Dara Massicot

Photo of Dara Massicot
Senior Policy Researcher
Washington Office


M.A. in national security and strategic studies, U.S. Naval War College ; B.A. in Russian language and literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; B.A. in peace, war, and defense, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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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Dara Massicot is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Before joining RAND, she served as a senior analyst for Russian military capabilities at the Department of Defense.  

Her work at RAND focuses on defense and security issues in Russia and Eurasia. She specializes in Russian military strategy, combat operations, and escalation dynamics. Her long-term interests include force posture, force planning, and grand strategy. 

Massicot received her M.A. in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College's College of Naval Command and Staff in Newport, Rhode Island.

Recent Projects

  • The Russian Way of Warfare
  • A New Approach to Conventional Arms Control in Europe: Addressing the Security Challenges of the 21st Century
  • The Future of the Russian Military: Russia's Ground Combat Capabilities and Implications for U.S.-Russia Competition
  • Russia's Limit of Advance: Analysis of Russian Ground Force Deployment Capabilities and Limitations
  • Russian Grand Strategy: Rhetoric and Reality

Selected Publications

Edward Geist and Dara Massicot , "Understanding Putin's Nuclear 'Superweapons' ," SAIS Review of International Affairs

Dara Massicot, "Anticipating a New Russian Military Doctrine in 2020: What it Might Contain and Why it Matters," War on the Rocks, 2019

, "Ukraine Needs Help Surviving Airstrikes, Not Just Killing Tanks," Defense One, 2022

, "Lengthening the Bridge: the Role of Current Weapons and Emerging Technologies in expanding the Pre-nuclear Phase of Conflict ," NATO Defense College , 2021



Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Geopolitics Decanted by Silverado; MSNBC, Morning Joe; The World, Public Radio


  • Footage released by Russia Ministry of Defense shows Russian soldiers from airborne units advancing in an undisclosed location in Ukraine, March 10, 2022, photo by Russian MOD/Eyepress Pictures/Reuters

    The Russian Military Has Failed Its Sons

    The Russian military has a long history of mistreating its personnel and their frightened families. The military's culture of disregard for the lives and well-being of its personnel has done more than undermine their combat performance; it has also tanked their morale and will to fight.

    May 18, 2022 Foreign Affairs

  • Ukrainian service members unload anti-tank weapons supplied by Britain at the Boryspil airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, January 18, 2022, photo by Ukrainian Defence Ministry/Handout via Reuters

    Ukraine Needs Help Surviving Airstrikes, Not Just Killing Tanks

    A Russian large-scale multidomain operation would be devastating for the Ukrainian military and people, and Ukraine should work to prevent that. But steps can also be taken to reduce the effects of the air and missile strikes that would likely lead off such an operation.

    Jan 19, 2022 Defense One

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference, held online in a video conference mode, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia December 17, 2020, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters

    Summit a Chance to Clarify U.S.-Russia Relations: RAND Call With Experts

    RAND experts discuss possible topics of conversation and potential takeaways from the upcoming summit between the United States and Russia. The summit will be a chance to rebuild and review the countries' fraught relationship.

    Jun 10, 2021

  • Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Chief of the General Staff, First Deputy Minister Valery Gerasimov, before a meeting with Russian Defence Ministry leadership and defense industry heads<a href="http://static.kremlin.ru/media/events/photos/big2x/XkuxktnM8WnEwjbaFZgFjfTZ7jpIznTL.jpg">photo</a> courtesy of Office of the Russian President/<a href="http://en.kremlin.ru/about/copyrights">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International</a>

    Anticipating a New Russian Military Doctrine in 2020: What It Might Contain and Why It Matters

    The United States and its allies should anticipate the possibility of an updated Russian military doctrine as early as 2020. Evaluating this document closely is important for understanding Russian threat perceptions and the leadership's methods to address those threats.

    Sep 9, 2019 War on the Rocks