Donald B. Rice

June 4, 1939

Brief Biography

Rice Presidential Gallery Photo

Donald B. Rice was born in Frederick, Maryland. He served as twenty-second president of The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS) and seventeenth Secretary of the U.S. Air Force (1989-1993). Rice received a BA from the University of Notre Dame and pursued graduate study at Purdue. He earned his PhD in economics there and afterwards served on active duty as lieutenant and, later, ordnance captain. From 1967 to 1967, he was an assistant professor at the Naval Post Graduate School in California. 

Rice moved to Washington D.C. and became the director of cost analysis in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. By 1969, he was promoted to deputy assistant director of defense for resource analysis. In this capacity, Rice was responsible for cost analysis and manpower logistics. He received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his work during this period. Rice left the Department of Defense in 1970 to work as assistant director in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). At the OMB he managed and wrote proposals for federally budgeted projects pertaining to a variety of areas including agriculture, science and technology, atomic energy, natural resources, space, and transportation. He left the public sector to become the President and CEO of the RAND Corporation in 1972. 

During his seventeen years at RAND, Rice dealt largely with the organization's administration. Nevertheless, he remained an active researcher to a certain degree. In 1975, Rice shared his comments on the proposed liquid metal faster breeder reactor (LMFBR) program requested by the Energy Research and Development Administration administrator. In the late 1970s, Rice saw increased economic and social regulations as having a negative effect on coordination efficiency within the U.S. government. He therefore proposed that the executive branch take a stronger role and that the President should better establish priorities. During his tenure, Rice oversaw the development of a close relationship between RAND and the United States Air Force. Under Rice, the company conducted two major comprehensive studies on the Department of Defense's resource management process. 

Rice left RAND in 1989 when he was appointed Secretary of the Air Force by President George H. W. Bush. In this position he significantly reorganized and reduced the Air Force budget. When Rice left the Air Force at the end of the first Bush administration, he became president and chief operations officer of Teledyne Technologies. In 1996, he moved to Santa Monica, California to hold similar positions with Agensys Corporation. Since 2002, Rice has served on their corporate board of directors. 

In addition to serving as president of TIMS in 1975-1976, Rice was elected a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences in 2002. He holds numerous honorary degrees and was awarded the Wanner Prize by the Military Operations Research Society in 1999. Rice is an active and vocal supporter of the Republican Party, having worked with the campaigns of George W. Bush and John McCain. 

Rice remains a member of RAND's board of trustees in addition to his service as chairman of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, which offers a PhD in public policy and is based at RAND. He is also a member of the equipment advisory committee for the PGA Tour.

Other Biographies

Wikipedia Entry for Donald Rice

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: Donald B. Rice. Accessed February 13, 2015. (link)

US Air Force. About Us: Dr. Donald B. Rice. Accessed February 13, 2015. (link)


University of Notre Dame, BA 1961

Purdue University, MSIE 1962

Purdue University, PhD 1965


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Awards and Honors

Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award 1970

MORS Wanner Award 1999

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

Professional Service

The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS), President 1975-1976

Selected Publications

Burger P. & Rice D. B. (1966) Integer Programming Models of Transportation Systems: An Airline System Example. Herman C. Krannert Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Purdue University: West Lafayette, IN.

Reiter S. & Rice D. B. (1966) Discrete Optimizing Solution Procedures for Linear and Nonlinear Integer Programming Problems. Management Science, 12(11): 829-850.

Alexander A. J. & Rice D. B. (1975) Comments on LMFBR Cost-Benefit Analysis. RAND Corporation: Santa Monica, CA.

Rice D. B. (1979) Regulatory policy: some advice for government and business. RAND Corporation: Santa Monica, CA.

Rice D. (1990) The Manned Bomber and Strategy Deterrence: The US Air Force Perspective. International Security, 15(1): 100-128.

Additional Resources

RAND Corporation. Published Research by Author: Donald B. Rice. Accessed February 13, 2015. (link)