Kiron Skinner

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Kiron Skinner
Kiron Skinner Screenshot.jpg
Director of Policy Planning
Assumed office
August 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byBrian Hook
Personal details
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Alma materSacramento City College
Spelman College
Harvard University

Kiron Kanina Skinner (born 1961) is the Director of Policy Planning at the United States Department of State. Previously, she was the Taube Professor of International Relations and Politics at Carnegie Mellon University, and the founding director of several entities at the university, including the Carnegie Mellon University-Washington Semester Program, Center for International Relations and Politics, Institute for Politics and Strategy, and the Institute for Strategic Analysis. She is also the W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

She has co-authored two books on Ronald Reagan: In His Own Hand (2001) and Reagan, a Life in Letters (2003), which were New York Times bestsellers.[1] In 2005, Skinner was appointed by President George W. Bush to a term on the National Security Education Board.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Skinner was born in Chicago in 1961 and grew up in the California Bay Area.[3]

Skinner received an associate degree in communications from Sacramento City College in 1979. She won the Harry S. Truman Scholarship for the State of California, which enabled her to move on to Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college in Atlanta, where she received a bachelor's degree in political science. She then received MA and PhD degrees in political science and international relations from Harvard University. She was a student of future United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,[when?] who advised her "People may oppose you, but when they realize you can hurt them, they'll join your side."[4]

Academic career[edit]

At Carnegie Mellon University, she is founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy, part of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences; university adviser on national security policy; Taube Professor of International Relations and Politics; and director of the International Relations and Politics undergraduate major. In addition, Skinner is a Distinguished Fellow at CyLab, a research center in the College of Engineering, and holds courtesy faculty positions at CMU's Heinz College, the Institute for Software Research, an academic department in the School of Computer Science, and in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences. She has also taught political science courses at Hamilton College, Harvard University, and the University of California, Los Angeles.[5] At Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Skinner is the W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow and a member of the Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy.[6]

Political career[edit]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officiates the Swearing-In Ceremony for Dr. Kiron Skinner as Director of Policy Planning, at the Department of State, September 4, 2018.

Skinner served as a foreign policy surrogate for the George W. Bush Presidential re-election campaign in 2004. In 2010, she was appointed to the advisory board of the George W. Bush Oral History Project.[7] She was a senior foreign policy adviser to Speaker Newt Gingrich during his presidential primary campaign from 2011 to 2012 and then to Mitt Romney's Presidential General Election campaign in the fall of 2012.[8] In 2012, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett appointed Professor Skinner to the Governor's Advisory Commission on African American Affairs.[7] In 2016, it was announced that she was a member of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team for national security.[9] Skinner had a position as a senior advisor for the Trump Administration State Department, but Politico reported that she left the position after a few days.[10] in August 2018 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced her as the new Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department,[11] and she was sworn in on September 4, 2018.


  • Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America with Annelise Anderson and Martin Anderson. Free Press, 2001. ISBN 0743219384
  • Reagan: A Life In Letters with Annelise Anderson and Martin Anderson. Free Press, 2004. ISBN 0743219678
  • Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin with Serhiy Kudelia, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, and Condoleezza Rice. University of Michigan Press, 2007.
  • Turning Points in Ending the Cold War, Hoover Institution Press, 2008.


A frequent contributor of opinion essays, Skinner has written for,, Foreign, National Review Online, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Skinner is a Fox News contributor and appears on both Fox News and Fox Business Network. She also regularly provides commentary on national and international television and radio programs.[12]


  1. ^ "Kiron K. Skinner, CyLab Distinguished Fellow - Carnegie Mellon University CyLab". Retrieved 2014-09-05.
  2. ^ "President Bush Appoints Hoover Fellow Kiron Skinner to National Security Education Board" (Press release). Hoover Institution. April 6, 2015.
  3. ^ Vision and Values Newsletter JANUARY 2013 | VOLUME 21 | NUMBER 1
  4. ^ Condoleezza Rice: An American Life: A Biography, Elisabeth Bumiller (Random House, 2009) ISBN 978-0-8129-7713-4, p. 121. link to page in Google Books
  5. ^ "New Faculty Join Hamilton College". Hamilton College. April 4, 1998. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  6. ^ "Kiron K. Skinner". Archived from the original on 2014-09-05. Retrieved 2014-09-05.
  7. ^ a b "International-Relations Professor to Advise on Bush Oral History Project - People - The Chronicle of Higher Education". Retrieved 2014-09-05.
  8. ^ "Why I support Mitt Romney". Retrieved 2014-09-05.
  9. ^ Bill Schackner (November 23, 2016). "CMU prof lands spot on Trump transition team for National Security Council". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  10. ^ Sherman, Jake (February 9, 2017). "NEWSFLASH: Why DC will continue to face GRIDLOCK -- WHO TULSI met with in SYRIA -- REINCE struggles to fill comms director job -- JEN PSAKI's next move -- B'DAY: Manu Raju". Politico. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
  11. ^ Monsen, Lauren (30 August 2018). "State Department's new senior adviser is a scholar, author". Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced the appointment of Kiron Skinner as the new director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department.
  12. ^

External links[edit]