Alumni News and Views

In This Issue...

Latest Briefs

RAND Research Briefs help to present the findings of key research in an easy-to-digest format. These are among the research briefs published since the last issue of the Alumni Bulletin.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper Visits RAND

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper visited RAND's Santa Monica headquarters on September 16. After an introduction by RAND president and CEO Michael D. Rich, Secretary Esper emphasized the importance of deterring China and the role of the U.S. defense industrial base. In a subsequent discussion with Ted Harshberger, vice president and director of RAND Project AIR FORCE, Esper covered these and other national security topics.

In Remembrance: Jerry Aroesty and Lou Rowell

Two RAND alumni, Jerome (Jerry) Aroesty and Louis N. (Lou) Rowell, passed away in August.

Jerry was a senior engineer in the Santa Monica office. His specialties were wide-ranging and included the physics of hypersonic flight, blood flow through the body and its implications for the uptake of medications, and environmental regulation. He worked at RAND from 1961 to 1997, and contributed to RAND research in an adjunct capacity before retiring in 1998.

Lou began his 34-year career at RAND in 1955 as an assistant mathematician in the Santa Monica office, and he retired as a senior mathematician in 1989. He specialized in orbital modeling for satellite systems, developing a preliminary model for digitally simulating a satellite's orbit and predicting changes over time. He continued contributing to projects in an adjunct capacity until 1996.

Jerry and Lou collaborated on an evaluation of the National Aerospace Plane program, which sought to develop experimental hypersonic aircraft. They were also both active members of the RAND Alumni Association.

We recall fondly all of our colleagues who have passed away in 2020. You can read tributes to our alumni in the members-only In Remembrance section of our website.

Hedgemony: New RAND Game Available

The RAND Corporation has released a boxed version of Hedgemony: A Game of Strategic Choices that researchers originally developed to help the Pentagon craft its capstone guidance document, the 2018 National Defense Strategy. It is the first wargame offered by RAND to the public and carries a $250 price tag.

RAND's history of designing wargames dates to just after World War II. Unlike other games, which typically focus on a particular conflict, Hedgemony gives players a bird's-eye perspective on how tradeoffs among force structure, posture, modernization, and readiness can affect the United States' ability to accomplish its strategic objectives.

The game's name is a play on the word hegemon and the need to hedge those tradeoffs against a dynamic world.

Staff Reflect on RAND's 20 Years in Pittsburgh

In 2000, RAND chose Pittsburgh as the location for its third major U.S. office, finding that the city ticked a slew of boxes on its wish list—including proximity to major universities and affordable cost of living for staff. Since then, RAND's presence in the city has grown from a small handful of local hires and transfers from the Santa Monica office to around 265 staff.

Following up on an in-person officewide celebration in January, staff once again gathered—this time over Zoom—to reflect on how the Pittsburgh office has changed over the past 20 years.

RAND Pittsburgh office staff held a virtual 20th anniversary celebration on August 27, 2020, screenshot montage by Jan Osburg

Screenshot montage by Jan Osburg

RAND president and CEO Michael D. Rich welcomed attendees, briefly recapped the Pittsburgh office's origin story, and shared some highlights from the early days before turning the proceedings over to the office's director, Catherine Augustine, who introduced a lineup of Pittsburgh-based RANDites hired in each year the Pittsburgh office has been open.

The speakers, on camera from their homes or porches, relayed anecdotes from their first days as RAND employees and described an office environment that became familiar to more and more attendees as the event progressed. Naturally, these reminiscences verged into wistfulness as some speakers reflected on the pandemic's impact and their hopes to see colleagues in person again soon.

New Director of RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy

Linda Robinson has been named the new director of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, part of RAND International. She succeeds Dalia Dassa Kaye, who is beginning a nine-month fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

Robinson joined RAND in 2013 as a senior policy researcher. She is a noted author, frequent public speaker, and former foreign correspondent with 30 years of experience in international affairs and national security. Her research and journalism have taken her around the world, including on extensive sojourns in the Middle East and South Asia, and she has testified before Congress on Iraq, special operations forces, and counterterrorism.