Natasha Lander

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Senior Policy Analyst
Off Site Office


M.P.P. in national security policy, George Mason University; B.S. in journalism and political science, Bowling Green State University

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Natasha Lander is a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on chemical, biological, and nuclear policy and strategy; European security; alliance relations; and military and civilian workforce policies. From 2013 to 2015, Lander served as an advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction. In this capacity, she aided the development of policy guidance influencing diplomatic, operational, and technical aspects of the international mission to remove and destroy Syria's declared chemical weapons. She also led negotiations with NATO allies on chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) preparedness. For her efforts, Lander was twice awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.

Prior to joining RAND, Lander was a senior analyst and deputy program manager at BAE Systems, where she authored a variety of analytic products for U.S. Government policymakers. 

Lander holds an M.P.P. from George Mason University and a B.S. in journalism with a dual major in political science from Bowling Green State University. She is currently pursuing an M.Sc. in psychology and the neuroscience of mental health at King's College London. Her commentaries have been published in the Cipher Brief, National Interest, Real Clear Defense, and U.S. News and World Report.

Selected Publications

Albert A. Robbert, Caitlin Lee, William H. Waggy II, Katherine L. Kidder, Natasha Lander, Agnes Gereben Schaefer, Modernizing Officer Career Management: Analyzing Eleven Issues, RAND Corporation (RB-A416-1), 2021

Kimberly Jackson, Katherine L. Kidder, Sean Mann, William H. Waggy II, Natasha Lander, S. Rebecca Zimmerman, Raising the Flag: Implications of U.S. Military Approaches to General and Flag Officer Development, RAND Corporation (RR-4347-OSD), 2020

Brian A. Jackson, Ashley L. Rhoades, Jordan R. Reimer, Natasha Lander, Katherine Costello, Sina Beaghley, Practical Terrorism Prevention: Reexamining U.S. National Approaches to Addressing the Threat of Ideologically Motivated Violence, RAND Corporation (RR-2647), 2019

S. Rebecca Zimmerman, Kimberly Jackson, Natasha Lander, Colin Roberts, Dan Madden, Rebeca Orrie, Movement and Maneuver: Culture and the Competition for Influence among the U.S. Military Services, RAND Corporation (RR-2270), 2019 (forthcoming)

Michael J. McNerney, Ben Connable, S. Rebecca Zimmerman, Natasha Lander, Marek N. Posard, Jasen J. Castillo, Dan Madden, Ilana Blum, Aaron Frank, Benjamin J. Fernandes, In Hyo Seol, Christopher Paul, Andrew Parasiliti, National Will to Fight: Why Some States Keep Fighting and Others Don't, RAND Corporation (RR-2477), 2018

Ben Connable, Natasha Lander, Kimberly Jackson, Beating the Islamic State: Selecting a New Strategy for Iraq and Syria, RAND Corporation (RR-1562), 2017

John Gordon, John Matsumura, Athony Atler, Scott Boston, Matthew E. Boyer, Natasha Lander, Todd Nichols, Comparing U.S. Army Systems with Foreign Counterparts: Identifying Possible Capability Gaps and Insights from Other Armies, RAND Corporation (RR-716-A), 2015

Judith A. Johnston, Natasha Lander, Brian McInnis, National Intelligence University's Role in Interagency Research: Recommendations from the Intelligence Community, RAND Corporation (RR-243-NIU), 2013

Honors & Awards

  • Medal for Exceptional Public Service, Office of the Secretary of Defense


  • Syrian medical staff take part in a training exercise on how to treat victims of chemical weapons attacks, Gaziantep, Turkey, July 20, 2017

    A Norm in Crisis: Implications of Persistent Chemical Weapons Use

    The international community should consider serious options to hold perpetrators of chemical attacks accountable and stop further attacks. These are not easy choices. But the alternative is accepting that long-held norms are crumbling, and the world is sliding back to a time when inhumane tools of war were common.

    Apr 18, 2018 RealClearDefense

  • Vehicles drive near Tabqa Dam on the Euphrates River, in the town of Tabqa, after Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured it from Islamic State militants, Syria May 12, 2017

    Developing a Comprehensive Strategy for Countering the Islamic State

    Despite substantial policy and military focus, U.S. attempts to stop the Islamic State group have met with only varying degrees of success. A patient, long-term U.S. investment in governance—including a renewed commitment to addressing the root causes of instability in the Middle East—is needed in Iraq and Syria.

    Jun 5, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • People rush to a site hit by what activists said was heavy shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, June 16, 2015

    Holding Bashar al-Assad Accountable for Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

    With two no votes from China and Russia, the UN Security Council failed to pass a resolution punishing Syrian officials for their roles in chlorine attacks in 2014 and 2015. Leadership from the United States on this issue could show allies that despite a change in government, the U.S. remains committed to holding those who use chemical weapons accountable.

    Mar 22, 2017 The National Interest

  • An ISIS militant waves an ISIS flag in Raqqa, Syria, June 29, 2014

    Deterring ISIS's Ambitions

    Western leaders cannot discount the possibility that ISIS may attempt a chemical attack within their borders. They should look to the robust alliances, treaty regimes, and international organizations to which most of them already ascribe as one way to address this threat.

    Mar 7, 2016 The Cipher Brief