Kayla M. Williams

Kayla M. Williams
Senior Policy Researcher
Washington Office


M.A. in international affairs, American University; B.A. in English literature, Bowling Green University

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 media@rand.org.

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Kayla Williams (she/her) is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation; her focus areas include optimizing policies and programs to support veterans and military personnel. She was most recently Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where she provided executive level oversight and direction to OPIA's team of nearly 80 employees who communicate VA's key messages to multiple audiences through diverse direct and indirect channels. She was previously a senior fellow and director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at Center for a New American Security and prior to that served as director of the Center for Women Veterans at VA. Williams previously spent eight years at RAND researching servicemember and veteran health needs and benefits, international security, and intelligence policy. She was enlisted for five years and authored the memoirs Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army and Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War. She served on the Department of Labor Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach, Army Education Advisory Committee, and VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans; her recognitions include 2013 White House Woman Veteran Champion of Change and 2015 Lincoln Award recipient. Williams has an M.A. in international affairs from American University and a B.A. in English literature from Bowling Green State University.

Previous Positions

Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs

Recent Projects

  • Invisible Wounds
  • RAND Military Workplace Study
  • Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Canadian Global Affairs Institute; NPR, Morning Edition; WAMU, 1A; The World, Public Radio