Eric Robinson

Photo of Eric Robinson
Senior Research Programmer & Analyst
Washington Office


M.P.P. in public policy, College of William & Mary; B.A. in economics, government, College of William & Mary


Eric Robinson is a senior research programmer and analyst at RAND Corporation based in Washington, DC. His research at RAND is focused on applying data-driven approaches to improve understanding of gray zone threats, insurgency, rebel governance, and special operations issues. He has conducted extensive field research for RAND, including work with special operations forces in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere throughout the Middle East.

From 2017 to 2020, he was detailed as a civil servant in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, serving as the Irregular Warfare Policy Chief within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC). In this role, he led the Department’s policy efforts to address gray zone and irregular challenges from nation-state competitors, and provided oversight of special operations activities in Europe and the Indo-Pacific. He also led the development of the Irregular Warfare Annex to the 2018 National Defense Strategy.

Previously, he served in Kabul with the Special Operations Joint Task Force – Afghanistan (SOJTF-A) as an analyst and advisor to the commander of US and NATO special operations from 2014 to 2015. Prior to joining RAND, he worked for IBM as an advanced analytics consultant. He graduated with his Masters of Public Policy from the College of William & Mary, and an A.B. in Economics with Honors also from William & Mary.

Previous Positions

Irregular Warfare Policy Chief, Office of the Secretary of Defense

Honors & Awards

  • Medal for Exceptional Public Service, Office of the Secretary of Defense


  • Artificial intelligence concept with face, photo by kentoh/Getty Images

    AI and Irregular Warfare: An Evolution, Not a Revolution

    How will artificial intelligence change the way wars are fought? The answer, of course, depends. And it mainly depends on what type of wars are being fought. And how will AI affect the type of wars that the United States is most likely to fight?

    Oct 31, 2019 War on the Rocks

  • Smoke rises after airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State militants in a village east of Mosul, Iraq, May 29, 2016

    Cutting the Islamic State's Money Supply

    Airstrikes have hit ISIL tanker trucks, oil fields, refineries, and banks, but it would be a mistake to view the group as a poor man's version of its old self. New steps are needed to counter its multi-million dollar taxation and extortion machine.

    Jul 21, 2016 The National Interest