Cynthia Dion-Schwarz

Photo of Cynthia Dion-Schwarz
Senior Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in physics, University of Maryland; B.S. in physics, George Mason University

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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Cynthia Dion-Schwarz is a senior scientist at the RAND Corporation, focusing predominantly on cyber security technology and policy. She is also a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her interests include defense and intelligence community science and technology, research and development, and planning and acquisition. She has broad expertise in information technology and cyber operations.

Prior to joining RAND, Dion-Schwarz served as a senior executive at the National Science Foundation and in the Department of Defense. She also worked at the Institute for Defense Analyses, conducting studies and analyses for DoD and IC sponsors. She received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Honors & Awards

  • Exceptional Civilian Service Medal, 2012, Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • Alumni of the Year, 2008, George Mason University


  • A person typing on a computer keyboard in a dark room

    Are Terrorists Using Cryptocurrencies?

    As the U.S. Treasury Department and its partners have denied terrorists access to the international financial system, new digital currencies could become an attractive alternative. They could be used for money laundering or to pay the personnel and vendors that keep the terrorist machine running.

    Apr 21, 2017 Foreign Affairs

  • World map

    Why It's So Hard to Stop a Cyberattack — and Even Harder to Fight Back

    Cyber weapons attack the underlying network or computer systems. The possibility of unexpected effects in the cyber world is therefore greater than in conventional warfare. Not knowing if the effects were intentional complicates the response.

    Mar 30, 2017 Zócalo Public Square and the Berggruen Institute

  • The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia

    How Can We Be Sure Putin Hacked the Democrats?

    Did Russia conduct an election cyber campaign against America? There is likely no smoking gun. But there is presumably a preponderance of technical evidence, intelligence, and benefits to Moscow that points in that direction.

    Dec 16, 2016 Newsweek