Melanie W. Sisson

Nonresident Fellow

Defense Strategy & Planning

Melanie W. Sisson is a Nonresident Fellow with the Stimson Center.  Her work focuses on the relationship between defense strategic planning processes and the likelihood of achieving foreign policy and national security objectives.

Prior to joining Stimson Melanie was a Senior Associate with the RAND Corporation, where she conducted research on force planning, strategic approaches to countering domestic and international terrorism, covert operations, and enhancing planning and management processes within the Department of Defense.  She is a former member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an MA from the Columbia University School of International Affairs.


Creating actionable guidance to policymakers on how to employ military force without resorting to war

Research & Writing
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Amazon in Crystal City: Threat and Opportunity for the Defense Department

Amazon’s recent announcement that it has chosen two locations for its second headquarters has been greeted with a general deflation of enthusiasm mixed with pique. Despite the Cinderella dreams of the many people who wanted the behemoth to choose a cit…

Mattis is poisoning the well on women in combat

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is against women in combat. He made this clear in his 2017 confirmation hearings, in comments given on Tuesday at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), whose student body is 89 percent male, a…

NATO Isn’t Cheap—and It’s Still Worth the Price

President Trump’s confounding behavior during the recent meeting with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members and at this week’s Helsinki summit with Russia has produced no shortage of dismay among those who believe that the defense of the Eu…

Press Release
Melanie Sisson Joins the Stimson Center

For Immediate Release April 2, 2018 Contact: Audel Shokohzadeh, [email protected], 202.478.3419 The Stimson Center announced today that Melanie Sisson will join the Stimson Center as a Senior Associate and lead the newly founded Defense Strat…

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