Martin C. Libicki

Adjunct Management Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in economics, University of California, Berkeley; M.A. in city and regional planning, University of California, Berkeley; S.B. in mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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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Martin Libicki is an adjunct management scientist at the RAND Corporation, a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the U.S. Naval Academy. His research focuses on the impacts of information technology on domestic and national security. This work is documented in commercially published books—e.g., Cyberspace in Peace and War (Naval Institute Press, forthcoming), Conquest in Cyberspace: National Security and Information Warfare (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and Information Technology Standards: Quest for the Common Byte (Digital Press, 1995)—as well as in numerous monographs, notably Getting to Yes with China in Cyberspace (with Scott Harold, 2016), Defender's Dilemma (2015), Hackers Wanted (2014), How Insurgencies End (with Ben Connable, 2010), and Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar (2009), How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa'ida (with Seth G. Jones, 2008), Exploring Terrorist Targeting Preferences (with Peter Chalk and Melanie W. Sisson, 2007), and Who Runs What in the Global Information Grid (2000).

His most recent research involved net assessments of Russia and China in cyberspace; modeling cybersecurity decisions, cyberwar strategy, demographic change, and organizing the U.S. Air Force for cyberwar; exploiting cell phones in counterinsurgency; developing a post-9/11 information technology strategy for the U.S. Department of Justice; and using biometrics for identity management.

Prior to joining RAND, Libicki spent 12 years at the National Defense University, three years on the Navy staff as program sponsor for industrial preparedness, and three years as a policy analyst for the U.S. General Accounting Office's Energy and Minerals Division. Libicki received his Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, writing on industrial economics.

Research Focus

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Asia News Weekly; Federal News Radio; Jazeera America; Journal of Turkish Weekly

Commentary: Christian Science Monitor; The Cipher Brief; CNN; Federation of American Scientists; Foreign Affairs; The International Economy; The Mark News; Newsweek; New York Times; U.S. News & World Report


  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a press conference at Tegel airport in Berlin, Germany, October 20, 2016

    Checklist for a U.S.-Russia Cyberwar

    The Obama administration is reportedly considering a response to Russia's alleged hack of the Democratic National Committee. But many questions must be addressed first.

    Oct 31, 2016 TechCrunch

  • The headquarters of the Democratic National Committee is seen in Washington, D.C., June 14, 2016

    The DNC Hack: Are New Norms Needed?

    A new norm that would hold the Russian DNC hack to be unacceptable could not rest on a general prohibition against cyber-espionage or political interference. It would have to combine both prohibitions at once.

    Sep 29, 2016 FedScoop

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a personal send-off for members of the Russian Olympic team at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, July 27, 2016

    How to Counter Putin's Subversive War on the West

    Russian cybercrime, Olympics doping, and other active measures have one thing in common: Moscow admits no wrongdoing. These scandals exacerbate the frigid relations between Moscow and the West. Diplomacy sometimes works slowly, but it helps.

    Aug 1, 2016 Newsweek

  • A self-driving vehicle travels on the road during a demonstration in Singapore, October 12, 2015

    The Police Could Be Controlling Your Self-Driving Car

    As self-driving cars become widespread, one of the biggest issues will be the rules under which public infrastructures and public safety officers may be empowered to override how autonomous vehicles are controlled.

    Apr 4, 2016 MarketWatch

  • A row of Iranian flags in front of the Tehran skyline

    Iran: A Rising Cyber Power?

    Iran has several reasons to develop its cyber capabilities, but the broader overall motivation remains the same: Iran has accumulated enemies, which in turn has impelled it to develop techniques to keep them at bay.

    Dec 16, 2015 The Cipher Brief

  • A car dashboard computer

    How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet of Things

    Late last month, Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million cars to fix a defect that allowed hackers to imperil drivers from afar. In essence, what was considered a huge threat was converted into a solved or at least solvable problem.

    Aug 4, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • Binary code with 'password' in red

    Cyberattacks Are a Nuisance, Not Terrorism

    The United States needs to consider both the risk of further attacks like the Sony breach and also further ill-considered reactions that may arise if the problem of insecurity in cyberspace is shoved into the counterterrorism paradigm.

    Feb 9, 2015 Newsweek

  • People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo

    Decoding the Breach: The Truth About the CENTCOM Hack

    When ISIS hackers hijacked the Twitter account of U.S. Central Command on Jan. 12, they falsely claimed that they had hacked into U.S. military computers. While the incident was embarrassing, it was not concerning in operational military terms. It was, however, damaging to the counterinsurgency against ISIS.

    Feb 3, 2015 The Mark News

  • Network defender working at the Air Force Space Command Network Operations & Security Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs

    Don't Buy the Cyberhype

    Although the risk of a debilitating cyberattack is real, the perception of that risk is far greater than it actually is, writes Martin Libicki. In fact, a major cyberattack of the kind intelligence officials fear has not taken place in the 21 years since the Internet became accessible to the public.

    Aug 16, 2013 Foreign Affairs

  • Globe and computer keyboard

    What Is an Act of Cyberwar? It's a Decision, Not a Conclusion

    Perhaps making war can persuade the attacker to stop. Yet, war also risks further disruption, great cost, as well as possible destruction and death—especially if matters escalate beyond cyberspace, writes Martin Libicki.

    Mar 4, 2013

  • Running a test in a U.S. Air Force cyber lab

    A Cybercrisis Is Inevitable — and Manageable

    The United States can manage a cybercrisis by taking steps to reduce the incentives for other states to step into crisis, by controlling the narrative, understanding the stability parameters of the crises, and trying to manage escalation if conflicts arise.

    Jan 9, 2013

  • binary code and laptops

    A Matter of Degree: Who Can Authorize a Cyberattack?

    Understanding when the United States should engage in cyberwar and who should approve cyberattacks requires understanding that cyberwar has multiple personalities: operational, strategic, and that great gray area in-between., writes Martin Libicki.

    Jan 9, 2013 Federation of American Scientists

  • digital globe

    Cyber Operations Can Supplement a War, but They Cannot Be the War

    The U.S. military, with its high-tech systems, must protect itself from cyber threats with much the same careful management that protects it against vulnerabilities associated with, say, explosives. But there can be no choice between boots on the ground and fingers on a keyboard, writes Martin Libicki.

    Dec 19, 2012 The International Economy

  • Setting International Norms on Cyberwar Might Beat a Treaty

    Restricting cyberweapon development could be harmful inasmuch as its core activity is the discovery of vulnerabilities in software--the very activity also required to bulletproof software against attacks from criminal hackers, writes Martin Libicki.

    Jun 11, 2012 U.S. News & World Report, Debate Club

  • Seven Billion? No Need to Panic

    We cannot wish away serious ecological issues, such as the steady increase in greenhouse gases or the steady decrease in critical resources (e.g., phosphates). But population growth per se need not portend ecological catastrophe, writes Martin Libicki.

    Nov 4, 2011 CNN

  • Stop the 'War' on Terror: Calling It a 'War' Is a Boon to Terrorist Recruiters

    Military might against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups isn't working – and no wonder. After studying the record of 648 terrorist groups between 1968 and 2006, we've found that military force has rarely been effective in defeating this enemy, write Seth Jones and Martin C. Libicki.

    Aug 6, 2008 Christian Science Monitor