Megan McKernan

Megan McKernan
Associate Director, Acquisition and Technology Policy Program; Senior Defense Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


M.A. in international trade and investment policy, George Washington University; B.A. in economics, William Smith College

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Megan McKernan is the associate director of the Acquisition and Technology Policy Program in RAND's National Security Research Division. She is a senior defense researcher at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She specializes in Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition of weapon systems along with acquisition data governance, management, sharing, and analytics. She has also conducted analysis in a wide variety of defense acquisition-related areas including: Space and Cyber rapid acquisition; software acquisition; requirements planning; acquisition program office structure; identifying acquisition metrics; contractor performance; Navy innovation and rapid development; prototyping; industrial base considerations; earned value management; tailoring acquisition; program manager tenure; program framing assumptions; rapid acquisition; analysis of root causes of Nunn-McCurdy Unit Cost Breaches; acquisition program cancelations; schedule growth; acquisition knowledge management; and other program-specific analyses. She uses a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods in conducting research including case studies, logic models, maturity models, policy reviews, data collection and analysis, interviews, and literature reviews.

Prior to working at RAND, McKernan was an economic analyst for four years providing reports for policymakers, primarily at the National Security Council, Department of Treasury, and Department of State on global economic issues with a concentration on emerging market countries. She holds an M.A. in international trade and investment policy from George Washington University and a B.A. in economics from William Smith College.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Selected Publications

Drezner, Jeffrey A., Jon Schmid, Justin Grana, Megan McKernan, and Mark Ashby, Benchmarking Data Use and Analytics in Large, Complex Private-Sector Organizations: Implications for Department of Defense Acquisition, RAND Corporation (RR-A225-1), 2020

Anton, Philip S., Megan McKernan, Ken Munson, James G. Kallimani, Alexis Levedahl, Irv Blickstein, Jeffrey A. Drezner, and Sydne J. Newberry, Assessing the Use of Data Analytics in Department of Defense Acquisition, RAND Corporation (RB-10085-OSD), 2019

McKernan, Megan, Jessie Riposo, Geoffrey McGovern, Douglas Shontz, and Badreddine Ahtchi, Issues with Access to Acquisition Data and Information in the Department of Defense: Considerations for Implementing the Controlled Unclassified Information Reform Program, RAND Corporation (RR-2221-OSD), 2018

McKernan, Megan, Nancy Young Moore, Kathryn Connor, Mary E. Chenoweth, Jeffrey A. Drezner, James Dryden, Clifford A. Grammich, Judith D. Mele, Walter T. Nelson, Rebeca Orrie, Douglas Shontz, and Anita Szafran, Issues with Access to Acquisition Data and Information in the Department of Defense: Doing Data Right in Weapon System Acquisition, RAND Corporation (RR-1534-OSD), 2017

McKernan, Megan, Jeffrey A. Drezner, and Jerry M. Sollinger, Tailoring the Acquisition Process in the U.S. Department of Defense, RAND Corporation (RR-966-OSD), 2015

Riposo, Jessie, Megan McKernan, Jeffrey A. Drezner, Geoffrey McGovern, Daniel Tremblay, Jason Kumar, and Jerry M. Sollinger, Issues with Access to Acquisition Data and Information in the Department of Defense: Policy and Practice, RAND Corporation (RR-880-OSD), 2015

Kavanagh, Jennifer, Megan McKernan, Kathryn Connor, Abby Doll, Jeffrey A. Drezner, Kristy N. Kamarck, Katherine Pfrommer, Mark V. Arena, Irv Blickstein, William Shelton, and Jerry M. Sollinger, Joint Precision Approach and Landing System Nunn-McCurdy Breach Root Cause Analysis and Portfolio Assessment Metrics for DoD Weapons Systems, Volume 8, RAND Corporation (MG-1171/8-OSD), 2015

Riposo, Jessie, Megan McKernan, and Chelsea Kaihoi, Prolonged Cycle Times and Schedule Growth in Defense Acquisition: A Literature Review, RAND Corporation (RR-455), 2014