Kristen Gunness

Kristen Gunness
Senior Policy Researcher


B.A. in international relations, Tufts University; M.A. Certificate in Chinese Studies, Johns Hopkins SAIS/Nanjing; M.A. in security studies, Georgetown University


Kristen Gunness is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her background includes military, security, and foreign policy issues in the Indo Pacific region with a focus on China, and deterrence and escalation management. She has worked with a range of U.S. Department of Defense and private sector clients throughout her career and advised senior leaders in the United States Navy, USINDOPACOM, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Intelligence Community. Before joining RAND, Gunness served as the Director of the Navy Asia Pacific Advisory Group at the Pentagon, where she advised the Chief of Naval Operations on security and foreign policy trends in the Indo Pacific region with a focus on Chinese maritime strategy and naval capabilities. Prior to her position on the Navy staff, she was senior project director on Chinese military and security affairs at CNA. Gunness holds a B.A. from Tufts University in international relations, a certificate in Chinese studies from the Johns Hopkins SAIS Nanjing Center, and an M.A. in security studies from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.


Chinese (Mandarin)