Alexander Noyes is a fellow in the Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology at the Brookings Institution. His work focuses on peace and security issues, including U.S. defense policy, military assistance, irregular warfare, coups, and democracy and governance. Previously, he was a political scientist at RAND, where he managed large interdisciplinary research teams and led studies for a variety of U.S. government and other sponsors.

From September 2021-March 2023 he served in the Department of Defense (DoD) as a senior advisor and then deputy director for security cooperation assessment, monitoring, and evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy. In these roles, he led efforts to evaluate the strategic outcomes of all DoD security cooperation globally—spearheading the Department’s first ever “Learning Agenda”—and provided policy oversight for DoD’s defense institutional capacity building programs in over 100 countries.

From 2015-2017 he worked for the U.S. Security Governance Initiative, a White House initiative launched by President Obama to improve security governance in Africa. Previously, he held roles at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Council on Foreign Relations, and DoD’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

His two current book projects focus on the politics of U.S. military assistance abroad (forthcoming, Yale University Press) and the intersection of post-conflict power sharing and democratic reform, respectively. He is a frequent commentator and has appeared in a variety of popular media and academic outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, BBC, International Peacekeeping, Parameters, several edited volumes, and dozens of peer-reviewed RAND and other think tank reports. He holds a doctorate and a master’s degree from Oxford University and a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College. He is an adjunct political scientist at RAND and a member of the External Advisory Group on Security Sector Reform at the U.S. Institute of Peace.


  • RAND, adjunct political scientist
  • U.S. Institute of Peace, member, external advisory group on security sector reform
  • Current Positions

    • Full Political Scientist, RAND
  • Past Positions

    • Deputy Director, Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense
    • Political Scientist, RAND
    • Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Education

    • Ph.D., University of Oxford
    • M.Sc., University of Oxford
    • B.A., Connecticut College