Will Shumate

Will Shumate
Assistant Policy Researcher, RAND; Ph.D. Student, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


M.I.A. in China, University of California, San Diego; B.A. in political science, California State University, Northridge


Will Shumate is a Ph.D. student in the Research, Analysis, and Design stream at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy researcher at RAND. He studies China and the nexus of technology, security, and development in strategic competition. His dissertation examines the rise of Chinese drone sales and their effect on the geopoltiical situation in the Horn of Africa. 

His research at RAND includes examining competition between China and the U.S. in core-emerging technologies, capability gap analysis of current VTOL aircraft and airfield operations in prepartion for missions in the Indopacific, and analysis of critical Chinese policy environments such as the regulation of fentanyl exports to the US.

Other projects include DEI work, improving DCSA's Criminal History Reporting Information system, and creating an algorithm to identify racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism language on social media sites to better predict violent, racially motivated events.

Prior to joining Pardee RAND, he was a research analyst for TechPolis where he helped with multiple technology-related projects, including a lobbying campaign for 5G rollout. He also worked as graduate student researcher at multiple institutions at U.C. San Diego, including the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation, and the U.S. Mayors and City Managers project.  He also has experience with drug policy and California state government.

Shumate has a Master in International Affairs from U.C. San Diego and a B.A. in political science from Cal State Northridge. 

Recent Projects

  • Synthetic Opioid Trafficking Commission
  • US INDOPACOM Analysis and Intel Studies
  • Research and Engineering Net Technical Analysis
  • Using AI/ML to Counter Racially and Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism Online
  • Attack Utility Replacement Aircraft (AURA) Mission Analysis