Laura H. Baldwin

Photo of Laura Baldwin
Acting Director, RAND National Security Research Division; Senior Economist
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D. and M.A. in economics, Duke University; B.A. in mathematics, Furman University

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

More Experts


Laura H. Baldwin (she/her) is acting director of the RAND National Security Research Division and a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. She previously served as associate director of the RAND National Security Research Division and director of the Resource Management Program within RAND Project AIR FORCE. Baldwin's research has addressed a variety of military logistics and acquisition challenges associated with future operating environments; Transportation Working Capital Fund (TWCF) cost recovery; reducing life cycle costs of weapon systems, including understanding drivers of aircraft operating and support costs; provision of combat support activities in a joint contingency environment; public/private competitions for provision of services; and implementation of best commercial purchasing and supply management practices. She helped evaluate the option of using commercial sources of refueling within the continental United States as part of the analysis of alternatives for the recapitalization of the KC-135 aerial refueling tanker. And she cofounded RAND's Defense Economics sessions at the annual Western Economic Association International meetings. Baldwin received her Ph.D. in economics from Duke University.

Recent Projects

  • Keeping the Defense Industrial Base Afloat During COVID-19
  • Independent Assessment of the Transportation Working Capital Fund (TWCF)
  • Implementing Variable Cost Pricing in the Transportation Working Capital Fund
  • Reducing Operating and Support Costs for U.S. Air Force Aircraft
  • Contracting in a Joint Operational Environment; Contracting to Support Air Force Contingency Operations

Selected Publications

Anna Jean Wirth, Sydney Litterer, Elvira N. Loredo, Laura H. Baldwin, Ricardo Sanchez, Keeping the Defense Industrial Base Afloat During COVID-19: A Review of Department of Defense and Federal Government Policies and Investments in the Defense Industrial Base, (RR-A1392-1), 2021

Michael Vasseur, Ellen M. Pint, Laura H. Baldwin, Maria McCollester, Max Steiner, Liam Regan, Liam McClain, Independent Evaluation of the Transportation Working Capital Fund: Assessment and Recommendations to Improve Effectiveness and Efficiency, (RR-A886-1), 2021

Kathryn Connor, Michael Vasseur, Laura H. Baldwin, Aligning Incentives in the Transportation Working Capital Fund: Cost Recovery While Retaining Readiness in Military Transportation, RAND (RR-2438-TRANSCOM), 2019

Michael Boito, Thomas Light, Patrick Mills, Laura H. Baldwin, Managing U.S. Air Force Aircraft Operating and Support Costs: Insights from Recent RAND Analysis and Opportunities for the Future, RAND Corporation (RR-1077-AF), 2016

Laura H. Baldwin et al., Analyzing Contingency Contracting Purchases for Operation Iraqi Freedom, RAND Corporation (MG-559/1-AF), 2008

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

Laura H. Baldwin, John A. Ausink and Nancy Nicosia, Air Force Service Procurement: Approaches for Measurement and Management, RAND Corporation (MG-299-AF), 2005

Laura H. Baldwin and Ellen M. Pint, "Economic Analysis for Defence Decision-Makers: Personnel, Capital and Alliances," Defence and Peace Economics, 14(5), 2003


  • A 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief marshals a B-2A Spirit bomber during an orientation flight at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 27, 2015

    Inside the Fish Bowl: High Stakes Acquisition Protests

    The Boeing-Lockheed Martin team filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office asserting that the U.S. Air Force's selection of Northrop Grumman to build the Long Range Strike-Bomber was fundamentally flawed. Work on the program, valued at approximately $80 billion, is now paused.

    Dec 3, 2015 Defense News

  • The KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling aircraft takes off on its maiden flight from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, December 28, 2014

    Lessons from the Past for the Future of the KC-46A

    Analysis suggests that fixed-price contracts have not successfully reduced costs to the DoD associated with developing complex weapon systems. This has implications for the Air Force, given the importance of the ongoing KC-46A program.

    Sep 16, 2015 Breaking Defense

  • William LaPlante, assistant secretary of Air Force acquisition, testifies on acquisition reform before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, April 22, 2015

    Apply Principles of Professional Change Management to Any Acquisition Reform, or Risk More Failure

    If Congress enacts substantial changes to acquisition processes as part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, then it has a responsibility to ensure that the DoD has the opportunity and resources to implement proven change management principles to increase the chances for its success.

    Aug 7, 2015 The Hill

  • U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors as they fly over the Nevada Test and Training Range, Nev., March 3, 2011

    Lessons from a Long History of Acquisition Reform

    Congress and the DoD have a long history of efforts to improve the way weapon systems are acquired. Now, significant changes to DoD acquisition policies and processes are again being proposed in the House and Senate in an attempt to get needed military capabilities to soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines faster and cheaper.

    Jul 17, 2015 The Hill