James Black is assistant director of the Defence and Security research group at RAND Europe. In addition to group management responsibilities, he leads the Defence Strategy, Policy and Capability research portfolio. He also serves as European Lead for the RAND Space Enterprise Initiative, a global hub for RAND's space-related research, and advises the Centre for Defence Economics and Acquisition. Beyond RAND, he is a non-resident NATO 2030 Fellow.
Black's research focuses on strategy, policy and decision making amidst uncertainty, complexity and rapid change. He has led a wide range of studies for the UK MOD (DCDC, Dstl, DE&S, SONAC, Strategic Command, Army, Navy and RAF), EU, NATO and the Australian, Finnish, Norwegian and U.S. defence agencies. He is also actively involved in wargaming, including as lead designer of strategic exercises at the Royal College of Defence Studies.
Research interests include the future of UK, NATO/EU and European defence; strategy and geopolitics; force development and acquisition; defence innovation and industry; horizon scanning; the impact of new technologies (e.g. autonomy, AI/ML, space); and emerging transnational security issues (e.g., Arctic security). His research has been featured in BBC News, Financial Times, Politico, Reuters and others, as well as academic journals, and he has briefed the UK Defence and Foreign Affairs Select Committees and a U.S. congressional commission.
Prior to RAND, Black worked in Parliament. He holds a double M.A.-M.Sc. in international security from Sciences Po and the LSE and a B.A. Hons in history from the University of Cambridge.