Dr. Kim R. Holmes
Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies and Director, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies

areas of expertise: U.N. and International Organizations, Public Diplomacy, National Security Strategy and Military Affairs, Russia/Eurasia, Middle East, Western Europe and NATO, Missile Defense, Peacekeeping, Terrorism, International Economics.

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Kim R. Holmes is one of Washington's foremost policy experts. He is the Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation as well as Director of the think tank's Kathryn and Shelby
Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.

Under Holmes' leadership, Heritage in 2006 established the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom and its Freedom Project; remodeled the think tank's flagship product, the annual
Index of Economic Freedom; and expanded Heritage's homeland security research into such areas such as visa waiver reform, improving border security and government response to disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

Holmes also expanded the Davis Institute's research focus to include South Asia and international law. His counsel was sought out regularly by members of Congress; officials from the U.S. and foreign governments; and representatives of international organizations such as the United Nations, think tanks and media. Holmes hosted numerous high-level foreign and U.S. government officials for major addresses at Heritage, and is himself frequently sought after to give keynote addresses at major conferences and seminars around the world.

Holmes returned to Heritage's foreign and defense policy helm in 2005 after serving as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs.

Nominated by the younger President Bush months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Senate confirmed Holmes in November 2002 and he immediately took over responsibility for U.S. negotiations at the United Nations and 46 international organizations. With a staff of more than 400 people in Washington, D.C., and at U.S. missions to international organizations in New York, Geneva, Vienna, Paris, Rome, Montreal, and Nairobi, Holmes directed the diplomatic efforts to protect U.S. interests and promote U.S. policy on issues as varied as Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, peacekeeping, aviation and maritime security, development, reentry into UNESCO, and U.N. reform.

Holmes was instrumental in ensuring that the U.N. Security Council acted to establish the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and addressed the serious matters of genocide in Sudan and sexual abuses by U.N. peacekeepers in the Congo and elsewhere.  

As Assistant Secretary of State, Holmes consistently brought the weight of his international relations and foreign policy acumen –well honed over prior years at Heritage – to bear on matters of concern for the United States. Among his accomplishments:

  • He garnered multilateral support for the Security Council's first-ever nonproliferation resolution that also affirms the utility of partnerships such as the U.S. Proliferation Security Initiative. 
  • He helped secure a new U.N. mandate that the U.N.'s Office of Internal Oversight Services must release its reports to member states upon request.
  • He led the outcry over Libya's assuming chairmanship of the Commission on Human Rights, which began today's universal call for that body's total refashioning.
  • He was instrumental in establishing both a democracy caucus and a Democracy Fund at the U.N. and in getting many qualified Americans into high-level positions in various U.N. and international organization secretariats.

Holmes has published and edited numerous foreign policy products that have proposed many of the policies the U.S. government has implemented over the years. For example, shortly after Sept. 11, Heritage went into overdrive to produce the 101-page Defending the American Homeland in January 2002. The guide, which Holmes helped produce, offered suggestions on what policymakers needed to do to protect Americans from future nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological attacks.

In the 1995 Defending America: A Near and Long Term Plan to Deploy Missile De fenses, Holmes and his defense team laid the intellectual groundwork for the successful campaign to get the United States to invest in missile defense and end its dangerous self-imposed strangulation under the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Holmes was the founding editor of the internationally acclaimed Index of Economic Freedom, published annually with The Wall Street Journal. The Index's country grades on trade policy are now used by the U.S. government to help determine eligibility for the Millennium Challenge Account. Corporations and risk management firms are also using The Index to assess foreign investment climates. In every multilateral forum, Holmes made sure that U.S. negotiators kept the focus on advancing freedom and always pressed for greater effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, and accountability.

Holmes has edited or co-edited a number of other important Heritage foreign policy books, including: Liberty's Best Hope: American Leadership for the 21st Century; Restoring American Leadership: A U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy Blueprint; Mandate for Leadership, a quadrennial guide for Congress and/or the Administration; Between Diplomacy and Deterrence: Strategies for U.S. Relations with China; Issues: The Candidate's Briefing Book series; Reshaping Europe: Strategies for a Post-Cold War Europe; The New Member's Guide to the Issues; Defending America: A Near- and Long-Term Plan to Deploy Missile Defenses; The Index of Economic Freedom, 1997-2002, 2006-2007; Priorities for the President and Strategic Defenses for the 1990s and Beyond . And he has published scholarly articles in such journals as National Interest, Journal Aspenia (Italy), Harvard University's International Security and Columbia University's Journal of International Affairs.

Holmes is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former member of its Washington Advisory Committee.  He has served as a member of the Defense Department's Defense Policy Board – the Defense Secretary's primary source of outsider expert advice. Holmes has also served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Center for International Private Enterprise, and as a public member of the U.S. delegation to the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Holmes became a Vice President in April 1992. Before that, he was Heritage's Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies and Senior Policy Analyst for National Security Affairs, specializing in arms control, NATO affairs, and East-West strategic relations.  He joined Heritage in 1985 as a defense policy analyst focusing on weapons systems, the defense budget, military reform, and strategic defense.
Before coming to Heritage, Holmes was Senior Fellow at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, a research institute associated with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Holmes earned a doctorate in 1982 and a master's degree in 1977 from history from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He received his bachelor's degree in history from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla., in 1974. 

Holmes was a research fellow at the Institute for European History in Mainz, Germany, in 1981, completing his doctoral dissertation the following year on the history of National Socialism in Bavaria between World War I and World War II. He subsequently taught courses on European security issues and European intellectual history at Georgetown University as an Adjunct Professor.


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