Eric Heginbotham

Photo of Eric Heginbotham
Senior Political Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
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Ph.D. in political science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; B.A., Swarthmore College

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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Eric Heginbotham is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation specializing in East Asian security issues. Heginbotham is also a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He has recently led RAND projects assessing U.S. engagement opportunities and challenges in Southeast Asia and on U.S. and Chinese relative military capabilities. Heginbotham has co-authored or edited several books, most recently Chinese and Indian Strategic Behavior: Growing Power and Alarm (Cambridge University Press, 2012), and has published articles on Japanese and Chinese foreign policy and strategic issues in Foreign Affairs, International Security, Current History, and The National Interest.

Before coming to RAND in 2005, Heginbotham was a senior fellow of Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He taught as a visiting faculty member of Boston College's Political Science Department and served for 16 years in the U.S. Army Reserves and National Guard. He is fluent in Japanese and Chinese. Heginbotham received his B.A. from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Previous Positions

Senior Fellow of Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Recent Projects

  • Chinese foreign policymaking
  • Comparison of Chinese and Indian international behavior

Selected Publications

Joshua Eisenman et al., eds., China and the Developing World: Beijing's Strategy for the Twenty-First Century, East Gate Books, 2007

Eric Heginbotham and Christopher P. Twomey, "America's Bismarckian Asia Policy," Current History, 2005

Morton I. Abramowitz et al., M.E. Sharpe, Meeting the North Korean Nuclear Challenge: Report of an Independent Task Force, Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2004

George J. Gilboy and Eric Heginbotham, "The Latin Americanization of China?" Current History, 2004

Eric Heginbotham and Richard J. Samuels, "Japan's Dual Hedge," Foreign Affairs, 2002


Japanese; Chinese

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: The Australian; Business Week; Christian Science Monitor; CNN; Japan Times; NPR; Voice of America; Washington Times


  • A PLAAF B-6K strategic bomber at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, October 25, 2016.

    China's PLAAF Pilot Training Program Undergoes Major Overhaul

    China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has made great strides in recent years to transform its pilot training program. PLAAF leaders understand many of the institutional and cultural weaknesses that impede effectiveness and are taking measures to address them.

    Oct 27, 2016 The National Interest

  • Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army march during a training session for a military parade, Beijing, September 1, 2015

    China's Military Modernization: Eric Heginbotham and Michael Chase in Conversation

    Two RAND experts discuss their recent assessments of Chinese military modernization and its implications for U.S. interests in Asia.

    Sep 14, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • The USS Fort Worth conducts patrols in international waters of the South China Sea, near the Spratly Islands

    Why the United States Needs an Active Denial Strategy for Asia

    The evolving balance of power will require adjustments to U.S. strategy. Making those adjustments will help ensure that the U.S.-China relationship, now merely tense, doesn't escalate to hostile.

    Jun 8, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • India's Defence Minister A.K. Antony shakes hands with China's Premier Li Keqiang during a meeting at Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound in Beijing July 5, 2013

    Double Trouble: A Realist View of Rising Chinese and Indian Power

    Washington sees Indian power as part of the solution to the challenges posed by the rise of China, but this view underestimates the complex, sometimes inter-related challenges America will face as both Asian giants become more powerful, write George J. Gilboy and Eric Heginbotham.

    Sep 5, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • Tokyo's Transformation

    The U.S. response to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami showcased its lasting commitment to Japan, as well as the unique logistical and material capabilities that the U.S. military forces stationed in the Pacific can provide, write Eric Heginbotham, Ely Ratner, and Richard J. Samuels.

    Aug 25, 2011 Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2011