06 Jul 1958: How Analytic Services Began
ANSER was created, literally, in the dawn of the Space Age. The U.S.S.R. launched Sputnik in October of 1957. The United States launched Explorer I in January of 1958 and, in October of that year, created NASA. Between these events, in July of 1958, Analytic Services was incorporated.
The Air Force’s need for an Analytic Services had been growing during the year prior. In 1957, the Air Force Director of Development Planning (AFDAP, what later became AF/RDQ) recognized the need for a single contractor to handle the increasing studies—and to do so in a timely and responsive fashion, and without the Air Force having to do a lot of “contractor education” in the process.
That same year, the Scientific Analysis Office was created in Corvey Engineering, which soon was absorbed by Melpar, Inc. (now a part of Raytheon). A single Air Force contract was struck with Melpar, and with it came a problem over access to industry proprietary data. Melpar competed with a number of Air Force vendors, who were reluctant to share proprietary data with a Melpar division.
The problem persisted and, in 1958, the Air Force went looking for a “clean as a hound’s tooth” organization located in the D.C. area. The organization would be everything the Air Force was looking for originally, yet also absent of “conflict of interest” pressures. A list of possible organizations was created.
RAND headed that list, but the CEO of RAND, Frank Collbohm, was reluctant because such a position would be out of character for RAND. There were two things required of this responsive, objective would-be Air Force organization that RAND did not see as “RAND”: being geographically close to the Air Staff (RAND was located in Santa Monica, California) and doing Air Force-directed studies (versus choosing their own studies to do for the Air Force). Nevertheless, RAND agreed that the Air Force needed such an organization and so said, “Let’s help the Air Force solve this problem.”
With the assistance of RAND, Analytic Services became a not-for-profit corporation in the state of California on July 28, 1958. Frank Collbohm, the RAND CEO, was the first chairman of the board. A little over a week later, an Analytic Services board was elected, comprised of mostly RAND personnel. The man elected to be the company’s first president was Stan Lawwill, who had been at Corvey Engineering.
Analytic Services began operations on September 15, 1958, with a $3 million loan from RAND. Twenty-five technical and ten support personnel comprised the original staff. Of those thirty-five people, twenty-nine were from the original Melpar team. Among them were mathematicians, economists, and engineers.