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 technical policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. His skills and interests span the worlds of policy and engineering.

Ryseff received a B.S. in computer science from the University of Illinois. His career in the software industry focused on distributed systems and cloud computing across a number of companies, including Microsoft, SAP/Concur, and Google. From these experiences, he gained a deep understanding of the real opportunities and challenges organizations face when designing software to solve real-world problems. His experience as a manager also gave him essential insight into the best practices for recruiting software talent and managing large scale projects.

More recently, Ryseff received an M.S. in security studies from Georgetown University. His master's thesis, The Maliciously Formed Packets of August: Cyberwarfare and the offense-defense balance, was published by CSIS. His work at RAND has focused on Artificial Intelligence, best practices for transitioning to Cloud Computing environments, and exploring how to bring together the public sector and large technology companies.

Ryseff was also a Lieutenant/EMT-Basic at King County Fire District 20 near Seattle for 7 years.

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