Military Strategy

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RAND research on military strategy has ranged from issues related to the tactics that lead to success in armed engagements, to work that describes how the size and deployment of one nation's military affects its political relationships with others.

  • CH-47 Chinook helicopters land outside of the village of Abd al Hasan, Iraq, to pick up U.S. and Iraqi Army Soldiers, photo by Staff Sgt. Dallas Edwards/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Lessons from Past 13 Years of War Can Improve Future Strategy

    Oct 14, 2014

    Lessons from the past 13 years of war provide insight into the future operating environment and identify critical requirements for land and special operations forces to collaborate successfully with various partners in future conflicts.

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  • Report

    A Surprise Out of Zion? Case Studies in Israel's Decisions on Whether to Alert the United States to Preemptive and Preventive Strikes, from Suez to the Syrian Nuclear Reactor

    Examines four key historical cases in which Israeli prime ministers chose preemptive or preventive military strikes and had to decide whether to notify or consult with the United States.

    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

  • 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

  • The USS Fort Worth conducts patrols in international waters of the South China Sea, near the Spratly Islands

    Commentary

    Why the United States Needs an Active Denial Strategy for Asia

    The evolving balance of power will require adjustments to U.S. strategy. Making those adjustments will help ensure that the U.S.-China relationship, now merely tense, doesn't escalate to hostile.

    Jun 8, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Deterring Without Dominance: Discouraging Chinese Adventurism Under Austerity

    Active denial would make the U.S. position in Asia more resilient.

    Jun 3, 2015

  • U.S. Army Soldiers walk through a market in Ebnkathwer, Iraq, March 3, 2010

    Commentary

    Land Power and a Third Offset Through a Wide-Angle Lens

    The so-called “third offset” is intended to guide U.S. defense strategy. The right way to view it is as part of a comprehensive vision for competitive advantage, one in which land power, often minimized in offset analyses, can play a central role.

    May 21, 2015

  • A fighter of the Kurdish People's Protection Units fires an anti-aircraft weapon at Islamic State fighters in Tel Tamer, Syria, February 25, 2015

    Testimony

    Historical Lessons for the Wars in Iraq and Syria

    The wars in Iraq and Syria are deeply intertwined and must thus be dealt with simultaneously. Understanding the factors that brought past insurgencies to an end can provide lessons for how to proceed.

    Apr 30, 2015

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, brief reporters at the Pentagon on April 16, 2015

    Commentary

    Fixes for Risk Assessment in Defense

    Defense Department approaches to risk management could be improved if they focused on complex strategic judgments — questions on which information is imperfect, dozens of variables interact in nonlinear ways, and human choice and agency generate unpredictable patterns.

    Apr 22, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Stop Putin's Next Invasion Before It Starts

    The U.S. should station forces in Eastern Europe to protect the Baltics from Russian aggression.

    Apr 21, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and staff watch a tablet in Lausanne, Switzerland as President Barack Obama addresses the status of the Iran nuclear talks, April 2, 2015

    Commentary

    Why the Nuclear Deal Won't Change U.S. Regional Politics

    The United States can't wait for a final nuclear deal with Iran to begin thinking through how to manage its aftermath. The challenges ahead are already clear. Washington should prepare for them by setting aside old formulas that have failed to advance stability.

    Apr 10, 2015

  • Soldiers at Suwon Air Base, South Korea, finish a comprehensive air defense artillery field training exercise

    Commentary

    To Know the Future of Biological Weapons, Look to the Past

    A panel chaired by former Sen. Joe Lieberman and former Gov. Tom Ridge will review U.S. policy on biodefense. Looking back to the end of the U.S. offensive biological warfare program would provide valuable lessons.

    Apr 10, 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

  • U.S. Senior Master Sgt. Leonard discusses cargo pallet inspection procedures with East Africa air force members during African Partnership Flight-Djibouti February 10, 2015

    Commentary

    Djibouti: Outpost of Stability in an Unstable Region

    The collaborative role being played by the United States and Djibouti represents the kind of partnerships that are now required in the battle against terrorism, because little-known places like Djibouti are one arena where the battle could be won or lost.

    Apr 10, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks after nuclear talks with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland, April 2, 2015

    Commentary

    RAND Experts Q&A on the Iran Nuclear Framework

    President Barack Obama hailed last week's framework for an Iranian nuclear accord as a “historic understanding,” and there was celebration in Iran, but many challenges remain.

    Apr 6, 2015

  • Meeting to discuss Iran nuclear deal at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne March 29, 2015

    Project

    As Negotiations with Iran Progress, Experts Look Ahead

    Negotiations have produced a framework for a nuclear agreement with Iran, with the goal of reaching a comprehensive agreement by the end of June. RAND experts are exploring what the days after a successful deal will bring in terms of U.S. options, Iranian foreign policy, and regional responses.

    Apr 2, 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

  • 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

    Commentary

    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

  • U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi before resuming talks over Iran's nuclear program in Lausanne, March 16, 2015

    Commentary

    Don't Scare Off Investors from Iran

    Non-American corporations must decide whether the benefits of pursuing business opportunities in Iran outweigh the risks, and they will likely stay away as long as Congress keeps debating the imposition of new sanctions. Their reluctance to invest could prevent Iran from seeing the economic benefits of a nuclear deal.

    Mar 27, 2015