RAND Corporation

Coordinates: 34°00′35″N 118°29′26″W / 34.009599°N 118.490670°W / 34.009599; -118.490670
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

RAND Corporation
PredecessorSpin-off of Project RAND, a former partnership between Douglas Aircraft Company and the United States Air Force until incorporation as a nonprofit and gaining independence from both.
FormationMay 14, 1948; 76 years ago (1948-05-14)
TypeGlobal policy think tank, research institute, and public sector consulting firm[1]
Legal statusNonprofit corporation
HeadquartersSanta Monica, California, U.S.
Coordinates34°00′35″N 118°29′26″W / 34.009599°N 118.490670°W / 34.009599; -118.490670
President and CEO
Jason Gaverick Matheny[2]
RAND Leadership
  • Jennifer Gould
  • Andrew R. Hoehn
  • Mike Januzik
  • Eric Peltz
  • Melissa Rowe
  • Robert M. Case[2]
President, RAND Europe
Hans Pung[2]
SubsidiariesRAND Europe
Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School
Increase $390 million (2023)[4]
ExpensesIncrease $427 million (2023)[5]
Endowment$288.7 million (2023)[6]
1,900 (2023)[7]

The RAND Corporation is an American nonprofit global policy think tank,[1] research institute, and public sector consulting firm. RAND Corporation engages in research and development (R&D) across multiple fields and industries. Since the 1950s, RAND research has helped inform United States policy decisions on a wide variety of issues, including the space race, the Vietnam War, the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms confrontation, the creation of the Great Society social welfare programs, and national health care.

The RAND Corporation originated as "Project RAND" (from the phrase "research and development") in the postwar period immediately after World War II.[8][9] The United States Army Air Forces established Project RAND with the objective of investigating long-range planning of future weapons.[10] Douglas Aircraft Company was granted a contract to research intercontinental warfare.[10] Project RAND later evolved into the RAND Corporation, and expanded its research into civilian fields such as education and international affairs.[11] It was the first think tank to be regularly referred to as a "think tank".[1]

RAND receives both public and private funding. Its funding sources include the U.S. government, private endowments,[12] corporations,[13] universities,[13] charitable foundations, U.S. state and local governments, international organizations, and to a small extent, by foreign governments.[13][14]


RAND has approximately 1,850 employees. Its American locations include: Santa Monica, California (headquarters); Arlington, Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Boston, Massachusetts.[15] The RAND Gulf States Policy Institute has an office in New Orleans, Louisiana. RAND Europe is located in Cambridge, United Kingdom; Brussels, Belgium; and Rotterdam, Netherlands.[16] RAND Australia is located in Canberra, Australia.[17]

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 students, who work with RAND analysts on addressing 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.[18]

Unlike many other programs, 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 with on-the-job training.[18] RAND also offers a number of internship and fellowship programs allowing students and others to assist in conducting research for RAND projects. Most of these are short-term independent projects mentored by a RAND staff member.[19]

RAND publishes the RAND Journal of Economics, a peer-reviewed journal of economics.[20]

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.[21][22]


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.[19] 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.[23] 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.[23]

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."[24] 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.[24]

Douglas engineer Arthur Emmons Raymond came up with the name Project RAND, from "research and development".[8] 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.[8] He later became RAND's first president and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1967.[25]

On 1 October 1945, Project RAND was set up under special contract to the Douglas Aircraft Company and began operations in December 1945.[19][26] In May 1946, the Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship was released.

RAND Corporation[edit]

By late 1947, Douglas Aircraft executives 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.[19]

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.[19] 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 Vietnam War, the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms confrontation, the creation of the Great Society social welfare programs, the digital revolution, and national health care.[27] In the 1970s the Rand Corporation adjusted computer models it was using to recommend closures of fire stations in New York City so that fire stations were closed in the most fire-prone areas, home to Black and Puerto Rican residents, rather than in wealthier, more affluent neighborhoods.[28]

RAND contributed to 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.[29] Chief strategist Herman Kahn also posited the idea of a "winnable" nuclear exchange in his 1960 book On Thermonuclear War. This led to Kahn's being one of the models for the titular character of the film Dr. Strangelove, in which RAND is spoofed as the "BLAND Corporation".[30][31]

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 human-made satellite that would take photographs from space and the rockets to put such a satellite in orbit.[32]

RAND was not the first think tank, but during the 1960s, it was the first to be regularly referred to as a "think tank".[1] Accordingly, RAND served as the "prototype" for the modern definition of that term.[1]


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,[33] in computing and in artificial intelligence. RAND researchers developed many of the principles that were used to build the Internet.[34] RAND also contributed to the development and use of wargaming.[35][36]

Current areas of expertise include: child policy, law, civil and criminal justice, education, health (public health and health care), international policy/foreign policy, labor markets, national security, defense policy, infrastructure, energy, environment, business and corporate governance, economic development, intelligence policy, long-range planning, crisis management and emergency management-disaster preparation, population studies, regional studies, comparative studies, science and technology, social policy, welfare, terrorism and counterterrorism, cultural policy, arts policy, and transportation.[37][14][11]

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.[38][39]

In 2018, RAND began its Gun Policy in America initiative,[40] which resulted in comprehensive reviews of the evidence of the effects of gun policies in the United States. The second expanded review in 2020[41] analyzed almost 13,000 relevant studies on guns and gun violence since 1995 and selected 123 as having sufficient methodological rigor for inclusion. These were used to determine the level of scientific support for eighteen classes of gun policy.


Almost since its inception, the RAND Corporation has been involved[how?] in controversial issues—and its reports, recommendations and influence have been the subject of extensive public debate and controversy. Among these have been:

Notable participants[edit]

John von Neumann, consultant to the RAND Corporation[68]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Medvetz, Thomas (2012). Think Tanks in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-226-51729-2. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
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  4. ^ "RAND Annual Report 2023, p. 39". RAND Corporation. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  5. ^ As of September 20, 2023. RAND Consolidated Financial Statements Fiscal Years Ended September 30, 2023 and 2022 (Report). RAND. 8 April 2024. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  6. ^ RAND Consolidated Financial Statements Fiscal Years Ended September 30, 2023 and 2022 (As of September 20, 2023) (Report). RAND. 8 April 2024. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  7. ^ 2023 RAND Annual Report (Report). RAND. 10 April 2024. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
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  9. ^ RAND History and Mission. Accessed 13 April 2009.
  10. ^ a b Johnson, Stephen B. (2002). The United States Air Force and the culture of innovation 1945-1965. Diane Publishing Co. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-4289-9027-2.
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