Jennifer Kavanagh

jennifer kavanagh, jennifer kavanagh
Political Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in political science, University of Michigan; M.A. in political science, University of Michigan; B.A. in government, Harvard University

Media Resources

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Jennifer Kavanagh is a political scientist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research interests include defense strategy and planning, trends in international conflict, domestic and transnational terrorism, and the application of quantitative social science research methods to security studies questions.

In addition to her positions at RAND, Kavanagh is an adjunct professor at Georgetown and American University. While completing her Ph.D., she was a Department of Homeland Security Fellow from 2007 to 2010 and completed a research internship at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in 2008. She was also a research assistant in RAND from 2003 to 2006 where she worked on projects related to terrorism, military manpower, and defense planning.

Kavanagh graduated from Harvard University in 2003 with a B.A. in government and a minor in Russian language. She completed her Ph.D. in political science and public policy at University of Michigan in 2010. Her dissertation, "The Dynamics of Protracted Terror Campaigns: Domestic Politics, Terrorist Violence, Counterterror Responses," explores how domestic politics affects responsive violence in protracted terror-counterterror conflicts and was named the best dissertation in the public policy subfield in 2010 by the American Political Science Association.

Selected Publications

Jennifer Kavanagh, Are U.S. Military Interventions Contagious over Time?RAND (RR-192), 2013

Jennifer Kavanagh, "Selection, availability, and opportunity: The conditional effect of poverty on terrorist group participation," Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2011

Harrell, Margaret, Laura Castaneda, Bryan Hallmark, Peter Schirmer, Jennifer Kavanagh, Daniel Gershwin, and Paul Steinberg, Assessing the Assignment Policy for Army Women in Iraq, RAND Corporation (MG-590-1-OSD), 2007

James Hosek, Jennifer Kavanagh, and Laura Miller, How Deployments Affect Active Duty Service Members, RAND Corporation (MG-432), 2005

Jennifer Kavanagh, Stress and Performance: A Review of the Literature and its Applicability to the Military, RAND Corporation (TR-192-RC), 2005

Jennifer Kavanagh, Determinants of Productivity for Military Personnel: A review of findings on the contribution of experience, training, and aptitude to military performance, RAND Corporation (TR-193-OSD), 2004

Honors & Awards

  • Department of Homeland Security Fellowship, Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology
  • Best Dissertation in Public Policy Subfield, 2010, American Political Science Association