Stephen Watts

Associate Program Director, Arroyo Center, Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program; 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

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Stephen Watts is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and associate program director of the RAND Arroyo Center's Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program. His research has focused on irregular warfare, security sector assistance, coalition diplomacy, political development in the wake of civil wars, and long-term conflict trends.

Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, he served as a foreign affairs officer responsible for peacekeeping planning for the Balkans 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 is the lead author of more than a dozen RAND studies and has published articles in such journals as The Washington Quarterly, Parameters, and Joint Force Quarterly. He 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