May 9, 2018
In 2018, the RAND Corporation celebrated its 70th anniversary. In many respects, the difference between RAND today and the organization that was created in 1948 is substantial and dramatic. We started with one client — the U.S. Air Force — and over the past seven decades, we have generated ideas and solutions for thousands of clients and other stakeholders around the world. Today, RAND's analytic expertise is uniquely broad. In this volume, we illustrate just some of the many ways that RAND has helped improve policy and decisionmaking in such areas as health, education, civil and criminal justice, national security, international affairs, public safety, science and technology, and cyber and data sciences.
The mix of studies, singular accomplishments, and streams of research and analysis included in this book exemplifies RAND's range, originality, and influence. The selections are listed in no particular order but are intended to reflect the breadth of our increasingly diversified research agenda. Taken together, the selections reveal a common motif: our ability to have a positive impact on the world by applying rigorous and objective analysis to challenging problems. That aspiration has guided RAND ever since it was established.
In the early days of RAND, much of our research was not widely available. This created an air of mystery about RAND and a sense of inaccessibility regarding this endeavor called "public policy research." Today, RAND seeks to demystify; to be a reliable source of facts in policy debates; and to extend the reach of our findings and recommendations through translations of our reports into Chinese and Arabic, through engagement at events and conferences, and by making our publications available online, free and accessible to all.
RAND's core values of quality and objectivity are at the heart of our efforts to combat Truth Decay — the diminishing role of facts and analysis in political and civil discourse. Although not an entirely new phenomenon, the threat Truth Decay poses to democracy seems particularly virulent, as citizens have become increasingly unable to agree on a set of objective facts and have grown deeply mistrustful of key institutions, such as the government and the media. RAND's approach to problem-solving is needed now more than ever, and we are committed to helping restore the foundational role of facts and data in public life.
If you take one thing away from this book, perhaps it will be this: Public policy need not be inaccessible. It is about real people, real places, real organizations, real solutions. RAND's work in the public interest seeks to have a lasting positive effect on you, your family, your community, and your world.