Stacie Pettyjohn

Senior Fellow and Director, Defense Program

Research Areas

Stacie Pettyjohn is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Her areas of expertise include defense strategy, posture, force planning, the defense budget, airpower, and wargaming. Her current projects focus on the effect of drones on warfare, munitions stockpiles, and nuclear deterrence in a multipolar world. Pettyjohn also serves as the Chair for Total Force Integration Subcommittee on the Reserve Forces Policy Board, a federal advisory committee within the Office of the Secretary of Defense and teaches a graduate course on wargaming as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced and International Studies (SAIS).

Prior to joining CNAS, Pettyjohn spent over ten years at the RAND Corporation where she served as the Director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program in Project AIR FORCE and the co-director of the Center for Gaming. In 2020, she was a volunteer on the Biden administration’s defense transition team. Previously, she was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, a peace scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, and a TAPIR fellow at the RAND Corporation.

Pettyjohn has authored or co-authored reports on a wide range of issues, including drones, defense strategy and budgets, nuclear deterrence and escalation management, readiness and responsiveness, the role of airpower in defeating the Islamic State, gray zone competition with Russia, possible war fighting scenarios with North Korea, and command and control of multi-national NATO amphibious forces. Additionally, she has crafted a large body of work on the United States’ overseas posture, which explores the operational requirements, its vulnerability to attack, and the political access challenges that the United States faces.

Pettyjohn's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, War on the Rocks, Defense News, The National Interest, Foreign Policy, and Lawfare. She has a PhD and an MA in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and a BA in history and political science from the Ohio State University.

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