Military Affairs

Military affairs comprise a range of topics from military personnel and veterans to equipment and facilities—as well as the methods, doctrines, organizational concepts, and technologies that support the military's strategic or tactical goals. RAND provides objective policy recommendations in all of these areas and more.

  • U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors as they fly over the Nevada Test and Training Range, Nev., March 3, 2011

    Commentary

    Lessons from a Long History of Acquisition Reform

    Congress and the DoD have a long history of efforts to improve the way weapon systems are acquired. Now, changes to DoD acquisition policies and processes are again being proposed in the House and Senate in an attempt to get needed military capabilities to soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines faster and cheaper.

    Jul 17, 2015

  • Report

    Reforming Military Retirement: Analysis in Support of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission

    Using the Dynamic Retention Model, this report evaluates the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission's proposed reforms to military compensation and retirement, especially their ability to sustain the current force size/shape.

    Jul 17, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Noncommissioned Officers' Perspectives on Identifying, Caring For, and Referring Soldiers and Marines at Risk of Suicide

    Noncommissioned officers (NCOs) in the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps were surveyed to identify their ability and willingness to identify, intervene on behalf of, and refer fellow soldiers and marines at risk of suicide.

    Jul 17, 2015

  • A U.S. Army sergeant assists Iraqi army soldiers as they practice Military Operations in Urban Terrain procedures at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq

    Commentary

    Training Foreign Military Forces: Quality vs Quantity

    The American model for large-scale development of partner nation armies is failing. The push for numbers and the attendant dilution of training is at odds with building a cohesive army with the will to stand and fight, predicated upon an unproven assumption that a “large footprint” is itself a decisive strategy.

    Jul 15, 2015

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter meets soldiers after delivering remarks on his Force of the Future initiative in Fort Drum, N.Y., March 30, 2015

    Commentary

    A 'Measured Approach' to Managing Military Officers

    Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's “Force of the Future” initiative may mean far-reaching changes in how military personnel are recruited, evaluated, assigned, promoted, retained, separated, and compensated. What is needed is a map that shows potential paths to reach the objectives.

    Jul 15, 2015

  • A J-31 stealth fighter of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force landing

    Commentary

    RAND Conference Examines Chinese Aerospace Training and Leadership

    To help foster a better understanding of the aerospace component of China's military modernization efforts, participants from the U.S. Air Force, the DoD, and the public policy research and academic communities gathered for the inaugural CASI conference.

    Jul 10, 2015

  • U.S. soldiers rush a building during a platoon live-fire demonstration for Iraqi army trainees and officers on Camp Taji, Iraq, Feb. 5, 2015

    Commentary

    An Authorization for the Fight Against the Islamic State

    The U.S. military is conducting some 2,000 airstrikes a month against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria but progress is slow and the terrorist group has expanded far beyond those two countries. Congress needs now more than ever to take up the issue of authorizing the use of military force.

    Jul 9, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Assessing and Evaluating DoD Inform, Influence, and Persuade Efforts: Guidance for Practitioners

    The Most Informative Results for DoD IIP Efforts Come from the Intersection of Academic Evaluation and Public Communications.

    Jul 8, 2015

  • A contractor captures biological data of a local man in the Laghman province of Afghanistan, December 14, 2014

    Commentary

    A Frontline Civilian's Invisible Wounds of War

    For frontline civilians, daily life built around war often involves waking up on a remote base and working side by side with soldiers in hazardous places. They often don't get the care and support that they need, whether in an area of crisis and instability, or when they return home.

    Jul 6, 2015

  • A checkpoint in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on March 10, 2012

    Commentary

    Afghanistan After the Drawdown

    If neither victory nor a political settlement are likely in the short term, and if complete withdrawal is unpalatable, then the United States must ensure that its support of Afghanistan remains politically sustainable.

    Jul 6, 2015

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at the opening of the Army-2015 international military forum in Kubinka, Russia, June 16, 2015

    Commentary

    The Baltic Balance: How to Reduce the Chances of War in Europe

    Recent announcements of increased U.S. military support in the Baltics are a positive step in addressing a major new challenge to European security.

    Jul 2, 2015

  • A U.S. Army crew chief scans his sector from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan, May 8, 2015

    Commentary

    Understanding the U.S. Military's Morale Crisis

    The military's discontent may stem from dissonance between the commitment to, and pride in, the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan and the knowledge that these sacrifices have not yielded the desired results. Those wars arguably have prompted a crisis of confidence within the military itself.

    Jun 29, 2015

  • Senior Colonel Yang Yujun holds a copy of the annual white paper on China's military strategy, Beijing, China, May 26, 2015

    Commentary

    What to Make of the White Paper on China's Military Strategy

    Reflecting critical developments under the Xi administration, China's recent “Military Strategy” white paper signals a turn toward a potentially more coercive phase of China's rise.

    Jun 27, 2015

  • Iraqi soldiers perform physical training with 82nd Airborne

    Testimony

    An Assessment of the Counter-ISIL Campaign: One Year After Mosul

    ISIL's continuing strength demonstrates that adjustments to the current U.S. approach to counter it are necessary. The best strategy is to defeat and destroy ISIL through a partnered approach. But partnering with the Iraqi government presents a difficult challenge.

    Jun 24, 2015

  • Sunni tribal fighters stand guard near a school used as a shelter for displaced people in the city of Ramadi, April 11, 2015

    Commentary

    The Enemy You Know and the Ally You Don't

    Arming Iraq's Sunni militias to fight the Islamic State may seem like a quick fix, but newly declassified documents suggest it might only add fuel to the fire.

    Jun 23, 2015

  • Service members train with the Shadow remotely piloted aircraft system, Feb. 6, 2014

    Report

    Air National Guard Remotely Piloted Aircraft and Domestic Missions

    Air National Guard remotely piloted aircraft — or drones — may be useful in responding to a variety of domestic threats and potential emergencies. However, there are congressional concerns, as well as operational and policy constraints to be addressed.

    Jun 22, 2015

  • Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani talks with Royal Saudi Land Forces Commander Lieutenant General Khalid Bin Bandar Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud at a joint military exercise in Mangla, Pakistan, October 6, 2011

    Commentary

    What Pakistan and Saudi Arabia Want from Each Other

    Whatever overlapping interests they may have in dangerous groups like Lashkar-e Taiba, the Saudis and Pakistanis have much bigger reasons for seeking each other's friendship. These reasons may be largely transactional, but the transaction has been a mutually beneficial one for nearly 40 years.

    Jun 17, 2015

  • U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Natasha Fernandez checks inventory in the consolidated aircraft parts (CAPS) store at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Aug. 23, 2011

    Report

    Inventory Reduction Without Regret: Balancing Storage and Rebuy Costs

    The Army should assess the cost of inventory not on its total dollar value but instead on long-term factors such as storage costs, repair costs, and the risk of rebuy.

    Jun 17, 2015

  • Report

    Tailoring the Acquisition Process in the U.S. Department of Defense

    The research reported here explores tailoring or streamlining in defense acquisition processes to determine whether this policy area would benefit from additional in-depth research.

    Jun 16, 2015

  • A private security contractor and soldiers look at a destroyed vehicle after an attack near Najaf, Iraq, May 18, 2006

    Commentary

    Military Security Contractors Get PTSD, Too

    Largely absent from the conversation about the use of military security contractors are the parallel issues of mental health and the deployment-related stress contractors can face.

    Jun 12, 2015