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Molly Dunigan

Molly Dunigan

Senior Lecturer, Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy & Technology

  • Posner Hall 382E
  • 412-268-3385


Molly Dunigan is Director of the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program of the RAND Arroyo Center and a Senior Lecturer in the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy & Technology (CMIST). In these roles, she liaises directly with U.S. Army senior leaders, oversees a portfolio of over 40 Army-funded projects at various stages of completion and publication, manages budgets of over $12M annually, instructs undergraduate and graduate courses of up to 60 students, and advises several graduate theses each year. Her research focuses on the future of warfare, grand strategy, great power conflict dynamics, strategic competition, military privatization, outsourcing, operational contract support, civil–military relations, civilian deployment, counterinsurgency, and maritime security. An internationally recognized expert and author on private security contracting, Dunigan's work on this topic has been published or cited in numerous refereed publications, as well as USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and National Public Radio. Dunigan holds an MA and Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University, and a BA in Political Science in Economics from Vassar College.



Dunigan, Molly. Victory For Hire: Private Security Companies’ Impact on Military Effectiveness. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, March 2011. 

Dunigan, Molly and Ulrich Petersohn, eds. The Markets for Force: Global Variation in the Trade of Military and Security Services. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, January 2015. 

Journal Articles

Batka, Caroline, Molly Dunigan, and Rachel Burns. “Private Military Contractors Financial Experiences and Incentives.” Defense & Security Analysis, April 17, 2020.

Paul, Christopher, Colin P. Clarke, Beth Grill, and Molly Dunigan. “Moving Beyond Population-Centric vs. Enemy-Centric Counterinsurgency.” Small Wars & Insurgencies, Vol. 27, No. 6, 2016.

Dunigan, Molly. “The Consequences of Outsourcing Military Support Functions.” In Christopher Kinsey and Joakim Berndtsson, eds., Routledge Companion on Outsourcing Security. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2016.

Dunigan, Molly. “Review of The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order, by Sean McFate.” Journal of the Middle East and Africa, Vol. 6, Issue 2, 2015.

Dunigan, Molly. “The Future of U.S. Military Contracting: Current Trends and Future Implications for Various Types of Contracted Services.” International Journal, December 2014.

Dunigan, Molly. “Prince Strikes Back: A Review of Erik Prince’s Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror.” Fletcher Security Review, 1:2, May 22, 2014.

Dunigan, Martha Clark.  “Private Forces in the New Milennium: Domestic & International Regulatory Options to Ensure the Effective Use of Private Military & Security Companies in the Face of Changing Warfare.” In James Forest and Isaiah Wilson III., eds., Defence Politics: International and Comparative Perspectives.  London: Routledge, 2008 (with Olivia Allison).


Dunigan, Molly. “Where Will All the Wagner Group Mercenaries Go Now That Russia Has Exiled Their Leader?” Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2023.

Dunigan, Molly. “The Wagner Group Will Live to Fight Another Day.” USA Today, June 28, 2023.

Dunigan, Molly. “How to Destroy Afghanistan: Establish a Private Contractor Army.” The National Interest, August 13, 2017.

Dunigan, Molly and Carrie Farmer. “Military Security Contractors Get PTSD, Too: Column.” USA Today, June 11, 2015. 

Dunigan, Molly. “A Lesson From the Iraq War: How to Outsource War to Private Contractors.” The Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 2013.

Dunigan, Molly. “High Hopes for Philippine Peace Plan.” U.S. News & World Report, December 6, 2012.

Dunigan, Molly. “U.S. Control of Contractors in Iraq is Vital.” The Hill, February 1, 2012.

RAND Reports

Dunigan, Molly and Anthony Atler, Will to Fight of Private Military Actors: Applying Cognitive Maneuver to Russian Private Forces, RAND, 2023. RAND Report – RR-A355-1.

Dunigan, Molly, Michelle Grisé, Kimberly Jackson, John J. Drennan, Sandra Kay Evans, Ashley L. Rhoades, Eric Robinson, Meagan L. Smith, and Jonathan Welch, Gaining the Edge: Identifying and Leveraging Frameworks for Enabling Army Contributions to Competition, RAND, 2023. RAND Report – RR-A1235-1.

Dunigan, Molly, Kristie L. Gore, Katherine Kidder, Michael Schwille, Samantha Cherney, James Sladden. Civilian Post-Deployment Reintegration: A Review and Analysis of Practices Across U.S. Federal Agencies. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2020. RAND Report – RR-3220-RC.

Dunigan, Molly, Ryan Andrew Brown, Samantha Cherney, Maria DeYoreo, Katherine C. Hastings, Jennifer Lamping Lewis, Christina Panis, Leslie Adrienne Payne, Michael Schwille, Lauren Skrabala. Army Expeditionary Civilian Demand: Forecasting Future Requirements for Civilian Deployments. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2019. RAND Report – RR-2854-A.

Dunigan, Molly, Michael Schwille, Samantha Cherney, Katherine Hastings, Brian Nichiporuk, Peter Schirmer. Human Capital Needs for the Department of Defense Operational Contract Support Planning and Integration Workforce. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2017. RAND Report – RR-1847-JS.

Dunigan, Molly, Susan Everingham, Todd Nichols, Michael Schwille, Susanne Sondergaard. Expeditionary Civilians: Creating a Viable Department of Defense Civilian Deployment Practice for the Future. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2016. RAND Report – RR-975-OSD.

Dunigan, Molly, Carrie M. Farmer, Rachel M. Burns, Alison Hawks, Claude MessanSetodji. Out of the Shadows: The Health and Well-Being of Private Contractors Working in Conflict Environments. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2013. RAND Report – RR-420.

Dunigan, Molly, Dick Hoffmann, Peter Chalk, Brian Nichiporuk, Paul DeLuca. Characterizing and Exploring the Implications of Maritime Irregular Warfare. Santa Monica, Calif: RAND, 2012. RAND Monograph – MG-1127-NAVY.

Dunigan, Molly.  Considerations for the Use of Private Security Contractors in Future US Military Deployments.  Testimony Submitted to the Commission on Wartime Contracting on June 18, 2010. Santa Monica, Calif: RAND, 2010.  RAND Testimony – CT-349.