Jim Thomson


Dr. Jim Thomson is the former CEO of the RAND Corp., a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution that helps improve policy and decisions through research and analysis, which he led from 1989 to 2011. With a staff of more than 1,600 from more than 50 countries, and a Ph.D.-level graduate school, RAND’s research programs address a range of domestic, international, and national security issues.

Aside from his time at Rand, Jim has had a varied career, most of it spent at the intersection of scientific analysis and public policy. He was previously an experimental nuclear physicist and published numerous scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals; he served as a U.S. government official dealing with defense and arms control matters, working both in the Defense Department and at the White House; and he focused on policy research covering a range of international policy issues.

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In a presentation in which questions are strongly encouraged, Jim Thomson shares with this audience a range of insightful stories that he has gathered over the course of his extraordinary career - from his early years as an experimental nuclear physicist; through his time as U.S. government official dealing with defense and arms control matters, both within the Defense Department and the White House; to his later two decade-plus tenure as the CEO of the internationally prestigious RAND Corporation, the nonprofit, nonpartisan institution dedicated to improving policy and decisions. Thomson includes discussion of his interactions with key government figures, reflects on the way in which his early career as a scientist and analyst helped him deal with politics and political figures, and offers his thoughts on the direction of contemporary America.

Appropriate Audience:  Adults, high-school students

Duration: C. 1 hour.

Presenter Requirements: 

  • Means for screening digital presentation

If equipment indicated above is unavailable, please discuss alternatives with Presenter.

Categories: international affairs, politics