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Katherine Zimmerman

Katherine Zimmerman

PhD Candidate


Katherine Zimmerman is a PhD candidate in the Department of War Studies and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where she focuses on the global Salafi-jihadi movement and counterterrorism. She also studies the al Qaeda network and related trends in the Middle East and Africa, including al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen, al Shabaab in Somalia, and al Qaeda in the Sahel. She is also an adviser to AEI’s Critical Threats Project.

Ms Zimmerman has testified before Congress about the threats to US national security interests emanating from al Qaeda and its network. In addition, she has briefed members of Congress, their staff, and US military, diplomatic, and intelligence community personnel.

Her commentary and analyses have been widely published, including in, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy,, The Hill, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

She is often interviewed, and her appearances include the Associated Press, BBC News, Bloomberg News, CNBC, CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,” Voice of America, and Yahoo Finance.

Ms Zimmerman is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the RESOLVE NetworkResearch Advisory Council. She holds an MA in terrorism, security and society from King’s College London and a BA in political science and modern Middle East studies from Yale University.


  • Global Salafi-jihadi movement, including al Qaeda and the Islamic State
  • Al Shabaab and the Horn of Africa
  • AQIM, JNIM, and ISGS in the Sahel
  • AQAP, the Houthis, and the Yemen conflict
  • US counterterrorism policy

Ms Zimmerman’s research focuses on how Salafi-jihadi groups operate in the Middle East and Africa. She also researches ongoing developments in Yemen and security dynamics and related trends in the Middle East and North Africa region.

PhD Supervisors

Dr Shiraz Maher

Dr Peter Neumann