Ashley L. Rhoades

Photo of Ashley Rhoades
Defense Analyst; Special Projects Coordinator, Center for Middle East Public Policy
Washington Office


M.A. in security studies, Georgetown University; B.A. in political science, Stanford University; Exchange Program in international security, University of Oxford

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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Ashley Rhoades is a defense analyst at the RAND Corporation and serves as the special projects coordinator for RAND's Center for Middle East Public Policy (CMEPP). At RAND, her work focuses on strategic competition, security cooperation, deterrence, terrorism and counterterrorism (with an emphasis on al Qaeda and the Islamic State), and European and Middle Eastern security issues. 

Ashley's past professional experiences include working with the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Operation Iraqi Freedom Study Group at the National Defense University, as the editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Security Studies Review, as a research assistant at Stanford focusing on the Arab-Israeli conflict, as a litigation paralegal for a firm in D.C., and as the director of North American operations for a United Nations-affiliated start-up.

Rhoades spent two terms of her undergraduate studies at the University of Oxford, where she completed extensive research and coursework on a range of international security issues. Her Bachelor's honors thesis analyzes the role of U.S. incentives in constructing the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq. Her Master's thesis explores the relationship between returning foreign fighters and terrorism in Western Europe.

Rhoades received her M.A. in security studies from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She holds a B.A. with honors in political science and a minor in art history from Stanford University.

Honors & Awards

  • Departmental Honors, Department of Political Science, Stanford University
  • 2019 Silver Medal Award for Mission & Impact, RAND Corporation
  • Spotlight Award, RAND Army Research Division (Arroyo)


  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchange documents during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

    Apr 19, 2021 War on the Rocks