Richard Mason

Senior Engineer
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, California Institute of Technology; A.B. in physics, Harvard 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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Richard Mason is a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation. His research spans a range of technology issues involving unmanned aircraft, spacecraft, cyber warfare, and advanced weapon systems. He is currently leading a project on laser weapon systems for Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). He has previously led projects on advanced technologies for Air Mobility Command (AMC), electro-optical countermeasures for AFSOC, on stratospheric surveillance airships for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and on tactical command and control for Air Combat Command (ACC). Between 2003 and 2007 he developed three autonomous robot ground vehicles for DARPA. Mason received his A.B. in physics from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Recent Projects

  • Unmanned aircraft
  • Unmanned ground systems
  • Directed energy systems
  • Space, electronic, and cyber warfare
  • Missile defense

Selected Publications

Richard Mason, "Non-State Actors in North Korean Airspace," SAIS Review of International Affairs, 36(2):69-85, 2016

E. Rimon, R. Mason, J.W. Burdick, and Y. Or, "A General Stance Stability Test Based on Stratified Morse Theory With Application to Quasi-Static Locomotion Planning," IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 24(3), 2008

Richard Mason et al., "The Golem Group / University of California at Los Angeles Autonomous Ground Vehicle in the DARPA Grand Challenge," Journal of Field Robotics, 23(8), 2006

Honors & Awards

  • 2014 Award for Research Excellence, RAND Project Air Force

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Defense News; Laser Focus World; Marketplace; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Popular Science; UCLA Magazine