RAND Experts Available on State of the Union Address

RAND experts are available to discuss a variety of policy topics President Obama may raise during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Jan. 24, including:

U.S. defense strategic priorities:

  • An overview of the U.S. global defense posture
  • What role the U.S. nuclear deterrent may be expected to play going forward
  • Is the U.S. military prepared to fight multiple conflicts in the future?
  • The U.S. footprint in Europe: How much is enough?

Andrew Hoehn is senior vice president and director of RAND Project AIR FORCE, and is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy (1998-2004), where he was the architect of the Global Defense Posture Review.

James Quinlivan is a senior operations research analyst specializing in military logistics, military strategy and military transformation.

Arab Spring:

  • What steps might U.S. policy makers now take to encourage democracy in Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Tunisia?
  • What would it take for these countries to become stable democracies?
  • What challenges and opportunities are presented by the Arab Spring for Muslim extremists and al-Qaeda affiliates?

RAND analysts have talked with Egypt's generals and the Muslim Brotherhood, were on the ground early in the Libya crisis, and have remained on the forefront of commentary and policy analysis about the Arab Spring, drawing on RAND research on political reform in the Arab world and past transitions from authoritarianism.


  • Are peace talks with the Taliban possible? If so, what are the key goals?
  • How are U.S. efforts against al Qa'ida in Pakistan and Afghanistan faring?
  • What should the nature of the U.S. relationship with Pakistan be in light of Pakistani support to the Afghan insurgency?

Seth Jones is a senior political scientist and served as advisor to the commanding general, U.S. Special Operations Forces, in Afghanistan. He is the author of the forthcoming book Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of Al Qa'ida Since 9/11 (W.W. Norton).

Arturo Munoz is a senior political scientist and served as an advisor to the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. He is co-author of Afghanistan's Local War: Building Local Defense Forces.

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


  • Could tensions escalate to the point of a U.S.-Iran war?
  • Is an Israeli military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities inevitable?
  • Can Iraq's sectarian divisions lead to wider conflict in the region, for example between Iran and Saudi Arabia?

Alireza Nader is international affairs analyst who focuses on Iran. He is the co-author of Iran's Nuclear Future: Critical U.S. Policy Choices.

Fred Wehrey is a senior policy analyst and co-author of Coping with a Nuclearizing Iran.

North Korea/China:

  • What might the U.S. do to encourage North Korean denuclearization?
  • How can the West address starvation and humanitarian issues in the North?
  • How could the U.S. coordinate efforts with Japan and South Korea?

Bruce Bennett is a senior defense analyst focusing on North and South Korea. He is the author of Uncertainties in the North Korean Nuclear Threat.

Eric Heginbotham is a senior political scientist focusing on China and co-author of Shaking the Heavens and Splitting the Earth: Chinese Air Force Employment Concepts in the 21st Century.


  • Will 2012 be the year to reauthorize "No Child Left Behind"?
  • How can the effectiveness of teachers be fairly measured?

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

Laura Hamilton is a senior behavioral scientist and co-author of Expanded Measures of School Performance.

Energy and the environment:

  • To what extent are climate and energy reform likely to be a national priority for 2012?
  • Has the emphasis on green technology slowed?

James Bartis is a senior policy researcher focusing on fossil and alternative fuels. He is the author of Opportunities for Alternative Fuels Production.


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.

About the RAND Corporation

The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.