Stephen Watts is a senior political scientist and associate director for the Defense and Political Sciences Department at the RAND Corporation. His research has focused on irregular warfare (insurgency and counter-insurgency, stability and peace operations), security sector assistance, coalition diplomacy, political development in the wake of civil wars, and long-term conflict trends.
Watts received his Ph.D. in government from Cornell University, where he was awarded the Esman Prize for best dissertation in government, and has held research fellowships at Harvard University's Belfer Center and the Brookings Institution. He is the lead author of nearly a dozen RAND studies and has published articles in such journals as The Washington Quarterly, Parameters, and Joint Force Quarterly.
Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Watts served as a foreign affairs officer responsible for peacekeeping planning for the Balkans in the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, where he was twice awarded a Superior Honor Award for his work. He has held short-term assignments at the State Department's Office of Policy Planning, U.S. Embassy Sarajevo, and Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command–Afghanistan.