Sean Barnett is an adjunct engineer at RAND. He is a defense analyst, nuclear engineer, and attorney, with over 30 years of experience leading research in the fields of national security, energy, and law. At RAND, most of his work has involved military operational assessments and wargaming. Specific projects have concerned assessments of foreign SOF capabilities, analysis of the Russia-Ukraine war, development of the DoD Joint Warfighting Concept, potential conflicts with Russia, China, and North Korea (and North Korean nuclear weapon developments), Army artillery and aviation requirements, theater-level combat modeling, the Army personnel screening system, and Department of Homeland Security requirements development. Barnett has been involved with wargaming for many years and he leads and supports RAND’s wargame development efforts across multiple theaters and potential conflicts. Before coming to RAND, he was a research staff member at the Institute for Defense Analyses. There, he led research for the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security focused on strategic planning and risk management, military force structure and basing, strategic materials, defense against nuclear attack, and infrastructure protection. Before working at IDA, he practiced administrative law at the firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. He focused on nuclear energy regulation and facility licensing matters before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the federal courts. Barnett has over 70 professional publications, including several in peer-reviewed journals. He enjoys traveling, military history, and wargaming, and he's written short books of wargaming scenarios centered on the World War II battles of Villers-Bocage and Operation Epsom.


B.S. in nuclear engineering, Purdue University; Ph.D. in nuclear engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; J.D. in law, Georgetown University Law Center

Authored by D. Sean Barnett

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