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RAND conducts a broad array of national security research for the U.S. Department of Defense and allied ministries of defense. RAND's three U.S. federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) explore topics from acquisition and technology to personnel and readiness.

  • Map of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, photo by oztasbc/iStock

    Report

    Wargaming the Defense of the Baltics

    Feb 1, 2016

    A series of wargames examined the threat Russia may present to the three Baltic republics. As currently postured, NATO could not defend the territory. What might be done to prevent Russia from attempting to reclaim it?

  • Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver are congratulated at Ranger school graduation at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, August 21, 2015, photo by Tami Chappell/Reuters

    Announcement

    RAND Studies Help Inform Pentagon Decision to Open Combat Roles to Women

    Feb 5, 2016

    RAND researchers addressed topics such as whether members of U.S. special forces are ready to integrate women into their ranks and what lessons may be learned from other militaries that already have integrated women into combat positions.

Explore National Security

  • Report

    The Crisis Within: America's Military and the Struggle Between the Overseas and Guardian Paradigms

    The nation's understanding of both the common defense and organized violence has changed dramatically since 2001. This report is an attempt to start a conversation about how to better understand America's 21st-century military.

    Apr 27, 2016

  • U.S. soldiers maneuver using concealment at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, California

    Commentary

    Presence vs. Warfighting: A Looming Dilemma in Defense Planning

    Presence involves global military deployments to counter potential aggressors, reassure allies, underwrite extended deterrence, build partner capacity, and more. It is now as important, in terms of its stabilizing and deterrent effect, as warfighting capabilities. Yet U.S. force posture falls short.

    Apr 26, 2016

  • Report

    Can the Air Force and Airlines Collaborate for Mutual Benefit? An Exploration of Pilot and Maintenance Workforce Options

    This report explores ways the Air Force and commercial airlines could collaborate on issues related to their pilot and maintenance workforces by evaluating benefits, costs, and feasibility from the perspectives of both sides.

    Apr 21, 2016

  • Russian paratroopers wait to board a helicopter during a military exercise outside the southern city of Stavropol, Russia, October 27, 2015

    Commentary

    Outnumbered, Outranged, and Outgunned: How Russia Defeats NATO

    Today NATO is outnumbered, outranged, and outgunned by Russia in Europe and beset by a number of compounding factors that make the situation worse. But it is possible to begin restoring a more robust deterrent posture and to do so at a price tag that appears affordable.

    Apr 21, 2016

  • News Release

    Countering Islamic State Requires a Stronger U.S.-Coalition Strategy

    While the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has degraded the group by targeting its leadership and retaking a portion of territory, achieving lasting defeat of ISIL in Iraq and Syria will be elusive without local forces capable of holding territory.

    Apr 20, 2016

  • Peshmerga soldiers provide security during react-to-contact training near Irbil, Iraq, October 2015

    Report

    Countering ISIL Requires a Stronger U.S.-Coalition Strategy

    While the campaign against ISIL has degraded the group by targeting its leadership and retaking a portion of territory, achieving lasting defeat of ISIL in Iraq and Syria will require increased effort by the U.S. to help train local forces to hold territory. Also, political agreements must be forged to resolve key drivers of conflict among Iraqis and Syrians.

    Apr 19, 2016

  • Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (center) poses with chiefs of staff of the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism in Riyadh, March 27, 2016

    Report

    A Saudi-Led Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism Could Benefit U.S. Interests

    A military alliance of Muslim-majority nations to fight terrorism poses no danger to U.S. interests. In fact, the Saudi-led initiative could be helpful in several ways beyond current levels of cooperation.

    Apr 19, 2016

  • Russia's and NATO's Defence Ministers at a NATO-Russia defence ministers council at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, October 23, 2013

    Commentary

    A Risky Move in Brussels

    In the last two years, NATO's relations with Russia have collapsed to their post-Cold War nadir. The decision to convene a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on April 20 has been met with an unusual amount of controversy and could prove to be a mistake.

    Apr 19, 2016

  • The NATO flag flies on a sunny day

    Commentary

    NATO's Southern Exposure: The Real Threats to Europe—and the Alliance

    If NATO fails to define a strategy for its southern challenges (terrorism and the ongoing influx of migrants), it could slip into strategic irrelevance.

    Apr 18, 2016

  • Report

    Improvements to Air Force Strategic Basing Decisions

    Examines the Air Force's basing decisionmaking process and assesses the quality of the underlying data.

    Apr 15, 2016

  • Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee

    Commentary

    Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Is a National Security Threat

    National security and counterterrorism experts agree that rhetoric that paints all Muslims as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers has a high chance of breeding future terrorists. And evidence suggests that such language can hamper U.S. efforts to stop terrorists before they strike and to capture them after attacks.

    Apr 13, 2016

  • Journal Article

    The Military Aspects of the US Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific

    The contributions made in this volume point to the ongoing challenge of understanding the substance and direction of the relationship between NATO and four Asia-Pacific partners (Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea).

    Apr 11, 2016

  • People carry belongings they collected from their damaged houses as they walk near Syrian army soldiers in Palmyra, Syria, April 9, 2016

    Commentary

    Get Ready: Syria Will Need Peacekeepers

    For regional security and to deprive ISIS of what is still its most compelling and important sanctuary in the world today, the U.S. needs a new strategy for Syria that includes willingness to contribute to a substantial postwar military operation to stabilize the country.

    Apr 11, 2016

  • Transportation soldiers and civilian harbormasters move cargo containers onto awaiting vessels in a training exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis

    Commentary

    Ten Years After the Safe Port Act, Are America's Ports Secure?

    The economic importance and visibility of America's ports make them attractive terrorism targets. Port security has improved, but many of the threats that motivated the Safe Ports Act in 2006 remain, and new dangers have emerged, including cyber threats.

    Apr 6, 2016

  • News Release

    U.S. National Security Decisionmaking Processes Need Trimming

    Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Security Council is necessary as the country contends with many more state and nonstate actors, around-the-clock public scrutiny, and exploding nontraditional threats.

    Apr 5, 2016

  • Two THAAD interceptors and a Standard-Missile 3 Block IA missile being launched at a test site

    Commentary

    THAAD's Effect on South Korea's Neighbors

    It is hard to determine how China or Russia will respond to THAAD deployment in South Korea. THAAD deployment could change the dynamic and terms of the debate, leading to greater Chinese pressure on North Korea to curb its nuclear and missile threats.

    Apr 5, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama attends a meeting with the National Security Council at the State Department in Washington, February 25, 2016

    Report

    U.S. National Security Decisionmaking Processes Need Streamlining

    The U.S. national security system faces a range of management challenges. A leaner, more focused national security decisionmaking system can help the United States succeed in a period of tumultuous change.

    Apr 4, 2016

  • Emergency response personnel perform technical decontamination

    Journal Article

    Assessing Homeland Security Risks

    The Department of Homeland Security manages a diverse set of risks: terrorism, natural disasters, and major accidents. It is committed to using risk assessment to inform decisions and priorities. But assessing homeland security risks is challenging, in part due to the nature of the risks.

    Apr 4, 2016

  • U.S. sailors assigned to Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command monitor, analyze, detect, and respond to unauthorized activity within U.S. Navy information systems and networks

    Commentary

    The Online Fight Against ISIS

    To prevail against ISIS in cyberspace, the United States and its cyber soldiers will have to be capable of reacting quickly, while being guided by an overarching strategy. Secretary of Defense Carter urged U.S. Cyber Command to intensify the fight against ISIS but it would also be wise to recruit civilian volunteers.

    Apr 1, 2016

  • News Release

    New Research Finds Counter-Terrorism TACTICS for European Cities

    Counter-terrorism technologies and diverse partnerships are essential when dealing with terrorist threats in cities. The TACTICS project team has developed a technology-ready concept that could support counter-terrorism operations across Europe.

    Mar 31, 2016