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Thomas Johnson, Research Professor and Director


Professor Johnson is a member of the National Security Affairs Department faculty as well the Director of the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies. At NPS, Johnson is teaching 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. He regularly conducts field research in Central and South Asia (he spent much of summers of 2008 and 2009 in Afghanistan) and he is presently working on a book manuscript on the culture and implications' of the Taliban as expressed through their narratives especially in the form of shabnamah or "Night Letters." Professor Johnson previously has been on the faculty at the University of Southern California, George Mason University and the Foreign Service Institute. He is a past recipient of the Charles E. Merriam Award for Outstanding Public Policy Research from the University of Illinois.


  • “Tensions Rise Between Hizb-i-Islami and the Taliban in Afghanistan,” Matthew DuPee and Anand Gopal, CTC Sentinel, August 2010
  • Religious Figures, Insurgency, and Jihad in Southern Afghanistan, Thomas H. Johnson in "Who Speaks for Islam? Muslim Grassroots Leaders and Popular Preachers in South Asia, "The National Bureau of Asian Research, Special Report #22, February 2010 (PDF)
  • Refighting the Last War: Afghanistan and the Vietnam Template - Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chirs Mason, Military Review Nov-Dec 2009
  • Winning the War in Afghanistan: Echoes of Northern Ireland and the IRA? - Thomas H. Johnson and Richard English, The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Fall/Winter 2008
  • All Counterinsurgency is Local - Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chris Mason, The Atlantic Monthly, October 2008
  • Rethinking Afghanistan: echoes of Ulster and the IRA? - Thomas H. Johnson and Richard English, Policy Options, June 2008
  • No Sign until the Burst of Fire: Understanding the Pakistan - Afghanistan Frontier - Thomas H. Johnson & M. Chris Mason, International Security, Spring 2008, Vol. 32, No. 4: 41-77
  • The Taliban: An Organizational Analysis (PDF) - Major Shahid Afsar (Pakistan), Major Chris Samples (USA), & Major Thomas Wood (USA), Military Review, May-June 2008: 58-73
  • The Taliban Insurgency and an Analysis of Shabnamah (Night Letters) (PDF) - Thomas H. Johnson, Small Wars and Insurgencies Vol. 18, No. 3, 317-344, Sept. 2007
  • On the Edge of the Big Muddy: The Taliban Insurgence in Afghanistan (PDF) -Thomas H. Johnson, China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 2. 2007
  • Terrorism, Insurgency, and Afghanistan (PDF) -Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chris Mason, Countering Terrorism and Insurgency in the 21st Century. International Perspectives. Vol 2. Combating the Sources & Facilitators. Edited by: James J. Forest. Praeger Security International, 2007
  • Afghanistan's Post-Taliban Transition: the State of State-building after War (PDF)- Thomas H. Johnson, Central Asian Survey (March-June 2006) 25(1-2)
  • Democratic Nation Building in the Arc of Crisis: The Case of the Presidential Election in Afghanistan (PDF) -Thomas H. Johnson, Critical Issues Facing the Middle East: Security, Politics, Economics. By: James A. Russell, Palgrave Macmillan. 2006
  • Understanding the Taliban and Insurgency in Afghanistan. (PDF) (Text format) -Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chris Mason, Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs 51, No. 1, 2006
  • The Prospects for Post-Conflict Afghanistan: A Call of the Sirens to the Country's Troubled Past - Thomas H. Johnson, Strategic Insights, Vol 5, #2, Feb. 2006
  • A Hard Day's Night? The United States and the Global War on Terrorism (PDF) -Thomas H. Johnson and James A. Russell, Comparative Strategy, 24: 127-151, 2005
  • Ismail Khan, Herat, and the Iranian Influence - Thomas H. Johnson, Strategic Insights, Vol 3, #7 July 2004
  • The Loya Jirga, Ethnic Rivalries and Future Afghan Stability - Thomas H. Johnson, Strategic Insights, Vol 1, #6, Aug 2002

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