David A. Shlapak

David A. Shlapak
Senior Defense Researcher
Washington Office


B.A. in political science, Northwestern University

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 media@rand.org.

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David A. Shlapak (he/him) is a senior defense researcher at the RAND Corporation. Since joining RAND in 1982, he has led research and published on topics ranging from counterterrorism to nuclear strategy.

His areas of research focus on the return of great power competititon in the global security environment. His current work includes leading a stream of wargaming work on behalf of the Joint Staff, the impacts of artificial intelliogence on key national security issues, and the U.S.-China technology competition. 

From 2014 to 2018, Shlapak was a founding codirector of the RAND Center for Gaming, one of six Methods Centers under the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He is a former acting director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program in Project AIR FORCE.

Shlapak holds a B.A. in political science from Northwestern University and did graduate work at UCLA.

Selected Publications

Shlapak, David A., The Russian Challenge, RAND Corporation (PE-250-A), 2018

Shlapak, David A., Deterring Russian Aggression in the Baltic States: What it Takes to Win, RAND Corporation (CT-467), 2017

David A. Shlapak, Michael W. Johnson, Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank, RAND Corporation (RR-1253), 2016

David A. Shlapak, "Towards a More Modest American Strategy," Survival, 57(2), 2015

Igor Mikolic-Torreira, Don Snyder, Michelle Price, David A. Shlapak, Sina Beaghley, Megan Bishop, Sarah Harting, Jenny Oberholtzer, Stacie L. Pettyjohn, Cortney Weinbaum, Emma Westerman, Exploring Cyber Security Options in Australia, RAND Corporation (RR-2008), 2017

Ryan Henry, Steven Berner, David A. Shlapak, Serious Analytical Gaming The 360° Game for Multidimensional Analysis of Complex Problems, RAND Corporation (RR-1764), 2017

Terrence Kelly, James Dobbins, David Shlapak, David Gompert, Eric Heginbotham, Peter Chlak, Llolyd Thrall, The U.S. Army in Asia 2030-2040, RAND Corporation (RR-474), 2014

Shlapak, David A., How Not to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb: A Realistic Approach for Dealing with North Korea's Nuclear Weapons, RAND Corporation (PE-A1495-1), 2021

Honors & Awards

  • 2016 Gold Medal Award, RAND

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Australian Broadcasting Corporation; BBC Radio; CBS News Online; KCRW, To The Point; Lietuvos Radijas; PBS NewsHour Online; Press Play, KCRW; Sinclair Broadcast Group; WhoWhatWhy; WNYC, New York Public Radio; Wprost.pl

Commentary: Newsweek; United Press International; U.S. News & World Report; War on the Rocks