Lisa Saum-Manning

Lisa Saum-Manning
Acting Associate Director, International Security and Defense Policy Program; Political Scientist
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in political science, University of California, Los Angeles; B.A. in Spanish, Ohio State University


Lisa Saum-Manning is an acting associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Program, part of the RAND National Security Research Division and recently served as a Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for the Conflict and Stabilization Office. Her research focuses on strategic planning for the U.S. Armed Forces, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security to include: Security Cooperation, Conflict and Stability, Counterinsurgency, WMD Nonproliferation, Deterrence, Diversity/Recruitment/Retention challenges, and Disaster Recovery. Saum-Manning's primary research focuses on optimizing the use of ally and partner military force capabilities through security cooperation efforts in Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Indo Pacific region. She has extensive experience engaging with U.S. and partner nation officials. In Africa, she conducted field work in East Africa, evaluating U.S. military efforts to build partner logistics capacity for UN peacekeepers deploying to Somalia. She also taught CIV-MIL engagement courses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the Western Hemisphere, she spent 7 months deployed to Puerto Rico to support FEMA's hurricane recovery efforts; co-presented a course on Strategic Intelligence in Colombia for Colombian intelligence officials; and traveled to Guatemala to assess U.S. security cooperation efforts. In South Asia, Saum-Manning spent four months deployed to Afghanistan as an analyst for the Commanding General of the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command. Additional research includes: urban combat, Security Cooperation workforce development, space and WMD deterrence, and diversity challenges for the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard and the Los Angeles Fire Department. Prior to RAND, Saum-Manning worked in the Nonproliferation and National Security Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory assessing nuclear infrastructure capacity-building in developing countries. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Recent Projects

  • Optimizing Employment of U.S. Army Security Forces Assistance Brigades
  • Partner Capability Assessment Framework A standardized method for assessing security force assistance
  • Reducing the Time Burdens of Army Company Leaders
  • Assessing Partner-Nation Air, Space, and Cyber Capabilities, Supporting Development of Security Cooperation Strategy for the U.S. Air Force Flight Plan
  • Army Civilian Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Addressing Barriers for Women, Racial/Ethnic Minorities, and Individuals with Disabilities

Selected Publications

Lisa Saum-Manning, "Best Practices and Lessons Learned from Community Engagement and Data Collection Strategies in Post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico," Journal of Homeland Security Management, 18(3), 2021

Alexis A. Blanc and Lisa Saum-Manning. , "The No-First-Use Debate: Arguments, Assumptions, and an Assessment," SAIS, 39(2), 2019

Lisa Saum-Manning, "All Good Things Must End: Don't worry about Russia backing away from the International Space Station or an old arms control plan.," US News and World Report, 2015

Lisa Saum-Manning, "VSO/ALP: Comparing Past and Current Challenges to Afghan Local Defense," Small Wars Journal, 2012




  • Space Science and Technology

    Don't Worry About Russia Backing Away from Space and WMD Cooperation

    Two symbols of U.S.-Russian cooperation are nearing the end of their life expectancies, the International Space Station and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. But both stand as remarkable milestones of achievement and reminders of what can be accomplished when nations put aside political differences for the betterment of humanity.

    Feb 27, 2015

    U.S. News & World Report