Charles V. Peña


Areas of expertise: American foreign policy, Middle East policy, counterterrorism, homeland security, intelligence, grand strategy

Charles Peña is the former Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute and has been a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute, and the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, as well as an advisor on the Straus Military Reform Project. He has more than 25 years experience as a defense policy and program expert and senior manager, supporting the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.

Peña was an on-air analyst for MSNBC television (as well as CNBC and NBC) and was an analyst for Global TV (Canada) and Channel One News (a PRIMEDIA Inc. company) during the Iraq war. He has appeared on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on MSNBC, “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News, “News Night with Aaron Brown” on CNN, the “McLaughlin Group” on PBS, and "Newsnight" on the BBC. He has also appeared on NPR’s “Public Interest,” “To the Point,” “Morning Edition,” “The Diane Rehm Show,” and “The Radio Factor” with Bill O’Reilly. His opinions have appeared in the New York TimesWashington PostUSA TodayWall Street JournalLos Angeles TimesBoston Globe, among others.

He is the author of the book Winning the Un-War: A New Strategy for the War on Terrorism, co-author of The Search for WMD: Non-Proliferation, Intelligence and Pre-emption in the New Security Environment, and co-author of Exiting Iraq: Why the U.S. Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War against Al Qaeda.

Peña received his M.A. in Security Policy Studies from the George Washington University and has a B.A. in Political Science from Claremont Men's College.