Molly Dunigan

Molly Dunigan
Director, Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program, RAND Arroyo Center; Senior Political Scientist


Ph.D. in political science, Cornell University; M.A. in international relations, Cornell University; B.A. in political science, Vassar College

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

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Molly Dunigan is director of the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program within the RAND Arroyo Center, a senior political scientist at RAND, and a senior lecturer in Carnegie Mellon University's Institute for Strategy and Technology. Her research interests focus on military privatization, outsourcing, operational contract support, strategic competition, civil–military relations, civilian deployment, counterinsurgency, and maritime security.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a U.S. Institute of Peace Jennings Randolph Peace Fellowship, a U.S. State Department Foreign Language Areas Studies Fellowship, and an International Studies Association Catalytic Research Grant. Prominent among Dunigan's published work are Victory for Hire: Private Security Companies' Impact on Military Effectiveness (Stanford University Press, 2011), The Markets for Force: Privatization of Security Across World Regions (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), and a number of RAND reports on various personnel and strategy-related issues.

An internationally recognized expert on private security contracting, Dunigan's work on this topic has been cited in USA Today, Time Magazine, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and National Public Radio. Dunigan's publications have been favorably reviewed in Military Review, The Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, The Journal of Military History, Survival, Parameters, and The Boston Globe, and her op-eds have appeared in The National Interest, USA Today, The Hill, U.S. News & World Report, and The Christian Science Monitor.

Dunigan received her Ph.D. in government from Cornell University.

Research Focus

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Senior Lecturer, Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy and Technology, Carnegie Mellon University

Selected Publications

Dunigan, Molly, Anthony Atler, Will to Fight of Private Military Actors: Applying Cognitive Maneuver to Russian Private Forces, RAND Corporation (RR-A355-1), 2023

Dunigan, Molly, Michelle Grisé, Kimberly Jackson, John J. Drennan, Sandra Kay Evans, Ashley L. Rhoades, Eric Robinson, Meagan L. Smith, and Jonathan Welch, Gaining the Edge: Identifying and Leveraging Frameworks for Enabling Army Contributions to Competition, RAND Corporation (RR-A1235-1), 2023

Dunigan, Molly, Ryan Andrew Brown, Samantha Cherney, Maria DeYoreo, Katherine C. Hastings, Jennifer Lamping Lewis, Christina Panis, Leslie Adrienne Payne, Michael Schwille, and Lauren Skrabala, Army Expeditionary Civilian Demand: Forecasting Future Requirements for Civilian Deployments, RAND Corporation (RR-2854), 2019

Dunigan, Molly, Michael Schwille, Samantha Cherney, Katherine C. Hastings, Brian Nichiporuk, and Peter Schirmer, Human Capital Needs for the Department of Defense Operational Contract Support Planning and Integration Workforce, RAND Corporation (RR-1847), 2017

Dunigan, Molly, Susan M. Sohler Everingham, Todd Nichols, Michael Schwille, and Susanne Sondergaard, Expeditionary Civilians: Creating a Viable Practice of Department of Defense Civilian Deployment, RAND Corporation (RR-975), 2016

Molly Dunigan, The Markets for Force: Privatization of Security Across World Regions, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015

Dunigan, Molly, Carrie M. Farmer, Rachel M. Burns, Alison Hawks, and Claude Messan Setodji, Out of the Shadows: The Health and Well-Being of Private Contractors Working in Conflict Environments, RAND Corporation (RR-420), 2013

Molly Dunigan, Victory For Hire: Private Security Companies' Impact on Military Effectiveness, Stanford University Press, 2011

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Al Jazeera - English; British Forces Broadcasting Service; CBC Radio, Canada; Stars and Stripes; Trends MENA; WBUR-FM Online