Shannon Dick

Research Analyst and Deputy Director

Conventional Defense

Shannon Dick is the Research Analyst and Deputy Director of the Conventional Defense Program at the Stimson Center. Her research focuses on issues pertaining to U.S. security assistance and the international arms trade, including policies guiding U.S. arms transfer decisions, efforts to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and opportunities and challenges presented by emerging weapons technologies. Dick holds an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.


Promoting long-term stability and security through responsible arms sales and advancing transparent and accountable policies and processes for arms transfer decisions

Promoting an effective, transparent, and accountable US drone policy and responsible international standards guiding drone transfers and use.

Applied research on distributed ledger technology to improve trust, security, and transparency

Examining the nexus between military assistance and the recruitment and use of child soldiers around the world

Supporting effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty

Research & Writing
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The Long Shadow of 9/11 on Decisions to Use Lethal Force

Since 9/11 the United States has assumed broad authority to lethally target people around the world in perpetuity and in secret, with limited oversight, and even more limited accountability

It’s time to rethink US drone policy

This article was originally published in The Responsible Statecraft.

Redraw the Limits on Lethal Force Against Terror Groups

This article was originally published in Defense One.

Congress’s role in ending the ‘forever wars’

This article was originally published in The Hill.

A New Agenda For US Drone Policy And The Use Of Lethal Force

The U.S. drone program demonstrated and enabled a willingness to use lethal force in counterterrorism operations, and that willingness has come to define U.S. engagements in the world for a generation.

Diversion and the Arms Trade Treaty

A good practice compendium on methods to mitigate arms diversion.

Encouraging responsibility to mitigate harm

Shannon Dick is the Research Analyst and Deputy Director of Stimson’s Conventional Defense Program. Her research focuses on issues pertaining to US security assistance and the international arms trade, including policies guiding US arms transfer decisi…

A Record Number of Countries Are Using Child Soldiers

This article was originally published in Inkstick.

COVID-19 and the U.S. Defense Industry

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, the defense industry is trying to navigate and offset the negative consequences of the crisis

How Arms Proliferation Is Driving Herder-Farmer Conflict in the Sahel

This article was originally published in World Politics Review.

Policy Memo
U.S. Drone Policy: Transparency & Oversight

Ensuring U.S. policy on drones sets the standard for drone transfers and use around the world.

Taking Stock and Looking Ahead for Responsible Policies on U.S. Arms Sales

The next administrations opportunity to become proactive in ensuring proper oversight of and responsibility in U.S. arms sales.

Policy Memo
Global Arms Trade: Setting an Example for Responsible Policy

As the world’s leading arms exporter, the United States holds considerable influence over appropriate arms transfer control policies and should serve as an example for national approaches that are responsible, transparent, and accountable.

Stimson in the News
How the United States can ensure American weapons aren’t used for human rights abuses by Shannon Dick

On Oct. 9, as bombs fell across northeastern Syria and civilian life came to a halt, two U.S. allies went to war. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the operation as an effort to “neutralize terror threats against Turkey” and ro…

The Arms Trade and Syria by Shannon Dick

In 2013, the United States began a secret operation to train and equip opposition forces fighting against the Assad regime in Syria. Through the CIA, the United States facilitated the transfer of an estimated $1 billion in arms, ammunition, and trainin…

Stimson in the News
Rachel Stohl and Shannon Dick’s Op-ed in Foreign Policy on child soldiers

The Donald Trump administration released the annual Trafficking in Persons Report this week, which includes the list of governments known to use or support the use of child soldiers and thus which may be prohibited from receiving U.S. weapons and…

Policy Paper
Evaluating the US Drone Program in a Just War Context

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or what are more commonly referred to as drones, have become a key component of U.S. counterterrorism policy. Under the Obama administration, armed drones were used to strike terrorist targets in a number of theaters, both wit…

Shedding Light on the Global Arms Trade

Highlighting information for successful ATT implementation and reporting.

Stimson in the News
Rachel Stohl and Shannon Dick cited in Defense News on Arms Sales

WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department is expected to take a significant cut in Foreign Military Financing under the Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget request, but Congress has quietly introduced legislation that could slow a planned…

Advancing a Smarter US Drone Strategy

Ensuring U.S. drone policy is transparent, accountable and consistent with national security goals

Stimson in the News
Rachel Stohl and Shannon Dick’s Op-Ed in CNN on the U.S.’s Role in Stopping the Use of Child Soldiers

(CNN) President Donald Trump’s foreign policy priorities remain uncertain nearly 100 days into his administration. Early indications, however, point to human trafficking as one area of focus. During a February meeting on domestic and international huma…

Stimson in the News
Rachel Stohl and Shannon Dick’s Op-Ed in Forum on the Arms Trade on Trump and Arms Sales

Three months into the Trump administration and President Trump has used arms sales to support security priorities and demonstrate a commitment to industry. Yet it remains unclear how and to what extent arms sales will be used as a tool of Trump’s forei…

Stimson in the News
Rachel Stohl and Shannon Dick’s Op-Ed in U.S. News & World Report on Trump’s Arms Sales Policy

In less than 100 days, President Donald J. Trump’s approach toward arms sales is slowly coming into focus. The Trump administration’s preliminary 2018 budget proposal – which includes a 28 percent cut in funding for the Department of State and proposed…

Confronting the Tragic Reality of the Use of Child Soldiers

Providing guidance to evaluate U.S. policy and help encourage countries to end the use of children in combat around the world.

Stimson in the News
Shannon Dick Co-Writes Op-ed in Arms Control Association on Morality of Atomic Weapons

On a calm and cool January evening, we found ourselves attending a stimulating showing of Michael Frayn’s 1998 Tony award-winning play, Copenhagen, at Theater J in Washington D.C. Before going any further, perhaps we should start with some persona…

Stimson in the News
Rachel Stohl and Shannon Dick op-ed in US News and World Report on child soldiers

This week, the Obama administration issued the final waivers under the Child Soldier Prevention Act. The waivers will allow seven governments to continue to receive U.S. military assistance and weapons despite evidence of their recruitment and use of c…

Stimson in the News
Rachel Stohl and Shannon Dick op-ed in Breaking Defense on US arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Last week, a bipartisan quarter of senators — Rand Paul, Chris Murphy, Al Franken, and Mike Lee — introduced a joint resolution to block the $1.15 billion sale of Abrams tanks and other major defense articles to Saudi Arabia in light of concerns a…

Assurance and Deterrence in Europe – A Cold War Redux

In February 2016, the United States took a considerable step towards repositioning Russia as a long-term threat to U.S. and European national security interests, with the White House requesting $3.4 billion—roughly four times the amount requested for 2…

An Inhumane Trade: Partnering against Human Trafficking

In April 2014, Boko Haram shocked the world when it stormed a secondary school in Chibok, northeastern Nigeria, and abducted over 200 girls. This tragedy was immediately condemned by the wider international community and prompted a campaign to “bring b…

Arms, Wildlife and Disease: The Need for Integrated Responses to Complex Transnational Challenges

The proliferation of conventional weapons, wildlife trafficking and the spread of disease profoundly affects many African countries. The unchecked flow of arms, for example, fuels armed conflict and violence throughout the region; illicitly trafficked…

Japan updates arms export policy

On April 1, three weeks before President Obama’s arrival in Tokyo, Japan announced the revision of its arms export principles to allow the country to play a more active role in regional and international security efforts. This revision comes after near…

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