John Birkler

Senior Fellow
Santa Monica Office

Education

M.S. in physics, University of South Carolina; B.S. in physics, Roanoke College

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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Overview

John Birkler is a senior fellow at the RAND Corporation. He has held a variety of research and management positions since joining RAND in 1977; he has managed RAND's Maritime Program, overseeing research for the U.S. Navy, Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), U.S. Coast Guard, the Australian DoD, and the UK Ministry of Defence, and mentors U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard executive fellows at RAND.

Birkler's research spans RDT&E strategies and planning, industrial base, acquisition, management, and organization issues. In addition to the above maritime clients, his research has covered a wide range of aircraft systems (including the Joint Strike Fighter, F-15, F-14, B-1, B-2, A-12, C-5, C-17, F-117, F/A-18 E/F), missiles and munitions (including the advanced cruise missile, the Tomahawk cruise missile, and precision conventional munitions), and surface and subsurface combatants. He also has led studies on the links between the health of the defense industrial base and levels of innovation and competition. His most recent work has involved managing or leading multiple Analyses of Alternatives (AoAs) for the Navy, USMC and Army, and SOCOM, Australian DoD, and leading a high-profile RAND analysis of Australia's Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise.

Birkler received his M.S. in nuclear and solid state physics from the University of South Carolina and completed the UCLA Executive Program in Management. After completing his third Command tour, he retired from the Navy Reserve with the rank of Captain.

Recent Projects

  • Combat aircraft
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Aircraft carriers
  • Surface combatants
  • Submarines/submersibles

Selected Publications

John Birkler et al., Australia's Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise, RAND Corporation (RR-1093), 2015

John Birkler, Strengthening the Shipbuilding Industry, RAND Corporation (EP-50406), 2013

John Birkler et al., Australia's Submarine Design Capabilities and Capacities: Challenges and Options for the Future Submarine, RAND Corporation (MG-1033), 2011

John Birkler et al., Determining When Competition is a Reasonable Strategy for the Production Phase of Defense Acquisition, RAND Corporation (OP-263), 2011

John Birkler et al., Industry and Infrastructure for Future Submarines: An International Perspective, RAND Corporation (CP-622), 2011

John Birkler, Keeping a Competitive U.S. Military Aircraft Industry Aloft: Findings from an Analysis of the Industrial Base, RAND Corporation (MG-1133), 2011

John Birkler et al., From Marginal Adjustments to Meaningful Change: Rethinking Weapon System Acquisition, RAND Corporation (MG-1020), 2010

John Birkler, Untying Gulliver: Taking Risks to Acquire Novel Weapon Systems, RAND Corporation (OP-268), 2009

Honors & Awards

  • RAND President's Award, James Thomson

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ABCnews.com; Boston Globe; Newhouse News Service; Reuters

Publications