The RAND Strategic Rethink

What are America's international ambitions? What level of international engagement are Americans prepared to support? How might the next president exercise leadership in a tumultuous world, and to what end? Is there a coherent national strategy for diplomacy and defense that aligns interests with the means to achieve them?

The RAND Strategic Rethink project explores these important questions. Our experts are producing a guide for policymakers, citizens, educators, and the media on the most critical global choices and challenges facing the country.

The latest volume, by Charles Ries, offers eight recommendations for strengthening U.S. national security decisionmaking and oversight of policy implementation.

In the coming months, the Strategic Rethink series will continue to explore issues key to understanding America's future role in a turbulent world.

Previous Volumes in the Series

Volume One What are the major choices facing the next American administration?

  • Foreign Policy Challenges on the Campaign Trail

    Foreign and security policy will play a significant role in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election. The campaign offers voters a wide spectrum of responses to the challenges of militant Islamism, ties with China and Russia, dealings with rogue states such as North Korea, and free trade.

  • U.S. Could Push One-State Solution to Bring About Israel-Palestine Peace

    If the next U.S. administration were to conclude that perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian status quo for another eight years was unacceptable or unachievable, it might begin speaking of the one-state solution not as its preferred outcome, but as one more acceptable than no solution at all.

  • Interdependence Day: Contending with a New Global Order

    A team of RAND experts took a sober look at the threats facing the United States and developed a playbook of strategies to address them.

  • Reports of Global Disorder Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

    Deterring Russia, channeling growing Chinese power, and working with others to dismantle the Islamic State are daunting challenges—but not greater than rebuilding post-World War II Europe, containing the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War, and promoting democratic governance throughout much of the modern world.

Volume Two How can the United States better align defense resources and strategy?

  • If We Keep Cutting Defense Spending, We Must Do Less

    The United States is underinvesting in defense and other instruments of national influence just when they are most needed. Improving defenses needn't require Cold War levels of expenditure but Americans should look realistically at the demands being placed on their forces and generate the revenues to meet those demands.

Volume Three What approach should America take to foreign affairs?