Arms Race

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The U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race ended in détente, but nuclear development efforts and WMD proliferation in India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran have caused geopolitical instability since the Cold War's end. RAND has applied strategic analysis to nuclear confrontation scenarios and international deterrence efforts since its earliest work on game theory, with particular focus on the roles of both diplomacy and missile defense systems in global as well as regional security.

  • U.S. President Barack Obama attends a press conference with Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang at the Presidential Palace Compound in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 23, 2016, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Has Obama Lifted the Arms Sales Ban on Vietnam?

    May 25, 2016

    The lifting of the Vietnam arms embargo needs to be understood as part of the long process of normalizing relations with a former U.S. enemy and building toward a more cooperative, economically dynamic, and strategic future-oriented relationship.

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a statement that sanctions will be lifted on Iran after the IAEA verified that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal, January 16, 2016, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    Iran, Terrorism, and Nonproliferation After the Nuclear Deal

    Jan 28, 2016

    As Iran re-enters global markets, the Obama administration needs a strategy that accounts for the nuclear deal's potentially adverse implications for U.S. counterterrorism policy as well as its advantages for nonproliferation policy.

Explore Arms Proliferation and Control

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at United Nations headquarters in New York, April 27, 2015

    Commentary

    The End of Nuclear Proliferation?

    As the last case of nuclear proliferation fades further into history, it may become politically difficult to allocate resources to preventing it as other pressing threats, such as bio- and cyber-terrorism, continue to emerge. The time to act to keep nuclear proliferation a thing of the past is now.

    Jul 26, 2016

  • World foreign ministers/secretaries of state in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015, when Iran and six major world powers reached a nuclear deal

    Q&A

    RAND Experts Q&A on the Iran Nuclear Deal, One Year Later

    Looking back on the past year, five RAND experts respond to a series of critical questions about the Iran nuclear deal, its implementation, and potential challenges ahead.

    Jul 12, 2016

  • The 9T250-1 transporter and loader vehicle for a Russian Iskander-M system

    Report

    Weighing the Potential Value of Theater Ballistic Missiles in the Pacific

    The U.S. Department of State concluded in 2014 that Russia is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty. If the treaty cannot be revived, the U.S. Army should assess the value of adding conventional land-based theater ballistic missiles to its portfolio of strike capabilities.

    Jun 28, 2016

  • Small arms and rocket-propelled grenades found by Marines from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment in a house in Fallujah

    Project

    Working Towards a Globalised Arms Trade Treaty

    To improve the understanding of the concerns and challenges experienced by Member States not part of the Arms Trade Treaty, RAND Europe is conducting a research project sponsored by the United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR) focusing on South and South-East Asia.

    May 6, 2016

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a meeting dealing with the commissioning of military products at the National Defense Control Center in Moscow, March 11, 2016

    Commentary

    How Russia Undermines Nuclear Security

    Russian aggression in Ukraine and nuclear saber rattling are jeopardizing the very global nonproliferation efforts that this week's Nuclear Security Summit in Washington seeks to further. Moscow's actions deserve a stronger response than they have received.

    Apr 1, 2016

  • RAND's Alireza Nader (right) discusses the future of Iran with Dan Simpson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at RAND's Pittsburgh office, March 30, 2016

    Blog

    Impact of Iran Nuclear Deal Discussed at RAND Event

    The Iran nuclear deal has been the subject of strong criticism from U.S. presidential candidates, including promises to scrap the agreement in favor of taking a much tougher stance with Iran. But should a president “tear up” the deal on his or her first day in office? What would be the outcome for the United States?

    Apr 1, 2016

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Where Is Iran Headed?

    Ali Nader, author of The Days After a Deal with Iran: Continuity and Change in Iranian Foreign Policy, offers insights into Iranian politics, the effect of sanctions relief on the Iranian economy, and Iran's role in regional conflicts.

    Mar 30, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Iran at the White House, January 17, 2016

    Commentary

    The Iran Deal Is Working: What Now?

    U.S. policy will likely continue to balance the tensions between containing and deterring Iran with regional allies, while testing areas where engagement with Iran might either be unavoidable (as in Syria) or desirable (such as in counternarcotics cooperation or efforts to stabilize Afghanistan).

    Mar 9, 2016

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attend a news conference with Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann in Tehran, February 27, 2016

    Blog

    After the Iran Nuclear Deal: Challenges and Opportunities

    A series of panel discussions at RAND today drew a range of opinions on the Iran nuclear deal and its aftermath, but also general agreement that despite some improvement, the agreement has not halted Iran's provocative behavior in the region.

    Mar 3, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Some Things to Think and Some to Do

    Discusses and illuminates the main ideas, words and problems associated with talk and proposals on disarmament.

    Feb 29, 2016

  • Iranian women take part in a reformist campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Tehran February 20, 2016

    Commentary

    New Era with Iran? Not So Fast

    On the whole, ties between the United States and Iran are improving, but to think that a new era in Iran or in U.S.-Iran relations has arrived is a stretch. The U.S. has achieved an important diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, but it still faces the same regime it has since 1979.

    Feb 23, 2016

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after the IAEA verified that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal, January 16, 2016

    Commentary

    Iran Nuclear Deal Is Working, but Challenges Persist

    The nuclear agreement with Iran made sanctions relief contingent on Iran's first having verifiably undertaken steps to dismantle its nuclear program. It has completed these tasks, and it is now the United States' turn to implement its obligations under the deal.

    Jan 19, 2016

  • Two Oregon Army National Guard members make notes from the edge of the blast zone after a simulated dirty bomb detonated during an exercise in Portland, October 16, 2007

    Commentary

    The U.S. Needs to Exercise Leadership at the Biological Weapons Convention

    The world is one rogue microbiologist away from a potentially devastating biological attack. In this new, evolving environment, the United States should establish its goals and objectives and build coalitions to help meet them.

    Dec 28, 2015

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un addresses the fourth conference of artillery personnel of the KPA in Pyongyang, December 5, 2015

    Commentary

    Does North Korea Really Have an H-Bomb?

    Kim Jong Un has claimed that North Korea has an H-bomb. Whether this claim is accurate, or an exaggeration, remains to be seen. But it does highlight how the country's leadership culture requires Kim to periodically demonstrate his power.

    Dec 16, 2015

  • Report

    Confronting Emergent Nuclear-Armed Regional Adversaries: Prospects for Neutralization, Strategies for Escalation Management

    Discusses the challenges associated with potential confrontations between the United States and hostile states with small nuclear arsenals.

    Oct 27, 2015

  • U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) addresses a rally against the Iran nuclear deal at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC, September 9, 2015

    Commentary

    Congress Should Monitor Iran Deal, Not Keep Trying to Kill It

    If Iranian compliance with the nuclear accord is Congress's goal, then legislators should focus on ensuring that the deal is effectively implemented.

    Sep 12, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Iran nuclear agreement in Washington, July 28, 2015

    Commentary

    The Only Iran Deal Alternative Worth Considering

    Now is the time for Washington to prove its leadership and implement the Iran nuclear deal. The alternative is a major diplomatic defeat for America and an unrestricted Iranian nuclear program.

    Aug 30, 2015

  • Iran flag above Tehran skyline

    Commentary

    A Better Deal for Iran

    It is critical for lawmakers to understand there will be serious consequences for rejecting the Iran deal. And those consequences look a lot worse for the United States and its partners than for Iran.

    Aug 24, 2015