Dr. Mark R. Jacobson has over twenty years of experience in the federal government, international organizations, and academia working on some of the most complex and politically sensitive national security issues facing the United States. He is a recognized expert on U.S. foreign policy and national security as well as the dynamics of international conflict and the use of military force and has served as a policymaker, diplomat, academic and member of the armed forces. Since November 2017 Jacobson has served as a senior policy advisor at Kasowitz Benson Torrres LLC where, as a part of the Government Affairs and Strategic Counsel group, he helps to advise on and resolve complex and politically sensitive issues for clients, as well as representing clients before the U.S. government.
As a public servant Jacobson most recently held appointments as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy. Previously he served in Kabul, Afghanistan as the Deputy NATO Representative and Director of International Affairs at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and in these roles advised Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal on the international political dynamics of the mission. Earlier in his career Jacobson served at the Pentagon in multiple roles and was in his office on September 11, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the wing where he worked. On Capitol Hill, Jacobson worked for Senator Carl Levin on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee where he participated in the inquiry into the treatment and interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody. A combat veteran, his military service includes time as both an Army and Navy reservist including mobilizations to Bosnia in 1996 and to Afghanistan in 2006.
In addition to his current role at Amherst College, Jacobson is a non-resident Senior Fellow at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy. He previously held roles as an Associate Teaching Professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, an adjunct at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, a Visiting Fellow at Ohio State’s Mershon Center, and a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States. His current research interests include propaganda and political warfare during the Cold War, the intersection of military service and identity communities in the United States, and the foreign policy of the Carter Administration. Jacobson serves on the advisory board of the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest at Villanova University, is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and devotes his time to organizations that help train and prepare the next generation of global leaders. He regularly appears on cable and broadcast television as well as radio networks as a commentator and subject matter expert. He is regularly quoted in major print and online publications and his commentary has appeared in major U.S. print publications.
A native of Michigan, Jacobson grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and holds degrees from the University of Michigan, the King’s College, University of London and a PhD in Military History from The Ohio State University. He lives with his wife and son in Washington DC and remains a rabid Michigan Wolverines fan.