James S. Chow

James S. Chow
Vice President and Director, RAND Project AIR FORCE; Senior Engineer
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, Stanford University; M.S. in aeronautics and astronautics, Stanford University; B.S. in mechanical engineering, University of California, San Diego

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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James S. Chow is vice president and director of RAND Project AIR FORCE, and a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation. He has studied a variety of issues in the national defense and homeland security fields, from aircraft and weapons-related force planning issues to detailed modeling and simulation of aircraft and air defense interactions. He recently led an effort examining mixes of future long-range strike capabilities. Other recent research includes studying system trades improving aircraft survivability, electronic warfare, communications, cyber, looking at new roles for unmanned air vehicles, and examining the threat to commercial aviation from shoulder-fired missiles. Chow has developed and worked on several combat models to aid in the study of topics such as air defense, route planning for low observable aircraft, and mine countermeasures. He served as the chair of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board between 2017 and 2020. He earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and an M.S. in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University.

Previous Positions

Director, Force Modernization and Employment Program, RAND Project Air Force; Associate Director, RAND Project AIR FORCE; Manager, Technology and Applied Sciences Group, RAND Corporation; Research Staff Member, Institute for Defense Analyses; Fellowship Researcher, NASA Ames Research Center

Recent Projects

  • Future unmanned aircraft systems
  • Future long-range strike and electronic warfare
  • Protecting commercial aviation from shoulder-fired missiles
  • Counterinsurgency systems
  • Aircraft survivability

Selected Publications

Chow, James S., James Chiesa, Paul Dreyer, Mel Eisman, Theodore W. Karasik, Joel Kvitky, Sherrill Lingel, David A. Ochmanek, and Chad Shirley, Protecting Commercial Aviation Against the Shoulder-Fired Missile Threat, RAND Corporation (OP-106-RC), 2005

Honors & Awards

  • Chief of Staff of the Air Force Award for exceptional public service, Chief of Staff of the Air Force

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Associated Press; CNN; Defense & Aerospace Report; Financial Times; Fox; NBC; PBS; Washington Post