Cynthia R. Cook

Cynthia R. Cook
Adjunct Management Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
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Ph.D. in sociology, Harvard University; B.S. in management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

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Cynthia R. Cook is an adjunct management scientist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Since joining RAND in 1997, Cook led and worked on a wide range of studies for FEMA, the United States Department of Defense, Australia, Canada, and the UK on subjects including disaster recovery, defense acquisition policy and organization, cost analysis, defense industrial base, weapon systems production and sustainment, and contracting practices. Notable research leadership includes the support for the government of Puerto Rico in the development of their congressionally mandated hurricane economic and disaster recovery plan, and the publication of 20 supplementary analytic reports on recovery in every sector of the island's society. She led the implementation research for the 2010 report “Sexual Orientation and U.S. Military Personnel Policy,” which contributed to the elimination of Don't Ask Don't Tell. RAND management jobs include terms as the associate director of Project AIR FORCE and as the director of the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center in the National Security Research Division. Prior to joining RAND, Cook was a research specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working on the Lean Aerospace Initiative. Before her graduate studies, Cook worked in New York as an investment banker, specializing in high-yield finance. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University and a B.S. in management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Previous Positions

Research Specialist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Recent Projects

  • Space acquisition
  • Disaster recovery operations and management
  • Science and technology policy
  • Implementation of organizational change

Selected Publications

Shelton, William, Cynthia R. Cook, Charlie Barton, Frank Camm, Kelly Elizabeth Eusebi, Diana Gehlhaus, Moon Kim, Yool Kim, Megan McKernan, Sydne J. Newberry, and Colby P. Steiner, A Clean Sheet Approach to Space Acquisition in Light of the New Space Force, RAND Corporation (RR-A541-1), 2021

Cook, Cynthia R., David Luckey, Bradley M. Knopp, Yuliya Shokh, Karen M. Sudkamp, Don Casler, Yousuf Abdelfatah, and Hilary Reininger, Improving Intelligence Support to the Future Warfighter: Acquisition for the Contested Environment, RAND Corporation (RR-A537-1), 2021

Culbertson, Shelly, Blas Nunez-Neto, Joie D. Acosta, Cynthia R. Cook, Andrew Lauland, Kristin J. Leuschner, Shanthi Nataraj, Benjamin Lee Preston, Susan A. Resetar, Adam C. Resnick, Patrick S. Roberts, and Howard J. Shatz, Recovery in the U.S. Virgin Islands: Progress, Challenges, and Options for the Future, RAND Corporation (RR-A282-1), 2020

Cynthia R. Cook, Emma Westerman, Megan McKernan et al., Contestability Frameworks: An International Horizon Scan, RAND Corporation (RR-1372), 2016

Rostker et al., Sexual Orientation and U.S. Military Personnel Policy An Update of RAND's 1993 Study, RAND Corporation (MG-1056), 2010

Honors & Awards

  • Gold Medal Award, RAND Corporation
  • Silver Medal Award, RAND Corporation
  • President's Award, RAND Corporation