Carnegie Mellon University

Molly Dunigan

Molly Dunigan

Senior Lecturer, Institute for Politics and Strategy

  • Posner Hall 382E


Molly Dunigan is a Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation and a Senior Lecturer in Carnegie Mellon University's Institute for Politics and Strategy. In addition to her research and teaching roles, Dunigan is currently acting as the Associate Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the National Security Research Division at RAND, where she and her team manage a research portfolio of over $20 million funded by a wide range of US government, foundation, and international clients. Her research interests focus on strategic competition, military privatization, outsourcing, operational contract support, civil-military relations, civilian deployment, counterinsurgency, and maritime security. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a US Institute of Peace Jennings Randolph Peace Fellowship, a US State Department Foreign Language Areas Studies Fellowship, and an International Studies Association Catalytic Research Grant.

Prominent among Dunigan's published work are Victory for Hire: Private Security Companies' Impact on Military Effectiveness (Stanford University Press, 2011), The Markets for Force: Privatization of Security Across World Regions (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), and a number of RAND reports on various personnel and strategy-related issues. An internationally recognized expert on private security contracting, Dunigan's work on this topic has been cited in USA TodayTime Magazine,Washington PostUS News & World ReportForbes, and National Public Radio.

Dunigan's publications have been favorably reviewed in Military ReviewThe Journal of Military and Strategic StudiesThe Journal of Military HistorySurvivalParameters, and The Boston Globe, and her op-eds have appeared in The National InterestUSA TodayThe HillUS News & World Report, and The Christian Science Monitor. Dunigan received her PhD in Government with a specialization in International Relations and Military Studies from Cornell University.



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).

Clark, Martha K.  “The Russian Factor in European-American Relations: Comments.”  In Matthew Evangelista and Vittorio Emanuele Parsi, eds., Partners or Rivals?: European-American Relations After Iraq, 243-245.  Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 2005. 

Clark, Martha K.  “Deadly Chemicals, Domestic Politics, and Dissent: The Case of Russian Chemical Weapons Destruction and Lessons for Regime Theory.”  The Cornell International Review 1:1 (Spring 2005), 19-40.


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 and Carrie Farmer. “Out of the Shadows, Into the Light: Why Americans Should Care About the Health of Contractors Deploying to Conflict Environments.” RAND blog, January 20, 2014. 

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, 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.