RAND researchers often write commentaries for publications on a variety of topics. For a complete list of all commentaries by RAND staff, visit the RAND Newsroom. The page below lists commentaries topics related to Global Risk and Security.
The history of “small-footprint approaches” should be sobering. It suggests that such approaches are good at preventing allied governments from losing against rebels, but are not very good at actually winning wars.
No one can predict with any certainty what terrorists might do next. If there is one lesson America learned about counterterrorism on 9/11, it's that the coming attack may look nothing like those that preceded it.
This time, the Taliban do not have the luxury of ingratiating themselves as purveyors of justice amidst chaos, only to later reveal themselves as bullying extremists. Moreover, in a post-9/11 world the international community now understands the potential ramifications of allowing such extremism to metastasize unchecked.
The mission of preventing al Qaeda from threatening the U.S. is an enduring one that will require a long-term commitment not just to counterterrorism, but to training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces so that they are better able to prosecute their own campaign against terrorists.
As embattled French president François Hollande prepares for his state visit to Washington next week, defense cooperation is sure to be a bright spot on the agenda — especially when it comes to emerging security challenges in Africa.
Counterterrorism is not just about daring raids and drone strikes. It is about the hard work of collecting and sifting through vast amounts of information and managing relationships among organizations that often regard sharing information as an unnatural act.
Russia seems to be taking prudent steps to make the games the safe and secure display of athleticism and international good fellowship they once were. The outcome hinges on a pair of unknowns: the secret counterterrorism strategies Russian authorities have undertaken and the terrorists' capacity for creativity and surprise.
Americans should be able to discuss the terrorist threat and how best to meet it, how much of the country’s precious resources should be devoted to homeland security, and the impact intelligence efforts can have on personal privacy and freedom.
Given Russian capabilities, it would be surprising if a terrorist group was able to mount a successful large-scale, coordinated attack during the Games. For spectators and athletes alike, the more likely threat will be from individuals, acting alone outside of arenas and other official venues.
From the Black September attacks on Israeli athletes in 1972, to the post 9/11 games in Salt Lake City, to the 2012 games in London, security has been a concern at all modern Olympics. Recent terrorist attacks in Russia, though, present particular concern as the world's athletes descend on Sochi.
Over the past month, al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made a concerted effort to seize the Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah. The attacks have received a lot of attention, but ISIS does not represent a majority of Iraqi Sunni in Anbar. Many Sunni Anbari leaders continue to reject al Qaeda.
The effects of security measures ought not to be measured solely in terms of prevention. Different types of countermeasures produce different effects, such as deterrence, making it easier for security to intervene during an attempted attack, and providing visible security that reassures the public.
Maritime terrorism and piracy pose a security threat to tanker transportation around the world. The European Commission (DG MOVE) has commissioned RAND Europe to lead a study on the possible consequences of a deliberate attack against liquefied natural gas, oil and chemical tankers. The study considers a range of potential threat scenarios and seeks to inform discussion on effective mitigation strategies in the face of these threats.
The American investment in Syria thus far can be accurately described as timid and minimal. The United States can do more to assist the rebels without directly using American military power or sliding into a strategy of escalation.
Recent comments by key U.S. lawmakers have again raised the issue of where the United States is in its campaign against al Qaeda. This has left some to wonder if the terrorism threat is increasing and if Americans are not as safe as they were a year or two ago. Three senior RAND analysts offer their take.