Rachel M. Swanger

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Associate Dean, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


M.A. in Japanese studies and international economics, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; B.A. in history, The College of Wooster

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Rachel M. Swanger is associate dean at the Pardee RAND Graduate School (PRGS). Prior to this, she served as assistant dean at PRGS (2004–2007), manager of foundation and independent research within the RAND National Security Research Division (2001–2007), and acting director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy (1997–2001).

Swanger contributed to RAND's series on nation-building, with chapters on Japan in America's Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq (James Dobbins et al., 2003) and on the role of health-sector reform in Securing Health: Lessons from Nation-Building Operations (Seth G. Jones et al., 2006).

Prior to joining RAND, she was Tokyo Program Director for Close Up, a nonprofit foundation at which she managed the U.S.-Japan Educational Initiative, a civic education exchange program for Japanese and American high school social studies and government teachers. From 1987 to 1992, she worked as a features and political reporter for the Sankei Shimbum in Tokyo, where she had the distinction of being the first non-Japanese ever admitted to the Prime Minister's Press Club. She has written numerous articles on Japanese politics, political culture, and foreign policy for such publications as the Sankei Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Asahi Evening News, Tokyo Journal, Bungei Shunju, and Japan Update.

Swanger received her B.A. in history from The College of Wooster and her M.A. in Japanese studies and international economics from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

Research Focus

Previous Positions

Program Director, U.S.-Japan Educational Initiative, Close Up Foundation, Tokyo, Japan; Political and Features reporter, Sankei Shimbum, Tokyo, Japan

Recent Projects

  • U.S. alliances in Asia
  • Energy and foreign policy in Japan

Selected Publications

Seth G. Jones et al., Securing Health: Lessons from Nation-Building Missions, RAND Corporation (MG-321), 2006

John E. Peters et al., War and Escalation in South Asia, RAND Corporation (MG-367-1), 2006

James Dobbins et al., America's Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq, RAND Corporation (MR-1753), 2003

Michael D. Swaine et al., Japan and Ballistic Missile Defense, RAND Corporation (MR-1374), 2001

Silvia Montoya and Rachel Swanger, "Ideas for Policymakers: Enhancing the Impact of Think Tanks," Policy Insight, 1(2)




  • Senior couple on a park bench looking at a tablet

    Aging in Asia: Can the 'Tigers' Continue to Roar?

    Changing demographics will force Japan and the “Asian Tigers” — Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan — to find ways to remain economically dynamic while increasingly looking after their elderly. How might public policy help accomplish this?

    Jun 16, 2015 The RAND Blog