About RAND National Security

RAND began studying issues affecting the safety and security of the United States and its allies in the waning days of World War II. It has pursued such research continuously ever since, broadening over the years both its areas of analyses and its base of clients and grantors. The hallmark of RAND's national security work is multidisciplinary research that is rigorous and nonpartisan and that informs and is informed by the policy process.

Through its long-term investment in federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs), the U.S. government has built a network of institutions with unique analytical and technical capabilities. RAND's aid to decisionmakers, its intellectual capital, and its public service are possible largely because of the close sponsor involvement, stable funding, and long-term continuity that FFRDCs provide. In the national security realm, RAND operates three FFRDCs. The oldest, RAND Project AIR FORCE, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Air Force. The RAND National Defense Research Institute is sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the defense agencies, the Unified Commands, and the Joint Staff. The RAND Arroyo Center is sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army.

The FFRDC relationship enables RAND to work closely with the institutions responsible for our national security, helping them tackle problems that require the sustained analytical attention of many disciplines over many years. Through this continuous connection with decisionmakers, RAND has developed unsurpassed expertise on issues of policy concern and on the technological, operational, and resource dimensions of those issues.

RAND has chronicled its first half-century of major national security research contributions in a book commemorating its relationship with the U.S. Air Force.

RAND National Security Research Areas

Global security environment research focuses on:

  • world political, military, and economic trends; 
  • the sources of potential regional conflict; and 
  • emerging threats to U.S. national security.

Structuring and employing military forces research focuses on: 

  • the development of effective security structures; 
  • force employment concepts; and 
  • analytic techniques.

Personnel, training, and health policy research focuses on:

  •  the most critical element of an effective military capability--people.

Military logistics and infrastructure research focuses on:

  • logistics systems and policies; and
  • strategies for creating an effective and efficient defense infrastructure.

Military acquisition and technology policy research focuses on:

  • preserving America's technology edge  -- on a budget.

RAND National Security Research Grantors


The RAND Environment

National security studies typically draw upon research talent from throughout RAND. For example, RAND possesses analytic depth in psychology, sociology, and demography, all of which RAND has used in conducting studies of personnel issues.  For example, the RAND Transportation, Space, and Technology Program investigates national policies regarding scientific and technical education, research and development, and regulatory practices that inhibit or promote technology and investments. RAND Health conducts research on the cost and quality of our nation's health care system; RAND's health research findings have had a direct, immediate impact on military health policy. RAND Europe conducts research on defense and security.

Numerous other RAND research centers provide specialists with skills that prove particularly useful when investigating policy issues in areas such as: