Marla Keenan

Adjunct Senior Fellow

Transforming Conflict & Governance

Marla B. Keenan is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Stimson Center. Her areas of expertise focus on issues relating to international security, including human rights in armed conflict, protection of civilians, civilian harm tracking and analysis, and civil-military relations in armed conflict. Marla is also an International Security Program Senior Fellow at New America, working to strengthen partnerships between NGOs and academic institutions on applied research in armed conflict.

Marla was senior director of policy and advocacy and previously senior director of programs at Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), a Washington, DC-based NGO working on armed conflict and the protection of civilians. She led the design, management, and successful implementation of outcome-focused field programs in active conflict zones.  Marla has conducted high-level advocacy with international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, African Union, and NATO. She has worked on conflict and crisis in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Mali, Israel, Jordan, Nepal, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ukraine, Yemen, and the Central African Republic.

Before joining CIVIC, Marla was an Edward Rawson Fellow in Communications at Citizens for Global Solutions, working in US global engagement. Marla regularly researched and wrote articles and papers on various topics from the International Criminal Court to Avian Influenza. She began her career as a management consultant working with for-profit companies on financial budgeting and forecasting, communications, and marketing.

Marla holds a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management with a double concentration in policy analysis and international policy from the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy & Management at Carnegie Mellon University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Business Administration at the University of Arizona. Marla is a National Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project. She resides in Austin, TX, with her partner and daughter.


Building bridges between NATO stakeholders and the expert community to act on the Alliance’s ambition to protect civilians with its operations around the world

Research & Writing
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Project Note
2020 Expert Workshop Readout

Key takeaways and recommendations from Stimson’s recent expert workshop series on NATO and the protection of civilians

Origins, Progress, and Unfinished Business: NATO’s Protection of Civilians Policy

Reflecting on the history of NATO’s PoC policy and its implementation highlights opportunities for further work

Project Note
Operationalizing Protection of Civilians in NATO Operations

Key article offering practical guidance as NATO considered the drafting and adoption of their POC policy

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