Timothy William James Smith

Assistant Policy Analyst; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


B.S. in mechanical engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy


Tim Smith is a doctoral candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy analyst at RAND. His work at RAND focuses on Air Force intelligence policy, Arctic policy, DOD energy policy, and hospital disaster preparedness. His dissertation focuses on improving search and rescue operations in the Alaskan Arctic.

Prior to Pardee RAND, he was a distinguished graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. During his studies, he worked on developing a new leak-detection test for fuel pipelines at Nellis Air Force Base. He was also a member of the Air Force Parachute Team, the “Wings of Blue.” On a year away from the Academy, he taught English in India and traveled extensively in the Patagonia region of Argentina and Chile. His research interests include military operational energy, Arctic policy, emergency preparedness, and intelligence policy.

Recent Projects

  • Performance Measurement Tools for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • Leveraging National Intelligence: Lessons for the Air Force Intelligence Enterprise
  • Improving the Integration of Operational Energy Tracking in Title X Wargames


  • Sailors and members of the Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station clear ice from the hatch of the Seawolf-class submarine USS Connecticut in the Arctic Ocean, March 19, 2011

    Being Safer in the Arctic

    The Arctic is more accessible than it once was, but it's still a formidable place to travel. An emergency involving a cruise ship or a downed plane could stress the search-and-rescue system. But modest investments and planning measures can make a big difference.

    Oct 3, 2016 The National Interest

  • Icebreaker Yamal during removal of manned drifting station North Pole-36, August 2009

    Friends If We Must: Russia and China in the Arctic

    Russia's rebalancing toward China is particularly important in the Arctic, a region in which Russia has great ambitions, but also struggles with major vulnerabilities. Russia needs China as an investor, as a technological partner, and as a key consumer of energy to support its flagging, energy-dependent economy.

    May 6, 2016 War on the Rocks

  • The bones of a bowhead whale, a food source and cultural icon of the native Inupiat peoples who have lived in Alaska for centuries

    It's Getting Harder and Harder to Live on Top of the World

    In September, a relatively new kind of storm, made possible due to larger swaths of ice-free Arctic Ocean, battered Barrow, Alaska, washing away chunks of coastline, threatening businesses, houses, and the freshwater supply. While mitigation efforts are necessary on a macro level, adaptation measures are needed now for such Arctic communities.

    Nov 30, 2015 Newsweek