David E. Thaler

David E. Thaler
Senior International and Defense Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office


M.I.A. in International Security Policy/Middle East, Columbia University; B.A. in international relations, The George Washington University


David Thaler is a senior defense researcher at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. At RAND, he has led or participated in studies related to security cooperation with foreign partners, including planning and assessment, Title 10 reforms, prioritization, evaluation, and best practices; foreign policy and military implications of developments in Iran, Israel, Iraq, and the broader Middle East, as well as Iranian domestic politics; future U.S. military capabilities; and the strategies-to-tasks framework for force planning. He has also conducted research on first-strike stability, aircraft maintenance, and military readiness. He was detailed from RAND to the Air Staff from 1993 to 1995 and again from 2003 to 2004. Thaler received his Master of International Affairs in international security policy and the Middle East from Columbia University.

Recent Projects

  • Congressional authorities for security cooperation
  • Strategic challenges posed by Iran
  • Incorporating security cooperation impact into core decision making processes
  • Sectarianism in the Middle East
  • Measuring and evaluating contributions to security cooperation objectives

Selected Publications

Moroney, Jennifer D. P., Stephanie Pezard, David E. Thaler, Gene Germanovich, Beth Grill, Bruce McClintock, Karen Schwindt, Mary Kate Adgie, Anika Binnendijk, Kevin J. Connolly, Katie Feistel, Jeffrey W. Hornung, Alison K. Hottes, Moon Kim, Isabelle Nazha, Gabrielle Tarini, Mark Toukan, and Jalen Zeman, Overcoming Barriers to Working with Highly Capable Allies and Partners in the Air, Space, and Cyber Domains: An Exploratory Analysis, RAND Corporation (RR-A968-1), 2023

Raphael S. Cohen, David E. Johnson, David E. Thaler, Brenna Allen, Elizabeth M. Bartels, James Cahill, Shira, Efron, From Cast Lead to Protective Edge: Lessons from Israel's Wars in Gaza, RAND Corporation (RR-1888), 2017

David E. Thaler, Michael J. McNerney, Beth Grill, Jefferson P. Marquis, Amanda Kadlec, From Patchwork to Framework: A Review of Title 10 Authorities for Security Cooperation, RAND Corporation (RR-1438), 2016

Richard Mesic, David E. Thaler, David Ochmanek, Leon Goodson, Courses of Action for Enhancing U.S. Air Force "Irregular Warfare" Capabilities, RAND Corporation (MG-913), 2010

David E. Thaler, Alireza Nader, Shahram Chubin, Jerrold D. Green, Charlotte Lynch, Frederic Wehrey, Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads: An Exploration of Iranian Leadership Dynamics, RAND Corporation (MG-878), 2010

David E. Thaler "Chapter One: The Middle East: The Cradle of the Muslim World," in Angel M. Rabasa, Cheryl Benard, Peter Chalk, C. Christine Fair, Theodore Karasik, Rollie Lal, Ian Lesser, David Thaler, The Muslim World After 9/11, RAND Corporation (MG-246), 2004

David E. Thaler, Strategies-to-Tasks: A Framework for Linking Means and Ends, RAND Corporation (MR-300), 1993

Glenn A. Kent, David E. Thaler, First-Strike Stability: A Methodology for Evaluating Strategic Forces, RAND Corporation (R-3765), 1989


  • Counterinsurgency

    Making Headway Against the Sinai Insurgency

    Since 2013, Egypt has been engaged in the Sinai Peninsula against a deadly ISIS-affiliated insurgency. To make headway, the Egyptian government could focus on providing services in the region and repairing its relationship with citizens.

    Aug 12, 2019

    Small Wars Journal