TURKEYSourceDec 1, 2022
The risks and rewards of Erdogan’s next military operation
By Rich Outzen
The November 13 bombing in Istanbul, blamed on the PKK, is spurring a planned Turkish offensive against PKK affiliates in Northern Syria, fulfilling a long term goal to better secure the country's southern border.
Colonel Rich Outzen (Ret.) is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council IN TURKEY and a geopolitical analyst and consultant currently serving private sector clients as Dragoman LLC.
From 2016 to 2021, Outzen served in the US Department of State as both a military and civilian advisor, working in the Policy Planning Office and later the Office of the Special Representative for Syria. From 2013 to 2016, he was a member of the National Defense University (NDU) and Institute for National Security Studies faculty. He served as the US defense attaché in Kabul from 2014 to 2015. He previously served as the deputy chief of staff for training and development for the US Security Coordinator in Jerusalem. He has researched and published extensively on matters of policy and strategy, with a focus on the greater Middle East and Central Asia.
A US Army Foreign Area Officer, he has served in a variety of staff, command, and policy support assignments in Washington, DC and overseas. He has helped shape interagency discussion and national-policy options for transitions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. His areas of expertise include defense policy and strategy, strategic culture, the Middle East, NATO and Europe, and Central Asia. Outzen graduated cum laude with a BA from Dartmouth College in 1989, and holds an MA in national strategic affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School as well as an MS in national security resourcing from the NDU’s Eisenhower School of National Security and Resources Strategy. He is currently a PhD candidate at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. He is a distinguished graduate of the Eisenhower School and a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
Outzen has published dozens of articles and book chapters on language, culture, strategy, and Middle Eastern affairs. Outzen speaks Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew, and German, and has spent over a decade serving in US military and diplomatic missions overseas including combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. His military service has also included tours in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff, and service as military attaché in Afghanistan and Israel.