Andrew Scobell

Photo of Andrew Scobell
Senior Political Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. in political science, Columbia University; B.A. in history, Whitman College; M.A. in Chinese Studies, University of Washington


Andrew Scobell is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. Prior to this he was an associate professor of international affairs at the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service (with tenure) and director of the China certificate program at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. From 1999 until 2007, he was associate research professor in the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College and adjunct professor of political science at Dickinson College, both located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Scobell is author of China's Use of Military Force: Beyond the Great Wall and the Long March (Cambridge University Press, 2003), China's Search for Security (Columbia University Press, forthcoming, 2012) with Andrew J. Nathan, more than a dozen monographs and reports, as well as several dozen journal articles and book chapters. He has also edited or co-edited twelve volumes on various aspects of security in the Asia-Pacific region. Scobell was born and raised in Hong Kong and regularly makes research trips to the region. He earned a doctorate in political science from Columbia University.

Research Focus

Selected Publications

Andrew Scobell, Sumit Ganguly, and Joseph Liow, The Handbook of Asian Security Studies, Routledge, 2010

Andrew Scobell, David Lai, and Roy Kamphausen, The PLA at Home and Abroad: Assessing the Operational Capabilities of China's Military, Strategic Studies Institute, 2010

Andrew Scobell, David Lai, and Roy Kamphausen, Beyond the Strait: PLA Missions Other Than Taiwan, Strategic Studies Institute, 2009

Andrew Scobell, Travis Tanner, and Roy Kamphausen, The 'People' in the PLA: Recruitment, Training and Education in China's Military, Strategic Studies Institute, 2008

Andrew Scobell and Roy Kamphausen, Right-Sizing the People's Liberation Army: Exploring the Contours of China's Military, Strategic Studies Institute, 2007

Andrew Scobell and Larry Wortzel, Shaping China's Security Environment: The Role of the People's Liberation Army, Strategic Studies Institute, 2006

Andrew Scobell, China's Use of Military Force: Beyond the Great Wall and the Long March, Columbia University Press, 2003


  • Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Boeing in Everett, Washington, September 23, 2015

    The U.S.-China Summit Is More Significant for Xi Jinping Than Obama

    The Xi-Obama summit will provide the opportunity to discuss contentious issues like cybersecurity and the South China Sea, as well as other issues, such as climate change and economic cooperation. For Xi, the visit underscores the tremendous importance of messaging to a Chinese audience the narrative of a continued stable and robust partnership with the country that matters most to China politically and economically.

    Sep 24, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) with North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong (R) in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, August 10, 2014

    China's North Korean Challenge

    China's North Korea policy seems to suffer from inertia and fear of upsetting the fragile status quo. The enduring goal is to defend Beijing's vital interests by all necessary means. These include preventing domestic insecurity and maintaining a stable buffer state at the gateway to China's political and economic heartland.

    Apr 3, 2015 Lawfare

  • April 30th Conference on Chinese Strategic Thinking

    Experts, Scholars Evaluate Chinese Strategic Thinking

    On April 30, experts, scholars, and government analysts gathered at RAND Corporation offices in Arlington, Va., to evaluate changing Chinese strategic thinking on threat perceptions, doctrine, and strategic concepts for employing military power to advance national goals.

    May 12, 2014

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a ceremony of awarding party and state commendations to the exemplary officials, captains and fishermen in fisheries of the Korean People's Army

    A Death in the Family

    The ruthless purge of 67-year-old Jang Sung Taek appears to be the culmination of a power struggle that makes 30 year-old Kim Jong Un the undisputed supreme leader of North Korea.

    Jan 22, 2014 U.S. News & World Report

  • ROK guards in the DMZ

    A Delicate Deterrence Dance with North Korea

    How does Washington signal tenacity to a pugnacious Pyongyang and demonstrate resolve to a jittery Seoul, all without inadvertently triggering an escalatory spiral?

    Apr 11, 2013 U.S. News & World Report

  • The Bund, Shanghai, China

    Confronting a Rising China Begins at Home

    As long as the United States holds tight to its values and solves its problems at home, it will be able to manage the rise of China, write Andrew Scobell and Andrew J. Nathan.

    Oct 18, 2012

  • Beijing street scene

    How China Sees America

    Just as Americans wonder whether China's rise is good for U.S. interests or represents a looming threat, Chinese policymakers puzzle over whether the United States intends to use its power to help or hurt China, write Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell.

    Sep 4, 2012 Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2012