About Cristina

Cristina Garafola is a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on the ramifications of China’s rise for its global status, particularly with respect to defense issues, China's influence on regional actors, and implications for the United States. Cristina served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2017 to 2019, where she focused on National Defense Strategy and Indo-Pacific strategy implementation. She has also worked at the Department of the Treasury, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Department of State. Her work has been published by RAND and the China Aerospace Studies Institute, and in Asian Security, the Journal of Strategic StudiesWar on the Rocks, and the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief.


Cristina holds an M.A. in China studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a graduate certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies, and a B.A. in international relations and Chinese from Hamilton College. She has experience living and working in China and has also spent time in Myanmar (Burma) and Japan. She speaks Chinese.