Mark R. Jacobson is a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States in Washington DC, a Senior Fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and a life-member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is an internationally recognized expert on a wide range of security and defense issues, particularly with regards to emerging threats and challenges and the politics of national security.
Prior to joining GMF, Jacobson served from August 2009 – July 2011 at the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan as both the Deputy NATO Senior Civilian Representative (SCR) and the ISAF Director of International Affairs. In this capacity Jacobson represented ISAF as part of the international diplomatic community in Kabul, helped to bring cohesion to a coalition of over 50 nations and international organizations, and served as the principal foreign policy advisor to the Commander, ISAF. During his tenure Jacobson helped to bring several new nations to the coalition and worked closely with the international community to find solutions to diplomatic crises that could derail the comprehensive campaign in support of the Government of Afghanistan and was awarded the U.S. Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award these efforts.
Jacobson’s career in government began in 1998 as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and later as a specialist on emerging threats such as narcotics trafficking and terrorism and finally as a Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. From 2003- 2005, Jacobson served as the Visiting Scholar for International Security and Public Policy for The Ohio State University’s Mershon Center where he taught courses on U.S. counterterrorism policy. In 2007, Jacobson returned to Washington DC to serve on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee where he was part of the Chairman’s oversight and investigations team. Jacobson’s military service includes eight years as a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and he currently holds a commission as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He deployed in 1996 in support of the NATO mission in Bosnia and in 2006 spent a year in Afghanistan where he helped to establish increased intelligence collection and analysis capabilities for the NATO mission and participated in sensitive Special Operations missions with Allied forces. Jacobson is a frequent speaker and lecturer on national security issues and has appeared on a number of national and international television and radio outlets including CNN, MSNBC, FOX, BBC, and Al Jazeera. Jacobson was educated at the University of Michigan and King’s College, London. In 2005 he was awarded his Ph.D. in Military History and Strategic Studies from The Ohio State University.