David T. Orletsky

Photo of David Orletsky
Associate Director, RAND Project AIR FORCE; Senior Engineer
Washington Office


S.M. in aeronautics and astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; B.S. in aerospace engineering, Pennsylvania State University

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David Orletsky is a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation who serves as the associate director of RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF). While at RAND, he has done a variety of operational air mobility analyses for projects sponsored by the U.S. Air Force (USAF), U.S. Army, and Office of the Secretary of Defense. A major focus of his work over the last few years has been on cost-effectiveness analysis of potential aircraft alternatives to meet a specified need. This includes a variety of fixed-wing airlift studies sponsored by USAF, the KC-135 recapitalization analysis of alternatives (AoA), and recent projects on nonstandard rotary wing aircraft for partner nations and operational support airlift. He has conducted work in Afghanistan and Africa as well as led projects on global basing to support mobility forces and overseas presence operations. He has done a considerable amount of work on air base vulnerability and USAF operations in a denied environment. He has also written on joint air–naval operations, improving air–ground integration, the Air Force role in homeland security and air defense of the United States, implications of Chinese military modernization, and implications of Army transformation for the USAF. As associate director of PAF, he is responsible for ensuring the quality of all PAF documents and the operation of the technical review process. Orletsky received his B.S. in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University and his S.M. in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Recent Projects

  • Tankers and Airlift in Future Anti-Access/Area Denial Environments
  • USAF Intertheater Airlift Fleet Recapitalization Strategy
  • Intratheater airlift cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Determination of Operational Support Airlift (OSA) Mission Demand and Most Cost-Effective Aircraft Flee
  • Future Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aircraft Requirements and Platform Options

Selected Publications

Michael Kennedy et al., Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) for KC-135 Recapitalization: Executive Summary, RAND Corporation (MG-495-AF), 2006

Bruce R. Pirnie et al., Beyond Close Air Support: Forging a New Air-Ground Partnership, RAND Corporation (MG-301-AF), 2005

John C. Baker et al., Mapping the Risks: Assessing the Homeland Security Implications of Publicly Available Geo-spatial Information, RAND Corporation (MG-142-NGA), 2004

John Gordon, David Orletsky, Lynn E. Davis and Jeremy Shapiro "Moving Rapidly to the Fight," in Lynn E. Davis and Jeremy Shapiro, The U.S. Army and the New National Security Strategy, RAND Corporation (MR-1657-A), 2003

Alan Vick et al., The Stryker Brigade Combat Team: Rethinking Strategic Responsiveness and Assessing Deployment Options, RAND Corporation (MR-1606-AF), 2002