Armed Conflict

RAND researchers examine military and national security issues across a broad spectrum — from political dissent and military training to tactical operations and reconstruction efforts — and take a long-term, global perspective. Terrorism, types of warfare, and international intervention are among the many topics RAND explores.

  • Report

    Assessing Locally Focused Stability Operations

    This report describes how to best measure and assess the progress and outcomes of locally focused stability operations -- the missions, tasks, and activities that create stability by building security, governance, and development in a community.

    Aug 21, 2014

  • Research Brief

    Best Practices for Assessing Locally Focused Stability Operations

    Locally focused stability operations (LFSO) to build security, development, and governance are difficult to assess because of the complexity of operational environments. This brief outlines creation of an assessment plan for a notional LFSO scenario.

    Aug 21, 2014

  • Report

    Measuring Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP) Performance: Capacities, Capabilities, and Sustainability Enablers for Biorisk Management and Biosurveillance

    This report describes a project to develop a comprehensive evaluation framework for the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program and recommends metrics for assessing and communicating progress toward the program's goals.

    Aug 21, 2014

  • People walk along the street soon after, what locals say, was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk on August 20, 2014

    Blog

    Make Russia an Offer on Ukraine It Can't Refuse

    An international initiative that does not appear to emanate from NATO or the EU could help bring Russia to the table, in part by accepting that Moscow, too, has a role. An international peacekeeping force could open the way for a negotiated end to the conflict.

    Aug 20, 2014

  • U.S. President Barack Obama meets with the National Security Council in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington

    Blog

    Taking It One Crisis at a Time

    The main difference between the immediate post-Cold War decade and the post-9/11 era as regards the variety of international challenges is that during that earlier period these challenges were faced and dealt with seriatim, rather than allowed to accumulate.

    Aug 19, 2014

  • Syrian refugees walk amid damage and the remains of tents that were burnt in the fighting between Lebanese army soldiers and Islamist militants in the Sunni Muslim border town of Arsal, August 9, 2014

    Blog

    To Fight ISIS, Make Peace with Syria's Assad

    To disrupt al-Baghdadi's advance, the United States and its allies should start by addressing the source of the problem — the conflict in Syria. They can begin by negotiating a truce with President Bashar Assad to stop the fighting in Syria.

    Aug 14, 2014

  • Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from the Islamic State, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, August 11, 2014

    Blog

    What's Going on in Iraq?

    While the United States could embark on a much wider war in Iraq, there's little reason to think it will rush to do so or that using airpower to help defend the Kurds will make such an escalation inevitable.

    Aug 14, 2014

  • Tool

    Vulnerability Assessment Method Pocket Guide: A Tool for Center of Gravity Analysis

    This pocket guide describes a process for identifying adversary, friendly, and other key stakeholder centers of gravity to support the development of plans that will exploit adversary vulnerabilities while protecting friendly ones.

    Aug 14, 2014

  • A man purported to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State, allegedly in what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in Mosul, Iraq

    Blog

    Hitting ISIS Where It Hurts: Disrupt Its Cash Flow in Iraq

    President Obama's decision last week to conduct airstrikes against ISIS and send humanitarian aid will help buy time for both Iraqi and Kurdish forces to regroup. But Baghdad needs a strategy that aligns the political and economic interests of all Iraqis to hit ISIS where it hurts: its war chest.

    Aug 13, 2014

  • U.S. and Jordanian Armed Forces taking part in a joint-training exercise to improve future security operations

    Periodical

    Security Cooperation Bears Fruit, Depending on the Soil and Seeds

    On the whole, U.S. security cooperation appears to make real contributions toward reducing fragility in partner countries, especially at the lower end of the cost spectrum. The effect was weakest in countries that were less democratic and most at risk of state failure.

    Aug 7, 2014

  • Report

    How Deployments Affect the Capacity and Utilization of Army Treatment Facilities

    This study examines how the Army's Force Generation (ARFORGEN) deployment cycle affects capability and soldier health care utilization at Army military treatment facilities and how it affects family health care utilization.

    Aug 7, 2014

  • U.S. soldiers on patrol in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan, April 24, 2012

    Blog

    Iraq's Lessons for Afghanistan

    The successes of ISIS and other Sunni groups have raised important questions about the wisdom of America's decision to withdraw U.S. military forces from Iraq in 2011. They raise equally significant questions about the U.S. decision to exit Afghanistan in the future.

    Aug 4, 2014

  • A militant Islamist fighter films his fellow fighters in a parade in Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014

    Blog

    An Evil Wind

    The threat of global terrorist enterprises has been enhanced by Western fighters joining al Qaeda offshoots like the Islamic State. With the terrorist threat evolving, the United States has little choice but to evolve with it.

    Jul 31, 2014

  • Capt. James T. Jones, commanding officer of the USS Shiloh, greets Rear Adm. Zhang Wendan of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy

    Multimedia

    China: The Reluctant Partner

    There's a high probability that the establishment of a U.S. Global SOF Network will reinforce Beijing's extreme insecurities about Washington's intentions towards China, and heighten Chinese perceptions of enhanced US military encirclement capabilities. However, if China is invited to partner with U.S. Special Operations Forces, this may alter Chinese thinking on military cooperation.

    Jul 30, 2014

  • French Army General Bernard Barrera (L) speaks with a soldier during a patrol in northern Mali, March 23, 2013

    Blog

    France Gets Tougher on Terrorism

    The launch of Barkhane, a new military operation by France, signals a change. Rather than simply reacting to an emergency as it did in Mali, France is committing to a long-term counterterrorism campaign, a much greater and more public commitment. This is welcome news for the U.S.

    Jul 29, 2014

  • Soldiers entering building

    Testimony

    Jihadist Sanctuaries in Syria and Iraq

    The large number of Western violent extremists in sanctuaries like Syria and Iraq requires the adoption of policies and practices in the U.S. homeland and overseas to ensure that these extremists are detected if they return to the West and, more broadly, to reduce the flow of foreign fighters from the West.

    Jul 24, 2014

  • Report

    Enhancing Performance Under Stress: Stress Inoculation Training for Battlefield Airmen

    USAF pararescue and combat controllers routinely recover downed or injured military personnel and direct military aircraft in hostile or denied regions. Consequently, to be effective in these careers requires the ability to cope with severe stress.

    Jul 23, 2014

  • Testimony

    Building on the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review to Improve the Effectiveness and Efficiency of the Department of Homeland Security: Addendum

    Document submitted on July 18, 2014 as an addendum to testimony presented before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency on June 20, 2014.

    Jul 18, 2014

  • A Free Syrian Army fighter throws a Molotov cocktail in West Aleppo December 2013

    Report

    Getting to Negotiations in Syria

    It appears that there is almost no prospect for a negotiated solution to the civil war in Syria in the near term. This is because the Syrian factions believe — perhaps rightly — that they have more to gain by carrying on the fight than by negotiating toward peace.

    Jul 14, 2014

  • Mehdi Army fighters loyal to a Shi'ite cleric march during a military-style training in Najaf, June 18, 2014

    Blog

    A Long-Term Strategy for a Democratic Iraq

    Unfortunately, no strategic option for a unified, democratic Iraq has a good chance of success. But any well-considered option that doesn't involve ineffective killing or risking U.S. lives is preferable to simply allowing Iraq to disintegrate and feed broader regional instability.

    Jun 30, 2014