RAND Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs)

Federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) are independent entities that assist the U.S. government.

FFRDCs act as strategic partners to their sponsors by offering many services:

  • addressing long-term problems that are important and complex
  • providing immediate assistance on urgent issues
  • conducting objective technical analysis
  • developing creative, cost-effective solutions.

RAND, an independent, nonprofit institution, operates three FFRDCs sponsored by the Department of Defense and one sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security.

Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC)

Cars line up as they wait to cross into the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Ysidro, California, August 18, 2015

Drivers wait to cross into the United States from Mexico at the border in San Ysidro, California, August 18, 2015

Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

SPONSOR: U.S. Department of Homeland Security

HSOAC conducts analyses and makes recommendations to strengthen DHS across its full set of missions to prevent terrorism and enhance security, secure and manage U.S. borders, enforce and administer immigration laws, safeguard and secure cyberspace, and strengthen national preparedness and resiliency. HSOAC analyses focus on

  • acquisition studies
  • R&D studies
  • innovation and technology acceleration
  • organizational studies
  • regulatory, doctrine, and policy studies
  • operational analysis
  • homeland security threat and opportunity studies.
Learn more about RAND's work on homeland security issues

RAND Arroyo Center

U.S. soldiers assist Iraqi army trainees on setting into the proper kneeling firing position during movement technique training on Camp Taji, Iraq, January 7, 2015

U.S. soldiers assist Iraqi army trainees during movement technique training at Camp Taji, Iraq, January 7, 2015

Photo by MSgt. Mike Lavigne/U.S. Army

SPONSOR: Army Staff/Director, Program Analysis and Evaluation

Founded in 1982, the RAND Arroyo Center is the U.S. Army's sole FFRDC for studies and analysis. At RAND, the center is housed within RAND's Army Research Division. Research areas include

  • threat assessment
  • strategy and doctrine
  • force design and operations
  • training and readiness
  • support infrastructure (at the national and operational levels)
  • recruiting, retention, and personnel management
  • management of technology and weapons development.
Learn more about RAND's Army research

RAND National Defense Research Institute (NDRI)

U.S. Marines carry 155mm rounds to an M777 Howitzer gun line to prepare for fire missions in northern Syria, March 21, 2017

U.S. Marines carry 155mm rounds to an M777 Howitzer gun line to prepare for fire missions in Syria, March 21, 2017

Photo by Lance Cpl. Zachery Laning/U.S. Marine Corps

SPONSOR: Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics

NDRI conducts research and analysis for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the defense agencies, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Navy. Research areas include

  • international security and economic policy
  • threat and risk assessment
  • defense strategy and force employment options
  • applied science and technology
  • intelligence sources and methods
  • strategic decision processes
  • information processing systems
  • systems acquisition
  • readiness and support systems
  • active-duty and reserve manpower, personnel, and training.
Learn more about RAND's work on national defense policy and strategy

RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF)

A commander leads a formation with the A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and F-15 Strike Eagle, near Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, June 2, 2017

A commander leads a formation with the A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and F-15 Strike Eagle, near Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, June 2, 2017

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr./U.S. Air Force

SPONSOR: Under Secretary of the Air Force

Since its founding in 1946, PAF has remained the only Air Force FFRDC focused on studies and analyses, rather than systems engineering or scientific laboratories. PAF analyzes cross-cutting policy and management issues, including

  • preferred means of developing and employing aerospace power
  • national security threats and strategies
  • Air Force missions, capabilities, and organizations
  • strategic and tactical force operations
  • technology, support, and resource management.
Learn more about RAND's work with the Air Force

FFRDCs are administered in accordance with U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 48, Part 35, Section 35.017. More information about FFRDCs can be found at: gpo.gov.