Paul D. Miller

Photo of Paul Miller
Political Scientist
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in government, Georgetown University


Paul D. Miller is a political scientist in the National Security Research Division at the RAND Corporation. He served as Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan on the National Security Council staff from 2007 through September 2009. Prior to joining RAND, Miller was an assistant professor at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., at which he developed and directed the College of International Security Affairs' South and Central Asia Program. He also worked as an analyst in the Central Intelligence Agency's Office of South Asian Analysis, and served in Afghanistan as a military intelligence officer with the U.S. Army.

Miller holds a Ph.D. in international relations and a B.A. in government from Georgetown University, and a master's in public policy from Harvard University. He is the author of Armed State Building (Cornell University Press, 2013), a study of the causes of success and failure in reconstruction and stabilization operations. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Survival, The National Interest, Studies in Intelligence, and elsewhere. Miller is a member of the American Political Science Association, the International Studies Association, the Council on Foreign Relations (Term Member) and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Adjunct Professor of International Security Affairs, National Defense University

Selected Publications

Paul D. Miller, Armed State Building, Cornell University Press, 2013 (forthcoming)

Paul D. Miller, "Afghanistan, Justice, and War," First Things, (230):39-44, 2013

Paul D. Miller, "After 2014: the U.S. in Afghanistan After Transition," Survival, 55(1):87-101, 2013

Paul D. Miller, "Organizing the National Security Council: I Like Ike's," Presidential Studies Quarterly, 43(3), 2013

Paul D. Miller, "American Grand Strategy and the Democratic Peace," Survival, 54(2):49-76, 2012

Paul D. Miller, "Five Pillars of U.S. Grand Strategy," Survival, 54(5):7-44, 2012

Paul D. Miller, "How to Exercise U.S. Leverage Over Pakistan," Washington Quarterly, 35(4):37-52, 2012

Paul D. Miller, "Finish the Job: How the War in Afghanistan Can Still Be Won," Foreign Affairs, 90(1):51-65, 2011


  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office

    The Foreign Policy Essay: Evangelicals, Israel, and U.S. Foreign Policy

    The religiously grounded pro-Israel viewpoint distorts American policy towards Israel with an unhelpful inflexibility and exaggerates the political importance of the country (indeed, the whole region) to the United States, says Paul Miller.

    Mar 19, 2014 Lawfare

  • Retiring U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at his farewell ceremony on June 30, 2011

    Gates Unhinged

    In former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' new memoir, criticisms of the bureaucracy raise questions about the manageability of the American military establishment—indeed, of the American government. An individual human being can effectively manage only so many relationships at once.

    Mar 14, 2014 Christianity Today

  • Uniformed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, near a Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye

    I Predicted Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

    The Russian military intervention caught many foreign policy analysts by surprise. Articles explaining why Russia wouldn't intervene ran in Foreign Affairs, Time, and the New York Times; and even the intelligence community was caught off guard. Events have proven them wrong.

    Mar 10, 2014 Foreign Policy

  • Pararescuemen secure the area after being lowered from an HH-60 Pave Hawk during a mission in Afghanistan

    Parsing Steve Walt's 'Top 10 Mistakes' About Afghanistan

    Paul Miller takes issue with four of Steve Walt's 10 points in his latest essay that lists President Obama's withdrawal deadline as one of the top 10 biggest mistakes in the war in Afghanistan.

    Feb 10, 2014 Foreign Policy

  • Chinese marine surveillance ship sails near Japan Coast Guard vessels and a Japanese fishing boat in front of one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China

    China, the United States, and Great Power Diplomacy

    The United States doesn't care about a few islands half a world away, but it should care about how China throws its weight around, how it relates to its neighbors, and what it thinks it can get away with.

    Dec 27, 2013 Foreign Policy

  • A soldier watches the sun rise after spending the night on a night observation post

    Afghanistan After the Drawdown

    It is relatively easy to criticize what's going wrong in Afghanistan. It is much harder to propose a realistic way forward. Seth Jones and Keith Crane in a new report, “Afghanistan After the Drawdown,” suggest a calibrated political and military approach that protects U.S. interests at a realistic level of manpower and investment.

    Dec 6, 2013 Foreign Policy

  • a security forces operation in Logar province, Afghanistan

    The Missing Option for Afghanistan: A Response to Steve Biddle

    We don't have to settle for a choice between losing and losing expensively, writes Paul Miller. We can choose to sustain our commitment to the Afghans and secure our vital interests in South Asia. There is thus a heavy burden on the president to make a politically risky move against popular opinion.

    Nov 5, 2013 Foreign Policy

  • Free Syrian Army fighters aim their weapons during clashes with forces loyal to Assad

    Punishing the Wicked in Syria

    The international community has once again defined a global standard of “the wicked” against whom sovereign states have a duty to fight, writes Paul D. Miller. Instead of pirates and cannibals, it is war criminals and genocidaires. This appears to be the implicit argument for military action against Syria.

    Sep 10, 2013

  • Reframing the Policy Discussion on Intervention

    “Intervention” is not a useful organizing concept for a foreign policy. Foreign policy must encompass a vast range of ideas and issues — from great-power rivalry to international trade, transnational terrorism, environmental treaties, and more — that are not related in any way to intervention.

    Jun 13, 2013 Foreign Policy

  • U.S. Army soldier pulls security as coalition forces search Ala Say Valley, Afghanistan

    The War on Terror Must End — but Not Yet

    While unending war is clearly bad for a republic and dangerous to U.S. security, the trickier task is defining the conditions that, when met, tell us that the war against al Qaeda is over, writes Paul Miller.

    May 31, 2013 Foreign Policy