RAND Corporation

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RAND Corporation
Rand Corporation logo.svg

The RAND Corporation headquarters in Santa Monica
PredecessorIndividuals of Douglas Aircraft Company
FormationMay 14, 1948; 73 years ago (1948-05-14)
FoundersHenry H. "Hap" Arnold
Donald Douglas
Curtis LeMay
TypeGlobal policy think tank[1]
Legal statusNon-profit corporation
PurposePolicy analysis
HeadquartersSanta Monica, California, U.S.
Coordinates34°00′35″N 118°29′26″W / 34.009599°N 118.490670°W / 34.009599; -118.490670Coordinates: 34°00′35″N 118°29′26″W / 34.009599°N 118.490670°W / 34.009599; -118.490670
President and CEO
Michael D. Rich[2]
RAND Leadership
Jennifer Gould
Andrew R. Hoehn
Winfield A. Boerckel
Allison Elder
Mike Januzik
Susan L. Marquis
Eric Peltz
Brandon Baker
Melissa Rowe
Robert M. Case[2]
President, RAND Europe
Hans Pung[2]
Bonnie G. Hill
Joel Z. Hyatt
Paul G. Kaminski
Ann McLaughlin Korologos
Philip Lader
Peter Lowy
Michael Lynton
Ronald L. Olson
Mary E. Peters
David L. Porges
Donald B. Rice
Michael D. Rich
Hector Ruiz
Leonard D. Schaeffer[3]
SubsidiariesRAND Europe
Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School
Revenue (2014)
Increase$351.7 million[4]
ExpensesIncrease$340.4 million[4]
Endowment$267.7 million (2020)[5]
Staff (2015)

The RAND Corporation ("research and development")[7] is an American nonprofit global policy think tank[1] created in 1948 by Douglas Aircraft Company to offer research and analysis to the United States Armed Forces. It is financed by the U.S. government and private endowment,[6] corporations,[8] universities[8] and private individuals.[8] The company has grown to assist other governments, international organizations, private companies and foundations with a host of defense and non-defense issues, including healthcare. RAND aims for interdisciplinary and quantitative problem solving by translating theoretical concepts from formal economics and the physical sciences into novel applications in other areas, using applied science and operations research.


RAND has approximately 1,850 employees. Its American locations include: Santa Monica, California (headquarters); Arlington, Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the San Francisco Bay Area; and Boston, Massachusetts.[9] The RAND Gulf States Policy Institute has an office in New Orleans, Louisiana. RAND Europe is located in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and Brussels, Belgium.[10] RAND Australia is located in Canberra, Australia.[11]

RAND is home to the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School, one of eight original graduate programs in public policy and the first to offer a PhD. The program aims to provide practical experience for its students, who work with RAND analysts on real-world problems. The campus is at RAND's Santa Monica research facility. The Pardee RAND School is the world's largest PhD-granting program in policy analysis.[12] Unlike many other universities, all Pardee RAND Graduate School students receive fellowships to cover their education costs. This allows them to dedicate their time to engage in research projects and provides them on-the-job training.[12] RAND also offers a number of internship and fellowship programs allowing students and outsiders to assist in conducting research for RAND projects. Most of these projects are short-term and are worked on independently with the mentoring of a RAND staff member.[13]

RAND publishes the RAND Journal of Economics, a peer-reviewed journal of economics.

Thirty-two recipients of the Nobel Prize, primarily in the fields of economics and physics, have been associated with RAND at some point in their career.[14][15]


Project RAND[edit]

RAND was created after individuals in the War Department, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, and industry began to discuss the need for a private organization to connect operational research with research and development decisions.[13] The immediate impetus for the creation of RAND was a fateful conversation in September 1945 between General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold and Douglas executive Franklin R. Collbohm.[16] Both men were deeply worried that ongoing demobilization meant the federal government was about to lose direct control of the vast amount of American scientific brainpower assembled to fight World War II.[16] As soon as Arnold realized Collbohm had been thinking along similar lines, he said, "I know just what you're going to tell me. It's the most important thing we can do."[17] With Arnold's blessing, Collbohm quickly pulled in additional people from Douglas to help, and together with Donald Douglas, they convened with Arnold two days later at Hamilton Army Airfield to sketch out a general outline for Collbohm's proposed project.[17] Douglas engineer Arthur Emmons Raymond came up with the name Project RAND, from "research and development".[7] Collbohm suggested that he himself should serve as the project's first director, which he thought would be a temporary position while he searched for a permanent replacement for himself.[7] He later became RAND's first president and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1967.[18]

On 1 October 1945, Project RAND was set up under special contract to the Douglas Aircraft Company and began operations in December 1945.[13][19] In May 1946, the Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship was released.

RAND Corporation[edit]

By late 1947, Douglas had expressed their concerns that their close relationship with RAND might create conflict of interest problems on future hardware contracts. In February 1948, the chief of staff of the newly created United States Air Force approved the evolution of Project RAND into a nonprofit corporation, independent of Douglas.[13]

On 14 May 1948, RAND was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the State of California and on 1 November 1948, the Project RAND contract was formally transferred from the Douglas Aircraft Company to the RAND Corporation.[13] Initial capital for the spin-off was provided by the Ford Foundation.

Since the 1950s, RAND research has helped inform United States policy decisions on a wide variety of issues, including the space race, the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms confrontation, the creation of the Great Society social welfare programs, the digital revolution, and national health care.[20] Its most visible contribution may be the doctrine of nuclear deterrence by mutually assured destruction (MAD), developed under the guidance of then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and based upon their work with game theory.[21] Chief strategist Herman Kahn also posited the idea of a "winnable" nuclear exchange in his 1960 book On Thermonuclear War. This led to Kahn being one of the models for the titular character of the film Dr. Strangelove, in which RAND is spoofed as the "BLAND Corporation".[22][23]

Even in the late 1940s and early 1950s, long before Sputnik, the RAND project was secretly recommending to the US government a major effort to design a man-made satellite that would take photographs from space—and the rockets to put such a satellite in orbit.[24]


RAND was incorporated as a non-profit organization to "further promote scientific, educational, and charitable purposes, all for the public welfare and security of the United States of America". Its self-declared mission is "to help improve policy and decision making through research and analysis", using its "core values of quality and objectivity".[25]


RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The achievements of RAND stem from its development of systems analysis. Important contributions are claimed in space systems and the United States' space program,[26] in computing and in artificial intelligence. RAND researchers developed many of the principles that were used to build the Internet.[27] RAND also contributed to the development and use of wargaming.[28][29]

Current areas of expertise include: child policy, civil and criminal justice, education, health, international policy, labor markets, national security, infrastructure, energy, environment, corporate governance, economic development, intelligence policy, long-range planning, crisis management and disaster preparation, population and regional studies, science and technology, social welfare, terrorism, arts policy, and transportation.[30]

RAND designed and conducted one of the largest and most important studies of health insurance between 1974 and 1982. The RAND Health Insurance Experiment, funded by the then–U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, established an insurance corporation to compare demand for health services with their cost to the patient.[31][32]

According to the 2005 annual report, "about one-half of RAND's research involves national security issues". Many of the events in which RAND plays a part are based on assumptions which are hard to verify because of the lack of detail on RAND's highly classified work for defense and intelligence agencies. The RAND Corporation posts all of its unclassified reports in full on its website.[citation needed]

Notable participants[edit]

John von Neumann, consultant to the RAND Corporation.[33]

Over the last 60 years, more than 30 Nobel Prize winners have been involved or associated with the RAND Corporation at some point in their careers.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Medvetz, Thomas (2012). Think Tanks in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 26. ISBN 9780226517292. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "RAND Leadership". RAND Corp. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  3. ^ "RAND Corporation Board of Trustees". RAND Corp. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Financial Statements, FY 2016". RAND Corp. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  5. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. 19 February 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  6. ^ a b "2013 RAND Annual Report". RAND Corp. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Abella, Alex (2009). Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire. Boston and New York: Mariner Books. p. 13. ISBN 9780156033442. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  8. ^ a b c "How We're Funded". RAND Corp. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  9. ^ "RAND Locations". RAND Corp. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  10. ^ "RAND Europe Contact Information". RAND Corp. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  11. ^ "RAND Locations: Canberra, Australia Office". RAND Corp. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Pardee RAND History". Pardee RAND Graduate School. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  13. ^ a b c d e "RAND at a Glance". RAND Corp. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  14. ^ Sarabi, Brigette (1 January 2005). "Oregon: The Rand Report on Measure 11 is Finally Available". Partnership for Safety and Justice (PSJ). Retrieved 15 April 2008.
  15. ^ Harvard University Institute of Politics. "Guide for Political Internships". Harvard University. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  16. ^ a b Abella, Alex (2009). Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire. Boston and New York: Mariner Books. p. 11. ISBN 9780156033442. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  17. ^ a b Abella, Alex (2009). Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire. Boston and New York: Mariner Books. p. 12. ISBN 9780156033442. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  18. ^ Oliver, Myrna (14 February 1990). "Franklin Collbohm Dies; Founder of RAND Corp". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  19. ^ Johnson, Stephen B (2002). The United States Air Force and the Culture of Innovation 1945-1965 (PDF). Diane Publishing. p. 32. ISBN 9781428990272. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  20. ^ Jardini, David R. (2013). Thinking Through the Cold War: RAND, National Security and Domestic Policy, 1945-1975. p. 10.
  21. ^ Twing, Steven W. (1998). Myths, models & U.S. foreign policy. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 1-55587-766-4.
  22. ^ Hanks, Robert (19 December 2007). "The Week In Radio: The think tank for unthinkable thoughts". The Independent. London. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  23. ^ Kaplan, Fred (10 October 2004). "Truth Stranger Than 'Strangelove'". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ "About RAND - Vision". RAND. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  26. ^ Davies, Merton E.; Hams, William R. (September 1988). RAND's Role in the Evolution of Balloon and Satellite Observation Systems and Related U.S. Space Technology (PDF). RAND Corp. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  27. ^ "Paul Baran - Posthumous Recipient". Internet Hall of Fame. Internet Society. 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  28. ^ Perla, Peter P. (1990). The Art of Wargaming: A Guide for Professionals and Hobbyists. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press. pp. 114–118. ISBN 0870210505. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  29. ^ Perry, Walter L.; Pirnie, Bruce R.; Gordon, John (1999). Issues Raised During the 1998 Army After Next Spring Wargame. Santa Monica, CA: RAND. ISBN 0-8330-2688-7. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  30. ^ "Policy Experts". RAND Corp. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  31. ^ "RAND's Health Insurance Experiment (HIE)". RAND Corp. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  32. ^ Herdman, Roger C.; Behney, Clyde J. (September 1993). "Chapter 3: The Lessons and Limitations of the Rand Health Insurance Experiment" (PDF). Benefit Design in Health Care Reform: Patient Cost-Sharing (Princeton University): 23–38. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  33. ^ Life Magazine, 25 February 1957, "Passing of a Great Mind", by Clay Bair JR. pages 89–104
  34. ^ Alex Roland and Philip Shiman, Strategic Computing: DARPA and the Quest for Machine Intelligence, 1983–1993, The MIT Press, 2002, p. 302
  35. ^ Nina Tannenwald, The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons Since 1945, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (UK), 2007, p. 138-139
  36. ^ "F. R. Collbohm, 83, Ex-Head of Rand, Dies". The New York Times. Associated Press. 14 February 1990. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  37. ^ "Michael H. Decker - Profile".
  38. ^ WILLIAM J. BROADPublished: 21 January 1991 (21 January 1991). "WAR IN THE GULF: HIGH TECH; War Hero Status Possible for the Computer Chip". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  39. ^ Dole, Stephen H. (2007). Habitable Planets for Man (New RAND ed.). Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corp. ISBN 9780833042279. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  40. ^ Dole, Stephen H. (8 October 2007). "Habitable Planets for man (6.4 MB PDF)". RAND Corporation (free PDFs). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  41. ^ "Stephen H. Dole; Retired Head of Rand Corp.'s Human Engineering Group". Los Angeles Times. 30 April 2000. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  42. ^ "Obituary: Paul Y. Hammond". University of Pittsburgh. 5 April 2012.
  43. ^ "Computer Science History". School of Computing. University of Utah. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  44. ^ "Andrew R. Hoehn - Profile".
  45. ^ Noland, Claire (12 April 2007). "Konrad Kellen, 93; Rand researcher studied Vietnam War and urged withdrawal of troops". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 12 July 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  46. ^ Kaplan, Fred (August 1991). The Wizards of Armageddon - Fred M. Kaplan - Google Boeken. ISBN 9780804718844. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  47. ^ Seymour M. Hersh (12 May 2003). "Selective Intelligence — Donald Rumsfeld has his own special sources. Are they reliable?". The New Yorker.

Further reading[edit]



  • Clifford, Peggy, ed. "RAND and The City: Part One". Santa Monica Mirror, 27 October 1999 – 2 November 1999. Five-part series includes: 1; 2; 3; 4; & 5. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
  • Specht, R.D. "Rand: A Personal View of Its History," Operations Research, vol. 8, no. 6 (Nov.–Dec. 1960), pp. 825–839. In JSTOR

External links[edit]