Jan Osburg is a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation. His work focuses on aerospace, defense, and homeland security. Recent projects involved assessing next-generation launch vehicles, researching counter-UAS technologies, identifying options for aerial reconnaissance during Joint Forcible Entry Operations, developing resistance-based deterrence strategies for the Baltic states, mitigating the North Korean nuclear 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.
He 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.