Michael J. McNerney

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Acting Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center; Senior International/Defense Researcher; National Security Research Division International Market Manager; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office


M.A. in international relations, University of Maryland; B.A. in government and German, University of Notre Dame

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Michael McNerney is acting director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center, part of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD). He also serves as a senior international/defense researcher at the RAND Corporation, NSRD international market manager, and an affiliate faculty member at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research focuses on defense strategy and planning, civil–military coordination, security cooperation, and international relations.

Until April 2011, McNerney was principal director for plans in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. He and his staff supported the Secretary of Defense in providing strategic guidance on U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and interagency plans, planning assessments, force management, and overseas basing. He was a civil servant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) for 17 years and a member of the Senior Executive Service.

His earlier assignments in the Office of the Secretary of Defense included policy support for security cooperation programs worldwide, U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, international environmental issues, nuclear arms control, and defense budgeting. He spent the 2004–05 academic year on the faculty of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

Prior to working in OSD, McNerney worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He has written or coauthored book chapters on civil–military operations in Afghanistan, military involvement in humanitarian activities, and conventional arms control, and an article in Parameters on provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan. McNerney received his M.A. in international relations from the University of Maryland.