Irv Blickstein

Photo of Irv Blickstein
Senior Engineer
Washington Office


M.S. in engineering management, The George Washington University; B.S. in industrial engineering, Ohio State 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

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Irv Blickstein is a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation. He has 50 years of experience in the field of defense analysis and management with a specialty in planning, programming, and budgeting as well as acquisition. For the past 13 years, Blickstein has managed the research of activities of a series of projects in support of the office of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Undersecretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology & Logistics. The projects have covered a wide variety of topics, including directed energy, unmanned vehicles, reviews of foreign acquisition programs, sea basing, naval shipyards, operating and support costs in the DoD, evaluation of Navy Enterprises and the cost analyses of both ships and aircraft. He has studied the cost of statutory and regulatory constraints in the DoD and currently comanages a large project with the Performance Assessments and Root Cause Analysis branch of USD AT&L. He has served on two studies that developed or improved the analytic functions for the leadership of the Navy and the Director of National Intelligence. Blickstein serves on the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel. He served 31 years in the Department of Defense before joining RAND, 18 as a senior executive, and was awarded four Presidential Rank awards. He received the Department of the Navy's Meritorious Public Service Award in 2011 for his service on the CNO's Executive Panel. He holds an M.S. in engineering management from The George Washington University.

Previous Positions

Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Resources, Requirements & Assessments; Director, Acquisition Program Integration, Office of the Secretary of Defense

Recent Projects

  • PPBE system for the Director, National Intelligence
  • Use of small ships in the littorals
  • Analysis of alternatives for the Joint High Speed Vessel
  • Evaluation of Naval shipyard costs
  • Goldwater Nichols and its Effect on Navy Acquisition

Selected Publications

Arena, Blickstein, Drezner, Libicki, Nemfakos and many others, Root Cause Analyses of Nunn-McCurdy Breaches, RAND (MG-1171/1-OSD), 2011

Mark V. Arena et al., Why Has the Cost of Navy Ships Risen? A Macroscopic Examination of the Trends in U.S. Naval Ship Costs over the Past Several Decades, RAND Corporation (MG-484-NAVY), 2008

Robert Button et al., A Preliminary Investigation of Ship Acquisition Options for Joint Forcible Entry Operations, RAND Corporation (MG-179-NAVY/USMC), 2006

Jeffrey A. Drezner et al., Measuring the Statutory and Regulatory Constraints on DoD Acquisition: Research Design for an Empirical Study, RAND Corporation (TR-347-OSD), 2006

Honors & Awards

  • Presidential RANK Awards (4), Department of Defense
  • Packard Award for Acquisition Excellence, Department of Defense
  • Navy’s Meritorious Public Service Award in 2011, Department of the Navy


  • U.S. Air Force captain shakes hands with an Afghanistan National Army warehouse supervisor as they discuss storage and distribution for equipment and supplies in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 26, 2017

    Acquisition in Transition

    The DoD acquisition system is complex and ever-changing. It requires a trained and active workforce that has the support of Congress. Allowing some of the reforms to take place in a measured fashion would be a wise choice for the new administration and Congress.

    Feb 21, 2017 RealClearDefense

  • U.S. soldiers fire an M777A2 Howitzer weapons system during an artillery demonstration near Rose Barracks, Germany, July 24, 2015

    Multiple Factors Drive Program Success

    Congress continues to express concerns about weapon system cost growth and is considering multiple acquisition reform proposals for the National Defense Authorization Act. One proposal would hold program managers accountable via a “performance agreement” for key parameters that must be met.

    Sep 30, 2015 Defense News

  • U.S. Army soldier and security force team member maintains security on the street during a key leader engagement in the Lash-e Juwayn district of Farah province, Afghanistan.

    Big Defense Cuts Are Coming, Regardless of the Fiscal Cliff

    The prudent approach is to decide on a strategic direction that provides a framework for prioritizing which forces and equipment the United States should preserve and determining which can be trimmed or eliminated with limited risk to security, write Stuart Johnson and Irv Blickstein.

    Dec 28, 2012 U.S. News & World Report