Patrick B. Johnston

Photo of Patrick Johnston
Political Scientist
Pittsburgh Office

Education

Ph.D. in political science, Northwestern University

Overview

Patrick Johnston is an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He specializes in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, with a particular focus on Afghanistan and the Philippines. His articles have been published or are forthcoming in a range of peer-reviewed journals, including American Economic Review, International Security, Security Studies, and Civil Wars. Before coming to RAND, Johnston was a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, Stanford University, and the United States Institute of Peace. He completed his Ph.D. in Political Science at Northwestern University in 2009.

Selected Publications

Benjamin W. Bahney, Radha K. Iyengar, Patrick B. Johnston, Danielle F. Jung, Jacob N. Shapiro, Howard J. Shatz, "Insurgent Compensation: Evidence from Iraq," American Economic Review, 103(3):518-522, 2013

Patrick B. Johnston, "Does Decapitation Work? Assessing the Effectiveness of Leadership Targeting in Counterinsurgency Campaigns," International Security, 36(4):47-79, 2012

Benjamin Crost and Patrick Johnston, "Aid Under Fire: Development Projects and Civil Conflict," Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Discussion Paper 2010-18, 2010

Patrick Johnston, "The Geography of Insurgent Organization and Its Consequences for Civil Wars: Evidence from Liberia and Sierra Leone," Security Studies, 17(1):107-137, 2008

Patrick Johnston, "Negotiated Settlements and Government Strategy in Civil Wars: Evidence from Darfur," Civil Wars, 9(4):359-377, 2007

Commentary

  • Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in Mosul, Iraq, June 11, 2014

    Obama's Iraq Dilemma

    On the surface, President Obama faces a classic foreign policy dilemma: The Iraqis are asking for U.S. military assistance to halt ISIS's dangerous offensive, but Obama has long promised the American people that he would withdraw the U.S. military from involvement in Iraq.

    Jun 17, 2014 | U.S. News & World Report

  • As seen through a night-vision device, U.S. Army soldiers move through grasses to an overwatch position in Sabari, Khowst province, Afghanistan

    New 'Rule Book' to Set Parameters for Targeted Killings

    A constrictive rule book against direct-action counterterrorism techniques could be in tension with operational realities. But it would go some way toward establishing the legal and ethical framework under which such difficult decisions are made, writes Patrick Johnston.

    Dec 5, 2012 | The Orange County Register

  • A U.S. Army soldier aims his M4 carbine over a wall in Char Shaka, Kandahar province, Afghanistan

    Do Targeted Killings Work?

    When terrorists are afraid to poke their heads above ground, it becomes exceedingly difficult for them to communicate, coordinate, and conduct attacks—especially sophisticated ones like 9/11, writes Patrick B. Johnston.

    Sep 27, 2012 | Council on Foreign Relations

  • Drone recovery demonstration

    Drone Strikes Keep Pressure on al-Qaida

    Recently declassified correspondence seized in the bin Laden raid shows that the relentless pressure from the drone campaign on al-Qaida in Pakistan led bin Laden to advise al-Qaida operatives to leave Pakistan's Tribal Areas as no longer safe, writes Patrick B. Johnston.

    Aug 22, 2012 | The Providence Journal

Publications