James Black

Photo of James Black
Senior Analyst
Cambridge Office

Education

M.Sc./M.A. in international relations and international security, London School of Economics and Sciences Po Paris; B.A. (Hons) in history, University of Cambridge

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact RAND Europe Media Relations at +44 (1223) 353 329, x2560, or email europeanmedia@rand.org.

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Overview

James Black is a senior analyst in the Defence, Security and Infrastructure (DSI) programme at RAND Europe. His work focuses on defence, geopolitical and strategic decisionmaking in the context of deep uncertainty, including the impact of emerging technologies on society and military operations.

He has managed a wide range of quantitative and qualitative studies, primarily for the UK Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces (DCDC, Dstl, DE&S, Army, Navy and RAF), European Defence Agency, NATO and the Australian and US DODs. He is also heavily involved in RAND Europe’s wargaming workstream, including work designing the strategic exercise component of the Senior Course at the Royal College of Defence Studies, and other exercises at the NATO Defence College and elsewhere.

Research topics of interest include the future of UK, EU, NATO and European defence (especially after Brexit); defence strategy and geopolitics; force development and acquisition; defence innovation and industrial base issues; horizon-scanning; the impact of new technologies (e.g. autonomy, AI/ML, cyber, space); and emerging transnational security issues (e.g., Arctic and Mediterranean security). His research has been featured in BBC News, the Financial Times, Politico, Reuters and other outlets, as well as academic journals (e.g., Survival) and he has presented oral evidence to the UK Defence Select Committee.

Prior to joining RAND, Black worked in the UK Parliament. He graduated summa cum laude with a double M.A.-M.Sc. in international security from Sciences Po and the LSE. He also holds a B.A. Hons in history from the University of Cambridge.

Recent Projects

  • Strategic Analysis for UK Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC)
  • Support to Development of Future UK Combat Air Strategy to 2040+
  • Horizon Scanning Emerging Technologies for Defence and Security
  • Wargaming for Royal College of Defence Studies
  • Support to Development of EU Capability Development Plan (CDP) to 2035+

Honors & Awards

  • RAND Europe President's Award

Commentary

  • British Royal Marine commandos participate in a hostile scenario during exercise at Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, April 12, 2012, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class April D. Adams/U.S. Navy

    A Ruling from the Hague Threatens a U.S. and British Military Base in Asia

    A remote and obscure tropical atoll in the Indian Ocean would seem an unlikely stage for the latest act of the United Kingdom's unfolding Brexit drama and the newest challenge to U.S. global power projection. But a nonbinding verdict in The Hague calls into question the legitimacy of the UK's administration and the major U.S. military presence on the islands' largest atoll, Diego Garcia.

    Apr 1, 2019 The National Interest

  • London skyline with overlay of the UK and EU flags

    'Zero-sum' Approach to Defence and Security During Brexit Negotiations Risks a Less Secure UK and EU

    It is in the interest of neither the UK nor the EU to have a 'zero sum' approach to defense and security during Brexit negotiations. Both sides have plenty to lose if it turns into a 'messy divorce.'

    Apr 4, 2018 UK Ministry of Defence's 2018 Defence Suppliers Guidebook

  • A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018

    Our Reliance on Space Tech Means We Should Prepare for the Worst

    Space-enabled connectivity, technology, and services support a diverse array of political, military and economic activities, many of which modern life on Earth relies upon and which the public often takes for granted. How prepared is global society to deal with the growing reliance on this technology and to mitigate associated risks?

    Mar 12, 2018 Defense News

  • A French gendarme stands guard near a line of lorries as migrants wait in bushes in the hopes of boarding a truck to make their way across the Channel to Britain, near Calais, France, Janaury 21, 2016

    Is Macron Set to 'Take Back Control' of UK-France Border After Brexit?

    As French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in London for the 35th UK-France Summit, there is growing French discomfort with arrangements at the UK-France border. The UK's decision to leave the European Union has added new urgency to this already fraught debate.

    Jan 17, 2018 Prospect Magazine

  • The new Smart concept autonomous car Vision EQ fortwo model is presented during the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany, September 12, 2017

    Autonomous Vehicles: Terrorist Threat or Security Opportunity?

    Terrorist groups that track developments in technology could be considering using self-driving cars in place of suicide bombers or for ramming attacks. But autonomous vehicle capabilities offer a range of potential benefits to law enforcement and security operations, too.

    Jan 3, 2018 The Cipher Brief

  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May meeting with Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster and others inside 10 Downing Street, London, June 26, 2017

    Northern Ireland Is Now at the Forefront of Brexit

    After Prime Minister Theresa May's unexpected failure to win a majority in June's snap election, she is now reliant on Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to shore up a minority Conservative government. As Brexit negotiations begin, European politicians should refresh their knowledge of Northern Irish politics.

    Jun 29, 2017 HuffPost UK

  • Gibraltar profile with Euro flag

    This Latest Gibraltar Dispute Is a Sign of Things to Come

    In many ways, Gibraltar is the first Brexit issue where both the UK and EU find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. How this diplomatic problem is resolved now could help set the tone for Brexit negotiations during the next two years.

    Apr 5, 2017 Prospect Magazine

  • Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands

    How Will Defence and Security Be Affected by Brexit?

    Trade and migration issues have dominated Brexit discussions. But the UK's decision to leave the EU also creates challenges for security, deepening uncertainty at a time when little certainty exists.

    Mar 16, 2017 Prospect Magazine

Publications