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Kevin Ryan

Mailing address

Belfer 301
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Kevin Ryan

Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Member, The US-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism

Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Telephone: 617-495-7747
Fax: 617-495-8963
Email: kevin_ryan@hks.harvard.edu

 

Experience

Brigadier General Kevin Ryan (U.S. Army retired) is Director, Defense and Intelligence Projects at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

A career military officer, he served in air and missile defense, intelligence, and political-military policy areas. From 1995 to 1996, he was head of the Moscow office of the POW/MIA Commission, searching for missing Americans in the former Soviet states.  From 1998 to 2000, he served as Senior Regional Director for Slavic States in the Office of Secretary of Defense and, from 2001 to 2003, as Defense Attaché to Russia. He also served as Chief of Staff for the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command, an organization with diverse missions that include deployment of missile defenses, cyber assets, satellite management and research in areas like directed energy.   He has commanded at every level from platoon to brigade and served in Europe, Korea, and Iraq.  In his last duty assignment he was responsible for Army Strategic War Plans, Policy, and International Affairs and coordinated Army policy in the domestic interagency and with foreign allies.

Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy, a Masters degree in Russian Language and Literature from Syracuse University and, a Masters degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College.  Ryan has been a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy and was Vice President for Business Development at iRobot Corporation. He is a member of the Board of the American Councils for International Education (ACTR/ACCELS) and a member of the Belfer Center Board of Directors.  He is a member of the Kennedy School’s MPA Admissions Committee.  Ryan was the founding director of the center's U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, where he continues to facilitate U.S.-Russian cooperation and lead the “Elbe Group.”  He was previously Executive Director for Research of the Belfer Center from 2010 to 2013. He is the author of over 20 articles and book chapters on various leadership and security topics. He and his wife Kathryn have five children.

In November 2013, Ryan was appointed as Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, in the State of Massachusetts.

Main Areas of Expertise:

U.S.-Russian Security Relations – Fluent in Russian. Served as Senior Defense Attaché in Moscow from 2001 to 2003. Participated in U.S.-Russian negotiations and cooperation.

Missile Defense – Served as Chief of Staff of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and 29+ years in U.S. Army as Air Defense Officer.

Unmanned Ground Systems – Former Vice President for Business Development of iRobot Corporation's Government Division. Concentrated in unmanned ground systems for military and industrial applications.

Military Intelligence – Served in multiple intelligence assignments.

 

 

By Date

 

2014

(AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

April 17, 2014

"Putin's Dilemma After Crimea"

Op-Ed, Moscow Times

By Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

What is President Vladimir Putin's next move? The answer is thus far undecided, perhaps even for Putin.

To put ourselves in Putin's shoes, writes Kevin Ryan, "Western observers and analysts have searched history for analogous moments in time. Historians tell us that if we can find similar historical circumstances, we might be better able to predict what will happen next. Some experts look to 1914 and the run-up to World War I for clues and insights. But for Putin and his inner circle, the most analogous moment in history is December 2001. Russia is playing the role of the U.S. as it basked in the initial 'success' of Afghanistan and contemplated Iraq. The parallels are uncanny."

 

 

March 26, 2014

Elbe Group Seeks to Keep U.S.-Russia Communications Open

News

By Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

At a time when the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea is closing down communication between the American and Russia governments, a senior group of American and Russian former military and intelligence officers met quietly in Morocco to ask each other whether there remain any areas where the two nations should continue joint efforts.  Their answer, given in a joint statement released at the end of their three day meeting in March, is yes.

 

 

March 5, 2014

Putin's Audacity Fueled By U.S. Military Decline

Op-Ed, Moscow Times

By Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"We can't know for sure what recommendations U.S. military chiefs are giving to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and President Barack Obama about the situation in Ukraine," writes Kevin Ryan, "but it's not hard to guess.....What the diplomats will do remains to be seen over the next several days. They have some strong cards they can play."

 

 

Winter 2014

The Elbe Group: Meetings of Military Minds

Op-Ed, InFocus

By Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

As American and Soviet forces converged in Germany in the final days of WWII, soldiers from both armies met at the river Elbe near Torgau. That historic meeting of wartime comrades, united in the face of common threats, is the inspiration for the creation of a unique organization, the "Elbe Group."

 

2013

November 26, 2013

Kevin Ryan Named Civilian Aide to Secretary of Army for Massachusetts

News

By James F. Smith, Former Communications Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Brigadier General Kevin Ryan (U.S. Army retired), has been appointed the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for the State of Massachusetts.  Ryan is taking on the volunteer Civilian Aide role in addition to his full-time position as director of the Defense and Intelligence Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

 

 

July 29, 2013

"How U.S., Russia Can Agree on Missile Defense"

Op-Ed, Christian Science Monitor

By Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Simon Saradzhyan, Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"Relations between the United States and Russia today remind one of the report from the well digger, 'We hit bottom and have started to dig.' Whether it’s over issues like leaker Eric Snowden or Syria and Iran, the US and Russia seem to end up on opposite sides of most major problems," write Kevin Ryan and Simon Saradzhyan. But that trend could soon reverse – at least regarding one contentious subject – missile defense.

 

 

Summer 2013

"Elbe Group Facilitates U.S.-Russia Communication, Security"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

As U.S. and Soviet forces converged in Germany in the final days of WWII, both armies met at the River Elbe near Torgau. That meeting of comrades, united in the face of common threats, is the inspiration for the Belfer Center’s “Elbe Group,” whose purpose is to maintain an open and continuous channel of communication on sensitive issues of U.S.-Russian relations. In late March, the Elbe Group met in Jerusalem for its eighth meeting since its founding in 2010.

 

2012

(U.S. Department of Defense)

June 24, 2012

"Vital Interdependence"

Op-Ed, Russia in Global Affairs

By Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Simon Saradzhyan, Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

In a recent op-ed published in Russia in Global Affairs the Belfer Center's Kevin Ryan and Simon Saradzhyan argue that at a time when deep U.S. defense budget cuts are underway, supporters of continued U.S. missile defense development should consider the potential for cutting costs that cooperation with Russia could offer.

 

 

May 1, 2012

"Restoring the Spirit of the Elbe Meeting"

Op-Ed, Moscow Times

By Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"On the eve of the NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21, it seems that the rhetoric from both the United States and Russia has returned to a more combative past," writes Kevin Ryan, executive director for research at the Belfer Center and noted expert on Russia. "Deep-seated disagreements over missile defense and so-called frozen conflicts in Georgia have renewed suspicions and battered trust between the countries. This corrosive situation is only amplified by the fact that both countries are in an election year when moderation is viewed as a weakness and hyperbole is the norm."

 

 

(AP Photo/Stew Milne)

April 2, 2012

"A soldier’s moral compass constantly tested"

Op-Ed, Stars and Stripes

By Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Writing about the contrast of a recent act of heroism by a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan who gave his life to save a young boy and another soldier who killed 17 sleeping children and adults, Brigadier General (ret.) Kevin Ryan says,"When a soldier makes the right choices, his deeds can be famous. When he makes the wrong choices, they are infamous. Each of us confronts these choices every day. In war, the choices and the results are magnified."

 

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