David Rist Prize

Headshot of Mr. David A. Rist

About the David Rist Prize

First awarded in 1965, this prize was named after Mr. David A. Rist, a founder of MORS, after his sudden passing in January 1969. The Rist Prize recognizes the practical benefit that sound operations research can have on real life decision making, and seeks the best implemented national security operations research study from those submitted in response to a call for nominations. Recipients have influenced major decisions or practices through excellent applied analyses and research.

The final Rist Prize Competition is held at the annual MORS Symposium, where the winner will be announced. The winner receives a $3,000 cash prize and will be invited to present their work during the Symposium. Honorable mentions may receive up to $1,500. The call for nominations is released annually in the winter.


  • To honor Mr. David A. Rist, a former member of the MORS Board of Directors and founder of the Society who held the position of Second Vice President from 1967-1968 and chaired the 19th MORS Symposium.
  • To recognize the meaningful, real, and practical benefit that sound operations research can have on real-life decision making.
  • To provide recognition to operations research practitioners whose study/project recommendations were implemented, in order to reward them and to encourage a high degree of excellence in national security operations research. 


A panel of MORS Prizes and Awards Committee judges will review and evaluate submitted nomination packets, selecting up to 4 finalists based on the established criteria of impact, professional quality, and overall contribution.

  • Nominees may be individuals or groups conducting work up to the SECRET classification level.
  • Nominations must be for original, implemented, and self-contained contributions to systems or operations research analysis that has provided recognizable new insights into problem(s) or solution(s) and impacted major decisions.

Finalists will be assigned a senior mentor of the society, who will guide the nominee through the final competition. Each finalist will prepare an annotated briefing, which they will present to select judges on the Monday of the annual MORS Symposium.

Judging Criteria:

  • Professional quality
  • Problem definition
  • Citation of related work
  • Description of approach
  • Statement of assumptions
  • Explanation of methodology
  • Analysis of data and sources
  • Sensitivity of analyses (where appropriate)
  • Logical development of analysis and conclusions
  • Summary of presentation and results
  • Contribution to national security operations research and major decisions
  • Importance of the problem
  • Contribution to insight or solution of the problem
  • Power of generality of the result
  • Originality and innovation
  • Contribution of the study to the decision

Disclosure Forms

Past Award Winners

2023 - Mr. Thomson W. McFarland, Mr. Michael Farrey, Mr. Andrew Pinto, Mr. Richard Stinson (CTR), and Capt Pat Kelly, USAF

2022 - MAJ Christine C. Krueger, CPT Marty Harris, LTC Spencer Timmons, LTC Christy Licklider, MAJ(R) Harvey Smith, Dr. Joshua Jones, MAJ Michael Lee, Dallas Kuchel, and Craig Flewelling

2021 - MAJ Michael Miller, MAJ Kevin Porter, MAJ James McCray, Mr. Ryan Foullon, M. Matthew Harder, Dr. Jennifer Tarin-Robeck

2020 - Ms. Emily Johnson, Mr. Jake Taylor

2019 - Mr. Christopher Way

2018 - Mr. Brian Rose

2017 - Denis R. Shine and Nicholas K. Kempt

2016 - Mr. Ian Kloo, Mr. Robert Greenway, LTC Sam Huddleston, Michal Haskell, Mr. Abe Usher

2015 - Brian Rose

2014 - Mr. Saiful Hannan

2013 - LtCol David Scott, Capt Aaron Burciaga, Ms. Cynthia Cheek, Ms. Janice Scoggins

2012 - MAJ Matt Dabkowski, COL Bradley Pippin

2011 - Prof. Milind Tambe, Prof. Fernando Ordonez, Mr. Manish Jain, Mr. James Pita, Prof. Christopher Kiekintveld, Erroll Southers, James B. Curren

2010 - Mr. John Andrews, Mr. Patrick McKenna, Ms. Karen Phipps

2009 - Mr. Joseph Mlakar of Marine Corps Combat Development Command

2008 - MAJ Steven J. Sparling, Dr. Robert F. Dell

2007 - Dr. Edward S. Michlovich

2006 - LTC Steven Stoddard, LTC Mark Brantley, LTC Clark Heidelbaugh

2005 - John Zeto, Mark Brantley, Galeraye Collins

2004 - Mark A. Gallagher, Bud Whiteman

2003 - Mark A. Gallagher, Anthony W. Snodgrass and Gregory J. Ehlers

2001 - H. Kent Pickett, W Peter Cherry

2000 - Michael Fischerkeller, Wade Hinkle, Stephen D. Biddle

1999 - Lee J. Lehmkuhl, David J. Lucia, James K. Feldman

1998 - Paul H. Deitz, Michael W. Starks