Defense Cooperation


The NATO alliance served its participants well in countering the strategic threat once posed by the Soviet Union, but the rise of other regional powers and coalitions since end of the Cold War has prompted a reevaluation of existing alliances. RAND research has provided policymakers with essential information on how best to forge new defense cooperation agreements and strengthen old alliances to counter emerging security threats.

  • American and world flags as gears, photo by id-work/iStock


    Friends, Foes, and Future Directions: U.S. Partnerships in a Turbulent World

    Jan 5, 2016

    How should the United States manage its relationships with partners and adversaries in a world of shrinking defense budgets and reduced political will for international engagement?

  • Peshmerga soldiers provide security during react-to-contact training near Irbil, Iraq, October 2015, photo by Spc. Tristan Bolden/U.S. Army


    Countering ISIL Requires a Stronger U.S.-Coalition Strategy

    Apr 20, 2016

    While the campaign against ISIL has degraded the group by targeting its leadership and retaking a portion of territory, achieving lasting defeat of ISIL in Iraq and Syria will require increased effort by the U.S. to help train local forces to hold territory. Also, political agreements must be forged to resolve key drivers of conflict among Iraqis and Syrians.

Explore Security Cooperation

  • Ukrainian servicemen take part in a rehearsal for the Independence Day military parade in Kiev, August 19, 2016


    What Ukraine Urgently Needs to Defend Itself

    Many think that the United States should do more to help Ukraine defend itself. Analysis points to the potential of U.S. support for fundamental reform of Ukraine's security sector.

    Oct 16, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama gives a thumbs up after his speech at the Rota naval airbase, near Cadiz, Spain, July 10, 2016


    Transatlantic Relations After Obama

    The Obama era will be remembered as the time when America's leadership role in Europe began to shift. Europeans got more freedom of action, but could no longer outsource their foreign and military responsibilities to Washington. Whether Clinton or Trump is elected president, Europe will have to do more.

    Oct 14, 2016

  • News Release

    U.S. Military Facing Challenges as Other Nations Improve Abilities to Deny Access to Territory

    A United States military strategy based primarily on an ability to deploy troops anywhere it feels necessary will face heightened costs and risks in critical regions by 2025, owing to other nations' improved abilities to deny the U.S. access.

    Oct 12, 2016

  • Supply sergeants for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment's field artillery troop defend a hilltop as a 16th Sustainment Brigade logistics supply column passes by during exercise Saber Junction 15


    As Anti-Access and Area Denial Capabilities Grow, U.S. Needs New Strategy

    A U.S. military strategy based primarily on an ability to deploy troops anywhere deemed necessary will face greater costs and risks in critical regions by 2025. Why? Other nations will get better at denying access. The United States should embrace a multipronged strategy to prevent aggression.

    Oct 12, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama chairs the closing session of the Nuclear Security Summit, focusing on the Counter-ISIL campaign, in Washington, April 1, 2016


    Protect Nuclear Nonproliferation Norms

    Strong and viable global nuclear nonproliferation norms should remain a cornerstone of U.S. security now and into the future. Friends and allies must continue to have confidence in the U.S. strategic nuclear guarantees.

    Oct 9, 2016

  • U.S. Marines with 2nd Tank Assault Amphibian Battalion


    Developing an Assessment, Monitoring, and Evaluation Framework for U.S. Department of Defense Security Cooperation

    This report explores the creation of a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) system for security cooperation assessment, monitoring, and evaluation (AME) by analyzing existing AME practices inside and outside DoD and proposing an implementation framework.

    Oct 6, 2016

  • News Release

    Ukraine's Security Sector Needs Substantial Reform

    An assessment of Ukraine's security sector determines what different institutions need to do and where gaps exist. Roles and responsibilities need to be clarified, and coordination is needed among individual ministries and agencies.

    Oct 5, 2016

  • Ukrainian servicemen take part in a rehearsal for the Independence Day military parade in central Kiev, Ukraine, August 22, 2016


    Security Sector Reform in Ukraine

    The 2014 Maidan revolution created an opportunity for change in a system that had resisted it for 25 years. The Ukrainian security establishment has progressed since then, but its efforts have been insufficient to address the threats now facing the nation.

    Oct 5, 2016

  • U.S. Amb. Samantha Power, South Korean Amb. Hahn Choong-hee, and Japanese Amb. Koro Bessho after the UN Security Council meeting to discuss the latest missile launches by North Korea, New York, September 6, 2016


    On Northeast Asia

    China has been a major proponent of regional security for Northeast Asia but appears disinterested in Republic of Korea (ROK) security against North Korean missile and nuclear weapon threats.

    Sep 23, 2016

  • F-15E Strike Eagles, assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, rest on the flightline at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, September 16, 2016


    Economic Benefits of U.S. Overseas Security Commitments Appear to Outweigh Costs

    U.S. policymakers should carefully weigh the potential losses against the potential gains when considering the desirability of large-scale retrenchments of U.S. overseas security commitments.

    Sep 23, 2016

  • People stand near damaged aid supplies after an airstrike on September 20 on the rebel held Urem al-Kubra town, western Aleppo city, Syria, September 23, 2016


    Time to Bury Plans for Counterterrorism Cooperation with Russia in Syria

    As two recent botched airstrikes indicate, U.S. counterterrorism cooperation with Russia is just too risky and probably wasn't feasible in the first place. There is too little faith between the two countries for meaningful cooperation in this area.

    Sep 23, 2016

  • News Release

    Cutting U.S. Overseas Security Commitments Could Cost U.S. World Trade Billions

    Reducing U.S. overseas security commitments, including troops and security treaties, could lead to greatly reduced trade, with the economic costs estimated to be more than triple any associated savings in U.S. defense spending.

    Sep 22, 2016

  • A formation of C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft fly in formation as they return from the Samurai Surge training mission near Mount Fuji, Japan, June 5, 2012


    The Value of Overseas Security Commitments

    U.S. overseas security commitments have positive and significant effects on both U.S. bilateral trade and non-U.S. global bilateral trade. If commitments were reduced, the economic costs from lost trade would be more than triple any associated savings in defense spending.

    Sep 22, 2016

  • Research Brief

    Economic Benefits of U.S. Overseas Security Commitments Could Far Outweigh Costs

    Amid intensifying debate over U.S. funding and resources, RAND researchers find that the economic benefits of U.S. overseas security commitments could far exceed the costs.

    Sep 21, 2016

  • Tool

    Estimating the Value of Overseas Security Commitments: An Interactive Visualization

    Researchers estimated that U.S. economic losses from major retrenchments of overseas security commitments would be more than triple any gains. This visualization compares different estimated gains and losses from selected retrenchment levels and selected tax, spending, and trade multipliers.

    Sep 21, 2016

  • The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower approaches the Friendship Bridge as it transits the Suez Canal, July 8, 2016


    Egypt's Suez Canal: An Attenuated Lifeline

    The U.S. Navy has enjoyed the luxury of being able to transit the Suez Canal without hindrance for decades. However, the risk of losing access — perhaps quickly and unexpectedly — should inform Navy strategic and operational planning.

    Sep 14, 2016

  • Bullets and firearm on a retail store counter


    Tracing Firearms and Ammunition

    The marking of firearms and ammunition supports effective tracing by enabling identification and efficient record keeping. But currently there are no mandatory, globally accepted standards that regulate firearms marking.

    Sep 9, 2016

  • Report

    U.S.–Japan Alliance Conference: Strengthening Strategic Cooperation

    To better understand the deepening cooperation between the United States and Japan and future prospects for their partnership, RAND commissioned papers by leading experts and hosted a two-day conference in Santa Monica, California, in March 2016.

    Sep 2, 2016

  • French President Francois Hollande and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian review troops at the fort of Vincennes, France, July 25, 2016


    Emergencies: France, Mali, and Turkey Are Playing with Fire

    The leaders of France, Mali, and Turkey have declared formal states of emergency. France's Hollande and Mali's Keïta, while responding to real threats, are risking democracy. Erdogan appears to be targeting democracy and using Turkey's recent failed coup as a pretext.

    Aug 15, 2016

  • The U.S. and Japanese flags blend together


    Don't Weaken the U.S.-Japan Alliance, Strengthen It

    As long as the United States and Japan stick together, they should have the strength to deter or, if necessary, defeat the threats they face. But if Washington abandons its alliance commitments, the risk of war will rise and America will be less safe.

    Aug 14, 2016