HomeOutreachMarine Corps University Speakers BureauSpeakers Bureau Members and TopicsDr. Kerry Fosher


Kerry B. Fosher, PhD​


Kerry Fosher is the Director of Research and the Translational Research Group at the United States Marine Corps’ Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL).  She is a socio-cultural anthropologist who focuses on the integration of social science in security institutions and activities. At CAOCL, she directs the research projects and scientific advising of a multidisciplinary staff on topics such as organizational culture, resilience, ethics, advisor training, assessment, and operationalizing social science theory for use in military education and training. Since 2006, she has been actively engaged with the community of social scientists and practitioners seeking to develop sustainable approaches to professional development for cross-cultural competence in military organizations. She speaks regularly on ethics, anthropology, and national security and on crafting approaches to culture in military organizations. Her current work focuses on how military organizations perceive and consume science, sustainably integrating social science and social scientists in military activities, and the intersection of disease and national security.

Dr. Fosher has a leadership role in the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology. She was part of the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) Commission charged with conducting a four-year review of anthropological interaction with the military and intelligence community and participated in the AAA task force on ebola virus disease. She also serves as a Research and Practice Associate at the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the College of Law, Syracuse University.
Her research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflict, and the Claudia de Lys Fund. From 2002-2004 she was a Fellow at the Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where she participated in the Managing the Atom Project and the Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness and conducted applied research related to exercise design and evaluation, port security, and bioterrorism. In 2004, she helped form Dartmouth Medical School’s center for emergency preparedness, conducting research, planning, and advising on biosecurity, exercise design, control, evaluation, and interagency coordination in homeland security. In 2007, she became a Visiting Professor at Air University, serving as the Director of the new Cross-Cultural Competence Project. While there, she successfully proposed the Cross-Culturally Competent Airmen initiative as the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan. She then became the first Command Social Scientist for Marine Corps Intelligence Activity.
She earned her PhD from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.
Areas of Interest:
•    Barriers to DoD’s ability to leverage science and integration of social science 
•    Disease and national security/medical anthropology
•    Futures
•    Inter-agency and inter-organizational process
•    DoD outreach to academia
•    Development of culture general curricula.
•    Homeland security

 Selected publications:
•    2015 “Reflections on Current Research: Science and Scientists in Military Organizations.” Journal of Culture, Language, and International Security. 1(2)
•    2015 “Patterns in Our Problems: U.S. Response to Health Crises.” Journal of Culture, Language, and International Security. 1(2)
•    2014 “Cautionary Tales from DOD's Pursuit of Cultural Expertise.” in Cultural Awareness in the Military: Developments and Implications for Future Humanitarian Cooperation. Palgrave McMillan.
•    2014. “Foreword.” The Best-Laid Schemes: A Tale of Social Research and Bureaucracy 2nd ed. Seymour Deitchman. Marine Corps University Press
•    2013. “Foreword.” Cross-Cultural Competence for a 21st Century Military. Allison Greene and Robert Sands Eds. Lexington Books.
•    2013 “Military and Security” in A Handbook of Practicing Anthropology. Ed. Riall Nolan. Blackwell.
•    2012 Practicing Military Anthropology: Beyond Expectations and Traditional Boundaries. Co-editors Rubinstein, Fosher, and Fujimura. Kumarian Press.
•    2010 “Book Review: Anthropologists in Arms: The Ethics of Military Anthropology. George R Lucas.” Journal of Military Ethics. 9(2):177-181.
•    2009 “Yes, Both, Absolutely: A Commentary on Anthropological Engagement with Military and Intelligence Organizations.” in Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency. University of Chicago Press.
•    2008 Under Construction. Making Homeland Security at the Local Level. University of Chicago Press.
•    2006 [republished 2015] “Mutual Aid.” with Dr. James Geiling. in Disaster Medicine. Elsevier.

•    PhD Anthropology (cultural)
•    M.A. Anthropology (4 field)
•    B.A. Anthropology (4 field)
•    B.S. Organizational Communication

Director of Research and the Translational Research Group