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Rand Corporation

RAND Mission: The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis.

RAND focuses on the issues that matter most such as health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, the environment, and more. With a research staff consisting of some of the world's preeminent minds, RAND has been expanding the boundaries of human knowledge for more than 60 years.

As a nonpartisan organization, RAND is widely respected for operating independent of political and commercial pressures.

Through our dedication to high-quality and objective research and analysis and with sophisticated analytical tools developed over many years, RAND engages clients to create knowledge, insight, information, options, and solutions that will be both effective and enduring.

The Articles of Incorporation set forth RAND's purpose in language that was both remarkably brief and breathtakingly broad:

To further and promote scientific, educational, and charitable purposes, all for the public welfare and security of the United States of America.


It was on May 14, 1948, that Project RAND — an outgrowth of World War II — separated from the Douglas Aircraft Company of Santa Monica, California, and became an independent, nonprofit organization. Adopting its name from a contraction of the term research and development, the newly formed entity was dedicated to furthering and promoting scientific, educational, and charitable purposes for the public welfare and security of the United States.

Almost at once, RAND developed a unique style, blending scrupulous nonpartisanship with rigorous, fact-based analysis to tackle society's most pressing problems. Over time, RAND assembled a unique corps of researchers, notable not only for individual skills but also for interdisciplinary cooperation. By the 1960s, RAND was bringing its trademark mode of empirical, nonpartisan, independent analysis to the study of many urgent domestic social and economic problems.

The Origins of RAND

Hap Arnold

World War II had revealed the importance of technology research and development for success on the battlefield and the wide range of scientists and academics outside the military who made such development possible. Furthermore, as the war drew to a close, it became apparent that complete and permanent peace might not be assured. There were discussions among people in the War Department, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, and industry who saw a need for a private organization to connect military planning with research and development decisions.

In a report to the Secretary of War, Commanding General of the Army Air Force H. H. "Hap" Arnold wrote:

"During this war the Army, Army Air Forces, and the Navy have made unprecedented use of scientific and industrial resources. The conclusion is inescapable that we have not yet established the balance necessary to insure the continuance of teamwork among the military, other government agencies, industry, and the universities. Scientific planning must be years in advance of the actual research and development work."

In addition to General Arnold, key players involved in the formation of Project RAND were:

(During the war, both Raymond and Collbohm had been brought to the Pentagon by Bowles to work on a special project that analyzed ways to improve the effectiveness of the B-29.)

The Douglas Years


On October 1, 1945, Arnold, Bowles, Douglas, Raymond, and Collbohm met at Hamilton Field, California, to set up Project RAND under special contract to the Douglas Aircraft Company. Project RAND got under way in December 1945, expending a total of $640 in its first month of operation. That same month, the new office of Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Research and Development, to which Project RAND would report, was officially established, with Major General LeMay as its first appointee. On March 2, 1946, a letter contract was executed that put Project RAND under Frank Collbohm's direction in a separate area within the Douglas Aircraft plant at the municipal airport in Santa Monica, California.

In May 1946, the first RAND report appeared, Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship,[1] concerned with the potential design, performance, and possible use of man-made satellites. A year later, Project RAND moved from the Douglas plant at Santa Monica Airport to offices in downtown Santa Monica. Also in 1947, a symposium was held in New York as part of Project RAND's Evaluation Section as a first step in enlisting social scientists for the staff.

By early 1948, Project RAND had grown to 200 staff members with expertise in a wide range of fields including:

  • mathematicians
  • engineers
  • aerodynamicists
  • physicists
  • chemists
  • economists
  • psychologists

Its second annual report noted that "the complexity of the problems, and the rapid, if uneven, advances in the various fields call for coordination, balance, and cross-fertilization of effort. Coming from the laboratories of industry, the seminars of universities, and the offices of administration, the RAND staff is very conscious of this need for teamwork."

An Independent Private Nonprofit Organization

RAND's original headquarters
RAND's original office in
downtown Santa Monica

The arrangement with Douglas had its pluses and minuses for both parent and offspring. By late 1947, separation was being discussed. In February 1948, the Chief of Staff of the newly created United States Air Force wrote a letter to Donald Douglas that approved the evolution of RAND into a nonprofit corporation, independent of the Douglas Aircraft Company. H. Rowan Gaither, Jr., a prominent San Francisco attorney who later served as president and then as chairman of the board of The Ford Foundation, was retained as legal counsel to determine the best means of setting up an independent RAND.

By May, arrangements had been made with the Pacific National Bank and the Wells Fargo Bank and Union Trust Co. for lines of credit provided that additional capital or other assets could be secured from other sources.

On May 14, 1948, RAND was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the State of California. The Articles of Incorporation set forth RAND's purpose in language that was both remarkably brief and breathtakingly broad:

To further and promote scientific, educational, and charitable purposes, all for the public welfare and security of the United States of America.

The three signatories — Franklin Collbohm, H. Rowan Gaither, Jr., and L.J. Henderson, Jr., RAND associate director — together with eight other prominent individuals selected from academe and industry, constituted RAND's original Board of Trustees. The other eight members were: Charles Dollard, president, Carnegie Corporation of New York; Lee A. Dubridge, president, California Institute of Technology; John A. Hutcheson, director, research laboratories, Westinghouse Electric Corporation; Alfred L. Loomis, scientist; Philip M. Morse, physicist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Frederick F. Stephan, professor of social statistics and director, Office of Survey Research and Statistics, Princeton University; George D. Stoddard, president, University of Illinois; and Clyde Williams, director, Battelle Memorial Institute.

Informal discussions with representatives of the Ford Foundation led to an agreement at the end of July 1948 for an interest-free loan from the Foundation and its guarantee of a private bank loan to RAND. A total of $1 million was secured for operating the new corporation. Four years later, an expansion of the Foundation's loan enabled the establishment of a RAND-Sponsored Research Program, which furnished staff with the means to conduct small non-military research projects. This marked the beginning of the diversification of RAND's agenda and was the first of many grants to RAND by the Ford Foundation to support important new research initiatives.

On November 1, 1948, the Project RAND contract was formally transferred from the Douglas Aircraft Company to the RAND Corporation.

The Nature of RAND's Contributions

Many of the highlights of RAND's early contributions to policymaking were summarized in a 1996 book commemorating the 50th anniversary of Project RAND, the predecessor of the RAND Corporation.

In his 1996 doctoral dissertation examining RAND's early years and the broadening of its research agenda, historian David Jardini of Carnegie Mellon University compiled an exhaustive list of contributions by RAND researchers that went far beyond assistance to military decisionmakers. They included significant achievements in space systems, providing the foundation for America's space program, and important contributions to digital computing and artificial intelligence. Researcher Paul Baran's work on "packet switching," for example, provided the building blocks for today's Internet technology (see essay). Theories and tools for decisionmaking under uncertainty were created, and basic contributions were made to game theory, linear and dynamic programming, mathematical modeling and simulation, network theory, and cost analysis.

Jardini singled out for special recognition the methodological approach called systems analysis, whose objective was "to provide information to military decision-makers that would sharpen their judgment and provide the basis for more informed choices." As RAND's agenda evolved, Jardini noted, "systems analysis served as the methodological basis for social policy planning and analysis across such disparate areas as urban decaypovertyhealth careeducation, and the efficient operation of municipal services such as police protection and fire fighting."

Project RAND has a historic record of achievement in the development of computing: RAND staff designed and built one of the earliest computers, developed an early on-line interactive terminal-based computer system, and invented the telecommunications technique that has become the basis for modern computer networks.

Early RAND work formed the core of path-breaking economic analyses of major social policy issues, such as improving the health care system and providing affordable housing to low-income families. RAND developed the planning, programming and budgeting system (PPBS) that Robert McNamara's "Whiz Kids" promoted throughout the federal government in the early 1960s and that was mandated as the federal standard by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.

RAND's research agenda has always been shaped by the priorities of the nation. With roots in the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union, the early defense-related agenda evolved — in concert with the nation's attention — to encompass such diverse subject areas as space; economic, social, and political affairs overseas; and the direct role of government in social and economic problem-solving at home.

Today, RAND's work continues to reflect and inform the American agenda. While one part of RAND works to define the emerging epidemic of obesity among Americans, another has presented lessons learned from the military response to Hurricane Katrina that can be applied to future military disaster-response efforts. While one division analyzes standards accountability under No Child Left Behind, another details ways to reduce the terrorist threat from regions with weak governmental control.

Across a broad range of subjects, RAND research is characterized by its independence, objectivity, and nonpartisanship; its empirical foundation; its high quality, scientific rigor, and interdisciplinary approach; and its dedication to improving policymaking on the major issues of the day.

Now this is taken from their website folks. This is a major player on the political scene folks. No child left behind has been producing a progressively dumber and dumber generation of educated people because it stoops to the lowest end of the Bell Curve. If this is an example of their mindset and mental ascent and world outlook it is poor, or is it purposeful?

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