Cortney Weinbaum

Photo of Cortney Weinbaum
Management Scientist
Washington Office


B.S. in physics, University of Michigan

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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Cortney Weinbaum is a management scientist at the RAND Corporation. She specializes in intelligence and cyber topics, and she has worked with the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense to improve policies, practices, and technologies. She has improved analytic and collection tradecraft; identified emerging technologies and their impact on special operations, countering weapons of mass destruction, and intelligence; and facilitated strategic planning with senior executive leadership teams. She has facilitated cross-discipline teams to apply structured analytic techniques to intractable intelligence topics, and she has applied wargaming and scenario-based planning against both operational and enterprise topics. Weinbaum earned her B.S. in physics from the University of Michigan.

Weinbaum led two teams to receive the Director of National Intelligence's Meritorious Unit Citation for advancing the IC's knowledge of two intractable intelligence topics. Since joining RAND, she has studied emerging technologies and their implications for intelligence; the availability of unclassified intelligence collection technologies in the public domain; the future of secrecy; and the role of millennials in intelligence. She began her career as an intelligence officer developing radio frequency and electromagnetic MASINT collection systems. She serves on the Board of Directors of Carrie Simon House, a charity that provides housing, financial literacy, and life skills to homeless mothers with young children in Washington, DC.

Honors & Awards

  • Defense Intelligence Agency Humanitarian Award, 2005
  • Defense Intelligence Agency Sustained Superior Performance Award, 2004
  • General Electric Fellowship and Grant for Women in Physics & Computer Science, 2000


  • The Security Operation Centre for Telstra, Australia's biggest telecoms firm, which is used to monitor, detect and respond to security incidents, including cyber attacks, in Sydney, Australia, August 24, 2017

    Financial Frameworks for Cybersecurity Are Failing

    Cybersecurity has become a team sport with all participants on the field, but playing without clear rules, without a team approach, and without knowing when to pass the ball or to whom. It's the collective responsibility of consumers, technology companies, government officials, and schools.

    Oct 25, 2018 The RAND Blog

  • World map showing connections

    Business Model of the Intelligence Community Needs an Upgrade

    The workplace practices of most intelligence agencies are outdated. Rethinking and redesigning the intelligence business model could help agencies better respond to current-day threats.

    Oct 24, 2018 The Hill

  • Congressman Adam Schiff speaks at a House Intelligence Committee meeting about Russian use of social media to influence U.S. elections, Washington, D.C., November 1, 2017

    Covert Influence Is the New Money Laundering

    Anti-money laundering laws provide lessons for combating covert influence operations, such as Russian meddling in the U.S. election. These laws could be adapted for online media models that do not require users to be paid customers.

    Nov 6, 2017 TechCrunch

  • Cyber illustration of a judge's gavel

    The Future of Cyber Investigations at the FBI Is Unclear

    Evidence presented by the FBI in the case of U.S. v. Jay Michaud was excluded because the agency was unwilling to reveal the software exploit used to collect it. If the FBI exposes its capabilities, other criminals can patch their computers, but concealing its techniques risks the ability to prosecute cyber criminals.

    Aug 24, 2016 Inside Sources

  • Aerographer's mates stand by as an unmanned underwater vehicle leaves the surface to search for mines as part of a training exercise

    The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Intelligence Agencies

    The defense community has already begun a healthy dialogue about the ethics of AI in combat systems. The intelligence community should develop standards for AI risk assessments and assign responsibility for conducting them.

    Jul 18, 2016 The National Interest

  • A person looking at top secret files with a magnifying glass

    Defining a New Paradigm for Government Secrecy

    Technology has afforded the U.S. national security apparatus incredible capabilities, along with equally monumental challenges and risks. The government has the option to choose whether to adjust by taking a proactive approach or to allow external forces to determine the future of its secrets.

    Oct 13, 2015 U.S. News & World Report