Fighting

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

    Spotlight on 2014

    Spotlight 2014 is RAND Europe’s annual review. We present our research to support policymaking in four areas of transformation: harnessing the power of ICT, safeguarding society, building healthier communities and innovating for efficiency.

    Jan 27, 2015

  • Report

    Special Warfare: The Missing Middle in U.S. Coercive Options

    RAND authors analyze the options for using special warfare to fill the gap in coercive strategies between the costly commitment of conventional forces and the limits of precision-strike campaigns, including its characteristics, advantages, and risks.

    Jan 27, 2015

  • Iraqi security forces guard during the building of a new road between Diyala province and Samarra December 21, 2014. The Badr Organization, a leading political party and militia with ties to Iran, is supervising the new road.

    Commentary

    Salvaging Iraq

    The Iranian government, particularly the Revolutionary Guards, is playing a huge role in helping the Iraqi security forces fight the Islamic State. Iraq and Iran share a 910-mile border that is mostly porous. Iraq's territorial integrity is critical for Iran too.

    Jan 26, 2015

  • Bashar al-Assad meeting with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran August 19, 2009

    Commentary

    Iran's Goals in Syria

    Iran is playing a crucial role in buttressing President Bashar Assad, through military advice, provision of weapons, and funding of the cash-strapped Syrian government. The Assad regime might not survive without support of Iran and its allies such as Hezbollah.

    Jan 26, 2015

  • Report

    Enhanced Army Airborne Forces: A New Joint Operational Capability

    RAND examined options to increase the mobility, protection, and firepower of U.S. Army airborne forces, given likely future missions and threats, and identified a concept for enhancing today's forces by adding a light armored infantry capability.

    Jan 23, 2015

  • Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan sign the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in the White House on December 8, 1987

    Commentary

    The Difference Between Negotiation and Appeasement

    Sound diplomacy weighs costs and benefits, based on a hard-nosed evaluation of American interests and values. It makes concessions only in exchange for concrete gains, but it still requires flexibility and willingness to trade, bargain, and make deals, including with adversaries. This is not the same thing as appeasement.

    Jan 22, 2015

  • Service members working in the Global Strategic Warning and Space Surveillance System Center

    Commentary

    Put a Cybercop on the Beat

    What remains vitally needed is legislation that would grant at least one capable government organization the authority to track cyber-intruders and -criminals with the same freedom and speed of maneuver that these adversaries enjoy, while protecting the civil liberties and freedoms that allowed the establishment of the Internet.

    Jan 22, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015

    Blog

    State of the Union 2015: Clarion Calls on Terrorism, Cyber, Education, and More

    The agenda President Barack Obama outlined in his State of the Union address can perhaps best be characterized as broad, mirroring the range of diverse and emerging issues facing the U.S. in 2015.

    Jan 21, 2015

  • Saudi border guards patrol Saudi Arabia's northern border with Iraq

    Commentary

    ISIS Aims to Occupy Mecca

    As ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reaches for control of the holy sites in and around Mecca and Medina and the wealth that comes with them, the U.S., NATO, and others should consider providing significant equipment and know-how to shore up the border defenses of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan.

    Jan 19, 2015

  • Protesters set fire to U.S. and Israeli flags to protest the Israeli offensive in Lebanon in front of Istanbul University after Friday prayers in Beyazit Mosque in Istanbul, August 4, 2006

    Blog

    Dialogue on Asymmetric Threats Concludes Two-Day Workshop on U.S. and Israeli Security Challenges

    Few nations have more experience with asymmetric conflicts than Israel and the United States. At the National Press Club in Washington, Brian Michael Jenkins of RAND and Admiral Amichay Ayalon, former director of Shin Bet, Israel's security agency, discussed the dynamics of the changing security environment.

    Jan 16, 2015

  • A woman with a French flag with the words 'I am Charlie' reacts while paying tribute to the victims of a shooting at the offices of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, during a candlelight vigil at the Liberty Square in Taipei, January 9, 2015

    Commentary

    Why al Qaeda in Yemen Attacked Paris

    The bloodshed in the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was a startling reminder of al Qaeda's ambitions, capabilities, and ruthlessness. And whether or not the attack was planned as a marketing device to help al Qaeda emerge from the expanding shadow of the Islamic State, it may be having that effect.

    Jan 12, 2015

  • U.S. sailors conduct maintenance on an F/A-18C Hornet on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson Jan. 4, 2015

    Commentary

    Advice for Defense Innovators

    Today's leaders should follow the example of their predecessors and closely evaluate a few well-defined scenarios, such as a Chinese invasion of Taiwan or a Russian invasion of a NATO member state to determine the most serious gaps in U.S. and allied capabilities.

    Jan 12, 2015

  • An exhibit on the Cuban Missile Crisis at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, December 18, 2014

    Commentary

    Greater Disorder Does Not Imply Greater Insecurity

    President Obama said in June, “If you had to choose any moment to be born in human history…you'd choose this time. The world is less violent than it has ever been.” While his proposition may seem incongruous with the present crises across Eurasia, evidence suggests that the world is indeed becoming more secure.

    Jan 7, 2015

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko visit the Russian Defense Ministry's control room, Moscow, December 23, 2014

    Commentary

    Yes, Russia's Military Is Getting More Aggressive

    As Russia's relations with the U.S. and Europe have deteriorated following Moscow's aggression in Ukraine, fly-bys of European neighbors by Russian aircraft have taken on new urgency. How should the West think about these provocative flights in light of understanding Russia's nuclear threat?

    Dec 31, 2014

  • People pose in front of a display showing the word 'cyber' in binary code, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 27, 2014

    Commentary

    After a Year of Major Hacks, 2015 Resolutions to Bolster Cyber Security

    With numerous data breaches and emerging software vulnerabilities, 2014 was the year the hack went viral. But realizing a few New Year's resolutions in 2015 could help defenders make strides in protection, tools, and techniques to gain the edge over cyber attackers in years to come.

    Dec 31, 2014

  • A board displays currency exchange rates on a Moscow street, December 29, 2014

    Commentary

    Rapprochement with Russia?

    The ruble's fragility presents an opportunity for American and European diplomats to offer Putin a deal that de-escalates the war in Ukraine, provides Russia sanctions relief, and revitalizes Moscow's economic ties with the West.

    Dec 30, 2014

  • A security guard at the entrance of United Artists Theater during the premiere of the film 'The Interview' in Los Angeles, December 11, 2014

    Commentary

    Is the North Korean Regime Out of Control?

    Evidence points to North Korean involvement in the Sony hack. But it's impossible to know if top regime leaders sanctioned the attack or if it was carried out by another part of the government without their knowledge and consent. An unauthorized hack would only add to Kim Jong-un's worry over his regime's instability.

    Dec 23, 2014

  • An airline passenger stands in a full-body scanner at a TSA checkpoint at LAX in February 2014 after U.S. authorities issued a warning to airlines to watch out for militants who may have hidden bombs in their shoes

    Commentary

    What Research Says About Profiling

    When police take action on the basis of race, creed, or ethnicity it is corrosive, unfair, ineffective, and can stoke the flames of police-community tension. But as we have found from a variety of assessments, law enforcement is best served when it bases its activities on risk—not on personal characteristics.

    Dec 18, 2014

  • A hostage runs toward a police officer outside Lindt cafe, where other hostages are being held, in Martin Place, Sydney, December 15, 2014

    Blog

    Could the Sydney Café Siege Happen Elsewhere?

    As the world mourns those lost in the Sydney café siege, investigations have begun examining the efficacy of Australia's anti-terrorism measures and details about the background and motives of the gunman. At the same time, terrorism experts are reflecting on where else such an attack could emerge.

    Dec 17, 2014

  • Illustrated photo of a person typing on a computer keyboard

    Commentary

    Preventing Cyber Attacks: Sharing Information About Tor

    While Tor has many benefits, it is also used to hide criminal activity online such as the recent cyber attacks against JPMorgan Chase and Sony Pictures. The U.S. government should share the IP addresses of Tor network nodes with U.S. critical infrastructure and financial firms so that future cyber attacks could be prevented.

    Dec 17, 2014