Christian Curriden

Photo of Christian Curriden
Defense Analyst
Washington Office


M.A. in social science, University of Chicago; B.A. in history, Brigham Young University


Christian Curriden is a defense analyst at the RAND Corporation. His work at RAND has mostly focused on Chinese and Korean issues, especially PLA research and development, as well as artificial intelligence applications in the PLA. His research has also touched on proxy wars, the Chinese science and technology environment, and Chinese military interventions abroad. Outside of RAND, Christian has conducted research and published or presented papers on Chinese space capabilities and Chinese soft power in Hollywood. 

Before joining RAND, he completed his MA at the University of Chicago, where his thesis used deterrence theory and trade data to explore the reasons China could not coerce North Korea. Curriden's extensive experience working and studying in China has included the completion of the State Department Critical Language Scholarship, conducting research on Chinese public opinion of North Korea at Nanjing University, and writing market reports for Fortune 500 companies at North Head, a consulting firm in Beijing. He has also conducted both primary and secondary source research in Korean on Northeast Asian diplomacy and lived in South Korea for two years as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Recent Projects

  • Military Applications of Artificial Intelligence

Selected Publications

"Military Artificial Intelligence in China," in Forrest E. Morgan, Benjamin Boudreaux, Andrew J. Lohn, Mark Ashby, Christian Curriden, Kelly Klima, Derek Grossman, Military Applications of Artificial Intelligence, The RAND Corporation (RR-RR-3139-1-AF)


Chinese; Korean


  • A typical communist style statue in the capital city of North Korea, photo by alexkuehni/Getty Images

    Searching for Signs of Doi Moi in North Korea

    President Trump's second summit with Kim Jong Un prompted voluminous commentary about whether Pyongyang might adopt the “Vietnam model” of economic reform and opening up, known as doi moi. Some version of doi moi is not impossible in North Korea, but it will likely be more difficult than it was in Vietnam and made all the more so by Kim's reluctance to risk losing absolute control.

    Aug 12, 2019 38 North


  • Report

    Implementing China's Grand Strategy in Asia Through Institutions: An Exploratory Analysis

    In this report, the authors review the literature on China's grand strategy and discuss China's use of institutions in implementing its grand strategy toward Asian nations of interest to China, including the countries of the Korean Peninsula.

    Nov 29, 2021

  • Army personnel from the U.S. and China participate in expert academic dialogue during the U.S.-China Disaster Management Exchange, in Kunming, China, November 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Behlin/U.S. Army


    Stabilizing Great-Power Rivalries

    Leveraging theory and historical cases, the authors identify the factors that keep great-power rivalries stable and those that lead to conflictual outcomes and use that framework to assess the current U.S.-Russia and U.S.-China competitions.

    Nov 29, 2021

  • Russian soldiers man a checkpoint near the Georgian village of Kekhvi in breakaway South Ossetia, August 21, 2008, photo by Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters


    Anticipating Adversary Military Interventions

    The authors explore where, how, and how often U.S. adversaries (specifically, Russia, China, and Iran) have intervened militarily since 1946 and identify why these adversaries initiated military interventions and why they might do so in the future.

    Sep 27, 2021

  • Report

    China's Military Interventions: Patterns, Drivers, and Signposts

    China has undertaken two broad types of military interventions in its post-1949 history. The authors assess which one of two patterns is likely to predominate in China's future and on what factors the answer to this question is likely to depend.

    Sep 27, 2021

  • Spectators watch a Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet landing after a demonstration flight at the MAKS-2019 air show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Russia August 29, 2019, photo by Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters


    Defense Acquisition in Russia and China

    This report discusses recent research into the research, development, and acquisition processes of Russia and China—both doctrinally and in practice—and identifies areas in which each country excels and where each country has challenges.

    Jul 14, 2021

  • Red and blue profiles with thinking gears in their heads, illustration by JakeOlimb/Getty Images


    Influencing Adversary States: Quelling Perfect Storms

    RAND researchers describe an experimental "thinking-Red" approach to analysis, wargaming, and other exercises to help inform strategies to avoid aggression or escalation in a crisis. It features alternative models of the adversary.

    Feb 16, 2021

  • Chinese flag with JavaScript code in the background, photos by daboost and mehaniq41/Adobe Stock


    Chinese Views of Big Data Analytics

    The authors of this report use Chinese primary-source materials to provide a preliminary analysis of China's expectations for the use of big data analytics and the country's plans and strategies for development of big data analytic capabilities.

    Sep 1, 2020

  • China's flag superimposed over a computer chip, illustration by IvancoVlad/Getty Images


    Maintaining the Competitive Advantage in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

    If its current artificial intelligence plan is successful, China will achieve an advantage over the United States and its allies. That has significant strategic implications that the United States must address.

    Jul 8, 2020

  • A Skyborg conceptual design for a low-cost attritable unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), image by Air Force Research Laboratory


    Military Applications of Artificial Intelligence: Ethical Concerns in an Uncertain World

    The authors of this report examine military applications of artificial intelligence (AI); compare development efforts in the United States, China, and Russia; and consider the ethical implications of employing military AI in war and peace.

    Apr 28, 2020