Heather J. Williams

Senior International/Defense Policy Researcher
Santa Monica Office


BS in U.S. foreign policy and national security, Boston University; MS in strategic intelligence, National Intelligence University


Heather Williams is a senior international/defense policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. She focuses on national security, Middle East regional issues, and intelligence policy and methodology.

Williams joined RAND from the National Intelligence Council, where she served as the deputy National Intelligence Officer for Iran and the acting National Intelligence Officer for Iran. In her twelve years within the intelligence community, she has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Special Operations Intelligence Center, and the Department of Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration. She served as a founding member of the Foreign Fighter Task Force and served three overseas tours supporting Special Operations Forces counterterrorism operations.

Williams holds an M.S. in strategic intelligence from the National Intelligence University and a B.S. in U.S. foreign policy and national security from Boston University, and she was a Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholar.


  • Shi'ite worshippers attend Friday prayer in the Great Mosque of Kufa near Najaf, Iraq, March 31, 2017


    The Future of Sectarian Relations in the Middle East

    This Perspective lays out four scenarios for sectarian relations in the Middle East out to 2026, identifying key assumptions and drivers that will inform the trajectory of sectarian relations in this region.

    May 22, 2017