Giacomo Persi Paoli

Photo of Giacomo Persi Paoli
Associate Research Group Director, Defence, Security, and Infrastructure, RAND Europe; Head of the Center for Futures and Foresight Studies
Cambridge Office


Ph.D. in economics, University of Roma Tor Vergata (Italy); M.A. in international science and diplomacy, University of Trieste (Italy); M.A. in political science, University of Pisa (Italy)

Media Resources

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To arrange an interview, contact RAND Europe Media Relations at +44 (1223) 353 329, x2560, or email

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Giacomo Persi Paoli is associate director of the Defence, Security and Infrastructure group at RAND Europe, where he leads the National Security and Resilience research portfolio. He is also the head of the Centre for Futures and Foresight Studies at RAND Europe.

Since joining RAND Europe, Persi Paoli has contributed to several research projects for high profile clients such as the United Nations, NATO, the European Commission, the European Defence Agency, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders, the UK Army, the UK MOD and the Australian Navy. His areas of expertise span the defence and security domain, with recent work covering counter-terrorism, maritime security, border security, risk analysis, arms control and defence market analysis.

Prior to joining RAND Europe, Persi Paoli served 14 years as warfare officer of the Italian Navy with operational experience in maritime interdiction operations, including counter-piracy in the Horn of Africa and immigration surveillance and rescue in the South Mediterranean. Finally, He also conducted research and analysis work on illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons and related counter-measures for the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (New York, USA), the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (Geneva, Switzerland), and Small Arms Survey (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland). He received his Ph.D. in economic theory and institutions from the University of Roma Tor Vergata (Italy).

Recent Projects

  • Mediterranean Foresight Forum
  • Behind the curtain: an investigation of the illicit trade in firearms and explosives on the dark web

Selected Publications

Giacomo Persi Paoli, Ammunition Marking: Current Practices and Future Possibilities, Small Arms Survey, 2011

Giacomo Persi Paoli "Italian Procurement, Exports, and Consumption of Small and Large Caliber Ammunition and Munitions," in Benjamin King (editor), Surveying Europe’s Production and Procurement of Small Arms and Light Weapons Ammunition: The Cases of Italy, France and the Russian Federation, Small Arms Survey, 2010

Giacomo Persi Paoli, The Method behind the Mark: a Review of Firearm Marking Technologies, Small Arms Survey, 2010

Giacomo Persi Paoli, Comparative Analysis of Post-Manufacture Marking Instruments and Practices for Small Arms and Light Weapons, International Security Research and Outreach Program Canada (ISROP) and United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), 2009


  • Computer hacker working on laptop late at night in office

    Connect, Buy-Now, Fire: How the Dark Web Allows Criminals to Buy Weapons—Anonymously

    Despite its small size compared to the offline market, the ability of the dark web to anonymously arm individuals of all backgrounds needs to be taken seriously. Its potential impact on international security is significant.

    Jul 25, 2017 Prospect Magazine

  • Bullets and firearm on a retail store counter

    Tracing Firearms and Ammunition

    The marking of firearms and ammunition supports effective tracing by enabling identification and efficient record keeping. But currently there are no mandatory, globally accepted standards that regulate firearms marking.

    Sep 9, 2016 Defence Management Review

  • Refugees in Keleti train station, Budapest, Hungary

    Why Now Is the Time for a Unified Response to Europe's Migrant Crisis

    Some EU member states are re-instating temporary internal border controls in an attempt to control the flow of migrants. If the EU is to develop a coordinated plan to successfully manage the crisis, it needs to achieve a more balanced redistribution of migrants and establish more efficient processing of asylum applications.

    Feb 17, 2016 E!Sharp

  • Migrants' boats on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa

    How to Solve the Mediterranean's Migrant Crisis

    Destroying smugglers' vessels could contribute to reducing illegal migration and impact the business model that makes smuggling so profitable. But it won't stop smuggling altogether.

    May 28, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • Migrants stand on board of Italian Navy ship Chimera before disembarking in the southern harbour of Salerno April 22, 2015

    What Does It Take to Rescue Migrants at Sea?

    European Union leaders gathered today for an emergency summit to discuss a concerted response to the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea. As a former officer serving aboard an Italian Navy warship deployed in Operation Mare Nostrum in November 2013, Giacomo Persi Paoli is well aware of the challenges.

    Apr 23, 2015 The RAND Blog