Charles P. Ries

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Adjunct Senior Fellow
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M.A. and B.A. in international affairs, Johns Hopkins University

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Ambassador (Ret.) Charles Ries is an adjunct senior fellow at the RAND Corporation. His research focuses on the economics of development, trade, transatlantic, and Middle East affairs. Previously, Ries served as vice president, International at RAND (2012–2020).  Earlier, while on a leave of absence from RAND, Ries served as executive vice president of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Prior to RAND, Ries was a foreign service officer, serving as ambassador to Greece, principal deputy assistant secretary for European Affairs, and in other postings.  At RAND, Ries has led projects on the economic and political effects of Brexit, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and national security decisionmaking, among others.  

During Ries' three decades in the U.S. diplomatic service he served as U.S. ambassador to Greece (2004–2007), and principal deputy assistant secretary of State for European Affairs (2000–2004). Ries oversaw economic sections at U.S. Embassy London and the U.S. Mission to the European Union. He served as deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for North American Affairs and was a member of the NAFTA negotiating team.

Ries is the recipient of the State Department's Cordell Hull Award for Senior Economic Officers, the Distinguished Honor Award, Presidential Meritorious Service Award, the Rockwell Schnabel Award for U.S.-EU Relations, and several Superior Honor Awards. For his service in Iraq, he received the Department of the Army's Outstanding Civilian Service Award. He is a member of the Academy of American Diplomacy. He has an M.A. and B.A. in international studies from Johns Hopkins University. 

Previous Positions

Vice President, International, The RAND Corporation (2012-2020); Coordinator, Economic Transition in Iraq, U.S. Embassy Baghdad (2007-2008); Ambassador of the U.S. to Greece (2004-2007); Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (2000-2004); Minister for Economic Affairs, U.S. Embassy London (1996-2000); Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs, U.S. Mission to the European Union (1992-1996); Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for North American Affairs (1990-1992)

Recent Projects

  • After Brexit: Alternate forms of Brexit and their implications for the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States
  • Improving Decisionmaking in a Turbulent World
  • Investing in the Fight: Assessing the Use of CERP in Afghanistan
  • The Costs of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • Building a More Resilient Haitian State

Selected Publications

Charles P. Ries, Improving Decisionmaking in Turbulent World, RAND (PE-192), 2016

Daniel Egel, Charles P. Ries, Ben Connable, Todd C. Helmus, Eric Robinson, Isaac Baruffi, Melissa A. Bradley, Kurt Card, Kathleen Loa, Sean Mann, Fernando Sedano, Stephan B. Seabrook, Robert Stewart, Investing in the Fight: Assessing the Use of the Commanders' Emergency Response Fund in Afghanistan, RAND (RR-1508), 2016

C. Ross Anthony, Charles P. Ries, Daniel Egel, Craig Bond, Andrew Liepman, Jeffrey Martini, Stephen Simon, Shira Efron, Bradley Stein, Lynsay Ayer, Mary Vaiana, The Costs of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, RAND (RR-740-1-DCR), 2015

Richard Brennan, Ending the U.S. War in Iraq: The Final Transition, Operational Maneuver and Disestablishment of United States Forces-Iraq, RAND (RR-232), 2013

Keith Crane, James Dobbins, Laurel E. Miller, Charles P. Ries, et. al,, Building a More Resilient Haitian State, RAND (MG-1039-SRF), 2012

Charles P. Ries, Joseph Jenkins, Oliver Wise, Improving the Energy Performance of Buildings: Learning from the European Union and Australia, RAND (TR-728-RER/BOMA), 2009

Charles P. Ries, Marco Hafner, Troy D. Smith, Frances G. Burwell, Daniel Egel, Eugeniu Han, Martin Stepanek, Howard J. Shatz, After Brexit: Alternate forms of Brexit and their implications for the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States, RAND (RR-2200), 2017

Charles Ries, Marco Hafner, Clement Fays and Erez Yerushalmi, The End of the Beginning: Assessing the potential economic implications of prolonger UK-EU trade policy uncertainty, RAND (RR-4265), 2020

Honors & Awards

  • Outstanding Civilian Service Award, Department of the Army
  • Cordell Hull Award for Economic Achievement, Department of State
  • Distinguished Service Award, Department of State



Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: BBC Radio 4; BBC World Service; Bloomberg News; Bloomberg Television; Business Insider; California Political News and Views; CNBC; E!Sharp; Foreign Policy Association; Fox Business Network; Here and There/Santa Fe Public Radio; Huffington Post Live; Kathimerini Online; KCBS-AM; KNX-AM; Newsy; Sky News; Wisconsin Public Radio

Commentary: FOX News; International Trade News; Newsweek; U.S. News & World Report


  • Distribution of humanitarian aid from the International Committee of the Red Cross in Donetsk, Ukraine, March 17, 2021, photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

    Ukraine Invasion Could Spark a Massive Refugee Crisis

    One fallout of a Russian invasion of Ukraine could be a massive refugee or migration crisis. If that happened, there would be significant humanitarian, political, and economic implications for both the Ukrainians who flee and for the European nations they go to.

    Feb 16, 2022 Newsweek

  • Arrows with UK and EU flag images pointing in opposite directions on the ground, with legs and shoes viewed from above, photo by Delpixart/Getty Images

    A Free Trade Agreement Still Comes with Costs

    Major issues must be resolved before any UK-EU agreement on post-Brexit trade and economic relations is completed. There will be substantial costs associated with even a zero-tariff trade deal.

    Oct 23, 2020 UK in a Changing Europe

  • A researcher works inside a lab of India's Serum Institute, the world's largest maker of vaccines, which is working on vaccines against COVID-19 in Pune, India, May 18, 2020, photo by Euan Rocha/Reuters

    Once a COVID-19 Vaccine Is Ready, Getting People to Take It May Be a Bigger Challenge

    With COVID-19 vaccine development well underway, implementation of a vaccination program warrants attention. Vaccine effectiveness demands a certain percentage uptake. But since health care delivery in the United States is fragmented, a coherent federal intervention may be necessary.

    Jun 9, 2020 United Press International

  • Polygonal image of COVID-19 virus superimposed on a digital world map, photo by Andrii Pokliatskyi/Getty Images

    Global Challenges to Maintaining a Healthy Workforce During a Pandemic: Views from RAND Experts

    As nations across the globe remain in lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, questions about the future of employment and workforce productivity emerge. During a recent webinar, RAND experts discussed how to get people back to work and improve productivity post COVID-19.

    May 15, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video link, held by leaders from the Group of 20 to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impacts, at his residence outside Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2020, photo by Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik Photo Agency/Reuters

    How the Global Community Can Cooperate to Defeat COVID-19 and Recover

    The G20 met in an extraordinary virtual summit March 26 to discuss the shared global challenge of COVID-19. G20 countries could show the way for the rest of the world to cooperate on present challenges and prepare for public policy challenges moving forward.

    Apr 28, 2020 The Wall Street Journal

  • An empty market after a curfew was imposed to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, March 18, 2020

    Economic Consequences of COVID-19 in the Middle East: Implications for U.S. National Security

    The global COVID-19 pandemic will have a dramatic effect on economies across the globe. But the Middle East may be particularly affected, given the simultaneous fall in oil prices. The economic consequences of this pandemic are also likely to affect U.S. interests in the region.

    Apr 1, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • Eggshell with UK and EU flag pattern, photo by Panorama Images/Getty Images

    The Costs of Brexit Uncertainty

    It may be tempting to think that Brexit is now done. But the UK's formal departure from the EU in late January was only the end of the beginning. And uncertainty is likely to affect the UK's economic performance moving forward.

    Mar 3, 2020 Encompass

  • Shipping containers at the port in San Pedro, California, March 22, 2018, photo by Bob Riha Jr./Reuters

    Trump's Tariffs Against China Aren't Working. And There's No Quick Resolution in Sight

    Washington's go-it-alone approach to its trade disputes with China is imposing a high and growing cost on the U.S. economy. It could even threaten global prosperity. What's more, there's no quick resolution in sight.

    Aug 20, 2019 Los Angeles Times

  • Boris Johnson arrives at the Conservative Party headquarters after being announced as Britain's next prime minister, London, July 23, 2019, photo by Toby Melville/Reuters

    A Challenging Moment for Boris Johnson

    As Britain's next prime minister, Boris Johnson will bring advantages, and disadvantages, in seeking to lead the United Kingdom through a period as challenging as the Suez Crisis or (perhaps) the darkest days of World War II.

    Jul 23, 2019 The Hill

  • White House senior adviser Jared Kushner arrives for the U.S.-hosted “Peace to Prosperity” conference, in Manama, Bahrain, June 25, 2019, photo by Matt Spetalnick/Reuters

    Development with No Political Framework Is a Car Without an Engine

    Pushing an economic development plan for the Middle East without addressing the political issues specific to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like trying to sell a car without an engine. Why? Because an economic strategy that doesn't address core political issues would have no governing entity to put it into effect.

    Jul 9, 2019 RealClearWorld

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to announce her resignation in London, May 24, 2019, photo by Simon Dawson/Reuters

    The End of May: Another Brexit Victim

    What brought down British Prime Minister Theresa May? The essential contradictions of Brexit and a British public that cannot muster a majority for any Brexit outcome.

    May 27, 2019 The Hill

  • Two people shaking hands over a table with flags

    Economic Officers for the Future

    Economic officers must be, first of all, accomplished political officers. They should also have all the reporting, public speaking, and representational skills of any political or public diplomacy officer, coupled with a strong understanding of economic issues.

    Jan 7, 2019 Foreign Service Journal

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May meets with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss Brexit, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 11, 2018

    The UK Can't Have Its Brexit Cake and Eat It Too

    If the UK wishes to negotiate free-trade deals around the world, it has to either rebuild a border in Ireland or put up a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. If it crashes out of the EU with no agreement, the economic costs are the highest and border chaos is likely.

    Dec 11, 2018 The Hill

  • Migrants attend a lesson at the 'institute for intercultural communication' in Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2016

    Europe's Five Strategies for Coping with Migration Pressure

    Migration will likely continue to be a long-term challenge for European politics, institutions, governments, and values. Even with a drop in numbers and the development of institutional capabilities to manage migration, the European Union still has important tasks ahead of it.

    Dec 3, 2018 The National Interest

  • Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis (L), Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (R) meet at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium December 8, 2017

    For the UK's Post-Brexit Economy, No Deal Is the Worst Deal

    Brexit negotiations around trade are likely to be complicated for the UK and EU, particularly as a common position between all the parties could be difficult to achieve. Trying to avoid the worst-case economic option of 'no deal' is likely to be at the top of the agendas for both the UK and EU as trade talks begin.

    Jan 9, 2018 EurActiv

  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is welcomed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the EC headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 8, 2017

    The Burdens of Brexit

    The economic consequences of Brexit are likely to be negative across a wide range of scenarios, including the most likely outcomes that the UK now faces. If the UK leaves the EU with no trade deal it could lose 4.9 percent of GDP, or $140 billion, after 10 years.

    Dec 12, 2017 Newsweek

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech to Conservative Party members in Walmsley Parish Hall in Bolton, April 19, 2017

    The Snap Election, What's in It for Theresa May?

    Why would Theresa May take the risk of a national election, which otherwise wouldn't be needed until 2020, and what does she expect to gain from it? Calling an election now enables May to take decisive control of her party and should strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations.

    Apr 23, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May signs the official letter invoking Article 50 and the UK's intention to leave the EU, March 28, 2017, London

    Brexit and the Politics of Raising Barriers

    A lot is known about bringing new members into alliances and trade relationships. Not much is known about dismantling these bonds peaceably. Since Brexit will be more about adding barriers than taking them down, it will be a leap into the dark.

    Mar 29, 2017 Newsweek

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump listens during their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017.

    Politics Across the Pond

    Donald Trump and Theresa May can't actually get much done on U.S.-U.K. trade in the short term. Whatever Trump and May say or agree to during this visit will be for political effect. Any real bargaining on the economics will take place years in the future.

    Jan 31, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (C) at the first meeting of the new cabinet in the parliament building in Athens, Greece September 25, 2015

    The Greek Tragedy's Next Act Unfolds

    On regaining the mantle of prime minister, Tsipras should expect little, if any, honeymoon from the Greek electorate, as he faces not just the implementation of austerity measures demanded by the International Monetary Fund and the EU: He must also cope with Greece's part of a European migration crisis of historic proportions.

    Sep 27, 2015 Newsweek

  • Pro-Euro protestors hold Greek national flags during a rally in front of the parliament building, in Athens, Greece, June 30, 2015

    The Political Solution to the Greek Financial Crisis

    The outcome of Greece's financial crisis will have broad consequences for its already-devastated economy and, to a considerable extent, for the rest of Europe. The core problem is less about economics than about politics.

    Jun 30, 2015 FOX News Channel

  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, June 19, 2015

    Greek Financial Crisis: All You Need to Know

    Europeans should not rush to eject the Greeks from either the euro or the E.U. They should have the patience to let Greek politics run its course.

    Jun 21, 2015 Newsweek

  • Palestinian girls at their family's house in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, March 10, 2015

    War or Peace? Putting a Price on the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

    Today, more than 90 percent of Israelis and Palestinians were born after 1948 and have known nothing other than some version of the impasse. Both sides could be better off with a stable two-state solution. Prolonging the impasse for another generation would have real costs.

    Jun 9, 2015 Newsweek

  • TAFTA: SMEs Would Benefit Greatly

    Is the time really ripe for a free trade treaty (TAFTA) between the US and Europe? A TAFTA would liberate small and medium size businesses from a painful cost burden, writes Charles Ries in a guest editorial for International Trade News.

    Feb 6, 2013 International Trade News

  • EU country dominoes

    Abandoning the Euro Would Devastate Greece

    Greece is best off doing whatever it takes to remain on the rescue program prescribed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, while tackling on its own the structural constraints to growth, writes Charles Ries.

    Aug 17, 2012 U.S. News & World Report

  • Iraqi police officers and U.S. Army soldiers move reinforcement supplies

    Auditing U.S. Security Force and Economic Assistance Spending in Iraq

    A new audit of Iraq reconstruction spending underlines the fact that effective help for a nation in conflict, or a conflict winding down, isn't merely a question of resources. It also requires a deployable infrastructure to manage the spending, writes Charles Ries.

    Jul 19, 2012 The RAND Blog

  • A protester shouts during a demonstration outside the parliamentary building in Tunis, Tunisia, November 22, 2011, photo by Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters

    The Year of the Arab Spring

    The Arab Spring demonstrated that leaderless revolutions are difficult to repress or co-opt. Unfortunately, it is also true that leaderless revolts find it difficult to make transition to authority, writes Charles Ries.

    Dec 20, 2011 and The RAND Blog

  • Building on Greek-Turkish Detente

    Greece's high defense spending has contributed to its economic woes. Improvement in relations with Turkey could enable Greece to cut defense spending and make it easier to rescue an economy on the brink of bankruptcy, write F. Stephen Larrabee and Charles Ries.

    May 10, 2010 Project Syndicate

  • Green Buildings, Jobs and Summits

    If the United States is to be a global competitor in green building technology, it needs to learn from some of the countries that are at the table in Pittsburgh this week, writes Charles Ries.

    Sep 25, 2009 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette