Peter Chalk

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Adjunct Political Scientist
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Ph.D. in political science, University of British Columbia; M.A. in political studies and international relations, University of Aberdeen

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Peter Chalk is an adjunct political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He has analyzed such topics as unconventional security threats in Southeast and South Asia; new strategic challenges for the U.S. Air Force in Latin America, Africa, and South Asia; evolving trends in national and international terrorism; Australian defense and foreign policy; international organized crime; the transnational spread of disease; and U.S. military links in the Asia-Pacific region. He is a specialist correspondent for Jane's Intelligence Review and associate editor of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, one of the foremost journals in the international security field. Chalk has regularly testified before the U.S. Senate on issues pertaining to national and international terrorism and is author of numerous publications on various aspects of low-intensity conflict in the contemporary world. Chalk is also a senior instructor at the Postgraduate Naval School in Monterey, California, and a non-resident fellow with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra. Before coming to RAND, Chalk was a professor of politics at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, and a postdoctoral fellow in the Strategic and Defense Studies Centre of the Australian National University, Canberra. Chalk earned his M.A. (First Class) in political studies and international relations at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and his Ph.D. in political science at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Senior Instructor, Monterey Post Graduate Naval School; Non-resident Fellow, Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI); Specialist correspondent, Jane's Intelligence Review; Associate Editor, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism; Senior Analyst, Valens Global

Recent Projects

  • Countering transnational criminal networks
  • Countering violent extremism
  • U.S. Army in Asia: 2030-2040
  • Building Special Operations partnerships in Afghanistan and beyond

Selected Publications

Chalk, Peter "Terrorism in Southeast Asia: Evolving Scope and Dimensions," in Erich Marquardt ed., Terrorism in Southeast Asia: Evolving Scope and Dimensions, New York: West Point Military Academy, Counter Terrorism Center, 2018

Chalk, Peter "The Narcotics Trade and the Sea," in N Rodger ed. , The Sea in History. Volume 4: The Modern World, Rochester, NY: Boydell and Brewer, 2017

Chalk, Peter, The United States and the Rebalance to Southeast Asia: A Work in Progress, Canberra: ASPI, 2016

Chalk, Peter, Black Flag Rising: The Looming Threat of ISIL in Southeast Asia and Australia, Canberra: ASPI, 2015

Chalk, Peter, China's Relations with Southeast Asia, Written testimony prepared for the Senate US-China Economic and Security Review Committee, United States Senate, Washington D.C., 2015

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ABC (Australia); Asia News Weekly


  • Sudan's Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, head of Military Transitional Council, and the military's chief of staff Lieutenant General Kamal Abdul Murof Al-mahi shake hands after being sworn in as leaders of Military Transitional Council in Sudan in this still image taken from video on April 11, 2019, photo by Sudan TV/Reuters

    Can Sudan Escape Its History as a Transit Hub for Violent Extremist Organizations?

    Sudan continues to confront major challenges that could derail its path back to the mainstream of international politics. Sudan must show that it is no longer a haven for terrorist and violent extremist groups and that it is committed to ensuring that this remains true.

    Jul 24, 2020 Foreign Policy Research Institute

  • Muslims listen to a Turkish imam during Friday prayers at the Turkish Kuba Camii mosque in Cologne's district of Kalk, Germany, October 14, 2016

    Countering Violent Islamist Extremism: The Value of Words Over War

    It is highly probable that the world will witness more attacks on civilian-centric locations as groups like the Islamic State group try to prove their continued relevance. Governments need a more nuanced strategy aimed at helping communities counter the conditions that contribute to extremist violence.

    Sep 1, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • An AV-8B Harrier jet aircraft prepares to land aboard the USS Essex in the Philippine Sea

    China and America's Coming Battle for Southeast Asia

    Although China and the U.S. are both in a position to influence the process of ASEAN integration, ultimately it will be up to the Association itself to cement internal cohesion, achieve centrality, and thereby remain a relevant player in the emerging Asian order.

    Mar 17, 2015 The National Interest

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi hold a press conference after their meeting in Yangon, Myanmar, November 14, 2014

    Myanmar's Slow Path to Democracy

    The U.S. and its allies must act decisively and provide a strong foundation for Myanmar's long-term transformation. A failure to carefully guide the country's successful transition to a civilian rule would be a missed opportunity for the Obama administration and, more important, for Myanmar's 51 million citizens.

    Nov 17, 2014 al Jazeera

  • Some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion in an undated handout colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM)

    The Faceless National Security Threat

    The rapid, uncontrolled spread of aggressive diseases such as Ebola is often a matter of national security. U.S. intelligence professionals must establish relevant information collection and dissemination mechanisms to deal with such contingencies.

    Sep 10, 2014 U.S. News & World Report

  • Medical staff put on protective gear before taking a sample from a suspected Ebola patient in Kenema, Sierra Leone, July 10, 2014

    Six Takeaways from the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

    No amount of research can save those who've already perished from Ebola in West Africa, but our capacity to learn from such tragedies is a silver lining that has historically enhanced global resilience to disease. With that in mind, here are six key lessons from the outbreak.

    Aug 8, 2014 The RAND Blog

  • The U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama container ship docked at the Kenyan coastal sea port of Mombasa, April 12, 2009

    Somali Piracy All About Economics

    The average Somali lives on less than $2 a day. Even fishermen, who are comparatively well off by national standards, face difficulties making a living due to the chronic depletion of sea stocks from years of poaching and illegal dumping of toxic waste. Under such circumstances, the allure of piracy is clear.

    Oct 11, 2013 USA Today

  • Men travel in a boat across the Yangon river

    U.S. Sanctions Against Myanmar Need to Go

    Washington now has to ask itself whether its goals can best be met with these restrictions in place or whether it is time to recognize the fundamental changes that are taking place in Myanmar and forge a new relationship with its leaders based on full government-to-government relations, writes Peter Chalk.

    Oct 2, 2013 U.S. News & World Report

  • Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta passes and reviews members of the Indian military during an honors ceremony in Delhi, India

    America and India: Growing Partners in Afghanistan

    A comprehensive Indian military training effort in Afghanistan would balance Pakistan's own involvement in the country, build upon a decade of American achievements in fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and contribute to peace and security in the region, write Larry Hanauer and Peter Chalk.

    Aug 10, 2012 The Diplomat

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta meets with Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, in Delhi, India, June 5, 2012

    Strengthen the Bond

    In the long run, a more robust Indian military role in Afghanistan represents one of the best ways to advance New Delhi's strategic interests while fostering Kabul's continued security and economic development after US and NATO forces begin to withdraw in 2014, write Larry Hanauer and Peter Chalk.

    Jul 12, 2012 Hindustan Times

  • What Is the Terrorism Threat Now? The Local Level

    How should police and intelligence agencies deal with the specter of homegrown terrorism? One of the best tools available is intelligence gleaned from the local community, writes Peter Chalk.

    Mar 10, 2011

  • Stormy Seas off Somalia

    Only by addressing the poverty and lack of central authority in Somalia can the international community lower maritime crime and violence off the Horn of Africa, writes Peter Chalk.

    Feb 28, 2011 Los Angeles Times

  • An Old Scourge Needs a Modern Solution

    Piracy is a crime at sea, but it starts on land. To thwart the Somali piracy career path, the world community should put funds toward protecting local fishing grounds and building a national coast guard capability in Somalia, writes Peter Chalk.

    Sep 3, 2010 International Herald Tribune

  • Below the Radar

    The string of recent arrests involving American citizens in terror plots against the U.S. have highlighted what appears to be a trend in transnational Islamist terrorism: growing domestic radicalization, writes Peter Chalk.

    Mar 18, 2010

  • On Dry Land - The Onshore Drivers of Piracy

    Piracy is a growing international problem, primarily around the Horn of Africa. The international response has been largely military in nature and focused exclusively on the maritime theatre, ignoring key land drivers of piracy, which will resurface once the military actions end, write Peter Chalk and Laurence Smallman.

    Jul 3, 2009 Jane's Intelligence Review online

  • Opposing View: Keep Arms Off Ships

    Does the provision of private security contractors provide a viable solution to the growing problem of piracy off the Horn of Africa? Quite apart from the high cost — a robust security operation can run as much as $21,000 a day — employing security contractors poses problems on several fronts, writes Peter Chalk.

    May 4, 2009 USA Today

  • Piracy Still Threatens the Freedom of the Seas

    As recent events off the Horn of Africa have demonstrated, armed violence at sea is emerging as a growing threat.... Piracy, in particular, threatens the freedom of the seas, increases the cost of international business, endangers political security through corruption, and could trigger a major environmental disaster, write Peter Chalk, Laurence Smallman.

    Apr 3, 2009, the website of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

  • Piracy Needs Regional Answer

    The international community is at something of a loss as to how to respond to the increasingly audacious nature of piracy off the Horn of Africa.... What's needed is a less dramatic and more nuanced approach, one with a greater focus on the land-based violence in Somalia, home of the pirates, writes Peter Chalk.

    Nov 25, 2008 United Press International

  • Tighten Up Mass-Transit Security

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Tighten Up Mass-Transit Security, in Newsday.

    Aug 22, 2006 Newsday

  • Can We Learn from Others?

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Apr 15, 2004 Wall Street Journal

  • AIDS Can Threaten National Stability

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Sep 24, 2002 United Press International

  • Re-Thinking U.S. Counter-Terrorism Efforts

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Sep 21, 2001 San Diego Union Tribune

  • Pakistan's Role in the Kashmir Insurgency

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Sep 1, 2001 Jane's Intelligence Review

  • U.S. Environmental Groups and 'Leaderless Resistance'

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Jul 1, 2001 Jane's Intelligence Review

  • Africa Suffers Wave of Maritime Violence

    Southeast Asia and, especially Indonesia, continues to constitute the main area of concern when it comes to maritime piracy, typically accounting for over half the attacks reported in any given year. However, Africa is experiencing an increasingly serious problem, particularly around the Horn on the continent's east coast and the western stretch of waters from Guinea to Nigeria.

    Apr 1, 2001 Jane's Intelligence Review

  • Light Arms Trading in SE Asia

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Mar 1, 2001 Jane's Intelligence Review

  • The US Agricultural Sector: A New Target for Terrorism?

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Feb 9, 2001 Jane's Intelligence Review