Dr. Melissa L. Skorka is a Director of ASG’s South Asia Practice, where she draws on her distinguished career advising presidential envoys, ambassadors, and national security officials in the region. Dr. Skorka is globally recognized by policymakers for her intellectual merit and leadership on diplomacy, defense, and development affairs in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
Prior to joining ASG, Dr. Skorka was a Senior Fellow at the University of Oxford Changing Character of War Centre and Executive Director of the Oxford Strategic Intelligence Institute, where she spearheaded major power competition and geopolitical risk analyses.
Previously, Dr. Skorka served as Senior Advisor to the United Nations Assistance Mission and the Afghan Minister of Peace in Kabul, where she provided strategic advisory to regional government officials, EU/UN leaders, and Afghan female negotiators on high-level diplomacy and national security deliberations.
Additionally, Dr. Skorka completed four consecutive tours with U.S. and NATO armed forces in Afghanistan, where she served as strategic advisor to former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and retired U.S. Marine Corps general Joseph Dunford, helping formulate national security plans and defense operations in country. While in Afghanistan, she was appointed as lead author of the "12 Star" counterterrorism strategy, “NATO State of the Insurgency,” and “ISAF Extractive Industry Stabilization Operations.” For her work, Dr. Skorka received the U.S. Secretary of Defense Medal for Global War on Terrorism.
Other positions held by Dr. Skorka include counterterrorism advisor to U.S. Special Operations Commander LTG Michael Nagata; Senior Advisor to Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari’s Crisis Management Initiative; Research Associate for Stanford University's Mapping Militants Project; and Security Fellowship Director of the Truman National Security Project.
Dr. Skorka is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and has held Term Membership at the Council on Foreign Relations, Oxford Women in Politics, and Women in International Security. Her work and commentaries have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.
As a Rotary Ambassadorial and Smith Richardson Scholar, she received her Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in International Relations History (first-class honors) from Oxford University. Her doctoral monograph explored the modern history of Islamist militant political adaptation to Western policy, focusing on human rights, security, and rule of law. Dr. Skorka also received two master’s degrees from Oxford in Global Governance and Diplomacy and African Politics. She received her bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Davis.
She is based in Washington, D.C.