Michael D. Rich

Photo of Michael Rich
President and Chief Executive Officer, RAND Corporation
Santa Monica Office


J.D., University of California, Los Angeles

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.

More Experts


Michael D. Rich is president and chief executive officer of the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. For more than 40 years, Rich has helped RAND become a leading source of expertise, analysis, and evidence-based ideas in an increasingly complex and polarized policymaking environment.

As president and CEO, Rich's focus is on extending the impact of RAND's work. He challenges the organization to broaden its legacy of innovation and strengthen the many ways RAND helps decisionmakers stay ahead of the curve on the issues that matter most. A champion of RAND's commitment to help improve the quality of decisionmaking, Rich coauthored a 2018 report titled Truth Decay, the first in an ongoing series of research projects and publications that examines how the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life has caused an erosion of civil discourse and political paralysis, among other problems.

In 2020, Rich spearheaded Tomorrow Demands Today, the most ambitious fundraising campaign 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, such as those presented by the COVID-19 crisis.

Rich became president and CEO of RAND in 2011. He 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 has 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 also been an enthusiastic supporter of Pardee RAND, the world's largest public policy Ph.D. program, where he teaches and advises graduate students and has chaired numerous committees. Rich serves on the governing boards and advisory committees of many policy and service organizations, including the Council for Aid to Education, 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 U.S. Defense Science Board, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the California Bar. Rich received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: The Costa Report, syndicated radio; KDKA-PIT (CBS); KPCC-FM AirTalk; Miami Herald; The Palestinian Chronicle; Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; Santa Monica Daily Press

Commentary: CNN; The Health Care Blog; The Hill; Pittsburgh-Post-Gazette; USA Today; U.S. News & World Report; Washington Times


  • Scales of justice on a table in front of books in a bookcase, photo by Zolnierek/Getty Images

    The RAND Institute for Civil Justice: 40th Anniversary Reflections

    For 40 years, the RAND Institute for Civil Justice (ICJ) has supplied government and private decisionmakers and the public with the results of objective, empirically based, analytic research. In this era of the diminishing role of facts and analysis in public life, or Truth Decay, the mission and research of the ICJ have never been more important.

    Nov 6, 2019 The RAND Blog

  • Oakland Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie hits a home run during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, July 7, 2018

    Truth Decay, America's Latest Pastime

    Detailed data and complex analysis are the foundation of decisionmaking in baseball and many other professions and occupations. But facts are out of favor in current U.S. political and civil discourse, and the public policymaking that accompanies it.

    Jul 12, 2018 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • Word truth written with wooden letters on rustic surface

    In Reckoning with Today's Truth Wars, Look to America's Past

    The declining regard for factual evidence may be a defining characteristic of our current age. Previous eras suggest it is within society's power to restore respect for objective facts. Humankind just needs to put it on the agenda.

    Jun 19, 2018 CNN

  • Soledad O'Brien (RAND trustee and Pardee RAND board member), Michael D. Rich (RAND president and CEO), and Francis Fukuyama (Pardee RAND board member)

    The Perils of Truth Decay: Q&A with Three RAND Leaders

    Truth Decay is defined by disagreement about facts, the blurred line between opinion and fact, increased volume of opinion and personal experience over fact, and declining trust in formerly respected sources of facts. RAND president and CEO Michael D. Rich, journalist Soledad O'Brien, and political scientist Francis Fukuyama discuss the phenomenon and the search for solutions to it.

    Feb 27, 2018

  • Torn American flag waving in the wind on a cloudy day

    The Diminishing Role of Facts in American Public Life

    Without agreement about objective facts and a common understanding of and respect for data and analytical interpretations of those data, it becomes nearly impossible to have the types of meaningful policy debates that form the foundation of democracy.

    Jan 17, 2018 USA Today

  • The word truth in fading black paint

    How RAND Is Responding to Truth Decay: Q&A with Michael Rich and Jennifer Kavanagh

    RAND's Michael Rich and Jennifer Kavanagh explain what "Truth Decay" is and discuss how ongoing RAND research could help counter it.

    May 5, 2017

  • President and CEO Michael Rich speaking at RAND's Politics Aside event in Santa Monica, November 11, 2016

    'Truth Decay' Makes Facts Subjective and Polarization More Extreme

    "When everyone has their own facts, then nobody really has any facts at all," said President and CEO Michael Rich at RAND's Politics Aside event. Truth Decay pushes political polarization to even greater extremes and prevents policymakers from reaching consensus on solutions to the nation's biggest challenges.

    Nov 12, 2016

  • Health insurance form, U.S. currency, stethoscope

    At 40, a Pioneering Health Care Experiment Remains Relevant

    The impact of RAND's Health Insurance Experiment has been wide-reaching. The study's conclusions encouraged the restructuring of private insurance and helped increase the stature of managed care in the United States.

    Apr 18, 2016 The RAND Blog

  • Residents do morning exercises at a park on a hazy day in Shenzhen, Guangdong province February 12, 2015

    China at Home: Marrying Prosperity and Well-Being

    As China strives to sustain its upward economic trajectory, it must also address its domestic problems—such as its air pollution and the challenges presented by its aging population—if its people are to share fully in the rewards of economic development and expansion.

    Aug 21, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • A Tunisian holds up a flag during celebrations marking the fourth anniversary of Tunisia's revolution, Tunis, January 14, 2015

    Tunisia in the Crosshairs

    The open-ended nature of the Islamic State group's threat against Tunisair suggests that it intends to target Tunisia for the long haul. The United States should counter the threats with steadfast and sustained cooperation and assistance.

    Jun 22, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • Texas nurse Amber Vinson, who had treated Liberian Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, exits an ambulance at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, October 15, 2014

    As Ebola Declines, Lessons Emerge

    Lessons learned through the analysis of this most recent Ebola outbreak as well as other disease outbreaks can have far-reaching consequences, helping authorities to both improve the continuing, ongoing response and plan for the best possible response to future threats.

    May 7, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • Woman talking to a man in a wheelchair

    Caring for Our Nation's Hidden Heroes?

    Thanks to a growing list of more than 100 organizations that have pledged their commitment as members of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation's National Coalition for Military Caregivers, our nation is taking long overdue action to support both our wounded warriors and those who care for them.

    May 7, 2015 Washington Times

  • An airline passenger stands in a full-body scanner at a TSA checkpoint at LAX in February 2014 after U.S. authorities issued a warning to airlines to watch out for militants who may have hidden bombs in their shoes

    What Research Says About Profiling

    When police take action on the basis of race, creed, or ethnicity it is corrosive, unfair, ineffective, and can stoke the flames of police-community tension. But as we have found from a variety of assessments, law enforcement is best served when it bases its activities on risk, not on personal characteristics.

    Dec 18, 2014 The RAND Blog

  • Man looking into a future virtual world

    The Telescope and the Microscope: Public Policy Wisdom from Victor Hugo

    The best policy analysis reveals both the hidden details of an issue and its broader context.

    Aug 12, 2014 RAND Review

  • A convoy of hearses bearing the remains of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 leaves Eindhoven airport in the Netherlands, July 24, 2014

    A Missile's Deadly Message

    Putin's stubbornness on Ukraine has attracted international scorn, threatened Russia's already shaky economy, and focused NATO on countering potential Russian aggression. It's also sparked anti-Russian and pro-NATO sentiments in Central and Eastern Europe. The tragic loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 only intensifies these sentiments.

    Jul 25, 2014 U.S. News & World Report

  • Man in wheelchair with caregiver, sitting by a lake

    Parallel Caregiver Crises, Military and Civilian

    Among American caregivers, there are two expanding populations: those caring for military servicemembers struggling with physical or emotional wounds of war and those looking after people with dementia. Both face incalculable financial stresses and threats to their own health as a result of their caregiving roles.

    Jul 9, 2014 The Hill

  • Paramedic and doctor discussing a patient

    How to Avert a Doctor Shortage

    Within the next decade, the United States may face a shortage of 130,000 physicians due to a growing, aging population and the anticipated demands of those newly insured under the ACA. This shortage can be alleviated by early creative interventions.

    Apr 2, 2014 RAND Review and The Health Care Blog

  • sailor homecoming

    Military Caregivers Are Hidden Heroes

    Right now there are 5.5 million wives, husbands, siblings, parents, children and friends devoted to the care of those injured fighting America's wars. Theirs is an all-consuming, emotionally draining task, one that has been driven for too long by loyalty and love, but little support.

    Apr 2, 2014 USA Today

  • preschool activity

    To Eliminate the 'Readiness Gap,' Preschool Is Just the Beginning

    Preschool for four-year-olds should be as common as kindergarten is for five-year-olds. Ultimately, the goal should be the elimination of the readiness gap through expanded access to preschool, written materials in the home, and technology that could improve delivery of such materials.

    Nov 26, 2013 RAND Review

  • The U.S. Capitol in Washington

    The Value of Perspective, in Dollars and Cents

    RAND's president and CEO discusses how rigorous and objective analysis can inform government organizations responsible for U.S. national security as they address today's budget realities.

    Jul 15, 2013 RAND Review

  • Artist's rendering of Knowledge City, Guangzhou, China

    RAND Extends Global Reach of Innovation

    Stimulating innovation is important to the economic growth of all countries, regardless of their stages of development, writes Michael D. Rich. RAND is helping each country drive innovation in different ways.

    Feb 5, 2013 RAND Review

  • The White House in Washington D.C.

    Farsighted Leadership in a Shortsighted World: Looking Beyond the 2012 U.S. Election

    As the U.S. presidential election draws close, there is increasing demand for simple answers to complex questions, immediate solutions to entrenched challenges, and ten-second sound bites to sum it all up. For nearly 65 years, RAND has focused on big, long-term, core public policy issues and has cultivated the farsighted perspectives required to address them.

    Sep 21, 2012 RAND Review

  • An aerial view of the flooded roads and fields in Louisiana are shown after Hurricane Lili

    A Flood of Innovation: Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan

    RAND President and CEO Michael Rich writes about how RAND computer models and empirical analyses are helping protect and restore the Louisiana coast.

    May 11, 2012 RAND Review

  • Problem, idea, and solution drawing on a blackboard

    Passionate, Pragmatic, Prudent: A New RAND President and RAND at Its Best

    Michael D. Rich, the new president and chief executive officer of the RAND Corporation, shares his thoughts about his new role and the future of RAND.

    Jan 13, 2012 RAND Review

  • Palestinians wait to cross the Rafah border after it was reopened in the Gaza Strip, November 27, 2005

    Vision for a Successful Palestine

    To turn the dream of a Palestinian state into a reality, Palestinians need a practical vision of a successful state that is safe, secure, economically viable, and at peace with Israel and its other neighbors.

    Dec 14, 2005 Washington Times