John Plumb

Photo of John Plumb
Senior Engineer
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder; M.S. in physics, University of Colorado at Boulder; B.S. in physics, University of Notre Dame

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

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John Plumb is a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation. He has served in national security roles for over 20 years at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. His expertise includes missile defense, nuclear weapons, space, nuclear and conventional deterrence, submarines, countering Russia, and countering North Korea. At RAND his recent work has included 5G, disaster response, and maturity assessments. Prior to joining RAND he served at the White House, the Pentagon, and the Senate in senior defense staff roles. His past positions include director, Defense Policy and Strategy on the National Security Council staff; acting deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Space Policy at the Pentagon; principal director for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy at the Pentagon; and military legislative assistant in the Senate. He also has over 20 years active and reserve service as a U.S. Navy Submarine Officer. A Captain in the Navy Reserve, he currently serves in the reserve headquarters unit for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea. He holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and an M.S. in physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a B.S. in physics from the University of Notre Dame.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Captain, U.S. Navy Reserve

Previous Positions

Director, Defense Policy and Strategy, National Security Council; Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy; Principal Director, Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense

Honors & Awards

  • Exceptional Public Service Award, Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • Superior Honor Award, Department of State
  • Legion of Merit, U.S. Navy

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: New York Times