James Ryseff

Photo of James Ryseff
Technical Analyst
Washington Office


M.S. in security studies, Georgetown University; B.S. in computer science, University of Illinois


James Ryseff is a senior technical policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. He leverages his prior experience as a software engineer at Microsoft, Google, and other companies in the private sector to apply his technical skills to public policy problems. His work focuses how technologies and practices such as Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, cybersecurity, agile software methodologies, and large-scale data analysis impact policy problems. His past research projects have included surveying software engineers to understand their concerns about military applications of AI, analyzing how China might weaponize data to impact US national security, improving the military’s ability to use its data to make decisions, and evaluating the Department of Defense’s readiness to adopt AI. He also maintains an interest in emergency management from his time serving as a lieutenant with a volunteer fire department.

Previous Positions

Software engineer, Microsoft Corporation; Software engineer, Google

Recent Projects

  • Exploring the Civil-Military Divide over Artificial Intelligence
  • The Department of Defense Posture for Artificial Intelligence
  • Improving Army investment data sources to better support acquisition decisionmaking

Selected Publications

James Ryseff, "The Maliciously Formed Packets of August: Cyberwarfare and the Offense-Defense Balance," CSIS Technology Policy Program Occasional Paper Series, 2017

, "How to Actually Recruit Talent for the AI Challenge," War on the Rocks, 2020

, ""The United States can only Achieve AI Dominance with Its Allies," War on the Rocks

, "How the Military might expand its Cyber Skills," RAND Blog


  • Cyber warfare operators monitor cyber attacks at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, MD, December 2, 2017, photo by J.M. Eddins Jr./U.S. Air Force

    How the Military Might Expand Its Cyber Skills

    The U.S. military will need to improve its software fluency if it wants to be dominant on the battlefields of the future. Ensuring that future leaders in the military develop cyber skills and the ability to interface with technical experts may be increasingly important.

    Apr 22, 2021 The RAND Blog

  • U.S. and Canadian personnel using a virtual training platform in Fort Meade, MD, June, 2020, photo by U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jon Dasbach/U.S. Cyber Command

    The United States Can Achieve AI Dominance with Its Allies

    Close collaborators in any AI alliance must be able to usefully contribute to the work and be trustworthy enough to share in cutting-edge technical advancements. While achieving this close collaboration with allies may be difficult, it will be essential if the United States hopes to achieve the data dominance needed to succeed in future combat.

    Oct 9, 2020 War on the Rocks

  • Man writing programming code, photo by RossHelen/Getty Images

    COVID-19 Highlights the Shortcomings of America's Digital Infrastructure

    Much like America's aging physical infrastructure, America's digital infrastructure needs updating. To fix these urgent problems, local, state, and federal governments could turn to best practices used in the private sector to develop more reliable software.

    May 14, 2020 Inside Sources

  • Senior Airman Ken McDougall shows Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein the results of code Goldfein wrote during a visit to Project Kessel Run in Boston, Massachusetts, December 6, 2018, photo by Jerry Saslav/U.S. Air Force

    How to Actually Recruit Talent for the AI Challenge

    In the global race to dominate AI technologies, talent is everything. The Pentagon should consider redesigning its personnel policies to accommodate a much greater degree of speed and permeability in its cyber and AI workforce, regardless of what pay and benefits it offers.

    Feb 5, 2020 War on the Rocks