Lynn E. Davis

Photo of Lynn Davis
Senior Political Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. and M.A. in political science, Columbia University; B.A. in political science, Duke University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Lynn E. Davis is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. From 2006 to 2014 she served as director of RAND's Washington office and from 1993 to 1997, she served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs.

Her current research focuses on strategic planning, terrorism, citizen preparedness, and defense strategy and force structure issues. She was the senior study group advisor for the Commission on National Security/21st Century. Prior to joining the State Department, Davis was vice president and director of the RAND Arroyo Center. She has also served on the staffs of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, and the first Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. She has taught in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University, at the National War College, and at Columbia University.

Davis's recent RAND publications include: Armed and Dangerous? UAVs and U.S. Security (Lynn E. Davis et al., 2014), Choosing A New Organization for Management and Disposition of Commercial and Defense High-Level Radioactive Materials (Lynn E. Davis et al.,2013), U.S. Overseas Military Presence, What Are the Strategic Choices? (Lynn E. Davis et al., 2012), Iran's Nuclear Future Critical U.S. Policy Choices (Lynn E. Davis et al., 2011), A Strategic Planning Approach: Defining Alternative Counterterrorism Strategies as an Illustration (Lynn E. Davis and Melanie W. Sisson, 2009). She earned her Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.

Recent Projects

  • Strategic planning
  • Terrorism
  • Homeland security
  • Citizen preparedness

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: CNN; New York Times; Reuters; Wall Street Journal; Washington Post

Commentary: CNN; The Connection; U.S. News & World Report


  • An MQ-9 Reaper sits on a ramp in Afghanistan

    Armed Drone Myth 3: Global Proliferation Demands Blanket Restrictions on Sales

    More than 70 countries have acquired drones of different classes and for different purposes. However, the number of countries actually developing

    Feb 19, 2015 | The RAND Blog

  • An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft takes off from Joint Base Balad, Iraq

    Armed Drone Myth 2: It's Counterproductive to Develop International Norms

    The challenge in establishing international norms for armed drones will be to define rules that preserve the rights of countries to use them in legitimate ways against legitimate threats (senior al Qaeda or Islamic State terrorists) while constraining illegitimate uses (political dissidents).

    Feb 18, 2015 | The RAND Blog

  • An MQ-9 Reaper sits on the flightline at Creech Air Force Base, NV

    Armed Drone Myth 1: They Will Transform How War Is Waged Globally

    Long-range military drones are fundamentally misunderstood. Their champions wrongly contend they are revolutionizing warfare, while critics fear their spread would greatly increase the threat that China, terrorists, and others pose.

    Feb 17, 2015 | The RAND Blog

  • Paratroopers during air assault training

    Changing World Climate Requires a Dynamic Foreign Policy

    As Secretary of State Kerry and former senator Chuck Hagel outline their thinking on the nation's strategy, let us hope that they both hold firm to the strategy that has served us well in the past and have the courage to explore a very different set of political and military ways to accomplish it, write Lynn Davis and Andrew Hoehn.

    Feb 15, 2013 | U.S. News & World Report

  • Quake a Disaster 'Drill' D.C. Flunked

    Fortunately for the nation's capitol, Hurricane Irene and the East Coast earthquake proved to be relatively minor events, as far as disasters go. But before everyone breathes a sigh of relief, it would be wise to reflect on how people responded to what were essentially dress rehearsals for much bigger events, write Lynn E. Davis and Arthur L. Kellermann.

    Aug 29, 2011 | CNN

  • How Can Individuals Be Better Prepared for Catastrophic Terrorist Attacks?

    Published RAND commentary by RAND staff.

    Jun 7, 2004 | The Connection