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.
Khamenei's mounting pressures may compel him to be more flexible on the nuclear program, writes Alireza Nader. Otherwise, he will face greater sanctions, more internal political opposition, and, possibly, the wrath of his own people.
The European Cyber Security Strategy is remarkable because it tries to co-ordinate policy across three areas whose competences and mandates were formerly very separate: law enforcement, the 'Digital Agenda', and defence, security, and foreign policy, writes Neil Robinson.
Coinciding with continuing, contentious hearings on the U.S. response to last September's terrorist attack in Benghazi, the attack on the Amenas natural gas facility in Algeria has elevated a more general debate about the war on terrorism and U.S. policy in Africa, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
France is in Mali not just to prop up a failing state in French Africa, but because Mali was becoming a magnet for jihadis from around the world and Paris rightly feared the country could become the next Afghanistan—only much closer to Europe, writes Christopher Chivvis.
Jafari now commands one of the most feared militaries in the Middle East, which is also far better equipped than Iran’s conventional army, navy and air force, writes Alireza Nader. He has an estimated 150,000 troops under his control.
There is a danger in viewing Mali through the prism of counter-terrorism, since the rebel element there is tangled up in movements and groups with a wide variety of interests and motives, ranging from sincere religious conviction to local political rivalries to base economic opportunism, writes Michael Shurkin.
No solution is likely to offer more than a short-term reprise if it is not accompanied by real progress toward resolving Mali's political crisis and strengthening the Malian state and Malian democracy, write Stephanie Pezard and Michael Shurkin.
The Obama administration should capitalize on recent international coordination, taking the lead in organizing an international coalition devoted to containing Syria's chemical-weapons arsenal, write F. Stephen Larrabee and Peter Wilson.
France should coordinate military action with efforts to engage with local factions to use as partners and proxies, write Stephanie Pezard and Michael Shurkin. This is, in effect, how France conquered and secured northern Mali in the first place a century ago.
Tapper spends too much time providing tactical details of battles and too little offering a nuanced, thoughtful explanation of why the U.S. Army struggled so much in Nuristan, writes Seth G. Jones.
In 2014, Afghanistan will hold its third presidential election since the fall of the Taliban. If the country can hold reasonably free and fair elections, and defeated candidates can agree to step aside, Afghanistan has a chance of moving beyond its Soviet legacy, writes Seth G. Jones.
Understanding when the United States should engage in cyberwar and who should approve cyberattacks requires understanding that cyberwar has multiple personalities: operational, strategic, and that great gray area in-between., writes Martin Libicki.
Iran's inability to sell its oil due to sanctions will not only shrink the resources available to the Guard as a military force, but will crimp the wealth of individual Guard officers. This could erode the Guard's loyalty to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, writes Alireza Nader.
The Islamic Republic faces the potential of stronger economic sanctions and even a military strike because of its intransigence in complying with U.N. resolutions on its nuclear program. It also must deal with twin domestic challenges—deepening malaise among the young and increasing tensions among the political elite, writes Alireza Nader.
A constrictive rule book against direct-action counterterrorism techniques could be in tension with operational realities. But it would go some way toward establishing the legal and ethical framework under which such difficult decisions are made, writes Patrick Johnston.
The prudent approach is to decide on a strategic direction that provides a framework for prioritizing which forces and equipment the United States should preserve and determining which can be trimmed or eliminated with limited risk to security, write Stuart Johnson and Irv Blickstein.
Kim Jong-Un's regime has placed outsized import on its missile launches—despite the risk of alienating the international community—to offset the lack of success across a wide range of topics, writes Bruce Bennett.
Budget reductions must be applied in ways that pose the least risk to national security. We need to shrink force structure carefully, reduce or delay procurement of some weapons systems, streamline management and cut personnel costs, writes Harold Brown.
While many observers of North Korea have been surprised by the apparently peaceful ascension of Kim Jong-Un, there are reasons to believe that the situation in the North is not so stable, writes Bruce Bennett.
If Syria uses its chemical weapons, policymakers need to prepare not only to quickly end their use, but to think past the immediate crisis and plan for the weapons' ultimate disposal, writes James Quinlivan.