Michael Spirtas

Michael Spirtas
Acting Associate Director, RAND National Security Research Division; Senior Political Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. in international relations, Columbia 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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Michael Spirtas is the acting associate director of the RAND National Security Research Division, and a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He has worked in a number of policy areas, including U.S. defense strategy, force development, and command and control. He has also served as a force developer in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, U.S. Department of Defense, and as special assistant to the director, Operational Plans and Joint Matters, U.S. Air Force. He received a Ph.D. in political science (international relations) from Columbia University.

Previous Positions

Special Assistant to the Director, Operational Plans and Joint Matters, United States Air Force; Force Developer, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy)

Recent Projects

  • Wargaming
  • Force Development
  • Command and Control
  • Multidomain Operations

Honors & Awards

  • Award for Excellence, Secretary of Defense

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: KPCC-FM AirTalk


  • Security Cooperation

    Ukraine's Dream Could Be Taiwan's Nightmare

    Defenders of territorial sovereignty and a peaceful world order may be cheered by Ukraine's success, but there is danger that success could decrease the urgency of efforts to strengthen Taiwan. China will seek to learn from the problems Russia has had in Ukraine. Will the U.S. and other supporters of Taiwan do the same?

    Oct 28, 2022

    War on the Rocks

  • Operational Readiness

    The Future and Past of War and Disease

    The U.S. government is actively reviewing its efforts to counter biological attacks and the Department of Defense is taking steps that could allow it to perform day-to-day operations during a pandemic, but it might not be preparing adequately for a future large-scale operation during a more-transmissible and lethal pandemic.

    Jan 27, 2022

    United Press International

  • Operational Readiness

    Are We Truly Prepared for a War with Russia or China?

    The U.S. Department of Defense will likely need a strategy to overcome a war with either Russia or China. As threats from these two countries grow, what can the United States do now to prepare for major conflict?

    Oct 9, 2018

    The Hill

  • Military Doctrine

    Toward One Understanding of Multiple Domains

    The U.S. defense community can and should do what it can to get the most benefit from operating across domains. It just needs to remember to proceed carefully to discern between actual benefits and falsehoods that may do more harm than good.

    May 2, 2018


  • Hey Washington Experts — Don't Roll Your Eyes Over Trump, Roll Up Your Sleeves

    Policy experts do not want to be irrelevant or ignored. The Trump administration does not want to fail, and needs to generate winning policies. By working together, the administration and the policy community could help one another, and, more importantly, the nation.

    Jan 12, 2017

    Fox News Channel

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization

    Why Brexit Won't Necessarily Hurt NATO

    Concerns that the Brexit vote could weaken NATO are overblown. There will likely be a wide range of fallout that will spread beyond the economic realm, but the European Union is not NATO and it's far too early to expect dramatic outcomes.

    Jul 3, 2016

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Russia

    Is Winter Coming? Or, Our Russia Strategy

    Many ask if Russian actions represent a new challenge to international order, and, if so, what is the best course of action to respond to it.

    Nov 12, 2015

    Breaking Defense