Military Force Planning

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Ensuring that a modern military has the appropriate personnel and capabilities is the key goal of military force planning. RAND research on such topics as military wages, support for military families, troop diversity, and reenlistment rates ensures that U.S. and allied militaries are well aware of issues related to career field management and personnel retention and recruitment.

  • Service members from participating nations salute during the opening ceremony of Khaan Quest 2014, a multinational exercise designed to promote regional peace and security. It is co-sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific and hosted annually by Mongolian Armed Forces, photo by Sgt. Edward Eagerton/U.S. Army

    Report

    Key U.S. Military, Diplomatic Strategies Are Necessary to Balance China's Growing Regional Strength

    Sep 2, 2014

    Developing a strategy for the United States to address China's growing military strength should not sacrifice future cooperation between the two nations. A U.S. policy could recognize China's expanding importance in the world and its legitimate interests, while also keeping U.S. commitments to allies and partners in the region.

  • army_teaches_seals

    Report

    Measuring and Retaining the U.S. Army's Deployment Experience

    Nov 18, 2014

    The Army has contributed the bulk of deployed U.S. troops since 9/11, and has accrued substantial deployment experience. How can the U.S. prevent experience from being lost as combat operations conclude, soldiers separate from service, and Regular Army endstrength is reduced?

Explore Military Force Planning

  • 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

  • Platoon leaders and platoon sergeants marching during the Headhunter leadership challenge at Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 15, 2014

    Commentary

    The Most Enduring Lesson: People

    Given the complex, technology-heavy, and conceptually-nuanced environment of today's military, the quality of military personnel is the dominant form of competitive advantage. All the services today place maintaining a high-quality force at the top of their list of priorities.

    Apr 10, 2015

  • Report

    RAND Arroyo Center Annual Report 2014

    This annual report describes RAND Arroyo Center's research activities in FY 2014, highlights areas of research focus, and summarizes noteworthy studies.

    Mar 31, 2015

  • Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani inspects the honour guard during a graduation ceremony at the National Military Academy in Kabul, March 18, 2015

    Commentary

    Q&A: What to Expect from Ghani's U.S. Visit

    With Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's first official visit to the United States set to begin Sunday, a trio of RAND researchers discuss what to expect after the president and his chief executive officer, Abdullah Abdullah, arrive in Washington.

    Mar 20, 2015

  • The U.S. Military Academy Class of 2011 at graduation

    Report

    Admissions Process at West Point Proves Effective at Predicting Student Outcomes

    Given the limited information that is known about high school graduates, the application scores used by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point do a good job of predicting graduation outcomes. Some scores are also significantly associated with higher probability of officer promotion.

    Mar 12, 2015

  • Report

    Predicting Active Duty Air Force Pilot Attrition Given an Anticipated Increase in Major Airline Pilot Hiring

    Predicts future pilot attrition given the estimated increase in major airline hiring and recommends several policies that the Air Force can implement to better weather an increase in attrition.

    Feb 25, 2015

  • A C-130H Hercules landing in its new home in Southwest Asia in September 2014

    Report

    The Role of the USAF in the Days After a Deal with Iran

    The U.S. will face a complex set of policy issues and trade-offs in the aftermath of a nuclear agreement with Iran. The U.S. Air Force should see itself as having a role in informing senior-level policy discussions as to how its military posture in the region could be designed in support of alternative U.S. policies toward Iran.

    Feb 2, 2015

  • Paratroopers perform an airborne training exercise

    Report

    Enhancing Army Airborne Forces

    U.S. Army airborne forces could play a pivotal role in key missions in the future, particularly against hybrid threats and in anti-access environments. However, they face serious threats that could become more severe. To overcome these new threats, the airborne force will need new capabilities.

    Jan 23, 2015

  • U.S. sailors conduct maintenance on an F/A-18C Hornet on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson Jan. 4, 2015

    Commentary

    Advice for Defense Innovators

    Today's leaders should follow the example of their predecessors and closely evaluate a few well-defined scenarios, such as a Chinese invasion of Taiwan or a Russian invasion of a NATO member state to determine the most serious gaps in U.S. and allied capabilities.

    Jan 12, 2015

  • Report

    Strength Testing in the Air Force: Current Processes and Suggestions for Improvements

    Examines the usefulness, validity, and fairness of the Air Force's Strength Aptitude Test, with a focus on its implementation at military entrance processing stations and the process for setting strength requirements for career fields.

    Dec 5, 2014

  • Report

    Options for Department of Defense Total Workforce Supply and Demand Analysis: Potential Approaches and Available Data Sources

    This report reviews approaches used in the private sector and government organizations to determine workforce supply and demand and describes data sources available to Department of Defense managers to support analysis from a total force perspective.

    Dec 3, 2014

  • Afghan National Army soldiers walk at the Forward Base in Nari district near the army outpost in Kunar province, February 24, 2014

    Commentary

    What's the Plan? The Afghan National Security Forces

    The Afghan National Security Forces remain very much a work in progress. In the coming months, the resiliency and cohesiveness of the ANSF will be put to the test as the NATO coalition transitions to a non-combat mission. Growing pains can be expected.

    Dec 2, 2014

  • Tool

    Diversity Outreach and Recruiting Event Site Selection (DORESS)

    Presents a user guide for Diversity Outreach and Recruiting Event Site Selection (DORESS), a piece of software created by RAND to assist the Air Force in identifying diversity outreach and recruiting event sites.

    Nov 20, 2014

  • Afghan security forces arrive at the site of a blast in Kabul November 18, 2014

    Commentary

    What's the Plan? The NATO Coalition in Afghanistan

    The imminent changes to the NATO mission in Afghanistan will be profound and, more crucially, carry unpredictable outcomes. After January 1, the removal of tens of thousands of coalition troops will trigger an inevitable period of adjustment as all sides involved in the conflict press for a new equilibrium that tilts in its favor.

    Nov 19, 2014

  • NAVY SEALS,Northern Warfare Training Center,Northen Edge 09

    Report

    Measuring and Retaining the U.S. Army's Deployment Experience

    The Army has contributed the bulk of deployed U.S. troops since 9/11, and has accrued substantial deployment experience. How can the U.S. prevent experience from being lost as combat operations conclude, soldiers separate from service, and Regular Army endstrength is reduced?

    Nov 18, 2014

  • Report

    Promoting Airmen with the Potential to Lead: A Study of the Air Force Master Sergeant Promotion System

    Despite an evolving operational environment, the system for promoting airmen into the rank of master sergeant has not changed since it was developed more than 40 years ago. RAND researchers assessed the system and explored areas for improvement.

    Nov 14, 2014

  • News Release

    Military Retirement Compensation System Can Be Improved to Cut Costs and Improve Equity

    The U.S. Department of Defense can change its retirement system in ways that will save between $1.8 and $4.4 billion a year, while extending benefits to more veterans and maintaining its attraction as a recruiting tool.

    Nov 12, 2014

  • Col. Wobbema presents a flag to Chief Master Sgt. Clemenson during his retirement ceremony at the North Dakota Air National Guard, Fargo, N.D.

    Report

    Military Retirement Compensation System Can Be Improved to Cut Costs and Improve Equity

    The U.S. Department of Defense can change its retirement system in ways that will save between $1.8 and $4.4 billion a year, while extending benefits to more veterans and maintaining its attraction as a recruiting tool.

    Nov 12, 2014

  • Brigade General Gregoire de Saint-Quentin (L), head of France's Operation Serval in Mali, stands with General Nabere Honore Traore, army chief of Burkina Faso, during a handover ceremony of the Timbuktu mission, April 23, 2013

    Report

    What Can the U.S. Army Learn from France's War in Mali?

    French Army operations in Mali provide an example of how a technologically sophisticated army organizes and fields an expeditionary force. While the French way of war may not be optimal for U.S. commanders, who have greater resources at their disposal, the Army should still examine it for useful insights.

    Oct 17, 2014

  • Report

    Air Force-Wide Needs for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Academic Degrees

    RAND researchers asked Air Force senior functional authorities which STEM degrees are and will be needed to maintain vital technical skills. The results suggest areas the Air Force should review for emerging demand.

    Oct 6, 2014