Kaleigh Thomas is the Associate Fellow for the Middle East Security Program and 2020 recipient of the 1LT Andrew J. Bacevich Jr., USA Award at CNAS. She also serves as the cofounder and director of the Make Room initiative at CNAS, which aims to empower communities underrepresented in national security, educate the next generation of leaders, and provide a platform to share their expert perspectives.
Her research centers on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Iran, Syria, and the economic tools used in U.S. Middle East strategy. She has appeared as a commentator on BBC News, Voice of America, and CNBC, among other outlets, and her writing and analysis has appeared in Defense One, Foreign Policy online, Foreign Affairs online, The National Interest, Defense News, World Politics Review, and various CNAS publications.
Previously at CNAS, she has served as research associate for the Middle East Security program and program coordinator for the Energy, Economics, and Security program. Prior to joining CNAS, she worked at the International Peace and Security Institute and in marketing communications at HKS, Inc. Kaleigh has her master’s degree in international peace and conflict resolution from American University, where her studies focused on peacebuilding and terrorism. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with majors in international business and marketing from the University of South Carolina.