John Birkler

Senior Fellow, RAND Corporation

John Birkler is a senior fellow at the RAND Corporation. He has held a variety of research and management positions since joining RAND; From 1998 to 2017, as director of RAND’s Maritime Programs, he managed research for the U.S. Navy, Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), U.S. Coast Guard, the Australian DoD, the UK Ministry of Defence, and mentored U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard executive fellows at RAND.

Birkler’s research spans RDT&E strategies and planning, industrial base, acquisition, management, and organization issues. In addition to the above maritime clients, his research has covered a wide range of aircraft systems (including the Joint Strike Fighter, F-15, F-14, B-1, B-2, A-12, C-5, C-17, F-117, F/A-18 E/F), missiles and munitions (including the advanced cruise missile, the Tomahawk cruise missile, and precision conventional munitions), and surface and subsurface combatants. He also has led studies on the links between the health of the defense industrial base and levels of innovation and competition. His most recent work has involved managing or leading multiple Analyses of Alternatives (AoAs) for the Navy, USMC and Army, and SOCOM, Australian DoD, and leading a high-profile RAND analysis of Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise.

Birkler received his M.S. in nuclear and solid state physics from the University of South Carolina and completed the UCLA Executive Program in Management. After completing his third Command tour, he retired from the Navy Reserve with the rank of Captain.