Stephanie Pezard

Stephanie Pezard
Associate Research Department Director, Defense and Political Sciences; Senior Political Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. in political science, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva; M.A. in history, French Institute of Political Science, Paris (Sciences Po); M.A. in political science, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva; B.A. in history, French Institute of Political Science, Paris (Sciences Po)

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

More Experts


Stephanie Pezard is associate research department director, Defense and Political Sciences, and a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on Arctic security; strategic competition; European security and transatlantic relations; measures short of war; security cooperation and security force assistance; deterrence and use of force; and French defense and security policy.

Prior to joining RAND, Pezard was a researcher with the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey. She was also a visiting scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University, New York and a TAPIR Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS/Johns Hopkins University and the RAND Corporation.

Pezard received her Ph.D. in international relations (political science) from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, and her M.A. in contemporary history from the French School of Political Science (Sciences-Po) in Paris.

Selected Publications

Pezard, Stephanie, Expanding Army Cooperation Between the United States and France in the Indo-Pacific, RAND Corporation (RR-A1633-1), 2023

Pezard, Stephanie, Stephen J. Flanagan, Scott W. Harold, Irina A. Chindea, Benjamin J. Sacks, Abbie Tingstad, Tristan Finazzo, and Soo Kim, China's Strategy and Activities in the Arctic: Implications for North American and Transatlantic Security, RAND Corporation (RR-A1282-1-v2), 2022

Pezard, Stephanie, U.S. Strategic Competition with Russia: A RAND Research Primer, RAND Corporation (PE-A290-2), 2022

Pezard, Stephanie, Michael Shurkin, and David A. Ochmanek, A Strong Ally Stretched Thin: An Overview of France's Defense Capabilities from a Burdensharing Perspective, RAND Corporation (RR-A231-1), 2021

Retter, Lucia, Stephanie Pezard, Stephen J. Flanagan, Gene Germanovich, Sarah Grand-Clement, and Pauline Paillé, European Strategic Autonomy in Defence: Transatlantic visions and implications for NATO, US and EU relations, RAND Corporation (RR-A1319-1), 2021

Pezard, Stephanie, Ashley L. Rhoades, What Provokes Putin's Russia? Deterring Without Unintended Escalation, RAND Corporation (PE-338-A), 2020

Pezard, Stephanie, The New Geopolitics of the Arctic: Russia's and China's Evolving Role in the Region, RAND Corporation (CT-500), 2018

Pezard, Stephanie, Abbie Tingstad, and Alexandra Hall, The Future of Arctic Cooperation in a Changing Strategic Environment: Insights from a Scenario-Based Exercise Organised by RAND and Hosted by NUPI, RAND Corporation (PE-268-RC), 2018

Honors & Awards

  • 2014 Elihu Root Prize for essays on landpower (2nd place, with co-author Dr. Steve Watts), U.S. Army War College Foundation


English; French; Spanish

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: NRC Online; Voice of America

Commentary: CNN; U.S. News & World Report


  • Arctic Region

    What Is Next for the Arctic Council in the Wake of Russian Rule?

    Norway recently took over chairmanship of the Arctic Council from Russia under conditions never before experienced by the organization in its 27-year history. Despite the current uncertainties, there could be ways to move past the stalemate between Russia and the other council members.

    May 15, 2023

    The Hill

  • 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

  • Security Cooperation

    Rethinking the EU's Role in European Collective Defence

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine is forcing European nations to quickly re-evaluate how best to maintain their collective security. This makes the concept of European strategic autonomy—the EU's increased ability to operate independently and with partners of choice on defence and security matters—more relevant than ever.

    May 20, 2022


  • Security Cooperation

    Putin's Actions in Ukraine Are Spilling North

    The decision of seven Arctic countries to suspend collaborative work with Russia in the Arctic is by far the most severe and consequential break in cooperation the region has ever seen. This breakdown of Arctic diplomacy could have several important impacts on the region and could potentially threaten the United States as well as its allies.

    Mar 30, 2022

    The Hill

  • Arctic Region

    Blinken's Arctic Opportunities

    Continued positive U.S. engagement in the Arctic Council could be important for balancing the influence of Russia and China, and in moving toward the Biden administration's climate change goals. Washington's new priority on climate change could be an issue that will now bind, rather than divide, Arctic states.

    May 19, 2021

    Defense One

  • Law of the Sea

    How Not to Compete in the Arctic

    The Arctic defies simplistic views of geopolitical friends and foes. The United States and its allies do not necessarily agree on key issues, while U.S. strategic competitors might find common ground with America. The United States could fine-tune its defense policy tools in the Arctic to ensure that its actions do not hamper relations with allies and shore up the position of adversaries.

    Feb 27, 2019

    War on the Rocks

  • Arctic Region

    Cooperation in the Arctic Likely to Continue—For Now

    Risks for serious tensions in the Arctic during the 2020s are likely to be overstated. Key players in the Arctic appear likely to continue working together to enhance the economic potential of the region and resolve conflicts before they emerge, as opportunities in the Arctic continue to grow.

    Jul 12, 2018

    The RAND Blog

  • Counterinsurgency

    Mali Is France's Afghanistan, but with a Difference

    At first glance the comparison between the French military operations in Mali and America’s involvement in Afghanistan is compelling, and in some important ways, accurate. It also presents some fundamental differences that give reason for optimism in France.

    Dec 1, 2017

    War on the Rocks

  • Arctic Region

    What Does 'America First' Look Like in the Arctic?

    The shift in U.S. climate policy away from greenhouse gas reduction is significant for the Arctic, which is experiencing global warming at an accelerated rate. And a recent executive order will pave the way for expanded oil and gas drilling. How will these changes shape the Arctic in years to come?

    May 25, 2017

    United Press International

  • Arctic Region

    Will the Breakdown in U.S.-Russia Cooperation Reach the Arctic?

    Over the last few decades, the U.S. and Russia have often found common ground on Arctic affairs, at least in such areas as search and rescue and environmental integrity. The Arctic has the potential to remain resistant to tensions building elsewhere.

    Oct 12, 2016

    Inside Sources

  • Arctic Region

    Friends If We Must: Russia and China in the Arctic

    Russia's rebalancing toward China is particularly important in the Arctic, a region in which Russia has great ambitions, but also struggles with major vulnerabilities. Russia needs China as an investor, as a technological partner, and as a key consumer of energy to support its flagging, energy-dependent economy.

    May 6, 2016

    War on the Rocks

  • Arctic Region

    Will the Arctic Remain a Warm Spot in Chilly U.S.-Russia Relations?

    The United States should continue with its policy of engagement with Russia within Arctic institutions. This is the only way to keep building on a track record of successful agreements that make the Arctic safer for all.

    Apr 28, 2016

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Refugees

    France Is Right to Stay the Course

    President Hollande announced that 30,000 Syrian refugees would be welcomed in France, honoring the commitment France made to its European partners before the Paris attacks. Altering its policy would only give the terrorists what they want.

    Nov 25, 2015

    U.S. News & World Report

  • France

    The Front National and the Future of French Foreign Policy

    France's far-right party Front National is ascendant. Its leader could be a strong contender in 2017's presidential elections. Do the Front National's current and, possibly, future successes have implications for France's partners and allies in Europe and beyond?

    Mar 25, 2015

    War on the Rocks

  • Counterterrorism

    Help Malians Fight Back

    The March 7 terrorist attack that killed five people in a nightclub in Bamako, Mali, underscores the importance of international support for the West African country, which has become another front in the struggle against Islamist radicalism.

    Mar 13, 2015

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Terrorism

    Terror in Paris, Answers from RAND Experts

    The attack that claimed the lives of 12 people in the offices of a Paris-based satirical magazine sent waves of terror and disbelief across France today. RAND experts discuss what the terrorists stand to gain from the attack, what it could mean for Muslims around the world, and more.

    Jan 7, 2015

  • Emergency Services and Response

    Declaring War on Ebola

    Operation United Assistance, which includes the deployment of 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa to respond to the Ebola crisis, is a welcome recognition of the range of missions the military is increasingly able to tackle, particularly in disaster-management assistance.

    Oct 10, 2014

    Modern Healthcare

  • Central Africa

    The Central African Republic Must Save Itself

    The coincidence of the passing of Nelson Mandela last week with France's decision to intervene in the Central African Republic highlights a number of inconvenient truths about Africa and the role of the international community in its affairs.

    Dec 13, 2013

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Disaster Recovery Operations

    Responding in Typhoon Haiyan's Wake

    Prior responses to other recent disasters offer important lessons. Improved preparedness and efficient coordination mechanisms can help ensure that, when time is of the essence, the United States provides the most effective response.

    Nov 12, 2013

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Mali

    Remembering What Mali Needs

    Free and fair elections are important, to be sure, but what Mali really needs is a leader who is dedicated to democracy, unity and reform of Mali's politics and institutions, write Stephanie Pezard and Michael Shurkin.

    Jul 26, 2013

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    The al Qaeda Threat in North Africa

    Last week's terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas complex in Algeria, along with the recent success of the militant groups fighting government forces in Mali, indicate al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are gaining influence in North Africa. RAND experts weigh in on the latest developments.

    Jan 24, 2013

  • France

    The French Intervention in Mali Is Necessary, but Risky

    No solution is likely to offer more than a short-term reprise if it is not accompanied by real progress toward resolving Mali's political crisis and strengthening the Malian state and Malian democracy, write Stephanie Pezard and Michael Shurkin.

    Jan 17, 2013

    U.S. News & World Report

  • France

    France Needs More Than Force in Mali

    France should coordinate military action with efforts to engage with local factions to use as partners and proxies, write Stephanie Pezard and Michael Shurkin. This is, in effect, how France conquered and secured northern Mali in the first place a century ago.

    Jan 17, 2013