Alexander H. Noyes

Photo of Alexander Noyes
Political Scientist
Washington Office

Education

Ph.D. in politics, Oxford University; Master's in African studies, Oxford University; Bachelor's in government, Connecticut College

Overview

Alexander Noyes is a political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He focuses on peace and security issues, including security cooperation and assistance, institutional capacity building, counterterrorism, great-power competition, democratization, and globalization, mostly in Africa and the Balkans. Prior to this position, he was an adjunct political scientist at RAND, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and an adjunct research staff member at the Institute for Defense Analyses. From 2015 to 2017 he served as team lead for Niger and Nigeria at the U.S. Security Governance Initiative, a White House initiative to improve security governance in Africa. Previously, he held roles at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Department of Defense's Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

He is a frequent commentator and has appeared in a variety of media and academic outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and BBC World, as well as peer-reviewed publications such as International Peacekeeping, Parameters, African Studies Quarterly, and several edited volumes. His latest publication is “Plus ça Change? The Dynamics of Security Sector Reform in Zimbabwe, 2009-2013,” forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Zimbabwean Studies (Oxford University Press). He holds a doctorate from the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University, a master's degree in African studies from Oxford, and a bachelor's degree in government from Connecticut College. He is a cofounder of the Zimbabwe Working Group and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Commentary

  • Niger soldiers guard with their weapons pointed towards the border with neighbouring Nigeria, near the town of Diffa, Niger, June 21, 2016, photo by Luc Gnago/Reuters

    How to Build Better Militaries in Africa: Lessons from Niger

    To help counter the threat of terrorism and build the capacity of African militaries, the U.S. government spends over $1.5 billion a year on security assistance to the African continent. Does this support work?

    Oct 2, 2020 Council on Foreign Relations

  • Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi is saluted as he is sworn-in for a second term in Maputo, Mozambique, January 15, 2020, photo by Grant Neuenburg/Reuters

    Repression in Mozambique Is Stoking an Islamist Insurgency, Risking Wider Unrest

    While Southern Africa has largely remained immune from violent extremism, the situation in northern Mozambique threatens to destabilize the country and could potentially spread to other parts of the region. To effectively counter the growing threat, the government could devise a less heavy handed approach.

    Jun 5, 2020 World Politics Review

  • Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks during a state funeral of Zimbabwe's longtime ruler Robert Mugabe, Harare, Zimbabwe, September 14, 2019

    'New Zimbabwe' Looks an Awful Lot Like the Old One

    Zimbabwe's president Emmerson Mnangagwa promised a break from Mugabe's repressive rule and economic decline. To help support Zimbabwe's recovery, international actors would be wise to push the government to respect the country's 2013 constitution and push for genuine political, security, and economic reforms.

    Mar 11, 2020 Vanguard Africa

  • President Faure Gnassingbe and Presidential candidate of UNIR (Union for the Republic) winner of the presidential election speaks in front of his supporters at his headquarters in Lome, Togo, February 24, 2020, photo by Luc Gnago/Reuters

    Family Matters: More of the Same in Togo

    Faure Gnassingbe was reelected in February to a fourth term as president of Togo. The result was no surprise. Due to the stacked system he and his father built, Faure is likely to rule until 2030 or beyond.

    Mar 6, 2020 World Politics Review

  • Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa is escorted by a guard of honour as he arrives for Independence Day celebrations in Harare, Zimbabwe, April 18, 2019, photo by Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

    Little Has Changed in Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe

    After decades in power, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was toppled via a military coup in November 2017. His successor Emmerson Mnangagwa promised a break from Mugabe's authoritarian rule and economic mismanagement. After two years in power, to what extent has Mnangagwa delivered on his promises? In short, it's bleak.

    Feb 7, 2020 Council on Foreign Relations

  • Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends a rally against Western sanctions in Harare, Zimbabwe, October 25, 2019, photo by Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

    Zimbabwe’s Neighbors Express Solidarity Against a False Enemy

    The notion that sanctions are primarily responsible for the economic collapse in Zimbabwe is a useful fiction promoted by that country's authoritarian elite. In reality, the ruling party, in power for 39 years, has no one to blame but itself.

    Oct 25, 2019 The Washington Post

  • People carry banners and Algerian national flags during a protest calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit, in Algiers, Algeria, March 22, 2019, photo by Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

    African Dictators Have Been Losing Power—Some to Democratic Governments. Militaries Can Tip the Scales Toward Democracy

    Africa's security forces most often make headlines when they commit atrocities, crack down on protesters, or seize power in coups. But Africa's troops can also contribute to democracy and peace when they lay down their arms or refuse orders to turn their guns against the people.

    Sep 16, 2019 The Washington Post Monkey Cage Blog

  • Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is welcomed at Robert Mugabe International Airport, to return home after hearing the news of the death of former President Robert Mugabe, in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, September 6, 2019, photo by Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

    Why Ethiopia Sailed While Zimbabwe Sank

    At a time when outside powers are calibrating how they respond to political transitions around the world, the divergent paths of Ethiopia and Zimbabwe illustrate their precariousness and offer lessons for how the international community can support democratization processes in Africa and beyond.

    Sep 9, 2019 Foreign Policy

  • Mozambique on a map with a green pin, photo by Mark Rubens/Adobe Stock

    Counterproductive Counterinsurgency: Is Mozambique Creating the Next Boko Haram?

    Despite recent claims of ties to the Islamic State, the threat in Mozambique from the Islamist insurgent group al-Sunnah wa Jamaah appears to be domestic, with scarce evidence of direct ties to international extremist groups. But if the Mozambique government continues to respond in a heavy-handed manner, the threat is likely to grow, with potentially devastating effects for the country and region.

    Sep 3, 2019 Lawfare

  • Liberia's former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the new President-elect George Weah at his swearing-in ceremony in Monrovia, Liberia, January 22, 2018

    In Africa, Presidential Term Limits Are Working

    World news regularly features headlines about African power grabs and constitutional coups. Presidents Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia both adhered to term limits, stepping aside after finishing their second terms. Are they part of a broader trend?

    Apr 24, 2018 The Washington Post Monkey Cage Blog

Publications