David T. Orletsky

david orletsky
Associate Director, RAND Project AIR FORCE; Senior Engineer
Washington Office


S.M. in aeronautics and astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; B.S. in aerospace engineering, Pennsylvania State University

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David Orletsky is a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation who serves as the associate director of RAND Project AIR FORCE. He has done a variety of operational airlift analyses for projects sponsored by the U.S. Air Force (USAF), U.S. Army, and Office of the Secretary of Defense. The primary focus of his work over the last few years has been on cost-effectiveness analysis of potential aircraft alternatives to meet a specified need. This includes a recent study on nonstandard rotary wing aircraft for partner nations, a variety of fixed-wing airlift studies sponsored by USAF, and the KC-135 recapitalization analysis of alternatives (AoA). He has also written on joint air–naval operations, improving air–ground integration, vulnerability of airbases to attack, the Air Force role in homeland security and air defense of the United States, implications of Chinese military modernization, and implications of Army transformation for the USAF. Orletsky received his B.S. in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University and his S.M. in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Recent Projects

  • Intratheater airlift cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Air Force aerial refueling operations
  • Military aspects of a China-Taiwan dispute

Selected Publications

Michael Kennedy et al., Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) for KC-135 Recapitalization: Executive Summary, RAND Corporation (MG-495-AF), 2006

Bruce R. Pirnie et al., Beyond Close Air Support: Forging a New Air-Ground Partnership, RAND Corporation (MG-301-AF), 2005

John C. Baker et al., Mapping the Risks: Assessing the Homeland Security Implications of Publicly Available Geo-spatial Information, RAND Corporation (MG-142-NGA), 2004

John Gordon, David Orletsky, Lynn E. Davis and Jeremy Shapiro "Moving Rapidly to the Fight," in Lynn E. Davis and Jeremy Shapiro, The U.S. Army and the New National Security Strategy, RAND Corporation (MR-1657-A), 2003

Alan Vick et al., The Stryker Brigade Combat Team: Rethinking Strategic Responsiveness and Assessing Deployment Options, RAND Corporation (MR-1606-AF), 2002