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, “Putin’s Choices: Explaining Russian Foreign Policy and Intervention in Ukraine,” The Washington Quarterly 38, no. 2 (2015): 189.
Kimberly Marten, “Informal Political Networks and Putin’s Foreign Policy: The Examples of Iran and Syria,” Problems of Post-Communism 62, no. 2 (2015): 71.
Kimberly Marten, “Reformed or Deformed? Patronage Politics, International Influence, and the Palestinian Security Forces,” International Peacekeeping 21, no. 2 (2014): 181.
Kimberly Marten, “Patronage vs. Professionalism in New Security Institutions,” Prism 2, no. 4 (2011): 83.
Thomas H. Johnson, Kimberly Marten, and M. Chris Mason, “Correspondence: Misunderstanding Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas?,” International Security 33, no. 3 (2008): 180.
Kimberly Marten, “Russian Efforts to Control Kazakhstan’s Oil: The Kumkol Case,” Post-Soviet Affairs 23, no. 1 (2007): 18.
Kimberly Marten, “Warlordism in Comparative Perspective,” International Security 31, no. 3 (2006): 41.
Alexander Cooley and Kimberly Marten, “Base Motives: The Political Economy of Okinawa’s Antimilitarism,” Armed Forces & Society 32, no. 4 (2006).
Kimberly Marten, “Bases for Reflection: The History and Politics of U.S. Military Bases in South Korea,” IRI Review, Seoul University (2005).
Kimberly Marten, “Warlords as Stakeholders” (letter to the editor), Foreign Affairs 83, no. 4 (2004): 149.
Kimberly Marten, “Defending Against Anarchy: From War to Peacekeeping in Afghanistan,” The Washington Quarterly 16, no. 1 (2002): 35.
Kimberly Marten, “Japan’s United Nations Peacekeeping Dilemma,” Asia-Pacific Review 8, no. 1 (2001): 21.
Kimberly Marten, “Contact Lenses: Explaining U.S.-Russian Military-to-Military Ties,” Armed Forces and Society 25, no. 4 (1999): 579.
Kimberly Marten, “Arzamas-16: Economics and Security in a Closed Nuclear City,” Post-Soviet Affairs 11, no. 1 (1995): 57.
Kimberly Marten, “The Russian Military-Industrial Sector and Conversion: A Comment,” Post-Soviet Geography 35, no. 9 (1994): 522.
Kimberly Marten, “Soviet Academic Theories on International Conflict and Negotiation: A Research Note,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 34, no. 4 (1990): 678.

Book Chapters

Kimberly Marten, “Debunking the Stationary Bandit Myth: Violence and Governance in Statebuilding History,” in The Jackals of Westphalia? Non-State Challenges in a Re-ordered World, eds. Stefano Ruzza, Anja P. Jakobi and Charles C. Geisler (New York: Routledge, 2015).
Kimberly Marten, “Warlords and Governance,” in The Transnational Governance of Violence and Crime: Non-State Actors in Security, eds. Anja P. Jakobi and Klaus Dieter Wolf (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
Kimberly Marten, “Warlords,” in The Changing Character of War, eds. Hew Strachan and Sibylle Scheipers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).
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, “Lending Forces: Canada’s Military Peacekeeping,” in Handbook of Canadian Foreign Policy, eds. Patrick James, Nelson Michaud, and Marc O’Reilly (Lahnam, MD: Lexington Books, 2006).
Kimberly Marten, “Central Asia: Military Modernization and the Great Game,” in Strategic Asia 2005-06: Military Modernization in an Era of Uncertainty, eds. Ashley J. Tellis and Michael Wills (Seattle: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2005).
Kimberly Marten, “Making and Keeping the Peace,” Sections 1-6 in A Global Agenda: Issues before the 55th General Assembly of the United Nations, 2000-2001 Edition, eds. John Tessitore and Susan Woolfson (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000).
Kimberly Marten, “The Threat of the Soviet Decline: The CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the End of the Cold War,” in U.S. Foreign Policy after the Cold War, eds. James Lindsay and Randall Ripley (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997).
Kimberly Marten, “Foreign Policy Preferences of Russian Defense Industrialists: Integration or Isolation?” in The Sources of Russian Foreign Policy after the Cold War, ed. Celeste Wallander (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996).

Other Articles, Testimoney and Reports

Kimberly Marten, “The Security Costs and Benefits of Non-State Militias: The Example of Eastern Ukraine,” Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia (PONARS) Policy Memo 391, 14 October 2015.
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, “Economic Lures and Ungoverned Territories: Overcoming Warlordism,” Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia (PONARS Eurasia), Policy Memo no. 39 (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Eurasian Strategy Project, 2008).
Kimberly Marten, “Disrupting the Balance: Russian Efforts to Control Kazakhstan’s Oil,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 428, (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2006).
Kimberly Marten, “Understanding the Impact of the K-2 Closure,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 311 (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, December 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 (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,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 311 (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,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 264 (2002).
Kimberly Marten, “Why Peace Operations in Afghanistan Should Heed Soviet Lessons Learned,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 209 (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?,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 189 (2001).
Kimberly Marten, “Putin and the Russian Military,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 155 (2000).
Kimberly Marten, “Human Rights Violations in Chechnya: Implications for Western Assistance to Russia,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 142 (2000).
Kimberly Marten, “The Dissonant Concert: US-Russian Relations in the UN Security Council,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 71 (1999).
Kimberly Marten, “Institutional Decline in the Russian Military: Exit, Voice, and Corruption,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 67 (1999).
Kimberly Marten, “The Political Costs of Western Investment in Russian Spin-off Companies,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 49 (1998).
Kimberly Marten, “Why Military Dissatisfaction is Not a Threat to the Russian State,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 34 (1998).
Kimberly Marten, “Contact Lenses: Transparency and US-Russian Military Ties,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS), Policy Memo no. 7 (1997).
Kimberly Marten and Rajan Menon, “Facing a Fragile Ceasefire,”, 13 January 2015.
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.