William Welser IV

Photo of William Welser
Director, Engineering and Applied Sciences Department; Senior Management Scientist; Faculty Member, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


M.S. in finance, Boston College; M.B.A., Boston College; B.S. in chemical engineering, University of Virginia

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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William (Bill) Welser IV is the director of the Engineering and Applied Sciences (EAS) Department and a senior management scientist at the RAND Corporation. As director of EAS, he is responsible for roughly 185 professional research staff. Current research projects include assessment of the space industrial base, privacy considerations and technologies for mobile devices, evaluating technology and market trends related to space-based sensors and capabilities, and designing applications for secure information sharing using beyond state of the art cryptographic algorithms and protocols.

Past research includes informing the future global force posture for USSOCOM; assessing aspects of the integration of women into combat positions; F-22 and F-35 maintenance and sustainment; space debris mitigation and remediation; vulnerabilities of space systems; operationally responsive space; and medical logistics support to the U.S. military and embassy personnel around the globe. Welser's research has been published via media outlets Scientific American, Foreign Affairs, Time, and BusinessWeek, as well as in various newspapers, podcasts, and websites.

Welser separated from the U.S. Air Force in 2007. In the Air Force, he was responsible for program management, design of next generation technologies, systems engineering, and procurement and production of advanced technologies. His service included time at the Space and Missile Systems Center and the Electronic Systems Center. In 2004, he was recognized by USAF Space Command with the Arthur S. Flemming Award for Outstanding Achievement in Applied Science. Welser received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia, and his M.B.A. and M.S. in finance from Boston College.

Recent Projects

  • Medical supply chain and logistics
  • Technology policy for access to and use of space
  • Fifth-generation aircraft maintenance


  • An Australia Post drone is pictured during a delivery trial in Melbourne, April 15, 2016

    How to Prevent Drones Colliding in Crowded Skies

    The federal government should work with private firms to develop drone traffic management systems and test drone designs. This could help stimulate the development of drone aviation. It could also help modernize the air traffic control system.

    Sep 14, 2016 Newsweek

  • A satellite orbiting Earth

    The Democratization of Space

    A new economic model for outer space must account for lower barriers to entry and the involvement of more and more stakeholders, such as developing countries and start-ups.

    Mar 28, 2016 Inside Sources

  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Legged Squad Support System can relieve troops of their 100-pound equipment load, take voice commands, and maneuver around obstacles, in addition to numerous other tasks in the field

    Should We Fear an AI Arms Race?

    Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and others signed a letter calling for a ban on the application of artificial intelligence to advanced weapons systems. AI weapons are not without risks, but the benefits are substantial and the risks can be mitigated with more moderate regulation than a ban.

    Feb 8, 2016 Defense One

  • The humanoid robot AILA (artificial intelligence lightweight android) operates a switchboard during a demonstration at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover, Germany, March, 5, 2013

    How to Overcome the Risks of Artificial Intelligence

    The warnings and promises of artificial intelligence aren't new, but advances in technology make them more pressing.

    Oct 22, 2015 TIME

  • A computer-generated image of objects in Earth orbit that are currently being tracked, 95% of which is orbital debris

    Debris Poses Increased Threat to Exploration

    Today, every satellite launch and maneuver is carefully coordinated because some orbits are strewn with the space-based equivalent of blown tires, abandoned vehicles, loose gravel and, of course, other traffic.

    May 16, 2014 Houston Chronicle

  • space

    Satellite Collision Is a Reminder of Challenges Posed by Space Debris

    This isn't going to be an easy problem to solve because, like spilled petroleum products, debris can spend years lurking in an environment that is foreign to most people's daily lives, write Dave Baiocchi and William Welser.

    Mar 15, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • Meteorite and the Earth

    The Effects of Celestial Events Go Beyond Their Impact

    While the event in Russia was caused by a medium-sized (10,000-ton) meteor, larger objects, like the asteroid 2012 DA14 that also passed near Earth last week, have the potential to be significantly more damaging, write Dave Baiocchi and William Welser.

    Feb 20, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • A United Launch Alliance Delta IV-Medium rocket carrying the fourth Wideband Global SATCOM satellite

    Intelsat Crash a Setback for Space Lift Competition

    Sea Launch's recent failure means more than just a lost payload and revenue for Intelsat: It means the status quo for launch services will continue for a while longer, write Dave Baiocchi and William Welser.

    Feb 12, 2013 The RAND Blog