James A. Thomson, a nuclear physicist and former staff member of the National Security Council, was named president and chief executive officer of the RAND Corp. on Thursday.
Thomson, 44, had been serving as RAND's acting president and CEO since mid-May, when his predecessor, Donald B. Rice, left the private, nonprofit Santa Monica research center to become secretary of the Air Force.
"In appointing Jim as the fourth president in RAND's 41-year history, we are completing a thorough, nationwide search, convinced that we have made the best choice for the institution and the country it serves," RAND Board Chairman Lloyd N. Morrisett said Thursday in announcing Thomson's selection.
After taking a post in 1974 as an analyst in the office of the secretary of defense, Thomson joined the National Security Council staff in 1977, working on the formulation of policy for European-related defense and arms-control matters.