William Shelton

Photo of William Shelton
Senior Engineer; Air Force Liaison, RAND Project AIR FORCE; Faculty Member, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office


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


William Shelton is a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation and a faculty member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He is also Air Force Liaison for RAND Project AIR FORCE, representing RAND's staff and research to the U.S. Air Force, with the objective of maximizing the return on their investment in RAND research and of continuing to strengthen RAND's relationship with the Air Force.

Shelton's research has covered such topics as accelerating Air Force acquisition programs, the reorganization of Air Force Material Command (AFMC), and how to improve the Air Force's development and implementation of large scale Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) programs. After retiring from the Air Force in 2007, he worked in industry and government prior to joining RAND. During his Air Force career he worked on tactical aircraft (F-16, F-22, Joint Strike Fighter), command and control (Link 16), and missile defense (C2 Battle Management and Communications). While on active duty, Shelton served in the Department of State in Defense Trade Controls as an expert on export controls and the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR). He also 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.

Recent Projects

  • Further Analyses of Post-Lean Learning Curves and Lessons to Achieve Greater Lean Implementation
  • Alternative Space Architectures: Better Leveraging Commercial Space and the Effect of Delayed New Starts
  • Continued Analytic Support to PARCA for Root-Cause Analyses for Major Defense Acquisition Programs
  • Weapon System Acquisition and Cost Analysis Umbrella Project
  • Analytic Support to PARCA for Continued Development of the Acquisition Portfolio Analytic Tool (APAT)

Selected Publications

Snyder, Don et al., Assessment of the Air Force Materiel Command Reorganization National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, RAND Corporation (RR-389-AF), 2013

Riposo, Jessie et al., Improving Air Force Enterprise Resource Planning-enabled Business Transformation, RAND Corporation (RR-250-AF), 2013

Huber, Arthur et al., The Virtual Combat Air Staff: The Promise of Information Technologies, RAND Corporation (MR-759-AF), 1996


  • U.S. soldiers fire an M777A2 Howitzer weapons system during an artillery demonstration near Rose Barracks, Germany, July 24, 2015

    Multiple Factors Drive Program Success

    Congress continues to express concerns about weapon system cost growth and is considering multiple acquisition reform proposals for the National Defense Authorization Act. One proposal would hold program managers accountable via a “performance agreement” for key parameters that must be met.

    Sep 30, 2015 Defense News