Director, Strategy and Doctrine Program (SDP), Project AIR FORCE (PAF)

RAND Corporation
Santa Monica, California 90401
  • Job Type
  • Job Status
    Full Time

RAND Corporation’s Project AIR FORCE is seeking candidates for the Director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program (SDP). This position reports to the Vice President and Director of Project AIR FORCE.


Overview of Project AIR FORCE


The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. As a nonpartisan organization, RAND is widely respected for operating independent of political and commercial pressures.


One of seven research divisions at RAND, Project AIR FORCE conducts research and analysis on national security issues for the U.S. Air Force. Originally known as Project RAND, Project AIR FORCE was established in 1946 by General H. H. "Hap" Arnold. Since its founding, Project AIR FORCE has remained the only Air Force federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) concerned entirely with studies and analyses rather than systems engineering or scientific laboratories. The special FFRDC status facilitates stable USAF support over an extended period of years as well as substantial access by the research staff to Air Force leaders and relevant information.


Within Project AIR FORCE, the Strategy and Doctrine Program identifies and analyzes problems in the global environment that may affect U.S. national security, in general, and Department of the Air Force (DAF) strategy and operations, in particular.  Toward this end, SDP conducts research on traditional security challenges, emerging threats to U.S. interests, and the political and military developments in regions where the United States has national security interests. SDP analyzes the character of potential future demands on the DAF within these contexts and the implications of these demands.  SDP and its researchers maintain competency in great power competition, global security, security cooperation, defense of the homeland, and special expertise on air and space strategy and doctrine.




The Program Director is responsible for leading and guiding all aspects of the program’s research agenda in a manner consistent with RAND’s mission to improve policy and decisionmaking through objective and innovative research and analysis.


To conduct this research, the program draws upon researchers from a range of disciplines, including political science, Chinese and Russian expertise, international relations, and defense analysis. The SDP director proactively adapts the research emphasis to stay on the cutting edge of policy issues within the program’s domains; helps to recruit, retain, develop, and lead researchers; ensures the quality of the program’s research; and works externally to enhance the visibility and policy impact of Project AIR FORCE.


The SDP Director, reporting to the Vice President and Director of Project AIR FORCE, must:

  • Evaluate, oversee and provide intellectual leadership for complex, multi-disciplinary analysis;

  • Manage a portfolio of projects on time and on budget without sacrificing quality;

  • Ensure that briefings, written reports, and other products meet RAND standards for quality and objectivity;

  • Help maintain a world-class research staff by supporting recruiting, mentoring, and staff development;

  • Provide advice to the Vice President and Director of Project AIR FORCE as part of the leadership team; and

  • Continually demonstrate ethical behavior and a strong commitment to RAND’s core values of quality and objectivity.


The Program Director position carries 100% coverage and is a five-year renewable term with management approval.




The successful candidate will demonstrate:

  • Experience working directly with senior national security officials, with Air Force experience strongly preferred;

  • A reputation for excellence in policy research and deep knowledge of the policy environment through experience in academia, government, or elsewhere;

  • Evidence of excellent strategic leadership and organizational management capabilities, including a commitment to principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and

  • A track record of organizational management success, including the ability to build client relationships and business and to maintain and manage a complex research program.



Education Requirements

Master’s degree in relevant field is required; Ph.D. is strongly preferred.




Experience equivalent to RAND senior level researcher (with a minimum of 8+ years required conducting policy research and 10+ years of experience desired), Experience working in both FFRDC and non-FFRDC environments is desirable.



Security Clearance

An active SECRET clearance is required; must be eligible for a TOP SECRET clearance.



Writing Sample Required

A writing sample is required for this position.




Washington DC; Pittsburgh, PA; Santa Monica, CA



Application Review: Will begin August 30th, 2021.




Equal Opportunity Employer: race/color/religion/sex/sexual orientation/gender identity/national origin/disability/vet


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Director, Strategy and Doctrine Program (SDP), Project AIR FORCE (PAF)

RAND Corporation
Santa Monica, California 90401

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