William Shelton

William Shelton
Director of Strategic Planning and Operations, RAND Homeland Security Research Division; Senior Engineer; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


M.S. in aero/astro engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology; B.S. in aero/astro engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


William (Bill) Shelton is director of strategic planning and operations in the RAND Homeland Security Research Division (HSRD), which operates the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He is also a senior engineer at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at Pardee RAND Graduate School.

As director of strategic planning and operations, he is the primary contact for all inquiries on how to work with HSRD and HSOAC. Before taking on this role, Shelton was acting director of HSRD's Infrastructure, Immigration, and Security Operations Program (IISO). In that role, he oversaw numerous projects sponsored by operational components across DHS. In addition, over the past several years, he has conducted research for DHS's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA), the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), and the Joint Requirements Council (JRC). Outside DHS, his research has covered such topics as accelerating Air Force and Space Force acquisition programs and how to improve the Air Force's development and implementation of large-scale Enterprise Resource Planning programs.

Shelton served in the U.S. Air Force for over 26 years. After retiring in 2007, Shelton worked in industry and government before joining RAND. While on active duty, Shelton served as a program manager on the F-16, F-22, and Joint Strike Fighter, ran the Air Force's Link 16 program, and interfaced with the Combatant Commands employing the nation's ballistic missile defense system. Additionally he served at the Department of State in Defense Trade Controls as an expert on export controls and the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), had Air Staff and intelligence tours as well as a RAND Air Force Fellowship.

He has a B.S. in aeronautics/astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.S. in aeronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Selected Publications

Gilmore, J. Michael, William Shelton, and Sarah Harting, Estimating Potential Savings in Department of Defense Activities, RAND Corporation (RR-2329-OSD), 2019

Harting, Sarah, Shelton, William L., Anton, Philip S., Blickstein, Irv, Brauner, Marygail K., Lachman, Beth E., Moore, Nancy Y., Conley, Tim, Smith, Meagan L., Lewis, Austin, Unconstrained Ideas and Savings Initiatives for the Department of Defense in Three Areas: Acquisition and Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain, and Real Property Management, (RP-3621-OSD), 2018

Anton, Philip S., Conley, Tim, Blickstein, Irv, Lewis, Austin, Shelton, William L., Harting, Sarah, Baselining Defense Acquisition, (RP-3611-OSD), 2018

Snyder, Don, Bernard Fox, Kristin F. Lynch, Raymond E. Conley, John A. Ausink, Laura Werber, William Shelton, Sarah A. Nowak, Michael R. Thirtle, and Albert A. Robbert, Assessment of the Air Force Materiel Command Reorganization: Report for Congress, RAND Corporation (RR-389-AF), 2013

Riposo, Jessie, Guy Weichenberg, Chelsea Kaihoi, Bernard Fox, William Shelton, and Andreas Thorsen, Improving Air Force Enterprise Resource Planning-Enabled Business Transformation, RAND Corporation (RR-250-AF), 2013

Huber, Arthur, Philip Sauer, Joseph L. Hollett, Kenneth Keskel, William Shelton, and John T. Dillaplain, The Virtual Combat Air Staff: The Promise of Information Technologies, RAND Corporation (MR-759-AF), 1996

Shelton, William, Cynthia R. Cook, Charles Barton, Frank Camm, Kelly Elizabeth Eusebi, Diana Gehlhaus, Moon Kim, Yool Kim, Megan McKernan, Sydne J. Newberry, and Colby P. Steiner, A Clean Sheet Approach to Space Acquisition in Light of the New Space Force, RAND Corporation (RR-A541-1), 2021