Stacie L. Pettyjohn

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Director, Strategy and Doctrine Program, RAND Project AIR FORCE; Codirector, Center for Gaming; Senior Political Scientist; Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
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M.A., Ph.D. in foreign affairs, University of Virginia; B.A. in political science, Ohio State University

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Stacie L. Pettyjohn is director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE, codirector of the RAND Center for Gaming, and a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. She is also an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a member of the faculty at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her primary research areas include wargaming, U.S. defense policy, military posture, and internet freedom.

She is the author of the RAND monograph U.S. Global Defense Posture, 1783-2011 and the coauthor of several other reports, including Access Granted: Political Challenges to the U.S. Overseas Military Presence, 1945-2014, The Posture Triangle: A New Framework for U.S. Air Force Global Presence, Overseas Basing of U.S. Military Forces: An Assessment of the Relative Costs and Strategic Benefits, and Deradicalizing Islamist Extremists. Her work has also been published in academic journals such as Security Studies and International Negotiation, and her commentary has appeared in Foreign Affairs, War on the Rocks, Defense News, The National Interest, Asia Times, and The Daily Star.

Previously, Pettyjohn was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Peace Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, and a TAPIR fellow at the RAND Corporation. She has a Ph.D. and M.A. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in history and political science from the Ohio State University.

Selected Publications

Stacie L. Pettyjohn and Evan Braden Montgomery, "Democratization, Instability, and War: Israel’s 2006 Conflicts With Hamas and Hezbollah," Security Studies, 19(3), 2010

Stacie L. Pettyjohn, "Engagement: A Path to Disarmament or Disaster?" International Negotiation, 14(1), 2009

Michael J. Lostumbo, et al., Overseas Basing of U.S. Military Forces: An Assessment of Relative Costs and Strategic Benefits, RAND (RR-201), 2013

Stacie L. Pettyjohn and Alan J. Vick, The Posture Triangle: A New Framework for U.S. Air Force Global Presence, RAND (RR-402), 2013

Stacie L. Pettyjohn, U.S. Global Defense Posture, 1783-2011, RAND (MG-1244), 2012

Stacie L. Pettyjohn, Jennifer Kavanagh, Access Granted: Political Challenges to the U.S. Overseas Military Presence, 1945-2014, RAND (RR-1339), 2016


  • Members of the Western Approaches Tactical Unit prepare for a wargame in Derby House, Liverpool, UK, March 18, 1945, photo by Parnall, C H (Lt)/Imperial War Museums © IWM (A 27823)

    Book Review: 'A Game of Birds and Wolves' by Simon Parkin

    In A Game of Birds and Wolves, journalist Simon Parkin reports on a long overlooked piece of World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. Captain Gilbert Roberts enlisted the Women's Royal Naval Service to build and run a game modeling a two-sided tactical fight between British escorts and German U-boats.

    Jan 30, 2020 Science

  • U.S. Army soldiers man a defensive position at Forward Operating Base Union III in Baghdad, Iraq, December 31, 2019, photo by Maj. Charlie Dietz/Task Force-Iraq Public Affairs Handout via Reuters

    Can Iraq Evict U.S. Forces?

    The Iraqi parliament voted to expel U.S. troops from Iraq. This vote was nonbinding, and the Iraqi caretaker government cannot pass laws, but it does indicate that a majority in parliament wants U.S. forces to leave.

    Jan 6, 2020 The Washington Post

  • An F-16 fighter jet lands at a U.S. Air Force base in Osan, South Korea, April 3, 2013, photo by Lee Jae Won/Reuters

    'Cost Plus 50' Explained

    The Trump administration may be considering requiring host nations to subsidize the entire cost of the U.S. military presence and pay an additional 50 percent of that amount. This type of transactional foreign policy increases the risk that countries will rethink their agreements to host U.S. forces, and that could reduce the U.S. military's ability to operate globally.

    Mar 15, 2019 The Washington Post

  • Naval officers from the Colombian, Brazilian, and U.S. Navy work together as a control group at U.S. Naval War College during the 2013 Inter-American War Game

    Gaming the System: Obstacles to Reinvigorating Defense Wargaming

    Reinvigorating wargaming in the defense community offers great potential value given the complex strategic situation that the U.S. faces today. DoD should educate sponsors and consumers about the appropriate use of wargames, set realistic expectations, and build the right amount of risk acceptance into its gaming enterprise.

    Feb 18, 2016 War on the Rocks

  • A person holding an iPad in Shanghai

    Net Gain: Washington Cedes Control of ICANN

    Had the U.S. kept its fist clenched around ICANN, it would have undermined faith in the multistakeholder model of Internet governance and empowered the ITU. Instead, Washington has disarmed critics and helped ensure that the Internet will remain open and free.

    Apr 11, 2014 Foreign Affairs

  • Virginia Senators George Allen and John Warner, Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner, and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen testifying to the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 2005

    Why the Pentagon Can't Bypass BRAC

    By trying to cut Congress out of the loop and bypass the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), the Pentagon is more likely to antagonize Capitol Hill and undermine its efforts to make sensible cuts in defense spending.

    Apr 1, 2014 Defense News

  • a redesignation ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma

    The Battle of Futenma Isn't Over Yet

    Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima's decision to grant the permit to build a U.S. Marine Corps airbase on an offshore landfill near the village of Henoko village is being hailed as an important breakthrough in U.S.-Japanese relations. Yet this is wishful thinking, says Stacie L. Pettyjohn.

    Jan 6, 2014 The National Interest

  • U.S. helicopter squadron in the Persian Gulf launches an MK-105 Mod 4 Sled

    By Land and by Sea

    There are good reasons for the United States to rethink how it counterbalances Iran, reassures local allies, and projects power with fewer resources. However, tying down large numbers of fighter aircraft in the Gulf is likely only to exacerbate old problems and create new ones.

    Jul 22, 2013 Foreign Affairs

  • Marines board aircraft in preparation to support Operation Tomodachi

    Okinawa Remains an Intractable Thorn for US and Japan

    The relocation of the Marines is a first step toward a more sustainable US military presence in the Asia-Pacific. Yet policymakers in Washington and Tokyo should not expect this move to eliminate an enduring source of tension in US-Japanese relations, write Stacie L. Pettyjohn and Alan J. Vick.

    May 25, 2012 Asia Times