Michael D. Rich

Photo of Michael Rich
President and Chief Executive Officer, RAND Corporation
Santa Monica Office


J.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Media Resources

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Michael D. Rich is the president and chief executive officer of the RAND Corporation. After two decades as RAND's executive vice president, during which he helped grow RAND to be the world's leading nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization, Rich assumed the top spot in November 2011.

As executive vice president, Rich was credited with building and leading numerous programs and initiatives, including the development and adoption of a new institutional strategy in 1995 that emphasized diversification and growth, and made sweeping changes to RAND's structure and operations. Rich was the driving force in establishing and growing RAND's research and analysis practice in the Middle East, including the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute (2003–2013), whose board of overseers he cochaired. Rich also guided the successful spin-off of the Council for Aid to Education, a New York–based nonprofit that advances corporate support of education, conducts policy research on higher education, and is focused on improving quality and access in higher education. CAE was once a division of RAND.

Rich also led the effort to gain land use entitlements from the City of Santa Monica and the California Coastal Commission to build the RAND headquarters campus, which opened in 2005 and today houses 1,000 RAND associates. The project earned Gold LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and the Urban Land Institute's award for excellence.

As a faculty member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's largest Ph.D. program in policy analysis, Rich also taught and advised students and chaired dissertation, qualifying exam, and admissions committees.

At RAND since 1976, Rich has been a researcher and project leader and has directed several of the organization's national security programs. As vice president for the RAND National Security Research Division and director of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, Rich headed the federally funded research and development center that provides research and analysis to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the defense agencies, the Marine Corps, and the Navy. He was also responsible for national security studies for U.S. intelligence agencies, the U.S. Department of Energy, and many private foundations.

Rich has been a supporter of numerous policy and social services organizations in the Los Angeles community and beyond. Rich sits on the governing boards of the Council for Aid to Education and WISE & Healthy Aging, and on the advisory boards or councils of the Everychild Foundation, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Santa Monica–UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, and UCLA Foundation. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Rich received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Selected Publications

Khaled Abou El Fadl et al., Democracy and Islam in the New Constitution of Afghanistan, RAND Corporation (CF-186), 2003

Michael Rich, RAND and Middle East Policy Analysis, RAND Corporation (CP-473), 2003

Michael Rich, "RAND: How Think Tanks Interact with the Military," U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda, 7(3), 2002

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Miami Herald; The Palestinian Chronicle; Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; Santa Monica Daily Press

Commentary: Washington Times


  • AP110831079402

    How to Avert a Doctor Shortage

    Within the next decade, the United States may face a shortage of 130,000 physicians due to a growing, aging population and the anticipated demands of those newly insured under the ACA. This shortage can be alleviated by early creative interventions.

    Apr 2, 2014 | RAND Review and The Health Care Blog

  • 131212-N-YW024-306

    Military Caregivers Are Hidden Heroes

    Right now there are 5.5 million wives, husbands, siblings, parents, children and friends devoted to the care of those injured fighting America's wars. Theirs is an all-consuming, emotionally draining task, one that has been driven for too long by loyalty and love, but little support.

    Apr 2, 2014 | USA Today

  • preschool activity

    To Eliminate the 'Readiness Gap,' Preschool Is Just the Beginning

    Preschool for four-year-olds should be as common as kindergarten is for five-year-olds. Ultimately, the goal should be the elimination of the readiness gap through expanded access to preschool, written materials in the home, and technology that could improve delivery of such materials.

    Nov 26, 2013 | RAND Review

  • The U.S. Capitol in Washington

    The Value of Perspective, in Dollars and Cents

    RAND's president and CEO discusses how rigorous and objective analysis can inform government organizations responsible for U.S. national security as they address today's budget realities.

    Jul 15, 2013 | RAND Review

  • Knowledge City - Artist's Rendering

    RAND Extends Global Reach of Innovation

    Stimulating innovation is important to the economic growth of all countries, regardless of their stages of development, writes Michael D. Rich. RAND is helping each country drive innovation in different ways.

    Feb 5, 2013 | RAND Review

  • The White House in Washington D.C.

    Farsighted Leadership in a Shortsighted World: Looking Beyond the 2012 U.S. Election

    As the U.S. presidential election draws close, there is increasing demand for simple answers to complex questions, immediate solutions to entrenched challenges, and ten-second sound bites to sum it all up. For nearly 65 years, RAND has focused on big, long-term, core public policy issues and has cultivated the farsighted perspectives required to address them.

    Sep 21, 2012 | RAND Review

  • An aerial view of the flooded roads and fields in Louisiana are shown after Hurricane Lili

    A Flood of Innovation: Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan

    RAND President and CEO Michael Rich writes about how RAND computer models and empirical analyses are helping protect and restore the Louisiana coast.

    May 11, 2012 | RAND Review

  • Passionate, Pragmatic, Prudent: A New RAND President and RAND at Its Best

    Michael D. Rich, the new president and chief executive officer of the RAND Corporation, shares his thoughts about his new role and the future of RAND.

    Jan 13, 2012 | RAND Review

  • Vision for a Successful Palestine

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Vision for a Successful Palestine in the Washington Times.

    Dec 14, 2005 | Washington Times