Mark A. Lorell

Photo of Mark Lorell
Adjunct Political Scientist
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in modern European military and diplomatic history, University of Washington; M.A. in European military and diplomatic history, University of California, Berkeley; B.A. in modern European history, Yale University

Media Resources

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Mark A. Lorell is an adjunct political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He specializes in weapon system acquisition policies, defense industrial base issues, international weapon system collaboration, defense trade, and weapons procurement and industrial base policies of allies. He is the lead author or coauthor of more than 45 RAND reports and books. He is also the author of a variety of published articles, book chapters, and a widely reviewed commercial book on the collaborative development of the FS-X fighter with Japan (Troubled Partnership: A History of U.S.–Japan Collaboration on the FS-X Fighter, Transaction Publishers Rutgers University, New Brunswick and London, 1996).

Lorell's current work focuses on optimal weapon system acquisition and cost/benefit analysis, with an emphasis on tactical fighter aircraft, space systems, and improving overall schedule outcomes. In February 2008, Lorell received the RAND President's Award in recognition of "his significant collection of research on strategies and processes for acquiring complex defense systems, both in the United States and other countries, and his production of numerous reports that are now standard military-history reference sources." Lorell received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, his M.A. from the Univeristy of California, Berkeley, and his B.A. from Yale University.

Previous Positions

Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation

Recent Projects

  • Cost-effectiveness of joint tactical fighter programs
  • Assessment of past international aircraft spares pooling programs
  • Assessing savings from past aircraft multiyear procurement programs
  • Improving schedule outcomes in major defense acquisition programs
  • Causes of cost growth in Major Defense Acquisition Programs

Selected Publications

Mark Lorell et al., "Headlines over the Horizon: Defense Industry Goliaths," The Atlantic Monthly, 2003

Mark A Lorell et al., A Review of Selected International Aircraft Spares Pooling Programs: Lessons for F-35 Spares Pooling., RAND Corporation (RR-999-AF), 2016

Mark A. Lorell et al., Extreme Cost Growth: Themes from Six U.S. Air Force Major Defense Acquisition Programs., RAND Corporation (RR-630-AF), 2015

Mark A Lorell, Do Joint Fighter Programs Save Money?RAND Corporation (MG-1225-AF), 2013

Mark A. Lorell et al., Price-Based Acquisition: Issues and Challenges for Defense Department Procurement of Weapon Systems, RAND Corporation (MG-337-AF), 2005

Mark A. Lorell et al., The U.S. Combat Aircraft Industry 1909-2000: Structure, Competition, Innovation, RAND Corporation (MR-1696-OSD), 2003

Mark A. Lorell et al., Cheaper, Faster, Better? Commercial Approaches to Weapons Acquisition, RAND (MR-1147-AF), 2000

Mark A. Lorell, Troubled Partnership: A History of U.S.-Japan Collaboration on the FS-X Fighter, Transaction Publishers, 1996

Honors & Awards

  • RAND President's Award, RAND Corporation
  • Yale Book Award, Yale University



Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Chicago Tribune; History Channel

Commentary: Aviation Week & Space Technology; Breaking Defense