International Humanitarian Assistance

Global efforts to assist underdeveloped nations and aid victims of environmental disasters and violent conflict can help ease human suffering, achieve long-term strategic goals in the affected region, and promote stability. RAND research on global health, nation-building, and stabilization and reconstruction operations has explored humanitarian activities undertaken by the Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and international organizations.

  • Refugees at a transit camp in Gevgelija, Macedonia, after entering the country by crossing the border with Greece, September 24, 2015


    Will Today's Refugees Become the 'New Palestinians'?

    The conflicts in Syria and Iraq have generated the greatest volume of refugees since World War II. If the international community is to avoid seeing the emergence of a population of new Palestinians lasting decades into the future, it will have to craft a more coherent approach.

    Oct 9, 2015

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    What You Need to Know About the Syrian Refugee Crisis

    The flight of four million Syrians to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan—and now also Europe and beyond—has created the worst refugee crisis in modern history. In this Call with the Experts, Shelly Culbertson and Tom Ling discuss the human dimensions and policy ramifications.

    Sep 29, 2015

  • News Release

    U.S. Faces Gap Between Objectives and Reality in Syria and Iraq

    There is a substantial gap between American national objectives and a realistic appreciation of the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq. These objectives need to be based on frank appraisals of the situation, even if those assessments defy Americans' sense of progress.

    Sep 24, 2015

  • Syrian refugees walk towards a crossing point at Greece's border with Macedonia, September 8, 2015


    Syrian Refugees: All You Need to Know

    The world can only absorb so many millions of refugees. The civil war in Syria demands a political solution facilitated by international leadership that will bring stability and enable refugees to return to home.

    Sep 17, 2015

  • Juba, South Sudan, February 2014: Internally displaced persons in South Sudan find a safe shelter at the UN House IDP Camp


    Family Planning Must Be Part of the Humanitarian Response in Africa's Conflict Zones

    Worldwide, nearly 800 women die every day due to mostly preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. More than half of these deaths occur in fragile states torn by armed conflict and generalized violence.

    Jul 1, 2015

  • Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi observe a guard of honour at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, April 29, 2015


    Seduced by a Strongman?

    It is not true that domestic politics can be quarantined from foreign policy. In fact, Egypt's domestic and foreign policies are becoming more entangled by the day. And that bleed-over should raise concerns.

    Apr 30, 2015

  • A woman carries a baby inside Al-Karameh refugee camp beside the Syrian-Turkish border, January 10, 2015


    Syrian Refugees: A Blessing in Disguise?

    To avoid further resentment and restrictions on Syrians desperate to escape their war-torn country, as well as the instability such attitudes generate, the international community must work with host governments to increase and highlight the benefits refugee populations can bring to neighboring states.

    Feb 2, 2015

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un applauds during a meeting of security personnel of the Korean People's Army


    Preparing for the Possibility of a North Korean Collapse

    If the North Korean government were to suddenly collapse, the consequences could jeopardize regional security in Northeast Asia and undermine U.S. interests. Preparation is needed now to convince the North Korean elites and others that South Korea-led unification in the aftermath of a collapse will be in their interests.

    Jan 29, 2014

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner applaud as President Barack Obama finishes his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 28, 2014


    State of the Union 2014: President Obama Calls for a Year of Action

    Obama called for “a year of action” to achieve his 2014 agenda — from helping people sign up for health insurance, to immigration reform, to completing the mission in Afghanistan. RAND is committed to raising the level of public policy debates and offering evidence-based, actionable solutions.

    Jan 29, 2014

  • U.S. Marines help displaced Philippine nationals from the back of a KC-130J Super Hercules at Vilamor Air Base, Manila, Republic of the Philippines


    How Philippines Typhoon Aid Helps USA

    In the wake of Haiyan there is no substitute for the capabilities of the U.S. military. At the level of national interest, however, does the case for tasking the U.S. military to international natural disasters hold up — particularly in a time when the Pentagon has seen its budget slashed?

    Nov 12, 2013

  • A U.S. Marine and a Philippine airman assist an injured Filipino woman off a KC-130J Super Hercules at Vilamore Air Base, Manila, Republic of the Philippines


    Responding in Typhoon Haiyan's Wake

    Prior responses to other recent disasters offer important lessons. Improved preparedness and efficient coordination mechanisms can help ensure that, when time is of the essence, the United States provides the most effective response.

    Nov 12, 2013

  • North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un visits a newly built arcade at the amusement house of the Rungna People's Pleasure Park


    North Korea's Coming Collapse

    The North Korean government could collapse at any time, setting off a humanitarian disaster of historic proportions, RAND senior defense analyst Bruce Bennett told a gathering of journalists in Washington.

    Sep 20, 2013

  • News Release

    U.S., Republic of Korea and Allies Should Prepare for Eventual Collapse of North Korean Government

    Like the collapse of East Germany, the collapse of North Korea could occur suddenly and with little warning. But a North Korean collapse could be far more dangerous and disastrous than the actual collapse of East Germany, especially given the inadequate preparations for it.

    Sep 19, 2013

  • Unusual seismic activity was detected in North Korea Feb. 12. This map shows that naturally occurring seismicity is typically low.


    North Korea's Third Nuclear Test: A Sign of Weakness, Not Strength

    The ROK and the United States should take actions to deter subsequent North Korean provocations while punishing the country for its nuclear weapon test. Such actions could convince it that the ROK/U.S. are serious and able to impose high costs, writes Bruce Bennett.

    Feb 15, 2013

  • Beijing street life


    The Paradoxes of China: Understanding Our Rival

    China is rife with paradoxes...of class, foreign aid, military spending, and corruption. Whether and how they are resolved will seriously affect the evolution of policies within China, as well as its future relations with the United States, writes Charles Wolf, Jr.

    Nov 2, 2012

  • Testimony

    The Case for Expanding Assistance to the Syrian Opposition

    The U.S. and its European allies have a strong interest in Assad's fall, largely due to that regime's alignment with Iran. Syria provides the main bridge by which Iran is able to support Hezbollah and Hamas, influence Lebanon, outflank its Sunni Gulf adversaries and threaten Israel.

    Aug 1, 2012

  • Blog

    The Case for Expanding Assistance to the Syrian Opposition

    James Dobbins' testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the state of Syria.

    Aug 1, 2012

  • Commentary

    Tokyo's Transformation

    The U.S. response to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami showcased its lasting commitment to Japan, as well as the unique logistical and material capabilities that the U.S. military forces stationed in the Pacific can provide, write Eric Heginbotham, Ely Ratner, and Richard J. Samuels.

    Aug 25, 2011

  • Report

    RAND Review: Vol. 33, No. 3, Winter 2009-2010

    Features focus on stabilization missions, grade retention, health financing, and RAND's president; other items discuss the European Union, sodium, health insurance, retail medical clinics, energy efficiency, disaster recovery, and alcohol pricing.

    Dec 23, 2009

  • News Release

    Ways to Improve U.S. Stability and Reconstruction Missions Are Outlined

    Recent stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq have underlined the need for the United States to shift the burden of these operations away from the Defense Department and onto other government agencies better suited to the work.

    Apr 3, 2009