Research/Areas of Interest: Foreign Policy Decision-making; Chinese Philosophy; Chinese Foreign Policy; Indo-Pacific Security


  • M.A., National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, United States, 2001
  • B.A., International Affairs, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, United States, 1995
  • A.A., Chinese Mandarin, Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, United States, 2001


Scott D. McDonald is a Non-resident Research Fellow at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and a Ph.D. Candidate at The Fletcher School of Tufts University. A retired US Marine Corps officer, his final active duty position was as a Military Professor at APCSS, where he taught Chinese philosophy and strategic thought; East Asia security dynamics; national security strategy; cross-cultural communication; and strategic foresight to security practitioners from across the Indo-Pacific. He also led APCSS' first multilateral workshop in Taiwan.

A China Foreign Area Officer (FAO), he has studied in Beijing, served as an attaché in Canberra, Australia, was the first Marine Corps Affairs Officer at the American Institute in Taiwan, established the Regional Engagement Branch at III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan, and served as a Strategic Analyst in the Commandant's Strategic Initiatives Group.

Mr. McDonald has taught at Central Texas College, the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Wellesley College, and The Fletcher School of Tufts University.

Among his publications are the The Future of the United States-Australia Alliance, with Andrew T. H. Tan and China's Global Influence: Perspectives and Recommendations, with Michael C. Burgoyne. He has also published several articles, including "Forget China: Policy for an Interconnected Region," Fletcher Security Review 8, No. 1 (2021): 73-9 and "Phase Zero: How China Exploits It, Why the US Does Not," Naval War College Review 65, no 3 (Summer 2012): 123-135, with Broke Jones and Jason M. Frazee.

Mr. McDonald earned a B.A. in International Relations from The George Washington University, an M.A. in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School, and completed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Seminar XXI Program for national security leaders.
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