Jan Osburg

Photo of Jan Osburg
Senior Engineer
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, University of Stuttgart; M.S. in aerospace engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

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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Jan Osburg is a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation. His work focuses on defense, aerospace engineering, emergency preparedness, and homeland security. Recent projects involved identifying options for aerial reconnaissance and security during Joint Forcible Entry Operations, assessing the potential of resistance-based deterrence, mitigating the North Korean nuclear and chemical threat, and planetary defense. He has spent significant time as an embedded RAND analyst in Iraq and Afghanistan—six months with MNF-I in Baghdad in 2009, three months with CFSOCC-A in Kabul in 2010, and two months with the Asymmetric Warfare Group in Bagram in 2013.

Osburg previously worked as a research engineer at the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology, where he led projects that applied probabilistic methods and tools to the conceptual design of aerospace systems. 

As a 2006–2007 fellow of Georgia Tech's Sam Nunn Security Program, he studied national security and emergency preparedness issues. Projects included developing proactive policy options for the North Korean nuclear crisis, creating an interactive visualization capability for nuclear blast effects, and modeling the impact of disasters on cellular communications infrastructure.

Osburg has participated in multiple expeditions to Mars-analog research facilities, with roles ranging from crew commander and station engineer to health and safety officer. While pursuing his doctorate at the University of Stuttgart, he worked as a research engineer and lecturer and directed international interdisciplinary workshops on the conceptual design of inhabited space systems. Osburg holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Stuttgart.

Recent Projects

  • Unconventional Options for the Defense of the Baltic States
  • Strategic Support for NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate
  • Assessing Locally-Focused Stability Operations
  • Geotargeting Performance of Wireless Emergency Alerts
  • Employment Options for Unmanned Surface Vehicles

Honors & Awards

  • Merit Bonus Award, Gold level, RAND
  • Excellence in Oral Presentation Award (2005 SAE World Aerospace Congress), SAE
  • "Karl Sonnenschein" Best Dissertation Award, "Kartellverband" national academic society


German, French


  • A Lithuanian army soldier holds the national flag during the NATO Force Integration Unit inauguration event in Vilnius, Lithuania, September 3, 2015

    'If You Want Peace, Prepare for Resistance'

    Lithuania's government issued a guide on how its citizens can resist a potential Russian invasion and occupation. Resistance is a key element of the “Total Defense” strategy all three Baltic states have been pursuing, spurred on by Russian aggression.

    Nov 22, 2016 The National Interest