The RAND Corporation is a global policy think tank first formed to offer research and analysis to the United States armed forces. The organization has since expanded to working with other governments and commercial organizations.
RAND has approximately 1600 employees based at six locations: in the U.S. — Santa Monica, California (headquarters), Washington, D.C. (currently located in Arlington, Virginia) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (adjacent to Carnegie Mellon University); in Europe — Leiden, Netherlands, Berlin, Germany and Cambridge, United Kingdom. In 2003, it opened the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute in Doha.
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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 headquarters. It is the world's largest Ph.D.-granting program in policy analysis.
RAND was set up in 1946 by the United States Army Air Forces as Project RAND, 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.
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."
Achievements and expertise
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 dynamic programming, game theory, the Delphi method, linear programming, systems analysis, and exploratory modeling. RAND also pioneered the development and use of wargaming.
Current areas of expertise, including that of RAND's education-related division — the Institute on Education and Training — are: child policy, civil and criminal justice, education, environment and energy, health, international policy, labor markets, national security, population and regional studies, science and technology, social welfare, terrorism, and transportation.
RAND oversaw one of the largest and most important studies of health insurance. 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 2004 annual report, "about one-half of RAND's research involves national security issues."
The film Dr. Strangelove made a jab at RAND, with the title character mentioning a study conducted by the "BLAND Corporation."
While the RAND Corporation has produced many notable publications, its best-selling book is A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates.
Notable RAND participants
- Henry H. Arnold — General, United States Air Force — RAND founder
- Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. — President, Douglas Aircraft Company — RAND founder
- Arthur E. Raymond — Chief Engineer, Douglas Aircraft Company — RAND founder
- Franklin R. Collbohm — Aviation Engineer, Douglas Aircraft Company — RAND founder and former director and trustee
- Kenneth Arrow — economist, Nobel Laureate, developed the impossibility theorem in social choice theory
- Harry Markowitz — economist, developed the Portfolio Selection model that is still widely used in modern finance
- Paul Baran — one of the developers of packet switching which was used in Arpanet and later networks like the Internet
- Barry Boehm — software economics expert, inventor of COCOMO
- George Dantzig — mathematician, creator of the simplex algorithm for linear programming
- Bruno Augenstein — V.P., physicist, mathematician and space scientist
- James J. Gillogly, cryptographer and computer scientist
- Cecil Hastings — programmer, wrote software engineering classic, Approximations for Digital Computers (Princeton 1955)
- Allen Newell — artificial intelligence
- Herbert Simon — Nobel prize-winning economist
- Paul O'Neill — Chairman in the late 1990s
- Daniel Ellsberg — leaker of the Pentagon Papers
- John Von Neumann — mathematician, creator of game theory
- John Forbes Nash — Nobel prize-winning mathematician
- Herman Kahn — theorist on nuclear war and one of the founders of scenario planning
- Lewis "Scooter" Libby, V.P. Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff
- Katsuaki L. Terasawa — economist
- Donald Rumsfeld — Chairman of RAND Corporation from 1981-1986 and current Secretary of Defense for the United States (as of May 2006)
- Condoleezza Rice — former trustee 1991-1997 and current Secretary of State for the United States (as of May 2006), former intern
- Francis Fukuyama — academic and author of The End of History and the Last Man
- Thomas C. Schelling — economist, Nobel Laureate
- Zalmay Khalilzad — U.S. Ambassador to Iraq
- Margaret Mead — U.S. anthropologist
- James Thomson — RAND CEO, 1989-present
- Michael D. Rich — RAND Executive Vice President, 1993-present
- Frank Carlucci — trustee, Chairman of the Carlyle Group
- Harold Brown — trustee
- Walter Mondale — former trustee
- Carl Bildt — trustee, former Prime Minister of Sweden
- Robert F. Salter — advocate of the vactrain maglev train concept
- Samuel Cohen — inventor of the neutron bomb in 1958
- Harold L. Brode — physicist, leading nuclear weapons effects expert
- Brian Michael Jenkins — terrorism expert, Senior Advisor to the President of the RAND Corporation, and author of Unconquerable Nation
Criticisms of RAND
The RAND Corporation has been associated with militarism and the military-industrial complex by some individuals. Many of the conspiracy theories 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. Some RAND participants who have gone on to large roles in the military-industrial complex are often believed to have had a role in shaping RAND research. See Antimilitarism.
- A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates (published by RAND)
- Brookings Institution
- Council on Foreign Relations
- Trilateral Commission
- James Q. Wilson (board of directors)
- RAND website
- RAND's own history page
- Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School
- RAND And The City — a one-sided critical history of RAND from the Santa Monica Mirror (a free left-wing paper in Santa Monica). Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5