Scott Savitz

Photo of Scott Savitz
Senior Engineer
Washington Office


B.S. in chemical engineering, Yale University; M.S. in chemical engineering, University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D. in chemical engineering, University of Pennsylvania


Scott Savitz is a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation. Much of his research focuses on how to improve the effectiveness and resilience of operational forces through the use of new technologies and modified tactics. He has developed numerous models and simulations in support of such analyses.

Recently, he has led analytical efforts to assess the impact of non-lethal weapons, military capability gaps in the Arctic, and how U.S., Brazilian, Australian, and Japanese services can invest in emerging technologies. Savitz has also led analyses on infrastructure requirements for testing autonomous systems, intelligence on threats to U.S. ports, improving maritime domain awareness, measuring the impact of efforts to counter hostile networks, improving data integration, and how to prepare for future Arctic operations. Earlier studies that he led focused on how the Navy can effectively use uncrewed surface vehicles, how to counter naval mine threats, and how the Coast Guard can make more informed asset-allocation decisions. At RAND, he has also analyzed historical insights regarding warship design, reducing airbase vulnerability, trapping fleets in port, tunnel warfare, and many other subjects.

Previously, Savitz provided on-site analytical support for the Navy's mine warfare command and the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. He has led exercise-observation teams around the globe, and supported the Navy in Bahrain from 2001-2003, addressing counter-terrorism, political-military, and chemical/biological/radiological defense issues.

Savitz earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Yale University, as well as a master's degree and Ph.D. in the same field from the University of Pennsylvania.

Recent Projects

  • Assessing the impact of non-lethal weapons
  • How the U.S. Coast Guard can use gaming to inform decisions
  • How Japan can use emerging technologies to address its future security environment
  • How Brazil's Navy can effectively employ uncrewed vehicles
  • How the Royal Australian Navy can further develop its modeling and simulation capabilities

Selected Publications

Scott Savitz, "Deceive the Enemy with Emerging Technologies," Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute, 147(2), 2021

Jeffrey W. Hornung, Scott Savitz, Jonathan Balk, Samantha McBirney, Liam McLane, Victoria M. Smith, Preparing Japan's Multi-Domain Defense Force for the Future Battlespace Using Emerging Technologies, RAND (PE-A1157-1), 2021

Scott Savitz, "Rethink Mine Countermeasures," Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute, 143(7), 2017

Scott Savitz, Aaron C. Davenport, Michelle D. Ziegler, The Marine Transportation System, Autonomous Technology, and Implications for the U.S. Coast Guard, RAND (PE-359-DHS), 2021

Scott Savitz, Miriam Matthews, and Sarah Weilant, Assessing Impact to Inform Decisions: A Toolkit on Measures for Policymakers, RAND (TL-263-OSD), 2017

Tingstad, Abbie.; Savitz, Scott.; Van Abel, Kristin.; Woods, Dulani.; Anania, Kate.; Ziegler, Michelle Darrah.; Davenport, Aaron.; Costello, Katherine., Identifying Potential Gaps in U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Capabilities, (RR-2310-DHS), 2018

Scott Savitz, Irv Blickstein, Peter Buryk, Robert W. Button, Paul DeLuca, James Dryden, Jason Mastbaum, Jan Osburg, Philip Padilla, Amy Potter, Carter C. Price, Lloyd Thrall, Susan K. Woodward, Roland J. Yardley, John M. Yurchak, U.S. Navy Employment Options for Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs), RAND (RR-384), 2013

Scott Savitz, "Psychology and the Mined: A Case Study in Psychological Barriers to the Use of Statistical Analysis," Military Operations Research, 13(1), 2008

Honors & Awards

  • Silver Medal for analysis, The RAND Corporation


Spanish, plus some Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, and Chinese


  • Gen. Martin E. Dempsey receives a capabilities brief on the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program in San Diego, California, March 12, 2012, photo by PO1 Joshua Scott/U.S. Navy

    Why It Makes Sense to Keep Mine-Hunting Dolphins on the Navy's Payroll

    Mine-hunting dolphins—none of whom have ever been harmed by a mine—make the seas safer for naval ships and other vessels. Yet budget cuts could spell the end of the program that trains them.

    Jul 22, 2022 Los Angeles Times

  • U.S. Marines take part in a class about riot control techniques at Marine Corps Base Camp, Pendleton, CA, Feb. 22, 2022, photo by Cpl. Benjamin Aulick/U.S. Marine Corps

    Revealing the Impact of Non-Lethal Weapons

    Non-lethal weapons can be useful to U.S. military forces in a variety of contexts, but the Pentagon faces a challenge in ensuring their appropriate use and evaluating the potential effects of their deployment.

    Jun 15, 2022 RealClearDefense

  • U.S. Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker/Research Vessel Healy breaking ice in the Arctic, November 30, 1999 , photo by U.S. Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters

    U.S. Military May Need to Invest More in Arctic Capabilities

    Operating in the Arctic is inherently expensive. Despite this, it could be critical that the United States make the necessary investments to ensure a robust ability to operate in the Arctic to withstand Russian challenges there.

    Feb 10, 2022 United Press International

  • U.S. Coast Guard conducting a training exercise at Cape Disappointment, Washington, February 9, 2018, photo by Tom Collins/CC BY-ND 2.0

    Analytical Gaming Could Help the U.S. Coast Guard Address Key Challenges

    By gradually expanding its gaming efforts, the U.S. Coast Guard might improve both the quality of its decisions and the strength of its relationships, making the service ever more capable as it navigates the challenges of the 21st century.

    Nov 8, 2021 RealClearDefense

  • A NATO helicopter flies over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 29, 2020, photo by Omar Sobhani/Reuters

    Lessons from Afghanistan

    The British invaded Afghanistan multiple times from 1839 to 1919. These wars offer wider context for understanding America's intervention in that same nation—and its ultimate failure.

    Sep 3, 2021 RealClearDefense

  • U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Newman watches the sunrise after a patrol mission near Zabul, Afghanistan, March 19, 2009, photo by Staff Sgt. Adam Mancini/U.S. Army

    Applying Machiavellian Discourses to the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

    After 20 years of war without victory in both Afghanistan and Iraq, it is time to derive key lessons from both conflicts to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Niccolò Machiavelli, whose insights on statecraft have endured for five centuries, is a valuable guide in analyzing those lessons.

    Aug 9, 2021 RealClearDefense

  • Aerial of Thule Air Base, Greenland, photo by JoAnne Castagna, Public Affairs/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Mind the Gap

    For decades, NATO forces have used nearby bases to keep tabs on Russian submarines, surface ships, and aircraft transiting the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom Gap. Strong independence movements in Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Scotland could soon jeopardize this position.

    Jul 15, 2021 Defense One

  • Stranded ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, after it ran aground, in the Suez Canal, March 28, 2021, photo by Suez Canal Authority/Handout via Reuters

    The Suez Grounding Was an Accident. The Next Blocked Chokepoint Might Not Be

    The recent spectacle of a hulking container ship wedged into the Suez Canal is a reminder of how vulnerable maritime transportation is to blocked chokepoints. The fragility of maritime lifelines may encourage the use of this tactic in future conflict.

    Mar 30, 2021 Defense One

  • Navy ships guard while a sea mine is destroyed at the Irben Strait in the Baltic sea, near Riga, Latvia, May 20, 2009

    Small States Can Use Naval Mines and Unmanned Vehicles to Deter Maritime Aggression

    Small coastal nations face potential threats from larger, more powerful adversaries. Their coastlines represent vulnerabilities that a foe may seek to exploit. But these nations can hinder and deter potential aggressors by using less expensive systems, such as naval mines and unmanned vehicles.

    Jul 16, 2018 RealClearDefense

  • Would-be emigrants launch a makeshift boat into the Straits of Florida towards the U.S., on the last day of the 1994 Cuban Exodus in Havana, September 13, 1994

    A Changing Cuba May Create Risks for Maritime Border Security

    A changing Cuba may contribute to less secure maritime borders for the United States. The U.S. should plan accordingly to stop mass movements of both drugs and people.

    Nov 5, 2016 U.S. News and World Report

  • The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower approaches the Friendship Bridge as it transits the Suez Canal, July 8, 2016

    Egypt's Suez Canal: An Attenuated Lifeline

    The U.S. Navy has enjoyed the luxury of being able to transit the Suez Canal without hindrance for decades. However, the risk of losing access — perhaps quickly and unexpectedly — should inform Navy strategic and operational planning.

    Sep 14, 2016 The National Interest

  • Civilians walk past a damaged building in the rebel-controlled area of Maaret al-Numan town in Idlib province, Syria, October 28, 2015

    Will Syria's Civil War Turn Out Like Spain's Did?

    The similarities between the Syrian and Spanish civil wars, including foreign involvement and the level of brutality against civilians and captives, suggest that the Syrian war, like the Spanish one before it, could potentially foreshadow future conflicts.

    Dec 2, 2015 The Washington Post

  • A chlorine-tinged cloud of smoke rises from a bomb detonated by Iraqi army and Shi'ite fighters in the town of al-Alam in Salahuddin province, March 10, 2015

    ISIS Plus Chemical Weapons Does Not Equal Apocalypse

    The renewed use of chemical weapons on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria is a dangerous regional phenomenon, not an imminent global threat.

    Sep 11, 2015 Newsweek

  • Soldiers escort Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman at the Navy's airstrip in Mexico City, February 22, 2014

    El Chapo's Prison Escape Should Come as No Surprise

    Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel and similar criminal organizations have long used tunnels to literally undermine security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Jul 24, 2015 Fox News Channel

  • Palestinian fighters from the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades inside an underground tunnel in Gaza

    The Gaza Conflict: Tunnel Warfare's Latest Chapter

    Despite its long history as an effective combat tool, tunneling rarely garners much attention, perhaps because it is inherently clandestine, tedious, and dirty. However, as the conflict in Gaza indicates, tunneling remains effective, and will likely persist as long as conflict itself.

    Sep 5, 2014 The RAND Blog