Military Budgets and Defense Spending

The portion of the national budget that is allocated to defense covers salaries, training, and health care; maintains and purchases arms, equipment, and facilities; funds military operations; and funds the development of new technologies. RAND analyzes defense expenditures and advises military and civilian decisionmakers on options to maximize the effectiveness, continuity, and innovation of the nation's military force.

  • Report

    Extreme Cost Growth: Themes from Six U.S. Air Force Major Defense Acquisition Programs

    Identifies and characterizes conditions present in six U.S. Air Force Major Defense Acquisition Programs experiencing extreme cost growth, using case study analysis.

    Oct 6, 2015

  • U.S. soldiers fire an M777A2 Howitzer weapons system during an artillery demonstration near Rose Barracks, Germany, July 24, 2015


    Multiple Factors Drive Program Success

    Congress continues to express concerns about weapon system cost growth and is considering multiple acquisition reform proposals for the National Defense Authorization Act. One proposal would hold program managers accountable via a “performance agreement” for key parameters that must be met.

    Sep 30, 2015

  • A U.S. Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter flies over Kalam Valley during humanitarian relief efforts in Pakistan, August 2010


    Pakistan's Shocking Strategic Shift

    Pakistan's security policies have experienced striking but underappreciated shifts since 2001 along three dimensions: aggressive behavior, strategic orientation, and self-examination.

    Aug 12, 2015

  • William LaPlante, assistant secretary of Air Force acquisition, testifies on acquisition reform before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, April 22, 2015


    Apply Principles of Professional Change Management to Acquisition Reform, or Risk Failure

    If Congress enacts substantial changes to acquisition processes as part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, then it has a responsibility to ensure that the DoD has the opportunity and resources to implement proven change management principles to increase the chances for its success.

    Aug 7, 2015

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


    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

  • 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

  • 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


    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

  • Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron with newly elected Conservative Party MPs in London, May 11, 2015


    A Conservative Ambition for the Defence of the United Kingdom

    Prime Minister David Cameron and his new Cabinet are spending their first days in office articulating a policy and legislative agenda, to be delivered in the form of the Queen's Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on 27 May. National strategy and defence are certain to feature on that agenda.

    May 14, 2015

  • A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III taxis to its parking spot Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Sept. 25, 2012


    Peacetime Fuel 'Tankering' Could Save $25 Million Per Year

    Fuel tankering is carrying excess fuel on an aircraft when flying from origins where fuel is less expensive than at the destination. Tankering fuel to a conflict zone like Afghanistan is almost always cost-effective, but the story is more complex elsewhere due to how fuel is purchased and resold within the DoD itself.

    May 4, 2015

  • A service member talks with a local official during outreach activities in the Philippines


    Evaluating DoD Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade

    The U.S. Department of Defense has struggled to assess the progress and effectiveness of its efforts to inform, influence, and persuade audiences in support of key national security objectives. Examples of strong assessment practices across sectors—including defense, marketing, public relations, and academia—can help address these challenges.

    Apr 17, 2015

  • Report

    Assessing and Evaluating Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade: An Annotated Reading List

    To help broaden the expertise of U.S. Department of Defense assessment personnel and stakeholders, RAND produced a reading list for self-study in best assessment practices across a range of sectors.

    Apr 17, 2015

  • A service member and interpreter talk with residents about malaria prevention in Ethiopia


    DoD Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade

    The U.S. Department of Defense spends more than $250 million per year on efforts to inform, influence, and persuade. How effective (and cost-effective) are they? How well do they support military objectives? How could they be improved?

    Apr 17, 2015

  • French President Francois Hollande, U.S. President Barack Obama, and British Prime Minister David Cameron discuss the situation in Ukraine at the G20 in Brisbane, November 16, 2014


    France Is Replacing the UK as America's Top Ally in Europe

    The United States' relationship with France should be recognized and strengthened. France retains the military capability and the political moxie to contribute significantly and aggressively to collective responses to security threats to the Atlantic Alliance.

    Mar 30, 2015

  • Report

    Acquisition of Space Systems, Volume 7: Past Problems and Future Challenges

    As Department of Defense plans for the next-generation space systems in an increasingly challenging fiscal and security environment, it is important to apply lessons learned from past space acquisition, which had experienced many difficulties.

    Mar 30, 2015

  • Air Force 2nd Lt. Ben Garland at the commissary on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, March 9, 2012


    The Likely Effects of Price Increases at Military Commissaries

    Commissaries run by the U.S. Department of Defense save service members and eligible family members an average of more than 30 percent compared to civilian marketplaces and are seen as an important benefit of service. How might price increases affect their use?

    Mar 27, 2015

  • A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor flying at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska


    Where Commonality Can Work in a Sixth-Gen Fighter

    The DoD plans to fund a Darpa-Air Force-Navy technology demonstration program aimed at developing critical sixth-generation fighter capabilities. It's a sign that the Pentagon is adopting a cost-effective strategy but it will need to remain vigilant to avoid the pitfalls that have caused previous joint fighter programs to fall short of hoped-for cost savings and to accept unwelcome design compromises.

    Mar 13, 2015

  • Research Brief

    Innovation models for defence

    The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a study of innovation models and make recommendations on changes the MOD could make to better harness and absorb innovation from external sources.

    Mar 4, 2015

  • Report

    Innovation Models: Enabling new defence solutions and enhanced benefits from science and technology

    The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a study of innovation models and make recommendations on changes the MOD could make to better harness and absorb innovation from external sources.

    Mar 4, 2015

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko (2nd L) attend a signing ceremony during a session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State at the Kremlin in Moscow, March 3, 2015


    Europe Must Spend More on Arms to Deter Putin

    Demonstrations in Greece and elsewhere suggest that the European public may have little sympathy for governments not devoting most efforts to domestic discontent and foreign indebtedness. But the longtime downward trends in European defense spending matter now that Russia has chosen to flex its military might, diminished though it may be.

    Mar 3, 2015

  • Illustration of idea, solution, and money


    Managing Technology in an Unmanageable World

    The need for purposeful and focused R&D in the U.S. has never been greater, but technology is advancing so quickly that the structures available to manage it have not kept pace. A comprehensive examination of the technological landscape is needed to help the government take a more holistic approach to investing in and regulating technologies.

    Feb 19, 2015