Obaid Younossi

Obaid Younossi
Director, Defense and Political Sciences Department; Senior Policy Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office


Ph.D. and M.Phil. in public policy, The George Washington University; M.A. in international affairs, George Mason University; B.S. in mechanical engineering, University of Pittsburgh

Media Resources

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Obaid Younossi is director of the Defense and Political Sciences Department, a senior policy researcher at RAND, and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He is responsible for the hiring, professional growth, and support of about 200 regular professional researchers and over 100 adjunct staff located in four major offices and in offsite locations. Between June 2015 and March 2020, he was the director of the Resource Management Program in RAND Project AIR FORCE, where he was responsible for directing and managing a portfolio of projects to analyze critical policy implications of technology development process and their life cycle management issues. From July 2011 to December 2013, he was the director of the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute (RQPI). From 2009 until his appointment as director of RQPI, Younossi was the associate director of RQPI. Prior to joining RQPI in 2008, he was the associate director of the Resource Management Program in RAND Project AIR FORCE. 

Since joining RAND in 1998, Younossi has led and worked on a wide range of studies for the U.S. Air Force, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the U.S. Navy, the UK Ministry of Defence, Government of Qatar, Government of Oman, and the Australian Department of Defence. Younossi holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil in public policy from The George Washington University, an M.A. in international affairs from George Mason University, and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Recent Projects

  • Acquisition Performance Improvement and Affordability
  • Research Performance Management
  • Base Resiliency
  • Digital Transformation

Selected Publications

Wong, Jonathan P., Obaid Younossi et al., Improving Defense Acquisition: Insights from Three Decades of RAND Research (RRA1670-1)

Philip Anton et al., Strategies for Acquisition Agility: Approaches for Speeding Delivery of Defense Capabilities, RAND (RR-4193)

Obaid Younossi, Peter Dahl Thruelsen, et al., The Long March: Building an Afghan National Army, RAND Corporation (MG-845), 2009

John Birkler et al., Australia's Shipbuilding Enterprise: Preparing for the 21st Century, RAND Corporation (RR-1093), 2015

Nidhi Kalra, Obaid Younossi et al., Recommended Research Priorities for the Qatar Foundation's Energy and Environment Research Institute, RAND (MG-1106-Qatar), 2011

Bassford, Matt, Hans Pung, Nigel Edgington, Tony G. Thompson-Starkey, Kristin Weed, Mark V. Arena, James G. Kallimani, Gordon T. Lee, and Obaid Younossi, Sustaining Key Skills in the UK Military Aircraft Industry, RAND Corporation (MG-1023-MOD), 2010

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: BBC, NPR

Commentary: Breaking Defense; Defense News; Fox New Channel; International Herald Tribune; Providence Journal; United Press International


  • Ukraine

    Reopening Old Wounds: Two Stories, One Lesson

    The shocking events unfolding in Ukraine have reopened old wounds for two RAND researchers. Their personal stories stand as testaments that the traumas inflicted by Russia's war on Ukraine will echo for decades to come.

    Apr 16, 2022


  • Afghanistan

    It's Time for the West to Engage with the Taliban

    As a winter crisis looms, the Afghan people need support more than ever. Economic collapse and isolation risk provoking deeper instability, insecurity, and repression. The international community should now look seriously at making a deal with the Taliban to address these risks.

    Dec 17, 2021


  • Military Acquisition and Procurement

    Inside the Fish Bowl: High Stakes Acquisition Protests

    The Boeing-Lockheed Martin team filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office asserting that the U.S. Air Force's selection of Northrop Grumman to build the Long Range Strike-Bomber was fundamentally flawed. Work on the program, valued at approximately $80 billion, is now paused.

    Dec 3, 2015

    Defense News

  • Military Acquisition and Procurement

    Lessons from the Past for the Future of the KC-46A

    Analysis suggests that fixed-price contracts have not successfully reduced costs to the DoD associated with developing complex weapon systems. This has implications for the Air Force, given the importance of the ongoing KC-46A program.

    Sep 16, 2015

    Breaking Defense

  • Refugees

    Putting a Human Face on the Refugee Crisis

    By welcoming and accepting refugees, the West can send their oppressors a message about what it means to be a free democratic society.

    Sep 15, 2015

    Fox News Channel

  • Afghanistan

    Afghan Progress Spotty but Hopeful

    As NATO's role in Afghanistan was debated in Bucharest recently, the bad headlines continued rolling in. And yet, on the ground, there is equally compelling evidence that the efforts of the international community are making a difference and conditions are improving, write Obaid Younossi and Peter Dahl Thruelsen.

    Apr 29, 2008

    Providence Journal

  • Afghanistan Needs Help

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Afghanistan Needs Help, in United Press International.

    Dec 19, 2006

    United Press International

  • A Brain Drain Threatens Afghanistan's Future

    Published commentary by RAND staff: A Brain Drain Threatens Afghanistan's Future, in the International Herald Tribune.

    Feb 9, 2006

    International Herald Tribune