Associate Director, National Security Research Division (NSRD)

Washington, DC (DC Metro Area)

RAND Corporation

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RAND Overview

The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. RAND’s research and analysis address issues that impact people everywhere, including security, health, education, sustainability, growth, and development. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, RAND has approximately 1,775 people from approximately 55 countries working in offices in North America, Europe and Australia, with annual revenues of $356.2 million.

RAND is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest. Our research is sponsored by government agencies, international organizations, and foundations. We rely on philanthropic support to pursue visionary ideas; address critical problems that are under-researched; and devise innovative approaches for solving acute, complex, or provocative policy challenges. RAND values objectivity and integrity in both its research processes and internal interactions. We emphasize a collegial environment that respects the contributions and dignity of all staff.

Division Overview

The RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD) is building on RAND's foundation to solve humanity’s most pressing challenges and to help the United States and US allies navigate one of the most complex and turbulent periods in history. As an international pacesetter in defense and broader national security research and analysis, NSRD helps U.S. and allied leaders overcome seemingly intractable security challenges and manage complex defense institutions. To do so, NSRD builds teams who bring unique perspectives, extensive experience, and diverse skill sets. Our research is objective, fact-based, and data driven. Everything we produce stands up to the highest level of scrutiny, is carefully peer-reviewed, is technically sound, and provides useful, viable solutions.  


We support the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) as well as several non-DoD entities in the United States and abroad. NSRD operates the National Defense Research Institute (NDRI), a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) whose sponsors include the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the defense agencies, and the Department of the Navy. NSRD's research and analysis also supports the governments of a number of U.S. allies and partners, a variety of foundations, and several non-DoD entities, including the U.S. intelligence community and the U.S. Department of State.  


To cover the range of national security and defense issues faced by leaders around the globe, our research is divided into four topic-driven portfolios:  

  • International Security and Defense Policy  

  • Acquisition and Technology Policy 

  • Personnel, Readiness, and Health Forces and Resources Policy 

  • Navy and Marine Forces 

NSRD includes 400 active analytical projects at any given time, which generate annual revenue of approximately $70-75 million and involves approximately 500 full- and part-time researchers, and another 40- adjunct staff.

Position Description

The Associate Director of RAND NSRD serves as the Deputy Director for the RAND Vice President and Director of NSRD, including helping to guide the division’s research agenda, expanding its business base in the United States and internationally, developing and executing a 3-year business plan, and ensuring the division’s work meets RAND quality standards and supports sponsors’ needs, in a manner consistent with RAND’s mission to improve policy and decision-making through objective research and analysis.   

Approximately 80% of this position will involve duties related to the management and oversight of the research division. The remaining 20% of the time will involve individual research pursuits. This is a five-year term position, with an option to extend subject to management approval. 

 The Associate Director, reporting to the Vice President and Director of NSRD, will be responsible for:  

  • Helping to oversee a complex enterprise featuring numerous distinct workstreams including oversight of multi-disciplinary analyses

  • Helping to oversee the allocation of the division’s discretionary accounts for concept development and exploratory research on horizon topics, to build capabilities ahead of sponsor requirements, and extend the reach of NSRD analyses

  • Providing intellectual leadership for division research  

  • Having a proven track record in business development  

  • Having national or international recognition as a national security policy expert in their field  

  • Helping to ensure that briefings, written reports, and other products meet RAND standards for quality and objectivity  

  • Providing consistent and high-quality advice to the Vice President and Director of NSRD as part of the leadership team  

  • Assisting in recruiting, onboarding, developing, and mentoring RAND staff and creating an inclusive work environment

  • Providing intellectual leadership for division research

  • Having a proven track record in business development

  • Having national and international recognition as a national security policy expert in their field


  • An excellent track record in national security policy through deep experience in government, FFRDCs, academia, or related sectors. The record should demonstrate strong research and analysis capabilities, deep knowledge of national security policy, excellent leadership and organizational management capabilities, and the ability to build business and to maintain and manage a complex research program.  

  • Exceptional abilities in interpersonal relations, maintaining staff and sponsor relationships, and in written and oral communications. All staff at RAND must have a strong commitment to RAND’s core values of quality and objectivity. 

  • Demonstrated leadership skills including commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion principles to include developing diverse teams and creating an inclusive work environment.  



Education Requirements

Advanced degree in a National Security discipline, Policy Analysis, Engineering, Economics, Operations Research, Information Science, or related field. Master’s Degree required; PhD is a plus.  




  • Experience equivalent to RAND senior-level researcher (a minimum of 8 years conducting or overseeing policy research and 10+ years of experience in the national security community is desired), including experience managing complex teams in a sponsor-oriented environment.  

  • Experience working directly with senior national security officials is required. 

Security Clearance 

An active Secret clearance is required. Candidate must be eligible for a Top-Secret clearance. 


Washington, DC; Pittsburgh, PA; or Santa Monica, CA (strong preference for Washington or Pittsburgh)  

Salary Range

Senior Researcher: $145,500 - $251,175

Hiring ranges for Economists, Management Scientists and Physician Researchers are slightly higher than the range shown.

At RAND, the research program management role is a termed assignment that is performed by an experienced researcher, but the researcher role is not a termed position. The candidate selected for this role will be offered regular employment with RAND as a researcher. RAND considers a variety of factors when formulating an offer, including but not limited to, the specific role and associated responsibilities; a candidate’s work experience, education/training, skills, expertise; and internal equity. Successful candidates will be offered employment as a Senior researcher in a specific title, as determined by the candidate's education and experience. The salary range includes base pay plus RAND’s sabbatic pay (which provides compensation above base pay when vacation is taken). This position may also be eligible for additional compensation. RAND provides strong benefits including health insurance coverage, life and disability insurance, savings plan, paid time-off, and more.

Application Review 

Review of applications will begin on November 30, 2023.

Equal Opportunity Employer: race/color/religion/sex/sexual orientation/gender identity/national origin/disability/vet

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Tags: Clearance DoD Nonprofit PhD Security Clearance

Perks/benefits: Equity Health care Insurance

Region: North America
Country: United States
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