Michael D. Rich is president emeritus at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. For nearly 50 years, he helped RAND become a leading source of expertise, analysis, and evidence-based ideas in an increasingly complex and polarized policymaking environment.
During his tenure as president and CEO from 2011 to 2022, Rich focused on extending the impact of RAND's work. He challenged the organization to broaden its legacy of innovation and help decisionmakers stay ahead of the curve on the issues that matter most. Rich is the coauthor of Truth Decay, the first study in an ongoing series of research that examines how the diminishing role of facts and analysis in public life has caused an erosion of civil discourse and political paralysis, among other problems.
In 2020, Rich launched the ongoing fundraising campaign Tomorrow Demands Today, the most ambitious such effort in RAND's history. Philanthropic support enables RAND researchers and students at the Pardee RAND Graduate School to bring bold thinking, analytical rigor, and cross-cutting perspectives to the most critical issues of our time.
Rich began his RAND career as a summer intern in 1975, joining the organization full-time the following year as a researcher focused on U.S. national security issues. He served in a variety of senior leadership positions at RAND and was instrumental in the creation of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center that provides research and analysis to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the Intelligence Community. He also helped lead RAND's diversification and expansion into international markets—including Europe and Australia. Throughout his career, Rich has been an enthusiastic supporter of Pardee RAND, the world's largest public policy Ph.D. program, where he has taught and advised graduate students and has chaired numerous committees.
Rich serves on the governing boards and advisory committees of many policy and service organizations, including the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, WISE & Healthy Aging, the Everychild Foundation, Santa Monica–UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, and the UCLA Foundation. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the California Bar, and he served on the U.S. Defense Science Board from 2012 to 2021 and the Council for Aid to Education from 1996 to 2022. Rich received his J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. In June 2022, the Pardee RAND Graduate School conferred upon Rich the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Policy.