John Matsumura

Photo of John Matsumura
Senior Engineer
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D. in engineering and public policy, Carnegie Mellon University; M.S. in engineering mechanics, Pennsylvania State University; B.S. in aerospace engineering, Pennsylvania State University

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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John Matsumura is senior engineer at the RAND Corporation with over 25 years of experience leading research focused on assessing advanced technologies and new concepts of operation. At RAND, he has served in a number of research management positions including: director of the Joint Warfare Simulation and Analysis Center, associate director for research for the RAND Pittsburgh Office, and the associate director for force development and technology for the Army's FFRDC the Arroyo Center. His current research is addressing: force protection capabilities, autonomous robotic systems, renewable energy technologies, and advanced modeling and simulation methods. He has taught a variety of short courses on M&S in support of technology and policy decisions, and he as co-authored several major DoD and Army reports, along with numerous RAND reports and monographs all focusing on how technology can change the status quo. In addition to his work at RAND, he has served on various federal advisory boards including: member of Defense Science Board task force on power projection, member of OSD task force on defense architecture, and member of the Army Science Board (two consecutive terms), where he chaired a variety of panels and studies; for this service in 2011, he received the Commander's award for outstanding civilian service. Matsumura is also an adjunct faculty member with the Carnegie Institute for Technology (School of Engineering) at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his Ph.D. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Recent Projects

  • Assessing the manpower implications of autonomous robotic systems to Army force structure
  • Exploring renewable energy technologies for achieving net zero requirement
  • Assessing capabilities for anti-access and area denial environments
  • Exploring the role of advanced technologies and new operational concepts to improve military capabilities and national security

Selected Publications

John Matsumura and Randall Steeb, "Unmanned but Not Untethered: Robots on the Future Battlefield," RAND Review, 2006

Robert H. Anderson et al., High-Performance Computing Opportunities and Challenges for Army R&D, RAND Corporation (TR-310-A), 2005

John Matsumura et al., Survivability Options for Maneuver and Transport Aircraft: Analytic Support to the Army Science Board, RAND Corporation (MG-123-A), 2004

John Matsumura et al., Exploring Advanced Technologies for the Future Combat Systems Program, RAND Corporation (MR-1332-A), 2002

John Matsumura et al., Lightning over Water: Sharpening America's Light Forces for Rapid Reaction Missions, RAND Corporation (MR-1196/1-A/OSD), 2001

Honors & Awards

  • Commander's Award, Assistant Sec of Army (Acquisition, Logistics, Technology)

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Carnegie Science Center; Inside the Army/Pentagon; L'Expresso; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Popular Science


  • A autonomous vehicle maneuvers over concrete blocks during a demonstration.

    War Robots Will Lessen Killing—Not Increase It

    Could armed autonomous robots embark on a campaign of indiscriminate killing? John Matsumura says that there is a convincing base of evidence that robots are more likely to prevent slaughter than engage in it.

    Oct 18, 2013 Christian Science Monitor