David Ronfeldt

Adjunct Research Staff
Off Site Office


B.A. in international relations, Pomona College; M.A. in Latin American studies, Stanford University; Ph.D. in political science, Stanford University


David Ronfeldt is an adjunct researcher at the RAND Corporation.

Recent Projects

  • Development of a framework about the long-range evolution of societies, based on their capacity to use and combine four major forms of organization: tribes, hierarchical institutions, markets, and networks
  • Development of a framework for analyzing people's mind-sets and cultural cosmologies in terms of basic beliefs about the nature of social space, social time, and social action

Selected Publications

David Ronfeldt, In Search of How Societies Work: Tribes -- the First and Forever Form, RAND Corporation (WR-433), 2007

John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy, RAND Corporation (MR-1382), 2001

John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, Swarming and the Future of Conflict, RAND Corporation (DB-311), 2000

John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward An American Information Strategy, RAND Corporation (MR-1033), 1999

John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, In Athena's Camp: Preparing for Conflict in the Information Age, RAND Corporation (MR-880), 1997

David Ronfeldt, Tribes, Institutions, Markets, Networks: A Framework About Societal Evolution, RAND Corporation (P-7967), 1996

David Ronfeldt, Beware the Hubris-Nemesis Complex: A Concept for Leadership Analysis, RAND Corporation (MR-461), 1994

David Ronfeldt, Cyberocracy Is Coming, RAND Corporation (RP-222), 1992


  • The Real Analogy for Iraq

    The conflict raging in Iraq has been compared to many earlier wars, but the best historical comparison has been largely overlooked, write John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt in a commentary appearing in United Press International.

    Aug 24, 2007 United Press International

  • Today's Wars Are Less About Ideas Than Extreme Tribalism

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Today's Wars Are Less About Ideas Than Extreme Tribalism, in Christian Science Monitor.

    Mar 27, 2006 Christian Science Monitor

  • Social Studies: 21st Century Tribes

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Dec 12, 2004 Los Angeles Times

  • Swarming -- The Next Face of Battle

    Technological advances often give rise to new types of weapons, but the achievement of lasting breakthroughs in fighting power requires organizational and doctrinal innovation as we.

    Sep 29, 2003 Aviation Week & Space Technology

  • Mussolini's Ghost

    commentaries by RAND Staff: insightful commentaries on current events, published in newspapers, magazines and journals worldwide.

    May 25, 2003 Los Angeles Times

  • A Balance of Mom, Apple Pie and Grand Strategy

    Baseball, the least military of team sports, is the most highly attuned to reflecting the classic dilemma of grand strategy.

    Oct 27, 2000 Los Angeles Times