K. Jack Riley

Photo of K. Riley
Vice President, RAND National Security Research Division; Director, RAND National Defense Research Institute
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D. in public policy analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School; M.S. in foreign service, Georgetown University; B.A. in economics and Russian, University of Michigan

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 media@rand.org.

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Jack Riley is vice president and director of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD). NSRD conducts research and analysis for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Commands, the defense agencies, the Department of the Navy, the U.S. Intelligence Community, the U.S. Department of State, allied foreign governments, and foundations.

From March 2008 to January 2010, Riley was associate director of NSRD. Before then, he served as associate director of RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).

Much of his recent work has focused on security sector reform, including analyses of Afghanistan, Liberia, Mexico, and the Palestinian Territories. In addition, he has conducted extensive work on homeland security, border security, and law enforcement and crime control, including assessments of passenger rail and airport security, implementation of a gun crime reduction demonstration program, and analyses of major law enforcement initiatives and reforms at the local, state, and national levels. He has testified before Congress on multiple occasions on transportation security and border security. His most recent testimony was on The Strategic Challenge of Border Security(in March 2007) and Border Security and the Terrorist Threat (in August 2006).

From 1995 to 1999, Riley was with the U.S. Department of Justice, where he conducted research and managed programs addressing a wide variety of issues, including domestic terrorism, immigration reform, substance abuse trends, violent crime, offender monitoring, and law enforcement reforms.

Previous Positions

Associate Director, RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment

Recent Projects

  • Policy options for dealing with security in Mexico
  • Police-community relations in Cincinnati
  • Securing America's passenger-rail system

Selected Publications

The RAND Palestine Team, Building a Successful Palestinian State, RAND (MG-146-1), 2007

David C. Gompert, Olga Oliker, Brooke K. Stearns, Keith Crane, K. Jack Riley, Making Liberia Safe: Transformation of the National Security Sector, RAND (MG-529), 2007

Jeremy M. Wilson, Brian A. Jackson, Mel Eisman, Paul Steinberg, K. Jack Riley, Securing America's Passenger-Rail Systems, RAND (MG-705), 2007

K. Jack Riley, Border Control, McGraw-Hill (RP-1216), 2006

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: NPR

Commentary: New York Daily News, Washington Post


  • Demonstrators gesture and chant as they continue to react to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri August 17, 2014

    Data Key to Tackling Racial Profiling in Ferguson

    Authorities in Ferguson would be wise to consider following Cincinnati's example in dealing with mistrust between police and citizens after the police shooting of a young black man. The city embarked on a thorough examination of racial profiling by its police force and took steps to deal with the perception that bias was influencing the way police officers performed their duties.

    Aug 21, 2014 | Cincinnati Enquire

  • Member of the protest group, Code Pink, protests against U.S. President Obama and the NSA before his arrival at the DOJ in Washington, January 17, 2014

    The Facts About the Metadata 'Menace'

    Metadata from a phone call include information such as the direction (who called whom), length, date and time. The program does not record the location or the name associated with a call. No one is listening to the call and no content is recorded.

    Jan 26, 2014 | Los Angeles Times

  • Homeland Security Investigations agents capture Mexican national wanted for kidnapping

    Border Security Is Key to Immigration Reform

    Two important aspects of border security bear continued attention: strategy must be developed as one part of a holistic system of immigration management and any progress on improving this system is reliant on having concrete and sensible objectives and measures of success.

    Jul 15, 2013 | Houston Chronicle

  • 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 | RAND.org

  • Man at Security Checkpoint

    Fake Boarding Pass Fears Inflated

    Instead of ratcheting back the PreCheck program because of manufactured fears about security lapses, TSA should be encouraged to expand this program to more airlines, more airports and more infrequent travelers, write Jack Riley and Lily Ablon.

    Dec 12, 2012 | USA Today

  • Three Ways to Improve Airport Screening

    The TSA's pilot "Pre-check" program that pre-screens travelers who volunteer for it is an overdue advance in security, but it does not address some larger issues surrounding America's airports, writes K. Jack Riley.

    Mar 7, 2012 | USA Today

  • The Unmentionable Costs of Airline Security

    For most of the past decade, the U.S. has pursued policies with very little regard to the costs they impose on travelers or the net reduction in risk that they generate, writes K. Jack Riley.

    Sep 13, 2011 | Bloomberg Government

  • Police Need to Do a Better Job of Explaining Stop-and-Frisk

    Good relations between the police and the public are a cornerstone of civil society. Everyday interactions between cops and citizens are at the heart of what defines those relations, write Jack Riley and Greg Ridgeway.

    Dec 6, 2007 | New York Daily News

  • Racial Profiling Won't Stop Terror

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Racial Profiling Won't Stop Terror, in Washingtonpost.com.

    Oct 11, 2006 | Washingtonpost.com

  • Speed Low-Risk Travelers Through Increased Security

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Speed Low-Risk Travelers Through Increased Security, in Los Angeles Business Journal.

    Sep 4, 2006 | Los Angeles Business Journal

  • Forum: Are We Prepared? Not Quite

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Forum: Are We Prepared? Not Quite, in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    Aug 27, 2006 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • Mississippi Comeback

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Mississippi Comeback, in the Los Angeles Times.

    Aug 20, 2006 | Los Angeles Times

  • Measuring Racial Profiling by Police

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Jul 6, 2004 | Law Enforcement News

  • No Retreat, No Surrender; A Challenging Agenda for the New Drug 'Czar'

    Published commentary by RAND staff

    May 20, 2001 | San Diego Union Tribune