J. Michael Waller was the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor of International Communication at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC., where he directed the nation's only graduate program in public diplomacy and political warfare. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy.
Dr. Waller has been a journalist and investigative writer on national security affairs, including intelligence, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism-related issues. His articles have been published in a variety of academic and professional journals, as well as Reader’s Digest, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He is a frequent commentator on the BBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR and the Voice of America.
He has researched and written about the political and psychological dimensions of terrorism, insurgency and counterinsurgency since 1983. His coverage of military affairs ranges from the guerrilla wars of Central America and Colombia to the Strategic Air Command. He was on the scene at the Kremlin in the hours before the Soviet Union was abolished, and at the Russian parliament building during the 1993 coup attempt.
He is author of several books on security, terrorism and political warfare, including Third Current of Revolution: Inside the North American Front of El Salvador’s Guerrilla War (University Press of America, 1991), Secret Empire: The KGB In Russia Today (Westview, 1994), and Fighting the War of Ideas like a Real War (Institute of World Politics Press, 2007); co-author of Dismantling Tyranny: Transitioning Beyond Totalitarian Regimes (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), editor of the Public Diplomacy Reader (IWP Press, 2007) and editor of the forthcoming Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008).
He has been a practitioner in the areas in which he has written. In the 1980s he infiltrated and disrupted Soviet international front organizations in the U.S. and Europe, wrote what is considered the definitive work on the politico-psychological support networks for the FMLN insurgency in El Salvador, and advised the Salvadoran army on the FMLN’s international political warfare strategy and its role on ground combat operations. On contracts with the U.S. government in Honduras, he trained 88 commanders and sub-commanders of the Nicaraguan Resistance Army in political warfare and political communication. He also worked in support of Afghan Northern Alliance resistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud in his war against the Soviets in the 1980s.
In the 1990s Waller worked on U.S. contracts to design and implement political warfare attacks on the Soviet and Russian intelligence services. Since 2001 he has worked on the political, financial, psychological and related networks of Islamist extremists in the U.S. and abroad under private sponsorship, and developed strategies and tactics to employ against them in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2006 FBI Director Robert Mueller presented Dr. Waller with a citation for "exceptional service in the public interest."
Dr. Waller served on the staff of the United States Senate, and as a consultant to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the US Army, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and other agencies.
He is a regular lecturer on information operations, PSYOP, public diplomacy, propaganda and political warfare for the National Defense University and the National Intelligence University.
He holds a Ph.D. in international security affairs from Boston University, where in 1993 he won the University Professors Award for Best Dissertation. Dr. Waller earned his M.A. in International Relations and Communication in 1989, as a John M. Olin Fellow at Boston University’s Center for Defense Journalism, graduating first in his class. He received a B.A. in international relations from the George Washington University in 1985, where he graduated first in his class as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.