Stephen Watts

Stephen Watts
Senior Political Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. in government, Cornell University; M.A. in European Studies, Georgetown University; B.A. in government, College of William and Mary

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

More Experts


Stephen Watts is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. His research has focused on deterrence, campaigning, force posture, security sector assistance, irregular warfare and stabilization, and long-term conflict trends. He is the lead author of two dozen RAND studies and has published articles in such journals as The Washington Quarterly, Parameters, and Joint Force Quarterly. At RAND, he has served as associate then acting director of the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program of the RAND Army Research Division and associate director of the Defense and Political Sciences Department.

Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Watts served as a foreign affairs officer in the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, where he was twice awarded a Superior Honor Award for his work. He has held short-term assignments at the State Department's Office of Policy Planning, U.S. Embassy Sarajevo, and Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command–Afghanistan. Watts received his Ph.D. in government from Cornell University, where he was awarded the Esman Prize for best dissertation in government, and has held research fellowships at Harvard University's Belfer Center and the Brookings Institution. 

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service

Honors & Awards

  • Elihu Root Prize (second place), Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College
  • Esman Prize, Cornell University