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RAND Corporation
Founders Henry H. Arnold, Donald Wills Douglas, Sr.
Type Global policy think tank
Founded 1948
Headquarters Santa Monica, California (headquarters)
Origins United States Army Air Forces, Project RAND
Staff Henry Kissinger, John Forbes Nash, John von Neumann, Stephen H. Dole, Herman Kahn, Harold Brown, Donald Rumsfeld
Area served Predominantly United States of America
Revenue $230.07 million (FY08) [1]
Employees c. 1,600
Motto "To help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis."

The RAND Corporation (Research ANd Development[2]) is a nonprofit global policy think tank first formed to offer research and analysis to the United States armed forces by Douglas Aircraft Company. It is currently financed by the U.S. government, a private endowment[3], corporations,[4] including the healthcare industry, universities[5] and private individuals[6]. The organization has long since expanded to working with other governments, private foundations, international organizations, and commercial organizations on a host of non-defense issues. RAND aims for interdisciplinary and quantitative problem solving via translating theoretical concepts from formal economics and the hard sciences into novel applications in other areas; that is, via applied science and operations research. RAND has been led since 1989 by Dr. James Thomson, a physicist. The second in command of the organization since 1993 has been Michael D. Rich.

RAND has approximately 1,600 employees and three principal U.S. locations: Santa Monica, California (headquarters); Washington, D.C. (currently located in Arlington, Virginia); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (adjacent to Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh); a fourth office is located in Boston, Massachusetts. There are also several smaller offices of RAND in the United States, including the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute[7] in Jackson, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana. RAND Europe[8]'s offices are in Cambridge, United Kingdom and Brussels, Belgium. In 2003, RAND opened the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute[9] in Doha.

RAND is also the home to the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School, one of the original graduate programs in public policy and the first to offer a Ph.D. The program is unique in that students work alongside 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 Ph.D.-granting program in policy analysis.

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

To date, 32 recipients of the Nobel Prize, primarily in the fields of economics and physics, have been affiliated with RAND at some point in their career. [2][10][11]


Project RAND

RAND was set up in 1946 by the United States Army Air Forces as Project RAND[12], under contract to the Douglas Aircraft Company, and in May 1946 they released the Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship. In May 1948, Project RAND was separated from Douglas and became an independent non-profit organization. Initial capital for the split came from the Ford Foundation.


Since the 1950s, the RAND has been instrumental in defining US military strategy.[citation needed] Their most visible contribution is the doctrine of nuclear deterrence by Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), developed under the guidance of then defence secretary Robert McNamara and based upon their work with game theory.[13] 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.[14][15]

Mission statement

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."[2]

Achievements and expertise

RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh, PA

The achievements of RAND stem from its development of systems analysis. Important contributions are claimed in space systems and the United States' space program, in computing and in artificial intelligence. RAND researchers developed many of the principles that were used to build the Internet. Numerous analytical techniques were invented at RAND, including aspects of dynamic programming, game theory, the Delphi method, linear programming, systems analysis, and exploratory modeling. RAND also contributed to the development and use of wargaming.

Current areas of expertise include: child policy, civil and criminal justice, education, environment and energy, 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.

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.

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 official website.

Notable RAND participants

Over the last 60 years, more than 30 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the RAND Corporation at some point in their careers.[2]


The organization's governance structure includes a board of trustees. Current members of the board include: Paul G. Kaminski (Chairman), Karen Elliott House (Vice Chairman), Richard J. Danzig, Francis Fukuyama, Richard Gephardt, John W. Handy, Jen-Hsun Huang, John M. Keane, Lydia H. Kennard, Philip Lader, Peter Lowy, Michael Lynton, Charles N. Martin, Jr., Ronald Olson, Paul O'Neill, Michael Powell, Donald B. Rice, James E. Rohr, James F. Rothenberg, Hector Ruiz, Carlos Slim Helu, Donald Tang, James Thomson, and Robert C. Wright.

Trustees Emeriti include: Harold Brown, Frank C. Carlucci

Former members of the board include: Walter Mondale, Condoleezza Rice, Newton Minow, Brent Scowcroft, Amy Pascal, John Reed, Charles Townes, Caryl Haskins, Walter B. Wriston, Frank Stanton, Carl Bildt, Donald Rumsfeld, Harold Brown, Robert Curvin, Pedro Greer, Arthur Levitt, Lloyd Morrisett, Lovida Coleman, Ratan Tata, Marta Tienda, Jerry Speyer, Timothy Geithner, Rita Hauser, Ann Korologos, and Bonnie McElveen-Hunter.


In 1958, Senator Stuart Symington accused the RAND Corporation of defeatism for studying how the United States might strategically surrender to an enemy power. This led to the passage of a prohibition on the spending of tax dollars on the study of defeat or surrender of any kind. However, the senator had apparently misunderstood, as the report was a survey of past cases in which the US had demanded unconditional surrender of its enemies, asking whether or not this had been a more favorable outcome to US interests than an earlier, negotiated surrender would have been.[17]

In April 1970, Newhouse News Service reported that Richard Nixon had commissioned RAND to study the feasibility of canceling the 1972 election. RAND denied it and reviewed its recent work for possible sources of the story. They said that the review was fruitless.[18]

See also


  1. ^ About the RAND Corporation - RAND at a Glance,, retrieved 2009-02-09 
  2. ^ a b c d The Rand Corporation. "History and Mission". RAND Corporation. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  3. ^ RAND's private endowment
  4. ^ Corporate contributors on RAND's website
  5. ^
  6. ^ for RAND's individual contributions see Finance
  7. ^ RAND Gulf States Policy Institute website: Contact information
  8. ^ RAND Europe website: Contact information
  9. ^ RAND-Qatar Policy Institute website
  10. ^ Brigette Sarabi, "Oregon: The Rand Report on Measure 11 is Finally Available", Partnership for Safety and Justice (formerly Western Prison Project), January 1, 2005. Retrieved on April 15, 2008.
  11. ^ Harvard University Institute of Politics. "Guide for Political Internships". Harvard University. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  12. ^ RAND History and Mission. Accessed 13 April 2009.
  13. ^ Twing, Steven W. (1998). Myths, models & U.S. foreign policy. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 1555877664. 
  14. ^ Hanks, Robert (19 December 2007). "The Week In Radio: The think tank for unthinkable thoughts". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  15. ^ Kaplan, Fred (10 October 2004). "Truth Stranger Than 'Strangelove'". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  16. ^ "Habitable Planets for man (6.4 MB PDF)". RAND Corporation (free PDFs). 
  17. ^ Poundstone, W. (1992). Prisoner's Dilemma. Doubleday. 
  18. ^ Poundstone, W. (1992). Prisoner's Dilemma. Doubleday. 

Further reading

  • Abella, Alex. "Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire" (Harcourt, 2008). ISBN 978-0-15-101081-3.
  • S.M. Amadae. "Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy: The Cold War Origins of Rational Choice Liberalism" (University of Chicago Press, 2003).
  • Martin Collins. "Cold War Laboratory: RAND, The Air Force and the American State" (Smithsonian Institution, 2002).
  • Thomas and Agatha Hughes, eds. "Systems, Experts, and Computers: The Systems Approach in Management and Engineering After World War II" (The MIT Press. Dibner Institute Studies in the History of Science and Technology, 2000).
  • Fred Kaplan. The Wizards of Armageddon" (Stanford University Press, 1991).
  • Mark Trachtenberg. "History & Strategy" (Princeton University Press, 1991).
  • Edward S. Quade and Wayne I. Boucher (eds.), "Systems Analysis and Policy Planning: Applications in Defense" (American Elsevier, 1968).
  • Bruce R. Smith. The RAND Corporation: Case Study of a Nonprofit Advisory Corporation" (Harvard University Press, 1966).
  • Clifford, Peggy, ed. "RAND and The City: Part One". Santa Monica Mirror, October 27, 1999 – November 2, 1999. Five-part series includes: 1; 2; 3; 4; & 5. Accessed April 15, 2008.

External links

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