Charnes graduated in mathematics from the University of Illinois in 1938, followed by a Master’s in 1939. He then took a graduate scholarship at Harvard. Charnes’ Harvard studies were interrupted by World War II. In the Naval Reserve, he worked in torpedo performance and control, supersonic ﬂight, ﬁre control, and weapon damage assessment. At this time, he also did the ﬁrst US pro-submarine operations research. Following his Naval service, he completed his doctoral dissertation at Illinois in 1947.