Megan McKernan

Photo of Megan McKernan
Senior Defense Researcher
Pittsburgh Office

Education

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

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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Overview

Megan McKernan is a senior defense researcher at the RAND Corporation. 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: identifying acquisition metrics; contractor performance; Navy innovation and rapid development; protoyping; 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 at the CIA 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

Recent Projects

  • Identification and Characterization of Program Data for Acquisition Category (ACAT) II and III, Pre-MDAPs, and Business Systems
  • Policy Implications on the Management and Access of Acquisition Data
  • Supporting Prototyping Execution
  • Doing Data Right in DoD Weapon System Acquisition
  • Tailoring: Practical and Possible?

Selected Publications

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

Megan McKernan, 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 (RR-2221-OSD), 2018

Megan McKernan, 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 (RR-1534-OSD), 2017

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

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

Jennifer Kavanagh, 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 (MG-1171/8-OSD), 2015

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

Mark V. Arena, Irv Blickstein, Abby Doll, Jeffrey A. Drezner, James G. Kallimani, Jennifer Kavanagh, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Megan McKernan, Charles Nemfakos, Rena Rudavsky, Jerry M. Sollinger, Daniel Tremblay, Carolyn Wong, Management Perspectives Pertaining to Root Cause Analyses of Nunn-McCurdy Breaches, Volume 4: Program Manager Tenure, Oversight of Acquisition Category II Programs, and Framing Assumptions, RAND (MG-1171z4), 2013

Honors & Awards

  • RAND Bronze Medal (2018); RAND Spotlight Award (2015); RAND Impact Award (2011); and RAND Merit Bonus Team-Player Award (2007), RAND
  • Recipient of Full-tuition Fellowship for Master's Degree at The George Washington University - 1997, Wolcott Foundation
  • Recipient of a Foreign Language Study Grant and an Internship Grant at The Elliott School of International Affairs - 1999, The George Washington University

Publications