Jacqueline Gardner Burns

Jacqueline Gardner Burns
Senior Policy Analyst


Ph.D. Student in political science, University of California-Irvine; Master of Public Policy in international policy and development, Georgetown University; Bachelor of Arts in political science, Augsburg College


Jacqueline (Jackie) Burns is a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. Burns joined RAND after seven years leading policy initiatives in Africa as a strategy advisor with the U.S. Department of State. During this time, Burns focused on international conflict resolution and negotiations in Sudan and South Sudan, and was also detailed to the White House National Security Council where she served as the lead coordinator for the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative and the visit of four democratic African Heads of State. Previously, Burns spent over twelve years as an Intelligence Analyst with U.S. Air Force, deploying overseas on multiple occasions in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom and concluding her service in 2013 as a Master Sergeant and Superintendent of Intelligence Operations. Burns holds a Master of Public Policy in International Policy and Development from Georgetown University, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Augsburg College, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in political science at the University California - Irvine. Burns is interested in conflict and stabilization issues; the diversity, equity, and inclusion issue set with a focus on gender and security; international and national security questions; and defense and intelligence policy. Burns has a particular regional interest in Africa, but also has experience in the Middle East, Afghanistan, the Korean Peninsula, and South and Central America. She recently published a paper on sanctions relief in Sudan in International Politics. She is currently focused on researching gendered circuits of violence in Sudan.

Selected Publications

Åberg, John & Becker, Derick & Burns, Jacqueline, "The will to do good and the clash of practices: understanding Sudanese sanctions relief," International Politics , 2023


  • Warfare and Military Operations

    The Fight for Sudan Was Inevitable

    When conflict in Sudan did not end after the 2005 peace agreement, the international community fell into a familiar pattern of never-ending negotiations. But conflict resolution focused on agreements that split power between armed groups rarely leads to sustainable peace. The effects of such misbegotten efforts are plain to see.

    Apr 27, 2023

    New York Times

  • International Diplomacy

    Helping People Affected by Conflict: Q&A with Jacqueline Burns

    From the Air Force to Africa to RAND, Jacqueline Burns resolved to help people whose lives have been torn apart by conflict or disaster. As a senior policy analyst she wants to be a part of finding better solutions to the complex questions of peace and security.

    Dec 22, 2021