Project RAND began work in December 1945. Its raison d’être was to connect military planning with research and development decisions in both the public and private sectors; the idea was to preserve and develop the close liaison and team work that had arisen during the Second World War between the United States military, other US government agencies, private industry, and the universities.
Project RAND began life under special contract to the Douglas Aircraft Company and quickly evolved into an organization with 200 staff, including mathematicians, engineers, physicists, chemists, economists and psychologists. In February 1948 the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force approved the spinning off of Project RAND into a not-for-profit corporation, independent of both the Douglas Aircraft Company and the armed forces: this led to the creation of the RAND Corporation in May 1948 and the transfer of Project RAND’s contracts to the new corporation in November that year.
The express purpose of the Corporation is the development of non-partisan research and analyses to assist policy makers in all branches and levels of government and the private sector in the interests of “the public welfare and security of the United States of America.”
The RAND Corporation is, like the Internet, the product of United States armed forces’ planning and research, and like the Internet, it has moved far beyond its initial focus and concerns. It aims to produce objective research and analysis of use to policy makers throughout the world; it is independent of political and commercial affiliations and interests. Consequently, it is a valuable resource for anybody interested in understanding contemporary political, economic, and social developments.