David C. Gompert

Adjunct Senior Fellow
Washington Office


M.P.A., Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University; B.S. in engineering, United States Naval Academy


David C. Gompert was Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence from 2009 to 2010. During 2010, he served as Acting Director of National Intelligence, in which capacity he provided strategic oversight of the U.S. Intelligence Community, and was the President's chief intelligence advisor.

Gompert is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor for National Security Studies at the United States Naval Academy, and Adjunct Senior Fellow of the RAND Corporation. He is a Trustee of Hopkins House Academy, a Director of the Rufus Porter Museum, a Director of Global Integrated Security (USA), Inc., a member of the Advisory Board of the Naval Academy Center for Cyber Security Studies, and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Institute for the Study of Early Childhood Education.

Prior to service as Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Gompert was a Senior Fellow at the RAND Corporation, from 2004 to 2009. Before that he was Distinguished Research Professor at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy, National Defense University. From 2003 to 2004, he served as the Senior Advisor for National Security and Defense, Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq. Gompert served as President of RAND Europe from 2000 to 2003, and was Vice President of RAND and Director of the National Defense Research Institute from 1993 to 2000.

Gompert has published extensively on international affairs, national security policy, and information technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Distinguished Visiting Professor for National Security Studies, United States Naval Academy

Selected Publications

David C. Gompert, Sea Power and American Interests in the Western Pacific, RAND Corporation (RR-151), 2013

David C. Gompert and Phillip C. Saunders, The Paradox of Power: Sino-American Strategic Restraint in an Age of Vulnerability, National Defense University Press, 2012

David C. Gompert et al, Underkill: Scalable Capabilities for Military Operations amid Populations, RAND Corporation (MG-848), 2009

David C. Gompert et al, War by Other Means: Building Complete and Balanced Capabilities for Counterinsurgency, RAND Corporation (MG-595), 2008

David C. Gompert et al., Battle-Wise: Gaining Cognitive Advantage in Networked Warfare, Center for Technology and National Security Policy, 2007

David C. Gompert, Heads We Win: The Cognitive Side of Counterinsurgency (COIN), RAND Corporation (OP-168), 2007

David C. Gompert et al., Making Liberia Safe: Transformation of the National Security Sector, RAND Corporation (MG-529), 2007

David C. Gompert et al., Learning from Darfur: Building a Net-Capable African Force to Stop Mass Killing, Center for Technology and National Security Policy, 2005


  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (right) greets Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the State Department in Washington, February 28, 2017

    What Are the Chances of the U.S. and China Going to War?

    War between the United States and China seems far-fetched. But complacency would be a mistake. Washington and Beijing should keep a direct channel open between their defense ministers to defuse any potential crises or escalation.

    Mar 14, 2017 Newsweek

  • A diplomatic delegation waits for China's President Xi Jinping to arrive at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, March 30, 2016, to attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington

    Q&A: An Unthinkable War Between the U.S. and China

    David Gompert, lead author of a RAND report that explores an unthinkable U.S.-China war answers questions about what the study does — and does not — say about the potential for such a war and its possible outcome.

    Aug 4, 2016

  • U.S. Treasury Building in Washington, D.C.

    Time for Washington to Amp Up the Power to Coerce

    The U.S. government should start preparing systematically for the use of coercion as it does for military warfare, including analyzing options, assessing requirements and capabilities, conducting war games to refine these capabilities, and planning with allies.

    Mar 22, 2016 War on the Rocks

  • People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo

    Decoding the Breach: The Truth About the CENTCOM Hack

    When ISIS hackers hijacked the Twitter account of U.S. Central Command on Jan. 12, they falsely claimed that they had hacked into U.S. military computers. While the incident was embarrassing, it was not concerning in operational military terms. It was, however, damaging to the counterinsurgency against ISIS.

    Feb 3, 2015 The Mark News

  • U.S. President Barack Obama announcing an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, November 23, 2013

    The Power to Coerce

    Because the United States has relied so heavily on force, we tend to equate it with power. Some results can only be achieved through force, but coercion can be an effective substitute. A superpower, by definition, has many options to have its way without always needing to send troops into battle -- a smart superpower will use those options.

    Jul 10, 2014 U.S. News & World Report

  • People rally against the annexation of Crimea by Russia, in Odessa, Ukraine. The banner with a portrait of Putin reads: "Will not let aggressor to our house."

    Will Putin Fall Victim to One of History's Classic Blunders?

    Russia's annexation of Crimea is proving costly. If Putin thought seizing Crimea would make the rest of Eastern Europe deferential to Moscow, the opposite is occurring, as anti-Russian/pro-NATO sentiment surges throughout the region.

    Apr 15, 2014 Foreign Policy

  • PLA soldier plays "Glorious Mission Online" an online game that allows players to defend contested islands in the East China Sea

    U.S., China and an Unthinkable War

    Although the China-U.S. agenda is jammed with pressing issues, time must be found to improve procedures and channels to defuse crises and avert military miscalculation. Political leaders should not wait for a crisis before scrutinizing war-fighting plans and insisting on ones that strengthen, not weaken, stability.

    Aug 26, 2013 Los Angeles Times

  • Navy patrolling the Western Pacific

    How to Avert a Sea Catastrophe with China

    The United States should propose and pursue an East Asian maritime partnership, inviting to join all states that share its interest in assured access and passage, writes David Gompert.

    May 9, 2013 U.S. News & World Report

  • China's Responsibility to Protect

    Of all countries remiss in their responsibility to protect human rights, China bears special scrutiny because of its influence with the Myanmar and Sudanese regimes, writes David C. Gompert.

    Jun 17, 2008 Washington Post

  • U.S. Should Take Advantage of Improved Security in Iraq to Withdraw

    Because security in Iraq is improving, the United States now has a chance to achieve the best realistic outcome of its unfortunate invasion and occupation: extricating the bulk of U.S. forces without making things worse, write David C. Gompert.

    Dec 2, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle

  • No Need to Expand U.S. Army

    Published commentary by RAND staff: No Need to Expand U.S. Army, in United Press International.

    Jan 26, 2007 United Press International

  • Stability in Iraq Won't Come Without Disbanding Militias

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Stability in Iraq Won't Come Without Disbanding Militias, in Christian Science Monitor.

    May 2, 2006 Christian Science Monitor

  • A Far too Costly Pentagon

    Published commentary by RAND staff: A Far too Costly Pentagon, in United Press International.

    Feb 27, 2006 United Press International

  • We Advance Our Cause

    Published commentary by RAND staff: We Advance Our Cause in Washington Post.

    Dec 11, 2005 Washington Post