Former RAND Vice President George Tanham Dies At 81
April 4, 2003
George K. Tanham, who was vice president in charge of RAND's Washington office from 1970 to 1982, died March 29 after an extended illness in Arlington, VA. He was 81.
Tanham joined RAND in 1955 and held several positions before retiring in 1987, including leading Project AIR FORCE from 1970 to 1975. He also served on the RAND Board of Trustees and was an advisory trustee at the time of his death. He continued to write on international security issues, especially regarding South Asia, after his retirement.
Tanham's career in government included serving as associate director for counterinsurgency of the U.S Agency for International Development in South Vietnam from 1964-1965, and as special assistant for counterinsurgency to the American ambassador in Thailand from 1968-1970.
A native of Tenafly, NJ, Tanham was a graduate of Princeton University. He served as an artillery officer in Europe during World War II and was a decorated combat veteran. After receiving his Ph.D. in history and political science from Stanford University, he taught military history at Caltech before joining RAND.
In the course of his career, Tanham received numerous fellowships and grants; served on various U.S. government committees; was editor-in-chief of the journal Studies in Conflict and Terrorism; and wrote several books.
He is survived by his wife Kathleen; children George K. Tanham, Jr., Geoff F. Tanham, Alexis T. Doering, Barbara T. Stampora, Maedi T. Carney, Ruth T. Marshall, P. Ramsay Tanham; and 14 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Christ Church Georgetown (31st and O Streets, Washington, DC) at 3:30 p.m. on May 13. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Tanham's name to the Halquist Memorial Inpatient Hospice Center, 4715 N. 15th St., Arlington, VA 22205.