Bernard D. Rostker

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Senior Fellow
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Ph.D. and M.A. in economics, Syracuse University; B.S. in economics, New York University

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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Bernard Rostker is a senior fellow at the RAND Corporation, where he has served as associate director of the RAND Arroyo Center and director of the Defense Manpower Research Center in the RAND National Defense Research Institute. His recent RAND research has focused medical care for wounded soldiers, managing the all-volunteer force; and reforming the military by lengthening military careers. He was formerly under secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the Secretary of Defense’s senior policy advisor on recruitment, career development, pay, and benefits for 1.4 million active-duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel, and 725,000 DoD civilians. He also had oversight responsibilities for the DoD health delivery system. Prior to that, he served as under secretary of the Army, assistant secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, and director of Selective Service, where he formulated the Selective Service Revitalization Plan. Under his leadership, the first mass selective service registration since World War II was executed, and almost four million young men registered. Over his career, Rostker has been nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate four times and received a number of awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal from the Selective Service, the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Army, and the Department of Defense. Rostker is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Syracuse University.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration

Previous Positions

Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; Under Secretary of the Army; Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs; Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses; Director of Select Distinctive Service

Recent Projects

  • Managing the recruitment, retention, and performance of police officers in large city departments
  • Managing the all-volunteer force
  • Reforming the military by lengthening military careers
  • Providing for the casualties of war

Selected Publications

Bernard Rostker, Proving for the Casualties of War: The American Experience Through World War II, RAND Corporation (MG-1164)

Bernard D. Rostker, I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force, RAND Corporation (MG-265), 2006

Bernard D. Rostker et al., Recruitment and Retention: Lessons for the New Orleans Police Department, RAND Corporation (MG-585), 2007

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: American Medical News; KCBS-AM; KPCC-FM AirTalk; San Diego Union-Tribune

Commentary: United Press International


  • Soldiers wearing their M-17A1 protective masks while conducting training during Operation Desert Shield

    Gulf War Illness: Still Looking for Answers

    Bernard Rostker and Ross Anthony, RAND senior economists with expertise on Gulf War Illness (GWI), discuss a study by scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center that suggests the symptoms of GWI are biological in nature, and a GWI study RAND conducted more than a decade ago.

    Jul 8, 2013

  • President Barack Obama signs the certification stating the statutory requirements for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" have been met

    A Year After Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

    Despite the fears of some, but in line with the experience of every other institution, both in the US and abroad, that has experienced such a transition, there have been no significant problems, writes Bernard Rostker.

    Sep 20, 2012 The RAND Blog

  • U.S. Doesn't Need the Draft

    Published commentary by RAND staff: U.S. Doesn't Need the Draft, in United Press International.

    Dec 11, 2006 United Press International