Rachel M. Swanger

Rachel M. Swanger
Associate Dean of Student Life and Operations, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


M.A. in Japanese studies and international economics, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; B.A. in history, The College of Wooster

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Rachel M. Swanger is associate dean of student life and operations at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Prior to this, she served as Pardee RAND's assistant dean (2004–2007), manager of foundation and independent research within the RAND National Security Research Division (2001–2007), and acting director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy (1997–2001).

Her areas of expertise are Japanese politics, the media, and foreign and defense policy. She is co-author of the RAND study The United States, Japan and Free Trade: Moving in the Same Direction? She has also done work on U.S. alliances in Asia and on the role energy plays in Japan’s foreign policy. She contributed chapters on Japan in America’s Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq, and Securing Health:  Lessons from Nation-Building Operations. In 2001 she co-authored a RAND study on the political dimension of Japan’s decisionmaking on a ballistic missile defense system.

Prior to joining RAND, Swanger worked as a features and political reporter for the Sankei Shimbun in Tokyo, where she had the distinction of being the first non-Japanese ever admitted to the Prime Minister's Press Club. She has written numerous articles on Japanese politics, political culture, and foreign policy for such publications as the Sankei Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Asahi Evening News, Tokyo Journal, Bungei Shunju, and Japan Update.

Swanger received her B.A. in history from The College of Wooster and her M.A. in Japanese studies and international economics from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

Previous Positions

Program Director, U.S.–Japan Educational Initiative, Close Up Foundation, Tokyo, Japan; Political and Features reporter, Sankei Shimbum, Tokyo, Japan

Recent Projects

  • U.S. alliances in Asia
  • Energy and foreign policy in Japan
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership

Selected Publications

Silvia Montoya and Rachel Swanger, "Ideas for Policymakers: Enhancing the Impact of Think Tanks," Policy Insight, 1(2)

Seth G. Jones et al., Securing Health: Lessons from Nation-Building Missions, RAND Corporation (MG-321), 2006

John E. Peters et al., War and Escalation in South Asia, RAND Corporation (MG-367-1), 2006

James Dobbins et al., America's Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq, RAND Corporation (MR-1753), 2003

Michael D. Swaine et al., Japan and Ballistic Missile Defense, RAND Corporation (MR-1374), 2001

Julia F. Lowell, Shujiro Urata, Megumi Naoi, Rachel M. Swanger, The United States, Japan and Free Trade, RAND Corporation (OP-363), 2012




  • Older Adults

    Aging in Asia: Can the 'Tigers' Continue to Roar?

    Changing demographics will force Japan and the “Asian Tigers” — Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan — to find ways to remain economically dynamic while increasingly looking after their elderly. How might public policy help accomplish this?

    Jun 16, 2015

    The RAND Blog