Olga Oliker

Photo of Olga Oliker
Associate Director, International Security & Defense Policy Center; Senior International Policy Analyst
Washington Office

Education

M.P.P., John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; B.A. in international studies, Emory 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 media@rand.org.

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Overview

Olga Oliker is associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center and a senior international policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. Oliker's areas of expertise include international relations, national security policy, and security sector reform in the conflict, post-conflict, transition, and development contexts as well as U.S. and international efforts to advance reform in countries in transition. Her research examines these issues in relation to Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries. Before coming to RAND in 1999, Oliker worked as an independent consultant and held positions in the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy. Oliker received her B.A. in international studies from Emory University and her M.P.P. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Recent Projects

  • Current and historical development of Afghanistan's national security forces
  • Russian foreign policy and deterrence strategy
  • Iraq's migration crisis

Selected Publications

Olga Oliker, Building Afghanistan's Security Forces in Wartime: The Soviet Experience, RAND Corporation (MG-1078), 2011

James T. Quinlivan, Olga Oliker, Nuclear Deterrence in Europe: Russian Approaches to a New Environment and Implications for the United States, RAND Corporation (MG-1075), 2011

Olga Oliker, Audra Grant, Dalia Dassa Kaye, The Impact of U.S. Military Drawdown in Iraq on Displaced and Other Vulnerable Populations, RAND Corporation (OP-272), 2010

Olga Oliker, et al, Russian Foreign Policy: Sources and Implications, RAND Corporation (MG-768), 2009

David C. Gompert, Olga Oliker, Brooke Stearns Lawson, Keith Crane, K. Jack Riley, Making Liberia Safe: Transformation of the National Security Sector, RAND Corporation (MG-529), 2007

Olga Oliker et al., U.S. Policy Options for Iraq: A Reassessment, RAND Corporation (MG-613), 2007

Olga Oliker and David Shlapak, U.S. Interests in Central Asia: Policy Priorities and Military Roles, RAND Corporation (MG-338), 2005

Olga Oliker, et al., Aid During Conflict: Interaction Between Military and Civilian Assistance Providers in Afghanistan, September 2001-June 2002, RAND Corporation (MG-212), 2004

Languages

Russian

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Bloomberg News; Business Week; CNN; Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service; NPR; Voice of America; Washington Times

Commentary: Baltimore Sun; Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service

Commentary

  • A soldier stands guard near a tank position close to the Russian border near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv

    No Easy Answers for Ukraine

    What Russia seeks from its adventure is status, importance and free reign in its neighborhood, for a start. If sanctions and other responses are short-lived, Moscow will feel victorious, and possibly emboldened to future aggression.

    Mar 26, 2014 | U.S. News & World Report

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting

    Does Putin Want a New Cold War?

    Ultimately, the door to improved relations, following the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine, should be left open. No iron curtain should be allowed to settle over Europe.

    Mar 5, 2014 | CNN

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video conference in Moscow's Kremlin December 23, 2013

    Russia-U.S. Relations, 2013

    As Russia continues to define its interests globally, including in the Middle East and in Asia, we can all be on the watch for new opportunities for both coordination and conflict between Moscow and Washington.

    Jan 7, 2014 | Voice of America Russian Service

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin in a televised news conference in Moscow

    Putin's Pardons

    Few, if any, think that the amnesties just announced are a sea change in Russian domestic policy. Some speculate that they are an effort to dampen criticism of Russian human rights abuses, especially the anti-gay law, as Russia gears up for the Sochi Olympics this February.

    Dec 23, 2013 | The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Ukrainian pro-EU demonstrators wave EU and Ukraine flags at a barricade in Independence Square in Kiev, December 18, 2013

    Ukraine's Murky Future

    While some see Ukraine choosing between European-style democracy and economic, political, and cultural backwardness in Russia's shadow, the fact is that Ukraine faces a difficult and murky path in any direction. The country is in dire financial straits, needing billions in loans to avoid bankruptcy.

    Dec 19, 2013 | U.S. News & World Report

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin welcomes U.S. President Barack Obama before the first working session of the G20 Summit on September 5, 2013

    The Road on from Damascus: What the Syria Deal Means for the U.S. and Russia

    The deal the United States and Russia struck to get rid of Syria's chemical weaponry is neither a sign of a sea change in relations nor a victory for one party over the other, writes Olga Oliker. It is, however, something of a testament to diplomacy on both sides.

    Sep 23, 2013 | The RAND Blog

  • A photo of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo, Syria.

    RAND Experts Q&A on Syria

    There are increasing reports suggesting that President Obama will soon take military action against the Syrian government, perhaps targeting its chemical weapons facilities. Several RAND experts spoke with us about the latest developments.

    Aug 30, 2013

  • Putin speaking at a World Economic Forum

    America's Russia Policy Makes Sense

    Are U.S. officials deluded about the prospects for cooperation with a country that is fundamentally determined to undermine its goals? No, writes Olga Oliker. In fact, they are pursuing a rational approach towards a state that shares U.S. interests in some key areas, even as it fundamentally disagrees in others.

    Jul 22, 2013 | CNN

  • police officers gathered after the Boston Marathon bombings

    Searching for Clues on the Brothers Tsarnaev

    One doesn't need a clear link to a global terror group to carry out an attack; one needs only the resources, the means and an Internet connection. But the global nature of these communities and their online links also create openings police can exploit.

    May 6, 2013 | Chicago Tribune

  • Vladimir Putin

    Russian Nuclear Exercises Display Putin's Misguided Priorities

    By ignoring the country's real needs in favor of prestige-focused military spending Putin seems to run the risk of exacerbating public discontent rather than reassuring Russians of their global importance, writes Olga Oliker.

    Oct 31, 2012 | RAND.org

  • Police training in northern Afghanistan

    What the Soviets Can Teach Us About Leaving Afghanistan

    Afghanistan will fail if it does not have a central government with enough strength, support, and willpower to maintain control of the bulk of its forces, writes Olga Oliker.

    Oct 18, 2012 | U.S. News & World Report

  • Free Pussy Riot demonstration in Berlin

    What Pussy Riot Teaches Us

    The global attention drawn by Pussy Riot shows what is possible in an interconnected world, writes Olga Oliker. Opposition movements in Russia and elsewhere may take note and think about how to better harness such possibilities in the future.

    Aug 20, 2012 | CNN

  • Four Years on, Hard Feelings Linger Between Russia and Georgia

    A normalized Georgia-Russia relationship remains in Georgia's, Russia's, and America's interest. Going forward, the U.S. can play a role by calibrating its own interaction with both states to promote improved relations between them, and avoid exacerbating tensions, writes Olga Oliker.

    Aug 9, 2012 | RAND.org and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Building an Afghanistan Security Force: What the US Experience in Iraq (and the Soviet Experience in Afghanistan) Can Teach Us

    Olga Oliker's July 18, 2012 testimony to the House Armed Services Committee on building an Afghanistan security force.

    Jul 18, 2012

  • Will Anything Change After This Weekend's Russian Election?

    Although any reports of election irregularity will provide new impetus to opposition movements, even without them there is a growing tide of frustration with a system that repeatedly yields elections without real voter choice, writes Olga Oliker.

    Mar 3, 2012 | Business Insider

  • This May Be a Key Year, but Alas Not a Decisive One

    As observers laud the new START treaty for bringing back a framework that will make substantial U.S. and Russian nuclear reductions possible, they must recognise that lowering numbers is not the same as stripping nuclear weapons of their values, writes Olga Oliker.

    Aug 1, 2010 | Europe's World

  • Kosovo and South Ossetia More Different Than Similar

    The Russian government has long highlighted the similarities between Kosovo and South Ossetia.... The two situations, however, while similar on some points, are fundamentally different where it matters: in their implications for the future of international relations, writes Olga Oliker.

    Aug 25, 2008 | RFERL.org, the website of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

  • Make Room for Refugees

    Today, tens of thousands of Iraqis are in grave danger, targeted because they have worked with the United States. Many have been murdered. Others have fled their homes because of attacks or threats… Many want to come to America, and we should welcome them, writes Olga Oliker.

    Dec 16, 2007 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • No Law and No Order

    Published commentary by RAND staff: No Law and No Order, in Parliamentary Brief.

    Dec 2, 2006 | Parliamentary Brief

  • Why America Shouldn't Sever Uzbekistan Ties

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Why America Shouldn't Sever Uzbekistan Ties, appearing in Balitmore Sun.

    Sep 6, 2005 | Baltimore Sun

  • Iraqi Security Forces: Numbers and Needs

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Oct 20, 2004 | Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service

Publications

Multimedia