Jeffrey W. Hornung

Jeffrey W. Hornung
Senior Political Scientist
Washington Office

Education

Ph.D. in political science, George Washington University; M.A. in international relations (Japan studies), Johns Hopkins University-School of Advanced International Studies; B.A. in political science; international affairs, Marquette 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 media@rand.org.

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Overview

Jeffrey Hornung is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He specializes in Japanese security and foreign policies, East Asian security issues, and U.S. foreign and defense policies in the Indo-Pacific region, including its alliances.  

Prior to joining RAND in April 2017, Hornung was the fellow for the Security and Foreign Affairs Program at Sasakawa USA from 2015 until 2017. From 2010 until 2015, Hornung worked as an associate professor for the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, a Department of Defense education facility in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Hornung has written extensively about Japanese security and foreign policy issues and broader Northeast Asia security issues for numerous media, policy, and academic outlets. This includes Washington Quarterly, Asian Survey, Foreign Policy, New York Times, Washington Post, War on the Rocks and many others, including the two major Japanese dailies Yomiuri Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun.  

Hornung received his Ph.D. in political science from The George Washington University, where he wrote his thesis on Japanese decisionmaking to send the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 Iraq War. During 2005–2006, Hornung was also a visiting scholar at the University of Tokyo where he conducted his doctoral research as a Fulbright Fellow. He also holds an M.A. in international relations with a concentration in Japan Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Previous Positions

Fellow, Sasakawa USA; Associate Professor, Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies

Recent Projects

  • Ground-Based Intermediate-Range Missiles in the Indo-Pacific
  • Japan's Possible Acquisition of Long-Range Land-Attack Missiles and the Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance
  • Japan's Potential Contributions in an East China Sea Contingency
  • Allies Growing Closer: Japan-Europe Security Ties in the Age of Strategic Competition
  • The Thickening Web of Asian Security Cooperation: Deepening Defense Ties Among U.S. Allies and Partners in the Indo-Pacific

Selected Publications

Jeffrey Reeves, Jeffrey Hornung, Kerry Lynn Nankivell, Chinese-Japanese Competition and the East Asian Security Complex: Vying for Influence, Routledge, 2017 (forthcoming)

Jeffrey W. Hornung, Managing the U.S.-Japan Alliance: An Examination of Structural Linkages in the Security Relationship, Sasakawa USA, 2017

Jeffrey W. Hornung, The U.S. Military Laydown On Guam: Progress Amid Challenges, Sasakawa USA, 2017

Jeffrey W. Hornung and Mike M. Mochizuki, "Japan: Still An Exceptional U.S. Ally," Washington Quarterly, 39(1), 2016

"Japan's 2015 Security Legislation: Change Rooted Firmly in Continuity," in Mary McCarthy (Ed), Routledge Handbook of Japanese Foreign Policy, Routledge, 2018

Jeffrey Hornung, "Japan's Pushback of China," Washington Quarterly, 38(1), 2015

Jeffrey W. Hornung, "Japan’s Growing Hard Hedge Against China," Asian Security, 10(2), 2014

Jeffrey W. Hornung, Modeling a Stronger U.S.-Japan Alliance: Assessing U.S. Alliance Structures, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2015

Honors & Awards

  • Fulbright Fellowship, The Council for International Exchange of Scholars

Languages

Japanese

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: The Diplomat; JAPAN Forward; KSRO-AM Online; Mainichi Daily News; Nikkei; Sankei Shimbun; TV Asahi, Japan

Commentary

  • Japan

    Japan's Strategic Shift: Significant, but Implementation Hurdles May Await

    Japan's new strategic documents appear to demonstrate a recognition in Tokyo that it must do more for its own defense in the face of unprecedented security challenges. The dedication of resources, pursuit of new capabilities, and overarching commitment to a more robust defense are all significant moves that represent landmark change by one of America's key allies.

    Jan 27, 2023

    War on the Rocks

  • Japan

    Japan's Upcoming Defense Efforts

    The Japanese government looks set to release three important documents shortly: a new National Security Strategy and two defense documents that lay out spending priorities over the next ten years and five years. In preparation for the release of these documents, here are six areas that could be candidates not only to receive a greater prioritization of resources, but also greater scrutiny.

    Dec 13, 2022

    The RAND Blog

  • Security Cooperation

    Russia's Invasion of Ukraine May Harden U.S. Indo-Pacific Allies

    The effects of Russia's war against Ukraine stretch worldwide as countries watch Ukraine's unfolding tragedy to glean possible lessons for their own security. Understanding how Australia and Japan are perceiving the conflict could be critical for allied strategy in the Indo-Pacific region.

    May 26, 2022

    The Hill

  • Japan

    Japan's Wake Up Call

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine has drawn concern and comparison to what China may have in mind for Taiwan. Given China's history of provocations, it could behoove Japanese leaders to devote renewed attention to how they would deal with a Taiwan crisis, especially as it could include an attack on Japan.

    Mar 24, 2022

    Defense News

  • Taiwan

    What the Invasion of Ukraine Might Teach Us About a Potential Taiwan Crisis

    Chinese leaders are learning from the conflict in Ukraine, not just by observing Russia's actions, but also the West's response. By also learning from the conflict, the United States, Taiwan, and other like-minded partners can help ensure that Beijing comes away from the current crisis with a greater appreciation of the risks that attacking Taiwan would entail.

    Mar 17, 2022

    War on the Rocks

  • Japan

    The Premier Who Helped Change U.S.-Japan Relations

    A Japanese politician who played an important part in the history of U.S.-Japan relations died recently, and chances are you've never heard of him. Kaifu Toshiki was Japan's prime minister from 1989 to 1991, a critical time in U.S.-Japan relations as the world was transitioning from the Cold War to the fog that lay beyond.

    Jan 24, 2022

    The Hill

  • Security Cooperation

    Taiwan and Six Potential New Year's Resolutions for the U.S.-Japanese Alliance

    How might the United States and Japan prepare for possible conflict with China over Taiwan, and ensure forces are postured to operate together? The alliance could benefit from greater clarity, and practical conversations could make a better and stronger alliance in the new year.

    Jan 5, 2022

    War on the Rocks

  • Japan

    What Instability at the Top Means for Japan's Alliance with the United States

    Having shorter-serving prime ministers tends to minimize Japan's ability to operate as a strategic player. If Suga's resignation is the start of a revolving door, then the implications for Japan's policies and the U.S.-Japan alliance could be significant.

    Sep 22, 2021

    Nikkei Asia

  • Security Cooperation

    Japan's Potential Acquisition of Ground-Launched Land-Attack Missiles: Implications for the U.S.-Japanese Alliance

    If Japan acquired ground-based strike capabilities, it would have significant consequences for the U.S.-Japanese alliance. American and Japanese policymakers may need to have a new and expanded set of conversations about how such capabilities would be used and how the alliance could adjust to incorporate them.

    Sep 9, 2021

    War on the Rocks

  • Military Strategy

    Afghanistan Withdrawal Says Little About U.S. Commitments Elsewhere

    The United States is a nation which sees that it is in its vital interest to deter autocrats from adventurism and challenges to the world order. Drawing lessons from the narrow case of Afghanistan to speak about broad U.S. resolve or credibility comes with an inherent risk that adversaries may choose to ignore at their own peril.

    Aug 25, 2021

    CNN

  • Security Cooperation

    What the United States Wants from Japan in Taiwan

    If a Taiwan conflict breaks out, what might the United States request of Japan? For the U.S.-Japan alliance, the answer is critical if the countries want to translate expressions of support into actual planning and preparation.

    May 10, 2021

    Foreign Policy

  • Japan

    The United States Considers Reinforcing Its 'Pacific Sanctuary'

    Soon after he took office, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a posture review to ensure that the U.S. global footprint is the right size to support U.S. strategy. Japan's continued importance to U.S. strategy and Tokyo's increased willingness to be more proactive in the security domain mean that Japan could see an uptick in U.S. military presence after this review is complete.

    Apr 12, 2021

    War on the Rocks

  • Japan

    Biden Puts Japan at the Center of U.S. Policy in Asia

    Addressing the Chinese threat in the Indo-Pacific requires working with allies and partners. So far, Japan appears to be one of the priority relationships for the Biden administration.

    Apr 12, 2021

    Nikkei Asia

  • Security Cooperation

    What to Expect When You're Expecting So Much from the Quad

    In March, the leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia met virtually for their first Quadrilateral Security Dialogue group meeting. What are the goals of the Quad? What tangibly can or will the Quad do and what does it look like in practice?

    Mar 31, 2021

    CNN

  • Security Cooperation

    A Strong Japan-UK Alliance Needed to Counter China

    With Brexit behind it, Britain faces a question about what role it should play in the world. Assuming it wants to remain a power that can shape—but not dominate—international relations, it makes sense to partner with like-minded states, such as Japan.

    Feb 24, 2021

    Japan Times

  • Civil-Military Relations

    Japanese Public Needs to Know SDF to Appreciate It

    Although Japan does not call the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) a military, externally it is widely respected as a modern armed force fielding advanced defense capabilities. Given the threats facing Japan, it may benefit the Japanese public to better understand the value of the SDF as an armed force and the military cooperation that takes place with the United States.

    Feb 19, 2021

    Stars and Stripes

  • Security Cooperation

    The United States and Japan Should Prepare for War with China

    The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace, security, and stability in the East China Sea region. Those benefits come through a shared commitment to provide robust responses from peacetime to contingencies. But is the alliance equipped, postured, and authorized to do what will need to be done in a conflict?

    Feb 5, 2021

    War on the Rocks

  • Japan

    Why Biden's Japan Agenda Matters

    Efforts to mend America's political wounds, combating COVID-19, and the continuing deterioration of U.S.-China relations may dominate the Biden agenda. But quick wins with Japan are possible and could be necessary to ensure that the alliance begins on a positive footing so it can tackle difficult challenges in the years ahead.

    Jan 26, 2021

    The Hill

  • International Diplomacy

    Persistent Security Concerns in an Election Year

    The security challenges facing the incoming Biden administration are likely to remain largely the same as those in 2020. The increasing geopolitical, military, and economic heft of the Indo-Pacific region means the United States will likely continue to prioritize this region in 2021.

    Dec 10, 2020

    Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific

  • Japan

    To Mr. Suga, the New Prime Minister, Three Top Priorities Presented by U.S. Researchers

    Understanding that there will be domestic pressures to focus on economic recovery and COVID-19 responses, what then might the next prime minister of Japan prioritize in the foreign policy and defense domains? There are three critical issues that could be top priorities for the next administration.

    Sep 15, 2020

    Asahi Shimbun

  • Japan

    What Abe Leaves Behind

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's unexpected resignation leaves several of his policy priorities unfinished, including revising Japan's constitution and finalizing a peace treaty with Russia. But the security issues facing Japan and the region remain unchanged, and Abe's successor may be forced to confront several of them on his very first day.

    Sep 11, 2020

    Defense One

  • Japan

    Abe's Resignation Could Leave Japan Less Secure—and Destabilize Its U.S. Alliance

    Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's leadership, Japan tightened its alliance with the United States and took on a more proactive role in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. His resignation could very well leave Japan less secure and the U.S.-Japan alliance unstable.

    Sep 8, 2020

    Los Angeles Times

  • Japan

    Missing in Japan's Deterrence Debate

    Following its decision to cancel the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system, Japan is currently debating future deterrence capabilities. The debate over how Japan can defend itself is an important one, offering a major opportunity to shape the country's future defense posture.

    Aug 13, 2020

    Nikkei Asian Review

  • Japan

    Are U.S.-Japan Relations on the Rocks?

    The relationship between the national security establishments in Washington and Tokyo appears to be close and trusting. But with current troublesome trends, more attention should be paid to what has otherwise been a reliably solid relationship.

    Jul 20, 2020

    The Hill

  • Military Strategy

    Is Japan's Interest in Enemy Base Attack Capabilities a Good Idea?

    In the span of a month, Tokyo has rapidly gone from canceling a ballistic missile defense system to considering strike capabilities against foreign adversaries. Is Japan on the precipice of dramatically changing the way it uses its military?

    Jul 17, 2020

    War on the Rocks

  • Japan

    Japan Is Canceling a U.S. Missile Defense System

    In June, Japan canceled its planned deployment of two Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense systems. This decision is understandable, but that doesn't negate the problems it could pose for Japanese security and Japan's relationship with the United States.

    Jul 6, 2020

    Foreign Policy

  • Security Cooperation

    Japan and Dynamic Force Employment

    In April, the United States ended a program that maintained a rotational bomber force to the U.S. territory of Guam. While the removal of a permanent bomber presence in the region has caused some in Japan to worry, U.S. commitment to Japan's defense shows no sign of changing nor does America's deterrent capability.

    Jun 23, 2020

    Yomiuri Shimbun

  • Security Cooperation

    As COVID-19 Makes Clear, U.S. Allies in the Indo-Pacific, Not the Money They Pay to Host U.S. Forces, Are the Value Proposition

    The great value the United States extracts from its alliances with Japan and South Korea is not the money they provide to offset the costs of hosting U.S. forces; the value is the deep and abiding alliances themselves and the liberal, democratic, rule of law market economies and societies to which they link the United States.

    Jun 12, 2020

    The Dlplomat

  • Security Cooperation

    Should the U.S. Move to Strengthen Ties with Taiwan?

    The contrasts in behavior between Taiwan and China during the COVID-19 pandemic show why it could be critical that U.S. policymakers consider advancing U.S.-Taiwan cooperation to enhance Taiwan's security, protect U.S. interests, and preserve peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

    Jun 8, 2020

    The Hill

  • China

    Don't Be Fooled by China's Mask Diplomacy

    China has provided coronavirus-related aid to hundreds of countries. This appears to be an effort to make the world forget its role in the COVID-19 crisis, and to take advantage of its neighbors' current distraction.

    May 5, 2020

    Los Angeles Times

  • Japan

    Japan's Hormuz Dilemma

    Japan is a staunch U.S. ally in the Indo-Pacific. But any decision to support a coalition against Iran in the Middle East is likely to put Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a tough position.

    Aug 16, 2019

    The Hill

  • Japan

    With Little Fanfare, Japan Just Changed the Way It Uses Its Military

    In early April, Japan deployed its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) abroad to join a multinational force not connected to the United Nations. This is the first time that SDF personnel will participate in overseas peacekeeping operations not under UN control. The difference may not seem important, but it is.

    May 3, 2019

    Foreign Policy

  • International Diplomacy

    Sino-Japan Rapprochement Will Likely Fail

    Recent meetings and otherwise relative calm between China and Japan may give the impression that their ties are improving. But because of their strategic competition and fundamental differences, it is more likely than not that their current rapprochement will fail.

    Dec 7, 2018

    Debating Japan (CSIS)

  • Japan

    Is Japan's New Defense Plan Ambitious Enough?

    Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has significantly increased capabilities to meet increasing regional security challenges. But Tokyo may need to do more to manage the complex security environment surrounding Japan.

    Dec 6, 2018

    War on the Rocks

  • International Diplomacy

    Japan's Chance to Shine?

    Japan may never be a global leader in a way comparable to the United States. But Tokyo does have the power to provide critical leadership that will sustain key elements of the crumbling international order.

    Oct 30, 2018

    Foreign Policy

  • Japan

    Japan's Invisible Hand

    Shinzo Abe has cemented his position as Japan's prime minister for the next three years. Now he is expected to make a concerted push for revising the Constitution, which has not been amended since 1947. But the Japanese public is not convinced of the need to revise the Constitution, making his efforts likely to fail.

    Oct 10, 2018

    The Japan Times

  • Does Japan Need an Aircraft Carrier?

    Japan has not possessed an aircraft carrier in more than 70 years. But that may soon change as the Japanese government is debating retrofitting a class of destroyers to turn them into aircraft carriers. Considering both operational needs and resources limitations, does an aircraft carrier for Japan make sense?

    Oct 5, 2018

    Defense One

  • Missile Defense

    Japan's Aegis Ashore Defense System

    For nearly 20 years, Japan has used the North Korea threat as a legitimate rationale to build its missile defense system and cooperate closely with the U.S. in its development. This argument remains as true today as it was before the flurry of regional diplomacy began earlier this year.

    Aug 20, 2018

    Yomiuri Shimbun

  • Japan

    Success with North Korea Still Needs Japan

    Japan has stakes in the outcome of regional diplomacy involving North Korea. It could play a role far beyond simply writing checks for an agreement, but has not held any bilateral meetings with the other actors. Diplomats hoping to fit their approach to the realities of the geopolitical situation could benefit from Japan's active involvement.

    Jun 27, 2018

    The Japan Times

  • International Diplomacy

    Why the U.S.-Japan Summit Matters

    After a year and half of relative stability, the The United States and Japan now must talk about difficult issues in which they have vested interests. As allies, and close friends, they could both benefit from reconfirming common goals and establishing a set of strategies to deal with challenges.

    Apr 17, 2018

    CNN

  • Revising Japan's Peace Constitution: Much Ado About Nothing

    Despite Abe’s legislative majority, it is unclear whether he has enough political capital to convince the public of the need for a constitutional revision on the Self-Defense Force. Japan’s security policies are heavily constrained by legal and normative constraints and Abe’s plan would likely do little more than codify the status quo.

    Mar 21, 2018

    War on the Rocks

  • Security Cooperation

    The Potential of the Quadrilateral

    The countries of the Quadrilateral Security Framework are the region's four most capable maritime powers, and are naturally concerned with China's assault on international rules and norms. If ever put in place, the Quad could contribute to the maintenance of security and order in the Indo-Pacific maritime commons.

    Feb 22, 2018

    Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (CSIS)

  • South Korea

    South Korea Picking the Wrong Fight

    Washington may need to encourage Seoul to find ways to cooperate with Tokyo in confronting threats from the region's revisionist actors, rather than picking fights with Japan.

    Jan 7, 2018

    The Diplomat

  • Abe's Victory and Constitutional Revision

    After Japan's election, observers immediately began speculating about its impact on constitutional reform. While parties in favor of constitutional revision have secured enough seats to pass the legislative hurdle needed to revise Japan's basic law, the road ahead is much more complicated.

    Oct 31, 2017

    Foreign Affairs

  • Missile Defense

    Why Japan Needs Long-Range Strike Capabilities

    Japan's pacifist constitution allows it to exercise force only when its survival is threatened and there are no other means to repel the attack. But North Korea's advancing military capabilities have drastically changed the threat environment. Japan no longer has the luxury to be complacent about its security threats.

    Oct 23, 2017

    Defense One

  • Japan

    Japan's Election Matters for U.S. Interests

    What happens in Japan's election carries enormous consequence for the United States and its interests in the region. U.S. Asia policy begins and ends with America's critical alliance with Japan.

    Oct 21, 2017

    Newsweek

  • Japan

    Giving Japan a Military

    After 70 years, Japan may finally be on the cusp of acquiring its own military. Legally, that is. Prime Minister Abe has proposed a change to Japan's constitution to give legal standing to the Self-Defense Forces, and it's long overdue.

    Jun 20, 2017

    The Japan Times

  • Japan

    Japan's Mistaken South Sudan Withdrawal

    Being a proactive contributor to peace involves risk if a country is serious about gaining real-world experience. Pulling out of South Sudan deprives Japan's Self-Defense Force of crucial operational experience and sends a confusing message to the United States and the international community.

    Jun 8, 2017

    The Diplomat

  • North Korea

    End the Korean War, Finally

    Sixty-four years ago, the Korean War was suspended by a cease-fire. A peace treaty was never signed. Standing ready to formally end this old war may be the key to dismantling North Korea's nuclear program without starting a new one.

    Jun 8, 2017

    New York Times

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