Policy Currents Newsletter, April 17, 2014 | RAND

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Policy Currents

RAND research and commentary on the issues that matter most.

Momentum Builds to Help Military Caregivers

A soldier holds his wife's hand

One week after RAND published a report detailing the heavy burden borne by the families and friends caring for America's disabled veterans, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden hosted a White House event focused on military caregivers. A day earlier, Sen. Patty Murray introduced a bill that would boost federal support of caregivers. This attention to the issue is encouraging, say study authors Rajeev Ramchand and Terri Tanielian. In a new RAND Blog post, they offer four recommendations for those who want to help. Read more »

In Cold War Reversal, Today's Russia Is Outgunned in Europe

Soldiers in the U.S. Army's Joint Multinational Training Command stand at attention

Soldiers with the U.S. Army's Joint Multinational Training Command. Photo by U.S. Army Europe

The Russian occupation of Crimea has resurrected concerns about the balance of military power in Europe. Although the U.S. presence in Europe is far smaller today than during the Cold War, the military balance strongly favors NATO, says David Shlapak. The Soviet Union once had 100 divisions to drive into West Germany; today's Russian army boasts about 25 divisions total. "Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Germany alone field more divisions than Russia has in its western military district," Shlapak says. Read more »

Putin May Be Poised to Join History's Great Military Blunderers

A Ukrainian rally against Russia's annexation of Crimea

A Ukrainian rally against Russia's annexation of Crimea. Photo by Reuters/Yevgeny Volokin

By annexing Crimea, Vladimir Putin has single-handedly put Russia's shaky economy at risk, awakened Europe from a strategic coma, and sparked more foreign competition in the natural gas market. Now, with his eyes on Ukraine, Russia's president may be poised to follow in the footsteps of history's great military blunderers, say David Gompert and Hans Binnendijk. In a new Foreign Policy piece, they examine famous military misjudgments and conclude that there are modern parallels to make one hope that Putin learns from the past, rather than repeats it. Read more »

By Leaving ICANN, the U.S. Bolsters Internet Freedom, Openness

An iPad user in Shanghai, China accesses Facebook

An iPad user in Shanghai, China accesses Facebook. Photo by Reuters/Carlos Barria

In March, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a plan to end its oversight of ICANN, the organization that matches Internet domain names with the correct IP addresses. Some observers have accused Washington of "giving up control of the Internet." However, Stacie Pettyjohn says that the decision will help ensure Internet freedom and openness, especially in light of the NSA scandal and attempts by China and Russia to exert more influence over Internet governance." Read more »

Promising Initiative Brings Primary Care to the Mentally Ill

A physician offers help as a man clutches his head

In any given year, more than 4 percent of U.S. adults suffer from disabling mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. These Americans also experience higher rates of chronic physical illness and have difficulty accessing quality preventive physical health care. RAND recently evaluated a promising new solution—bringing primary care to the community health centers where many mentally ill adults receive psychiatric treatment. Read more »

Air Force Budget Cuts Could Jeopardize U.S. Readiness

U.S. Air Force airmen show support to reservists deploying to Afghanistan

U.S. Air Force airmen show support to reservists deploying to Afghanistan. Photo by Capt. Cathleen Snow/U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force's latest budget plan proposes to cut 25,000 airmen, including 21,000 from the active duty and 4,000 from the reserves. These cuts represent not only a loss to U.S. investment in military training, say Janine Davidson and Margaret Harrell, but also an increased risk from losing the ability to "surge" these skilled airmen in a future crisis. According to the authors, there is a better, less risky way forward. Read more »

How RAND Made an Impact in 2013

A physician offers help as a man clutches his head

RAND is dedicated to finding solutions to the world's most intractable problems. So what has RAND done lately? In 2013, we quantified how the Affordable Care Act would impact young Americans, reported on the limited benefits of airstrikes against Syria, changed how Washington state estimates marijuana consumption, highlighted the cost-effectiveness of prison education, and identified best practices for school district summer learning programs, among other things. Learn more in our annual report. Read more »

The Rundown

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Trending Reports

A selection of the newest and most-discussed research from RAND.

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Haskins Lecture on Science Policy: Breakthrough Technologies for National Security
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RAND Behavioral Finance Forum 2014
May 30, 2014

RAND in the News

A selection of news reporting on RAND research and commentary.

Iran Escalates Dispute Over U.N. Envoy
The New York Times

Al Qaeda Runs Photo of SFO Tram: 'Assemble Your Bomb'
San Francisco Chronicle

Hackonomics: Street Prices for Black Market Bugs

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