Brian A. Jackson

Photo of Brian Jackson
Director, RAND Safety and Justice Program; Senior Physical Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. in bioinorganic chemistry, California Institute of Technology; M.A. in science, technology, and public policy, The George Washington University; B.S. in chemistry, Haverford College

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Brian A. Jackson is a senior physical scientist at the RAND Corporation and director of the RAND Safety and Justice program. His research focuses on homeland security and terrorism preparedness. His areas of examination have included safety management in large-scale emergency response operations, the equipment and technology needs of emergency responders, and design of preparedness exercises. Jackson's terrorism-focused research has examined organizational learning by terrorist groups, terrorist groups' use of technology, development of assessment methods for novel terrorist threats, and examination of the strategies to respond to terrorist targeting of national economies.

Jackson's key publications include articles in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Military Review, and Biosecurity and Bioterrorism on terrorist organizational structures and behavior, intelligence gathering for targeting terrorist and insurgent groups, and analysis of a state-level public health preparedness exercise, as well as the RAND reports Protecting Emergency Responders—Volume 2: Community Views of Safety and Health Risks and Personal Protection Needs (2003); Protecting Emergency Responders—Volume 3: Safety Management in Disaster and Terrorism Response (2004); Aptitude for Destruction—Volume 1: Organizational Learning in Terrorist Groups and Its Implications for Combating Terrorism (2005); Aptitude for Destruction—Volume 2: Case Studies of Organizational Learning in Five Terrorist Groups (2005); and Breaching the Fortress Wall: Understanding Terrorist Efforts to Overcome Defensive Technologies (2007).

Jackson received his M.A. in science, technology, and public policy from The George Washington University and his Ph.D. in bioinorganic chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.

Recent Projects

  • Analyzing terrorist behavior and adaptive responses to homeland security measures
  • Development methods for risk analysis and security evaluation given uncertainty in future attacker behavior
  • Evaluating emergency preparedness and the benefits of preparedness programs
  • Assessing novel security threats
  • Preparedness exercises and game design

Selected Publications

Brian A. Jackson et al., Aptitude for Destruction-Vol. 1: Organizational Learning in Terrorist Groups and Its Implications for Combating Terrorism; Vol. 2: Case Studies of Organizational Learning in Five Terrorist Groups, RAND Corporation (MG-332), 2007

Brian A. Jackson, "Counterinsurgency Intelligence in a 'Long War': The British Experience in Northern Ireland," Military Review, 2007

Brian A. Jackson et al., Protecting Emergency Responders, Vol. 3: Safety Management in Disaster and Terrorism Response, RAND Corporation (MG-170), 2004

Brian A. Jackson et al., Breaching the Fortress Wall: Understanding Terrorist Efforts to Overcome Defensive Technologies, RAND Corporation (MG-481), 1999

Brian A. Jackson, "Bioterrorism with Zoonotic Disease: Public Health Preparedness Lessons from a Multiagency Exercise," Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Associated Press; The Atlantic; Toronto Star; United Press International


  • two firemen responding to an emergency

    An Enduring Need for Better Measures of Emergency Preparedness

    In an era of fiscal austerity, the need for measurement and assessment becomes manifold. Tied to good government goals and responsible stewardship of public funds, measurements are also necessary to educate the public about what it should—and should not—reasonably expect when disaster strikes.

    Jun 25, 2014 | The RAND Blog

  • red_light_camera_9663344643_b3609779b4_h

    Needed: Sustainable Spying Oversight

    Domestic intelligence in the United States is an activity with a history, and efforts to consider future policy on this issue need to take that history into account, writes Brian Jackson. Public acceptability must be part of the calculus in devising oversight and control of intelligence efforts.

    Sep 18, 2013 | U.S. News & World Report

  • A person holding a pistol in blue light

    Firearms and Gun Control: Many Questions, Some Answers

    President Obama's task force on gun violence has raised the stakes in the policy debate on gun control and policy in the wake of the recent shootings in Colorado and Connecticut. Some of RAND's top researchers share what is, and what isn't, known about firearms and gun control.

    Jan 17, 2013 |

  • Police authority

    Short-Term Savings, Long-Term Losses: When Police Departments Respond to Economic Pressure by Cutting Their Forces

    Many police departments around the United States have faced budget cuts recently. Ultimately, say Paul Heaton and Brian Jackson, for police services, as with most other things, you get what you pay for.

    Nov 12, 2012 |

  • The Olympics and Terrorism: Why the Games Remain an Appealing Target

    While it is quite clear that attacking an event as internationally iconic as the Olympics would be attractive to modern terrorist groups with global aspirations, their ability to do so successfully and shift focus and attention from the competition and achievements of the Games to the terrorist groups' agendas is far less certain, writes Brian Jackson.

    Jul 25, 2012 |

  • Katrina Proved We Must Do Better Job of Protecting Our Protectors

    Katrina Proved We Must Do Better Job of Protecting Our Protectors, in the Clarion-Ledger

    Aug 13, 2007 | Clarion-Ledger

  • Is America Prepared for Disaster?

    Is America Prepared for Disaster?, in

    May 30, 2007 |