Christopher Paul

Photo of Christopher Paul
Senior Social Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. in sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

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Christopher Paul is a senior social scientist at the RAND Corporation and professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He is also a member of the adjunct faculty in the Center for Economic Development in the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to joining RAND full-time in July 2002, Paul worked as an adjunct at RAND for six years and on the statistics faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2001–02. Paul has developed methodological competencies in comparative historical and case study approaches, evaluation research, various forms of quantitative analysis, and survey research. Paul received his Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School; Adjunct faculty, Center for Economic Development, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University

Recent Projects

  • Laying a Foundation for the Assessment of Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade
  • Developing a Framework for the Assessment of Locally Focused Stability Operations
  • Developing a Tool for Security Cooperation/Building Partner Capacity Prioritization
  • Correlates of Success in Counterinsurgency Since WWII
  • What Works Best When Building Partner Capacity and Under What Circumstances?

Selected Publications

Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, and Chad C. Serena, Mexico is Not Colombia: Alternative Historical Analogies for Responding to the Challenge of Violent Drug-Trafficking Organizations, RAND (RR-548/1), 2014

Christopher Paul et al., "Between Large-N And Small-N Analyses: Historical Comparison of Thirty Insurgency Case Studies," Historical Methods, 46(4):220-239, 2013

Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, Beth Grill, and Molly Dunigan, Paths to Victory: Lessons from Modern Insurgencies, RAND Corporation (RR-291/1), 2013

Christopher Paul, et al., What Works Best When Building Partner Capacity and Under What Circumstances?RAND (MG-1253/1), 2013

Christopher Paul, Strategic Communication: Origins, Concepts, and Current Debates, Praeger, 2011

Christopher Paul, "As a Fish Swims in the Sea: Relationships Between Factors Contributing to Support for Terrorist or Insurgent Groups," Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 33(6):388-410, 2010

Christopher Paul, "Strategic Communication is Vague: Say What You Mean," Joint Force Quarterly, (56):10-13, 2010

Christopher Paul, Information Operations - Doctrine and Practice: A Reference Handbook, Praeger, 2008

Honors & Awards

  • 2013 Fulbright Specialist to Massey University, New Zealand, US Department of State
  • 2013 Military Operations Research Journal Award, Military Operations Research Society
  • 2010 Merit Bonus Award, RAND

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Christian Science Monitor; Fox; Hartford Courant; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Stars and Stripes


  • Iraqi girls gesture peace signs after Iraqi security forces entered the town of Amerli, September 1, 2014

    Inciting Peace

    Malicious ideas, ideologies, and narratives (such as those promoted by ISIS) cannot just be eliminated — they need to be replaced.

    Mar 30, 2016 Foreign Policy Concepts

  • Members of Kurdish Peshmerga force stand guard at Sulaiman Pek front line, August 31, 2014. Iraqi security forces backed by Shi'ite militias on Sunday broke the two-month siege of Amerli by Islamic State militants.

    A Broad Approach to Countering the Islamic State

    Recent analysis about how to defeat the Islamic State tends to be based on no more than intuition, a general sense of history, or a small number of cases of questionable comparability. A study of 71 historical cases of counterinsurgencies should help provide empirical evidence to this important debate.

    Sep 2, 2014 The Washington Post Monkey Cage Blog

  • counterinsurgency mission in Afghanistan

    Paths to Victory in the Australian Defence and Security Context

    The historical importance of commitment and motivation and the need to overmatch insurgents suggest that Australia should weigh any commitment of support against existing conditions, those that can be changed and those that can't, writes Christopher Paul.

    Oct 2, 2013 The Strategist

  • History Favors More Time

    The Afghans will have better prospects for defeating their insurgency with continued improvement, of course, and the United States can contribute to that improvement while American forces remain, writes Christopher Paul.

    Apr 3, 2012

  • Find the Right Balance Between Civilian and Military: Don't Just Strip the DoD of Capabilities to Inform, Influence, and Persuade

    All parties would like to see greater U.S. capability to inform, influence, and persuade abroad, with the Department of State as the robust leader of American public diplomacy and the Department of Defense as a valued and supporting partner, writes Christopher Paul.

    Oct 31, 2010 MountainRunner Institute

  • Psychological Operations by Another Name Are Sweeter

    The Department of Defense has decided to change the name of military psychological operations (PSYOP) and this is a good thing, writes Christopher Paul.

    Jul 29, 2010 Small Wars Journal

  • Rethink Washington's 'War of Ideas'

    The term "Global War on Terror" is now out of favor in the government lexicon, and new drug czar Gil Kerlikowske wants to end the use of the phrase "War on Drugs." It's not that opposing terrorism or drugs is no longer important, or that operations will be substantially changed. But how we talk about things matters, writes Christopher Paul.

    Jun 2, 2009 The Christian Science Monitor

  • Ad Men for U.S. Defense

    Improving the U.S. military's brand identity demands more than just a catchy new slogan. While communications can help explain U.S. policies, the behavior of every soldier, sailor, airman and marine is what ultimately determines how civilians view U.S. forces, write Todd Helmus, Russell Glenn and Christopher Paul in a commentary appearing in United Press International.

    Aug 20, 2007 United Press International