, Nelson Michaud, and Marc O’Reilly, eds., Handbook of Canadian Foreign Policy (Lahnam, Md.: Lexington Books, 2006).
Kimberly Marten, “Central Asia: Military Modernization and the Great Game,” in Ashley J. Tellis and Michael Wills, eds., Strategic Asia 2005-06: Military Modernization in an Era of Uncertainty(Seattle: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2005).
Kimberly Marten, “Making and Keeping the Peace,” Sections 1-6 in John Tessitore and Susan Woolfson, eds., A Global Agenda: Issues before the 55th General Assembly of the United Nations, 2000-2001 Edition (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000).
“Institutional Decline in the Russian Military: Exit, Voice, and Corruption,” in Victoria E. Bonnell and George W. Breslauer, eds., Russia in the New Century: Stability or Disorder? (Boulder: Westview Press, 2000).
Kimberly Marten, “The Threat of the Soviet Decline: The CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the End of the Cold War,” in James Lindsay and Randall Ripley, eds., U.S. Foreign Policy after the Cold War (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997).
Kimberly Marten, “Foreign Policy Preferences of Russian Defense Industrialists: Integration or Isolation?” in Celeste Wallander, ed., The Sources of Russian Foreign Policy after the Cold War (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996).

Other Articles, Testimony and Reports

Kimberly Marten, “Russia’s Use of the Wagner Group: Definitions, Strategic Objectives, and Accountability,” Testimony before the Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security United States House of Representatives, Hearing on “Putin’s Proxies: Examining Russia’s Use of Private Military Companies,” 21 September 2022.
Kimberly Marten, “Finland’s New Frontier: Will Russia Seek to Disrupt Helsinki’s NATO Bid?,” Foreign Affairs online, 4 May 2022.
Kimberly Marten, “President Putin’s Rationality and Escalation in Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine,” Policy Memo 756, PONARS Eurasia, March 2022.
Kimberly Marten, “How This Invasion Threatens NATO: Seeing Putin’s Gameplan,” New York Daily News, 25 February 2022.
Kimberly Marten, “Uncertain Loyalty: The Challenges of Cooperating with Militias,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, December 2021.
Kimberly Marten, Essay in “NATO Expansion in Retrospect,” Roundtable 12-1, H-Diplo International Security Studies Forum Policy, 19 October 2020.
Kimberly Marten, “Where’s Wagner? The All-New Exploits of Russia’s ‘Private’ Military Company,” Policy Memo 670, PONARS Eurasia, September 2020.
Kimberly Marten, “The GRU, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and Russia’s Wagner Group: Malign Russian Actors and Possible U.S. Responses,” Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment, Hearing on “Exposing and Demanding Accountability for Kremlin Crimes Abroad,” 7 July 2020.
Kimberly Marten, “Russ-Afrique? Russia, France, and the Central African Republic,” Policy Memo 608, PONARS Eurasia, August 2019.
Kimberly Marten, “Into Africa: Prigozhin, Wagner, and the Russian Military,” Policy Memo 561, PONARS Eurasia, January 2019.
Kimberly Marten and Olga Oliker, “Brothers in Arms? Why Trump Should Push Putin to Revive Arms Control,” Foreign Affairs online, 13 July 2018.
Kimberly Marten, “Semi-state Security Actors and Russian Aggression,” Lawfare, 8 July 2018
Kimberly Marten, “The Puzzle of Russian Behavior in Deir Al-Zour,” War on the Rocks, 5 July 2018.
Kimberly Marten, “Digital Détente: The Case for Cyber Peace with Russia,” The New Republic, January-February 2018.
Kimberly Marten, “Explaining Russia’s Schizophrenic Policy toward the United States,” Policy Memo 501, PONARS Eurasia, January 2018
Kimberly Marten and Olga Oliker, “Ukraine’s Volunteer Militias May Have Saved the Country, but Now They Threaten It,” War on the Rocks, 14 September 2017.
Kimberly Marten, “President Trump, Keep in Mind that Russia and the West Think about Negotiations Very, Very Differently,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage, 25 July 2017.
Kimberly Marten, “Rex Tillerson’s Visit to Moscow: A Glass Half Full,” Foreign Affairs online, 14 April 2017
Kimberly Marten, “How to Protect Average Americans from Russian Hacks,” Fortune, 27 March 2017.
Kimberly Marten, Essay in “Russia and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election,” Policy Roundtable 1-7, H-Diplo International Security Studies Forum, 26 March 2017.
Kimberly Marten, “Reducing Tensions between Russia and NATO,” Council Special Report 79, Council on Foreign Relations, March 2017.
Kimberly Marten, “Why Trump Should Welcome Obama’s New Russia Sanctions,” Huffington Post, 30 December 2016.
Kimberly Marten, “What Russia’s Olympic Ban Means for Vladimir Putin,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage, 20 June 2016.
Kimberly Marten and Rajan Menon, “Putin’s Mission Accomplished? Why Russia Is Taking Troops out of Syria,” Foreign Affairs online, 15 March 2016.
Kimberly Marten, “Putin as Patron in Syria,” Ballots & Bullets (University of Nottingham), 12 October 2015.
Kimberly Marten, “The Security Costs and Benefits of Non-State Militias: The Example of Eastern Ukraine,” Policy Memo 391, PONARS Eurasia, October 2015.
Kimberly Marten, “A Putin Surprise in Eastern Ukraine?,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage, 28 January 2015.
Kimberly Marten and Rajan Menon, “Facing a Fragile Ceasefire,” Foreign Affairs online, 13 January 2015.
Kimberly Marten, “Don’t Prop up Putin by Giving Him an Enemy,” Huffington Post, 24 November 2014.
Kimberly Marten, “Putin’s Whack-a-Mole Game Extends to NATO,” Huffington Post, 7 September 2014.
Kimberly Marten, “No Easy Way to End Ukraine’s Bloodshed,” European Leadership Network, 3 September 2014.
Kimberly Marten, “Why Sanctions Against Russia Might Backfire,” Huffington Post, 21 August 2014.
Kimberly Marten, “Ukraine and the Problem of Local Warlords,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage, 5 May 2014.
Kimberly Marten, “Crimea: Putin’s Olympic Diversion,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage, 26 March 2014.
Kimberly Marten, “Vladimir Putin: Ethnic Russian Nationalist,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage, 19 March 2014.
Kimberly Marten, “How Might Sanctions Affect Russia?,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage, 4 March 2014.
Kimberly Marten, “Putin’s Biggest Mistake,” Foreign Affairs online, 1 March 2014.
Kimberly Marten, “4 Reasons Why Crimea Is Not Abkhazia,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage, 1 March 2014.
Kimberly Marten, “Crimean Punishment,” Foreign Affairs online, 27 February 2014.
Kimberly Marten, “A New Explanation for Russian Foreign Policy: The Power of Informal Patronage Networks,” Policy Memo 274, PONARS Eurasia, September 2013.
Kimberly Marten, “Warlords, Sovereignty, and State Failure. Chapter Three: Lessons from Post-Soviet Georgia, Saltzman Working Paper, no. 12 (2009).
Kimberly Marten, “The Same Old Mistake,” International Herald Tribune, 4 September 2009.
Kimberly Marten, “The Same Old Mistake,” International Herald Tribune, 4 September 2009; Reprinted in The New York Times.
Kimberly Marten, “Economic Lures and Ungoverned Territories: Overcoming Warlordism,” Policy Memo 39, PONARS Eurasia, August 2008.
Kimberly Marten, “Disrupting the Balance: Russian Efforts to Control Kazakhstan’s Oil,” Policy Memo 428, PONARS Eurasia, December 2006.
Kimberly Marten, “Understanding the Impact of the K-2 Closure,” Policy Memo 311, PONARS Eurasia, December 2005.
Kimberly Marten, “In Building Nations, Establish Security, Then Democracy,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 March 2005.
Kimberly Marten, “In Building Nations, Establish Security, Then Democracy,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 March 2005.
Alexander Cooley and Kimberly Marten, “Permanent Military Bases Won’t Work,” International Herald Tribune, 3 February 2005.
Kimberly Marten, “Getting It Right in Haiti This Time Around,” International Herald Tribune, 26 March 2004.
Kimberly Marten, “Emerging Security Threats in Post-Soviet Central Asia and the Caspian,” Contract #DASW01-02-P-0797, Director of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Pentagon (March 2004).
Kimberly Marten, “U.S. Military Bases in Post-Soviet Central Asia: Economic Lessons from Okinawa,” Policy Memo 311, PONARS Eurasia, November 2003.
Alexander Cooley and Kimberly Marten, “Lessons of Okinawa,” New York Times, 30 July 2003. Reprinted as “Okinawa’s Lessons for Post-War Iraq,” International Herald Tribune, 31 July 2003.
Kimberly Marten, “Stabilizing Iraq: Why America Needs the UN,” International Herald Tribune, 26 April 2003.
Kimberly Marten, “U.S. and Russia: Working on Their Postures,” The New Jersey Star-Ledger, 30 March 2003.
Kimberly Marten, “Small Steps for U.S. Security Interests in Kyrgyzstan,” Policy Memo 264, PONARS Eurasia, October 2002.
Kimberly Marten, “Why Peace Operations in Afghanistan Should Heed Soviet Lessons Learned,” Policy Memo 209, PONARS Eurasia, November 2001.
Kimberly Marten, “The Russian Military in 2025: Alternative Futures,” Contract # DASW01-00-P-3583, Director of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense, United States Pentagon (November 2001).
Kimberly Marten, “The New Bush Administration and the UN: A Strategy of Great Power Consensus?,” Policy Memo no. 189, PONARS Eurasia, May 2001.
Kimberly Marten, “Putin and the Russian Military,” Policy Memo no. 155, PONARS Eurasia, October 2000.
Kimberly Marten, “Human Rights Violations in Chechnya: Implications for Western Assistance to Russia,” Policy Memo 142, PONARS Eurasia, April 2000.
Kimberly Marten, “The Dissonant Concert: US-Russian Relations in the UN Security Council,” Policy Memo 71, PONARS Eurasia, October 1999.
Kimberly Marten, “The Political Costs of Western Investment in Russian Spin-off Companies,” Policy Memo 49, PONARS Eurasia, November 1998.
Kimberly Marten, “Why Military Dissatisfaction is Not a Threat to the Russian State,” Policy Memo 34, PONARS Eurasia, September 1998.
Kimberly Marten, “Contact Lenses: Transparency and US-Russian Military Ties,” Policy Memo 7, PONARS Eurasia, October 1997.