Andrew Scobell

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Adjunct Political Scientist; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
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Ph.D. in political science, Columbia University; M.A. in China studies, University of Washington; B.A. in history, Whitman College

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Andrew Scobell is distinguished fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, adjunct political scientist at the RAND Corporation, adjunct professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and member of the faculty at Pardee RAND Graduate School. He previously he served on the faculty of the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service and as director of the China certificate program at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. From 1999 until 2007, Scobell was a research professor in the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College and adjunct professor of political science at Dickinson College, both located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

His publications include China's Grand Strategy: Trends, Trajectories, Long Term Competition (RAND 2020), At the Dawn of Belt and Road: China in the Developing World (RAND, 2018), PLA Influence on China's National Security Policymaking (Stanford University Press, 2015), China’s Search for Security (Columbia University Press, 2012), China’s Use of Military Force: Beyond the Great Wall and the Long March (Cambridge University Press, 2003). Scobell was born and raised in Hong Kong and regularly makes research trips to the Indo-Pacific region. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. 

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Distinguished Fellow for China, United States Institute of Peace; Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service

Recent Projects

  • China's Grand Strategy: Trends, Trajectories, Long Term Competition
  • At the Dawn of Belt and Road: China in the Developing World
  • China and North Korea
  • China in the Middle East: The Wary Dragon
  • PLA Influence on China's National Security Policymaking

Selected Publications

Kimberly Jackson, Andrew Scobell, Stephen Webber, Logan Ma, Command and Control in U.S. Naval Competition with China, RAND (RR-A127-1), 2020

Andrew Scobell et. al., eds., Chairman Xi Remakes the PLA: Assessing China's Military Reforms, National Defense University Press, 2019

Andrew Scobell et. al.., At the Dawn of Belt and Road: China in the Developing World, RAND (RR-2273), 2018

Andrew Scobell, "The South China Sea and U.S.-China Rivalry," Political Science Quarterly, 133(2), 2018

Andrew Scobell and Phillip C. Saunders, eds., PLA Influence on China's National Security Policymaking, Stanford University Press, 2015

Andrew Scobell and Andrew J. Nathan, China's Search for Security, Columbia University Press, 2012

Andrew Scobell and Andrew J. Nathan, "How China Sees America: The Sum of Beijing's Fears," Foreign Affairs, 91(5), 2012

Andrew Scobell, China's Use of Military Force: Beyond the Great Wall and the Long March, Columbia University Press, 2003

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Angry Planet podcast; Indo-Asia-Pacific Defense Forum Online; Lowy Institute for International Policy; Radio Free Asia


  • An aerial view of Wuhan, China, February 21, 2020, photo by Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua/Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Wuhan, from the Cultural Revolution to COVID-19

    Fifty-three years ago, China was in the midst of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and Wuhan was ground zero for battles between armed factions in the streets of cities across the country. In 2020, Wuhan has once again taken center stage as the epicenter of a contagion sweeping not just China, but the world. There are some striking parallels and similarities between the notoriety of this central Chinese city then and now.

    Jul 20, 2020 Lawfare

  • The official mascot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, Zabivaka, is on display, with a tower of the Kremlin seen in the background, in central Moscow, Russia November 29, 2017

    Hit Russia Where It Hurts: Take Away World Cup

    After a chemical attack in Great Britain, U.K., U.S. and other governments responded unilaterally. But this crime cries out for a more collective response. Revoking Russia's right to host the World Cup tournament would be a powerful signal of global outrage and would hit Putin where it hurts.

    Apr 5, 2018 United Press International

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, left, gives Chinese Gen. Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, a tour of his office at the Pentagon, June 11, 2015

    Book Review: 'The Improbable War: China, the United States, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict'

    In The Improbable War: China, the United States, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict, Christopher Coker explores historical analogies and strategic narratives. The intellectual journey is pleasant and engaging but lacks a significant final destination.

    May 11, 2016 Parameters, US Army War College Quarterly

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Boeing in Everett, Washington, September 23, 2015

    The U.S.-China Summit Is More Significant for Xi Jinping Than Obama

    The Xi-Obama summit will provide the opportunity to discuss contentious issues like cybersecurity and the South China Sea, as well as other issues, such as climate change and economic cooperation. For Xi, the visit underscores the tremendous importance of messaging to a Chinese audience the narrative of a continued stable and robust partnership with the country that matters most to China politically and economically.

    Sep 24, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) with North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong (R) in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, August 10, 2014

    China's North Korean Challenge

    China's North Korea policy seems to suffer from inertia and fear of upsetting the fragile status quo. The enduring goal is to defend Beijing's vital interests by all necessary means. These include preventing domestic insecurity and maintaining a stable buffer state at the gateway to China's political and economic heartland.

    Apr 3, 2015 Lawfare

  • April 30th Conference on Chinese Strategic Thinking

    Experts, Scholars Evaluate Chinese Strategic Thinking

    On April 30, experts, scholars, and government analysts gathered at RAND Corporation offices in Arlington, Va., to evaluate changing Chinese strategic thinking on threat perceptions, doctrine, and strategic concepts for employing military power to advance national goals.

    May 12, 2014

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a ceremony of awarding party and state commendations to the exemplary officials, captains and fishermen in fisheries of the Korean People's Army

    A Death in the Family

    The ruthless purge of 67-year-old Jang Sung Taek appears to be the culmination of a power struggle that makes 30 year-old Kim Jong Un the undisputed supreme leader of North Korea.

    Jan 22, 2014 U.S. News & World Report

  • ROK guards in the DMZ

    A Delicate Deterrence Dance with North Korea

    How does Washington signal tenacity to a pugnacious Pyongyang and demonstrate resolve to a jittery Seoul, all without inadvertently triggering an escalatory spiral?

    Apr 11, 2013 U.S. News & World Report

  • The Bund, Shanghai, China

    Confronting a Rising China Begins at Home

    As long as the United States holds tight to its values and solves its problems at home, it will be able to manage the rise of China, write Andrew Scobell and Andrew J. Nathan.

    Oct 18, 2012 The RAND Blog

  • Beijing street scene

    How China Sees America

    Just as Americans wonder whether China's rise is good for U.S. interests or represents a looming threat, Chinese policymakers puzzle over whether the United States intends to use its power to help or hurt China, write Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell.

    Sep 4, 2012 Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2012