RAND Experts Available on State of the Union Address

RAND experts are available to discuss a variety of policy topics President Obama is expected to discuss during Wednesday's State of the Union Address, including:

Health care:

  • Are there areas where there might be agreement between Democrats and Republicans on health care reform?
  • In general, how do the House and Senate bills differ?
  • What may happen to health coverage trends if no health care reform is passed?

Beth McGlynn is associate director of RAND Health and co-leader of RAND COMPARE, a comprehensive framework for evaluating a wide range of health policy proposals being considered at the federal and state levels, and by the private sector.

Peter Hussey is a health policy researcher at RAND and co-author of Controlling Health Care Spending in Massachusetts.

Haiti/Nation Building:

  • What is next for Haiti?
  • Should institutional reform begin at the same time as physical reconstruction?
  • What systems can be set in place to protect against corruption of relief aid?

Amb. James Dobbins is director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center and served as a Special Envoy to Haiti for President Clinton. He is co-author of America's Role in Nation-Building.


  • What measures should be taken so that the intelligence community can better "connect the dots?"
  • Is it possible to have absolute security?

Brian Michael Jenkins is a RAND senior advisor and one of the nation's leading experts on terrorism and homeland security. He is the author of Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?

Gregory Treverton is director of the RAND Center for Global Risk and Security and author of Intelligence for an Age of Terror.

John Parachini is director of the RAND Intelligence Policy Center and co-author of Getting Inside the Terrorist Mind.


  • Are we on schedule for withdrawing next July from Afghanistan?
  • Will the increase in the number of U.S. troops be able to counter the Taliban?
  • What key reforms are needed for President Hamid Karzai to establish control of his country?

Arturo Munoz is a senior political scientist at RAND and an advisor to the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, from where he returned this month. He is a former operations officer at the CIA Counterterrorism Center.

Nora Bensahel is a senior political scientist at RAND focusing on Afghanistan and Iraq. She is co-author of Improving Capacity for Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations.

Robert Hunter is a RAND senior advisor and served as U.S. Ambassador to NATO for President Clinton.

Amb. James Dobbins, President George W. Bush's first special envoy to Afghanistan in 2003.


  • How will the upcoming elections in March affect the U.S. timetable for withdrawal?
  • What lingering opposition elements could alter the withdrawal timetable?

Nora Bensahel is a senior political scientist at RAND focusing on Afghanistan and Iraq. She is co-author of Improving Capacity for Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations.

Terrence Kelly is a RAND senior researcher and is co-author of U.S. Policy Options for Iraq.


  • What are the chances of a compromise between Iran and the P5+1 on the nuclear program, especially given Iran's evolving and still fragile political environment?
  • Will sanctions "targeting" the Revolutionary Guards be effective in slowing down Iran's nuclear drive?
  • The Iranian opposition plans to organize massive anti-government protests on February 11, the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. How will the Iranian government react? Will Iran face greater violence or possibly a political compromise between the government and the opposition leadership?
  • Should the United States provide active support for the Iranian opposition?

Alireza Nader is international affairs analyst at RAND who focuses on Iran. He is the co-author of The Rise of the Pasdaran: Assessing the Domestic Roles of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

David Thaler is senior defense research analyst at RAND and co-author of Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads: An Exploration of Iranian Leadership Dynamics.

Fred Wehrey is a senior policy analyst at RAND and co-author of A New U.S. Policy Paradigm Toward Iran.

Emergency Planning:

  • How can the United States be better prepared for natural disasters and terrorist attacks?
  • What steps can the federal government and the private sector take to protect critical infrastructure against cyber-attack?

Henry Willis is a RAND policy researcher and author of Challenges of Applying Risk Management to Terrorism Security Policy.

Martin Libicki is a RAND senior management scientist focusing on cyber-security and cyber-deterrence. He is co-author of Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar


  • Should the "No Child Left Behind" act be reauthorized?
  • What role can, and should, charter schools play?
  • Based on the results of statewide standardized tests, more than 15 percent of U.S. schools are in need of improvement. What help do they need?

Susan Bodilly is director of RAND Education and author of The Role of Charter Schools in Improving Education.

Brian Stecher is associate director of RAND Education and author of Improving Accountability in Public Education.

Georges Vernez is a RAND education researcher and author of Accountability Under No Child Left Behind.

Energy and the environment:

  • Why should climate and energy reform be a priority for 2010?

James Bartis is a RAND senior policy researcher focusing on fossil and alternative fuels. He is the author of Research Priorities for Fossil Fuels.


To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations:
(703) 414-4795 or
(310) 451-6913, or
send an email to media@rand.org.

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