Christopher Paul

Christopher Paul
Senior Social Scientist; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Off Site Office


Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. in sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

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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Christopher Paul is a senior social scientist at RAND and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Paul provides research support related to operations in the information environment, information warfare, the information joint/warfighting function, counterpropaganda, cyber operations, and related policy to a range of Department of Defense and U.S. Government offices, organizations, and commands. His work has influenced defense doctrine and policy in the United States and internationally. Prior to joining RAND full-time in July of 2002, he worked at RAND as adjunct staff for six years. Paul received his Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles; he spent academic year 2001–02 on the UCLA statistics faculty.

Recent Projects

  • Alternatives for Operations in the Information Environment During Competition
  • Developing a Taxonomy of Chinese Stratagems and Recommended Responses
  • Improving Representation of the Information Environment and Information-Related Capabilities in Wargaming and Simulation
  • Improving Intelligence Support to Information Operations
  • Laying a Foundation for the Assessment of Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade

Selected Publications

Paul, Christopher, Michael Schwille, Michael Vasseur, Elizabeth M. Bartels, and Ryan Bauer, The Role of Information in U.S. Concepts for Strategic Competition, RAND Corporation (RR-A1256-1), 2022

Paul, Christopher, James Dobbins, Scott W. Harold, Howard J. Shatz, Rand Waltzman, and Lauren Skrabala, A Guide to Extreme Competition with China, RAND Corporation (RR-A1378-1), 2021

Paul, Christopher, Ben Connable, Jonathan Welch, Nate Rosenblatt, and Jim McNeive, The Information Warfighter Exercise Wargame: Rulebook, RAND Corporation (TL-A495-1), 2021

Christopher Paul, Yuna Huh Wong, Elizabeth M. Bartels, Opportunities for Including the Information Environment in U.S. Marine Corps Wargames, (RR-2997), 2020

Christopher Paul and William Marcellino, Dominating Duffer's Domain: Lessons for the U.S. Marine Corps Information Operations Practitioner, RAND (RR-1166-1), 2017

Christopher Paul and Miriam Matthews, The Russian Firehose of Falsehood Propaganda Model: Why It Might Work and Options to Counter It, RAND (PE-198), 2016

Christopher Paul, "Confessions of a Hybrid Warfare Skeptic: What Might Really Be Interesting but Hidden Within the Various Conceptions of Gray Zone Conflict, Ambiguous Warfare, Political Warfare, and Their Ilk," Small Wars Journal, 2016

Christopher Paul, Jessica Yeats, Colin P. Clarke, Miriam Matthews, Lauren Skrabala, Assessing and Evaluating Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade: Handbook for Practitioners, RAND (RR-809/2), 2015

Honors & Awards

  • 2021 Order of Hermes, Information Professionals Association
  • 2017 Bronze Medal Award, RAND
  • 2016 Defense and Political Sciences Mentor of the Year Award, RAND

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: The Ed Berliner Show; Information Professionals; NPR;; Voice of America; Vox; WTOP Radio


  • Ukraine

    One Year After Russia's Invasion of Ukraine: Experts React

    We asked nearly 30 RAND experts to highlight takeaways from the first year of Russia's all-out war—and share what they're watching as the conflict in Ukraine grinds on. Here's what they said.

    Feb 20, 2023

  • National Security Organizations

    The Irony of Misinformation: USIA Myths Block Enduring Solutions

    Unlike Russia and China, the U.S. government has failed to institutionalize the importance of information in foreign policy. The United States lacks formalized leadership structures to tackle information issues head on, and a central organization to coordinate activities to understand, inform, and influence foreign audiences.

    Jul 7, 2022


  • Information Operations

    Don't Sleep on Russian Information War Capabilities

    Ukraine looks to have Russia beat in countering Russian disinformation. But this is only part of the story. Instead of fixating on Russia's missteps, policymakers and analysts would benefit from studying Ukraine's sophisticated information campaign while bearing in mind that Russia retains significant information warfare capabilities and a willingness to use them.

    Apr 5, 2022

    Defense One

  • China

    How China Plays by Different Rules—at Everyone Else's Expense

    A single Chinese state-run firm has secured a controlling interest in at least 33 radio stations in 14 countries. But there is virtually no opportunity for foreign ownership, input, or influence in the Chinese media marketplace. This inequity presents U.S. leaders with an opportunity: Unless China opens its media marketplace to foreign investment and ownership, its firms should be forced to divest their American holdings.

    Feb 7, 2022

    The Hill

  • Social Media Analysis

    Platforms Should Use Algorithms to Help Users Help Themselves

    Social media users generate massive volumes of content, which then spreads at extraordinary speeds. Yet platforms generally rely on a slow process of human moderation to remove prohibited content. What if moderation could happen before the content is even posted?

    Jul 20, 2021

    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

  • Joint Operations

    Two Vignettes: How Might Combat Operations Be Different Under the Information Joint Function?

    RAND researcher Christopher Paul employs storytelling to illustrate two distinct approaches to Joint Combat Operations. While both vignettes result in the expulsion of adversary forces and the restoration of territorial integrity, they take different approaches to kinetic and informational power.

    Oct 8, 2020

    Mad Scientist Laboratory Blog

  • Information Operations

    Artificial Intelligence and the Manufacturing of Reality

    Humans carry flaws in deciding what is or is not real. The internet and other technologies have made it easier to weaponize and exploit these flaws. And artificial intelligence will likely be used to exploit these weaknesses at an unprecedented scale, speed, and level of effectiveness.

    Jan 20, 2020

    Strategy Bridge

  • Information Operations

    Is It Time to Abandon the Term Information Operations?

    Operations in the information environment will be a critical part of future joint force operations and should be baked in to those operations as a fully valued tool in commanders' combined arms toolboxes. Reaching that goal will require greater acceptance and understanding of information across the joint force, new structures for information forces, and the evolution of how operations in the information environment are handled within the staff.

    Mar 13, 2019

    Strategy Bridge

  • Information Operations

    Free Lunches for Adversaries

    When leaders take actions that are unpopular with wide audiences, propagandists have it easy. While Western leaders should not make propaganda potential the primary factor when weighing policy decisions, neither should they wholly disregard the opportunities that unpopular policies will offer adversaries.

    Feb 13, 2018

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Cybersecurity

    How the Pentagon Should Deter Cyber Attacks

    Foreign hackers are not afraid to launch attacks on the United States in cyberspace that they would not dare risk in a real theater of war. As cyber aggression gets worse and more brazen, the U.S. must figure out how to deter foreign actors in cyberspace as effectively as it does in nuclear and conventional warfare.

    Jan 10, 2018

    Strategy Bridge

  • Russia

    Russian Propaganda Is Pervasive, and America Is Behind the Power Curve in Countering It

    Even as Washington pursues cooperation with Moscow on Syria and other issues, America should expose Russia's obsession with propaganda and disinformation.

    Sep 13, 2016

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Global Security

    Inciting Peace

    Malicious ideas, ideologies, and narratives (such as those promoted by ISIS) cannot just be eliminated — they need to be replaced.

    Mar 30, 2016

    Foreign Policy Concepts

  • Asymmetric Warfare

    A Broad Approach to Countering the Islamic State

    Recent analysis about how to defeat the Islamic State tends to be based on no more than intuition, a general sense of history, or a small number of cases of questionable comparability. A study of 71 historical cases of counterinsurgencies should help provide empirical evidence to this important debate.

    Sep 2, 2014

    The Washington Post Monkey Cage Blog

  • Military Strategy

    Paths to Victory in the Australian Defence and Security Context

    The historical importance of commitment and motivation and the need to overmatch insurgents suggest that Australia should weigh any commitment of support against existing conditions, those that can be changed and those that can't, writes Christopher Paul.

    Oct 2, 2013

    The Strategist

  • Peacekeeping and Stability Operations

    History Favors More Time

    The Afghans will have better prospects for defeating their insurgency with continued improvement, of course, and the United States can contribute to that improvement while American forces remain, writes Christopher Paul.

    Apr 3, 2012

  • International Diplomacy

    Find the Right Balance Between Civilian and Military: Don't Just Strip the DoD of Capabilities to Inform, Influence, and Persuade

    All parties would like to see greater U.S. capability to inform, influence, and persuade abroad, with the Department of State as the robust leader of American public diplomacy and the Department of Defense as a valued and supporting partner, writes Christopher Paul.

    Oct 31, 2010

    MountainRunner Institute

  • Information Operations

    Psychological Operations by Another Name Are Sweeter

    The Department of Defense has decided to change the name of military psychological operations (PSYOP) and this is a good thing, writes Christopher Paul.

    Jul 29, 2010

    Small Wars Journal

  • International Diplomacy

    Rethink Washington's 'War of Ideas'

    The term

    Jun 2, 2009

    The Christian Science Monitor

  • Ad Men for U.S. Defense

    Improving the U.S. military's brand identity demands more than just a catchy new slogan. While communications can help explain U.S. policies, the behavior of every soldier, sailor, airman and marine is what ultimately determines how civilians view U.S. forces, write Todd Helmus, Russell Glenn and Christopher Paul in a commentary appearing in United Press International.

    Aug 20, 2007

    United Press International