RAND Corporation (Research ANd Development) is a nonprofit global policy think tank first formed to offer research and analysis to the United States armed forces by Douglas Aircraft Company. It is currently financed by the U.S. government and private endowment, corporations including the healthcare industry, universities and private individuals. The organization has long since expanded to working with other governments, private foundations, international organizations, and commercial organizations on a host of non-defence issues. RAND aims for interdisciplinary and quantitative problem solving via translating theoretical concepts from formal economics and the physical sciences into novel applications in other areas; that is, via applied science and operations research. Michael D. Rich is president and chief executive officer of the RAND Corporation.
RAND is also home to the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School, one of the eight original graduate programs in public policy and the first to offer a Ph.D. The program aims to have practical value in that students work alongside RAND analysts on real-world problems. The campus is at RAND's Santa Monica research facility. The Pardee RAND School is the world's largest Ph.D.-granting program in policy analysis. Upon completion of their education, students receive an M.Phil. in public policy analysis-equivalent to a master's degree in public policy (MPP). Unlike many other universities, all PARDEE RAND Graduate School students receive fellowships in order to cover their education costs affording them the opportunity to continue to dedicate their time to engage in research projects also providing them with on-the-job training.  RAND also offers a number of internship and fellowship programs allowing students and outsiders to assist in conducting research for RAND projects. Most of these projects are short-term and are worked on independently with the mentoring of a RAND staff member. 
Since the 1950s, RAND research has helped inform United States policy decisions on a wide variety of issues, including the space race, the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms confrontation, the creation of the Great Society social welfare programs, the digital revolution, and national health care. Its most visible contribution may be the doctrine of nuclear deterrence by mutually assured destruction (MAD), developed under the guidance of then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and based upon their work with game theory. Chief strategist Herman Kahn also posited the idea of a "winnable" nuclear exchange in his 1960 book On Thermonuclear War. This led to Kahn being one of the models for the titular character of the film Dr. Strangelove.
RAND was incorporated as a non-profit organization to "further promote scientific, educational, and charitable purposes, all for the public welfare and security of the United States of America". Its self-declared mission is "to help improve policy and decision making through research and analysis", using its "core values of quality and objectivity".
The achievements of RAND stem from its development of systems analysis. Important contributions are claimed in space systems and the United States' space program, in computing and in artificial intelligence. RAND researchers developed many of the principles that were used to build the Internet. RAND also contributed to the development and use of wargaming.
Current areas of expertise include: child policy, civil and criminal justice, education, health, international policy, labor markets, national security, infrastructure, energy, environment, corporate governance, economic development, intelligence policy, long-range planning, crisis management and disaster preparation, population and regional studies, science and technology, social welfare, terrorism, arts policy, and transportation.
According to the 2005 annual report, "about one-half of RAND's research involves national security issues". Many of the events in which RAND plays a part are based on assumptions which are hard to verify because of the lack of detail on RAND's highly classified work for defense and intelligence agencies. The RAND Corporation posts all of its unclassified reports in full on its website.
Cecil Hastings: Wrote "Approximations for Digital Computers" It has been estimated that this research saved enough machine time and memory (measured in dollar value) to have financed Project RAND for 15 years.
Over the last 60 years, more than 30 Nobel Prize winners have been involved or associated with the RAND Corporation at some point in their careers.
In 1958 Democratic Senator Stuart Symington accused the RAND Corporation of defeatism for studying how the United States might strategically surrender to an enemy power. This led to the passage of a prohibition on the spending of tax dollars on the study of defeat or surrender of any kind. However, the senator had apparently misunderstood, as the report was a survey of past cases in which the United States had demanded unconditional surrender of its enemies, asking whether or not this had been a more favorable outcome to U.S. interests than an earlier, negotiated surrender would have been. In any case, research continued, except RAND carefully avoided using the word "surrender". 
Martin J. Collins. Cold War Laboratory: RAND, the Air Force, and the American State, 1945–1950 (2002, Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press hardcover, part of the Smithsonian History of Aviation and Spaceflight Series; ISBN 1-58834-086-4)
Agatha C. Hughes and Thomas P. Hughes (editors). Systems, Experts, and Computers: The Systems Approach in Management and Engineering, World War II and After (2000, The MIT Press hardcover, part of the Dibner Institute Studies in the History of Science and Technology; ISBN 0-262-08285-3 / 2011, paperback reprint edition; ISBN 0-262-51604-7).
David Jardini. Thinking Through the Cold War: RAND, National Security and Domestic Policy, 1945-1975 (2013, Smashwords; Amazon Kindle; ISBN 9781301158515).