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Seth Jones (born October 1972) is a political scientist at the RAND Corporation and adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. He was also a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.[1]



Jones is a well-known expert on Afghanistan and U.S. foreign policy. Jones attracted considerable attention for his historical analysis of Afghanistan and Pakistan in his book In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan. The book examines the collapse of the Zahir Shah regime, the rise of the anti-Soviet war, the Afghan civil war in the early 1990s, the Taliban take-over of much of the country in the late 1990s, the U.S-led overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001, and the subsequent insurgency.[2]

Jones also received considerable attention for his work with Ambassador James Dobbins on nation-building. Their RAND book America's Role in Nation-Building, which examined the U.S. history of nation-building since World War II, suggested that the U.S. needed nearly 500,000 soldiers to stabilize Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government.[3] L. Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, took the study to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush. Based on the study's conclusions, Bremer suggested that the United States military needed to reconsider downsizing its forces in Iraq and, on the contrary, increase them to help patrol cities and villages.[4] But Bremer's memo was ignored.

Jones is the author of The Rise of European Security Cooperation (Cambridge University Press, 2007). He published articles on U.S. foreign policy in The National Interest, Political Science Quarterly, Security Studies, the Chicago Journal of International Law, International Affairs, and Survival, as well as such newspapers and magazines as The New York Times, Newsweek, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, and Chicago Tribune.

He received his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago.

Selected works



  • In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan (W.W. Norton, 2009).
  • How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering Al Qa'ida (RAND, 2008).
  • Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan (RAND, 2008).
  • The Rise of European Security Cooperation (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
  • The Implications of Network-Centric Insurgencies on U.S. Army Operations (RAND, 2006).
  • Securing Health: Lessons From Nation-Building Missions (RAND, 2006).
  • Building a Successful Palestinian State: Security (RAND, 2006).
  • Establishing Law and Order after Conflict (RAND, 2005).
  • The UN’s Role in Nation-Building: From Congo to Iraq (RAND, 2005).
  • Building a Successful Palestinian State (RAND, 2005).
  • America’s Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Japan (RAND, 2003).


  • “Cellphones in the Hindu Kush,” The National Interest, No. 96, July/August 2008. (with Bruce Hoffman)
  • “The Rise of Afghanistan’s Insurgency,” International Security, Vol. 32, No. 4, Spring 2008.
  • “Pakistan's Dangerous Game,” Survival, Vol. 49, No. 1, Spring 2007.
  • “Fighting Networked Terror Groups: Lessons from Israel,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 30, 2007.
  • “The Rise of a European Defense,” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 121, No. 2, Summer 2006.
  • “Averting Failure in Afghanistan,” Survival, Vol. 48, No. 1, Spring 2006.
  • “Arming Europe,” National Interest, No. 82, Winter 2005/2006. (with F. Stephen Larrabee)
  • “The UN’s Record in Nation-Building,” Chicago Journal of International Law, Vol. 6, No. 2, Winter 2006. (with James Dobbins)
  • “Measuring Power: How to Predict Future Balances,” Harvard International Review, Vol. 27, No. 2, Summer 2005.
  • “Law and Order in Palestine,” Survival, Vol. 46, No. 4, Winter 2004-05. (with K. Jack Riley)
  • “An Independent Palestine: The Security Dimension,” International Affairs, Vol. 80, No. 2, March 2004. (with Robert Hunter)
  • “The European Union and the Security Dilemma,” Security Studies, Vol. 12, No. 3, Spring 2003.
  • “Terrorism and the Battle for Homeland Security,” in Russell Howard, James Forest, Joanne Moore, eds., Homeland Security and Terrorism (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006).
  • “The Rise of a European Defense Industry,” US-Europe Analysis Series, Brookings Institution, May 2005.
  • “A Dangerous Peace,” Newsweek, August 9, 2004.
  • “Terrorism and the Battle for Homeland Security,” Foreign Policy Research Institute E-Note, May 21, 2004.


  1. ^ "RAND Expert Biography: Seth G. Jones". Retrieved 2007-04-18.  
  2. ^ "In the Graveyard of Empires". http:/// Retrieved 2009-03-17.  
  3. ^ Dobbins, James; et al.. America's Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.  
  4. ^ Gordon, Michael R. (2004-10-19). "'Catastrophic Success': The Strategy to Secure Iraq Did Not Foresee a 2nd War". New York Times.  


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