Benjamin Lambeth

Non-Resident Senior Fellow

Dr. Benjamin S. Lambeth assumed this position in July 2011 after a 37-year career as a Senior Research Associate at the RAND Corporation, where he remains an adjunct associate. Before joining RAND in 1975, he served in the Office of National Estimates at the Central Intelligence Agency. Prior to that, he worked for the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Institute for Defense Analyses. From 1970 to 1973, he was a Graduate Associate of the Center for International Affairs and a Teaching Fellow in Government at Harvard University.

A civil-rated pilot, Dr. Lambeth has flown or flown in more than 40 different types of fighter, attack, and jet trainer aircraft with the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and with eight foreign air forces worldwide. He also attended the USAF’s Tactical Fighter Weapons and Tactics Course and Combined Force Air Component Commander Course, the Aerospace Defense Command’s Senior Leaders’ Course, and portions of the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Instructor’s Course. In 1988, he received initial qualification training and a front-seat checkout in the F/A-18 Hornet. In December 1989, he became the first U.S. citizen to fly the Soviet MiG-29 fighter and the first Westerner invited to fly a combat aircraft of any type inside Soviet airspace since the end of World War II. In 2002, he was elected an honorary member of the Order of Daedalians, the national fraternity of U.S. military pilots.

In 2008, Dr. Lambeth was appointed by the Secretary of Defense to serve an eight-year term as a member of the Board of Visitors of Air University, which he completed in 2016. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Air Force Association, the U.S. Naval Institute, the Association of Naval Aviation, the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association, and the Editorial Advisory Boards of Air and Space Power Journal and Strategic Studies Quarterly. He is the author of The Transformation of American Air Power (Cornell University Press, 2000), which won the Air Force Association’s Gill Robb Wilson Award for Arts and Letters in 2001. He also wrote Russia’s Air Power in Crisis (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999); NATO’s Air War for Kosovo (RAND, 2001); Mastering the Ultimate High Ground: Next Steps in the Military Uses of Space (RAND, 2003); Air Power Against Terror: America’s Conduct of Operation Enduring Freedom (RAND, 2005); Air Operations in Israel’s War Against Hezbollah (RAND, 2011); and The Unseen War:Allied Air Power and the Takedown of Saddam Hussein (Naval Institute Press, 2013).


B.S. in Political Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

M.A. in Government
Georgetown University

Ph.D. in Political Science
Harvard University