Ruth Harris

Research Group Director, Defence and Security, RAND Europe
Cambridge Office


M.A. in defence and security, King's College London


Ruth Harris is director of the Defence and Security research group at RAND Europe. Formerly she worked for 23 years in the UK Armed Forces and, prior to this, in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Her military experience included working with the UN, ICRC, NATO and Armed Forces from across Europe and the U.S.

Harris was a senior evaluator for security reform in Afghanistan and worked at NATO HQ and SHAPE supporting Joint Capability decisions. She was part of the J5 Plans division in NATO and in support of UK PJHQ J5 for the redeployment from Iraq. She has specialised in grey zone conflicts and assessment of future threat environments, using scenarios, wargaming, horizon scanning and quantitative assessments. She recently worked on the impact of climate change on defence planning and security threats, the global impact of the war in Ukraine, the future for NATO and the role of the USA in great power competition.

She has provided analysis for the UK and governments across Europe on NATO relations, defence and security policy, and military strategy. Her experience of the UN includes peacekeeping in Chad, Kenya and the DROC and HADR operations in Kenya, Pakistan, Haiti and Indonesia. She frequently provides evidence-based research findings and analysis at events and seminars across Europe. She is the co-director of the Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre, leads the Global Strategic Partnership supporting the UK DCDC and leads support to the UK Defence Academy for the delivery of Command and Staff Training. 

Recent Projects

  • A Changing Climate. Defence response to climate change
  • Enhancing deterrence and defence on NATO’s northern flank Allied perspectives on strategic options for Norway
  • Measuring the Risk of Terrorism
  • Integrated Air and Missile Defence
  • Societal Resilience


French; English


  • Security Cooperation

    Standing Together on NATO's North Flank: UK-Norwegian Defence Cooperation

    The UK and Norway share a long and close history, bound by shared experiences as seafaring nations whose political, cultural, and economic development have been shaped in part by their exploitation of the North Sea and North Atlantic. Much could remain to be gained from continuing to deepen and evolve their longstanding partnership to meet the new challenges of the 21st century.

    Dec 9, 2020