Global Security Environment

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Global security includes military and diplomatic measures that nations and international organizations such as the United Nations and NATO take to ensure mutual safety and security. RAND provides analyses that help policymakers understand political, military, and economic trends around the world; the sources of potential regional conflict; and emerging threats to the global security environment.

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  • Libya Dawn fighters watch Islamic State militant positions near Sirte March 19, 2015

    Commentary

    The Three Challenges of Countering ISIS in Libya

    ISIS's expansion in Libya is a threat to the security of Libyans, to the region, and to Europe. U.S. and European cooperation to counter ISIS is essential and Libya is unlikely to ever be peaceful without outside military support.

    Feb 5, 2016

  • Unemployed graduates hold a demonstration to demand the government provide them with job opportunities, in Tunis, Tunisia, January 20, 2016

    Commentary

    Tunisia's Paradoxical Political Union: Ennahda and Nidaa Tounes

    In Tunisia, healthy disagreement between political parties has fostered some real change since the 2011 uprisings and throughout the course of the transition, but the persistent power-sharing dynamics in play aren't advancing democracy.

    Feb 5, 2016

  • U.S. Special Forces soldiers prepare to leave Haji Aslam village in Khakarez district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, March 24, 2014

    Report

    A Counterinsurgency Win in Afghanistan?

    The 2015 counterinsurgency (COIN) effort in Afghanistan ranks among the low end of historical COIN winners. The Afghan government and security forces are capable of maintaining the current stalemate with the Taliban. This is the first step on the most promising path to peace: a negotiated settlement.

    Feb 4, 2016

  • Announcement

    Australian Foreign Minister and International Policy Experts Discuss Middle East Challenges During Meeting at RAND

    The RAND Corporation and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney convened a distinguished group of Australian and American experts to discuss the challenges ahead in Middle East policy for both countries.

    Jan 29, 2016

  • 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

    Commentary

    Iran, Terrorism, and Nonproliferation After the Nuclear Deal

    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.

    Jan 28, 2016

  • A protester holding a picture of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed in Saudi Arabia, walks past a picture of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a rally in Tehran January 8, 2016

    Commentary

    Saudi-Iranian Tensions

    The U.S.-Iran nuclear accord has induced a sense of abandonment in Riyadh. The Saudis may fear that Washington might one day replace its alliance with Saudi Arabia with a new partnership with Iran; or perhaps more realistically, that it might come to depend less on Riyadh given improving ties with Iran.

    Jan 22, 2016

  • S-400 Triumf SAMs during the rehearsal for 2009 Victory Day parade in Moscow

    Commentary

    How China's New Russian Air Defense System Could Change Asia

    The Russian S-400 TRIUMF surface to air missile entered the media spotlight when Moscow deployed the system after Turkey's shoot-down of a Russian plane near the Syria border on Thanksgiving Day. This episode demonstrated the S-400's potential as a weapon with strategic effects, a role that China may seek to exploit in future crises.

    Jan 21, 2016

  • Soldiers of the People's Liberation Army of China arrive at Tiananmen Square during a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in Beijing, September 3, 2015

    Testimony

    China's Expeditionary Capabilities and Implications for U.S. Asia Policy

    Alongside China's development of many capabilities necessary to conduct missions far from its borders, China's actions to shape the international security environment are accelerating. This poses both opportunities and challenges for U.S. policymakers.

    Jan 21, 2016

  • Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) march during the military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, in Beijing, China, September 3, 2015

    Testimony

    Developments in China's Military Force Projection and Expeditionary Capabilities

    As China's security policy shifts from homeland defense toward "peaceful expansion," there are implications for U.S. interests. What might China do next with regard to military planning and modernization—and how should the United States respond?

    Jan 21, 2016

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers practice shooting with pistols at a military base amid heavy snowfalls in Hami, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region May 23, 2014

    Testimony

    PLA Joint Training and Implications for Future Expeditionary Capabilities

    Effective joint operation capability is a centerpiece of the PLA. Joint training efforts have resulted in successes, but also have highlighted long-standing problems that military leaders recognize as obstacles to future expeditionary capabilities.

    Jan 21, 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

  • Russian servicemen walk in formation as they take part in a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, April 16, 2015

    Commentary

    The Strange Debates of Strategy

    The United States and its allies confront a specific form of statecraft; not new, but real and relevant. And most observers who have looked at the problem tend to agree that the U.S. is ill-prepared for such tactics, in part because it simply has not thought of them as a coherent approach worthy of a tailored response.

    Jan 14, 2016

  • Afghan carpet salesmen fold a carpet after showing it to customers at a shop in Kabul

    Report

    Lessons from the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan

    Economic development is likely to remain a key component of U.S. contingency operations. Assessing the activities of the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan offers insights for similar projects in the future.

    Jan 12, 2016

  • 152-mm howitzer 2A65 Msta-B in Saint-Petersburg Artillery museum

    Commentary

    Artillery Returns to the Battlefield in the War Against ISIL

    Together with increased air attacks, the Syrians and their Russian advisors seek to revitalize combined arms forces, and artillery is critical to their vision of such forces.

    Jan 11, 2016

  • Georgy Kvirikashvili, who was nominated for the post of Georgia's prime minister on December 25 after Irakly Garibashvili resigned, delivers a speech on December 28, 2015

    Commentary

    Georgia Needs Support from the U.S. and the West

    Georgia is poised to make big changes to reinvigorate its democracy and economy, but it needs support to deter risks and advance progress. With one-fifth of its territory occupied by Russia and facing risks every day, Georgia needs more Western aid, including military training, technology, and defensive arms.

    Jan 5, 2016

  • News Release

    United States Needs a Collaborative Approach to Manage Its Adversaries and Strengthen Partnerships Abroad

    As national security challenges mount, the U.S. may need to follow a more collaborative approach to foreign affairs, engaging and sharing burdens with partners who until now have not pulled their weight.

    Jan 5, 2016

  • American and world flags as gears

    Report

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

    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?

    Jan 5, 2016

  • A man stands on a buring military vehicle

    Report

    Operation IRAQI FREEDOM: Decisive War, Elusive Peace

    Summarizes a classified five-volume report on the planning and execution of operations in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM through June 2004. Recommends changes to Army plans, operational concepts, doctrine, and Title 10 functions.

    Jan 4, 2016

  • U.S. Navy LTJG Mike Gibson instructs the Ethiopian National Defense Force engineers on daily operations for engineering teams in Fiche, Ethiopia, December 19, 2012

    Report

    Defense Institution Building in Africa

    Effective defense institution building (DIB) requires close coordination at every level. Improved coordination, planning, and implementation should enable DIB to advance U.S. defense objectives in Africa more effectively.

    Jan 4, 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