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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.

  • The Lithuanian Army's rapid reaction force unit, first formed in Nov. 2014 in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea, carries out a drill in Rukla Mar. 19, 2015, photo by Ints Kalnins/Reuters

    Commentary

    Stop Putin's Next Invasion Before It Starts

    Mar 20, 2015

    The U.S. needs to consider stationing forces in Eastern Europe to support its commitment to protect the independence of the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania against Russian aggression. If not, and Russia invades, the options available to this or a future U.S. president are stark.

  • hgt-houses

    Essay

    Enemies Among Us: What We Know About Homegrown Terrorists

    Feb 26, 2015

    Dozens of young Americans have attempted to join overseas jihadist groups in the past several years, raising special concern among counterterrorism officials that they might bring the fight home with them when they return.

Explore National Security

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

    Commentary

    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

  • An air strike hits a military site controlled by the Houthi group in Yemen's capital Sanaa May 12, 2015

    Commentary

    Yemen: Victim of the Saudi-Iranian Rivalry

    Instability in Yemen does not benefit Iran, Saudi Arabia, or the United States. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is a major threat to all three countries. And neither side in the Yemeni conflict has the capability to impose central authority in Yemen by itself.

    May 12, 2015

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    How Accurate Is TV's Portrayal of Terrorism?

    Acclaimed television writer, producer, and author Howard Gordon joins 30-year CIA veteran and RAND senior policy analyst Andrew Liepman for a discussion about the allure of terrorism as a subject for entertainment in this Events @ RAND podcast.

    May 6, 2015

  • People run for cover after an explosion in Jalalabad April 18, 2015

    Commentary

    Has Islamic State Entered Afghanistan?

    The bulk of the Islamic State of Khorasan is thought to be in Pakistan, but the group is trying to make inroads into Afghanistan. That said, the group's actual ability to operate in Afghanistan appears rather limited.

    May 4, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe for a State Dinner in their honor at the White House in Washington

    Commentary

    Shinzo Abe Visit Caps New Dawn in U.S.-Japan Relations

    A shift toward “collective self-defense” will allow Japan to take joint military action with its allies even when it is not directly attacked and thereby participate in security measures beyond its borders. Prime Minister Abe's trip to Washington this week is intended to cement Japan's deepening bilateral security alliance with the U.S.

    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

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Is Bipartisan National Security Policy Possible in Today's Political Environment?

    Should the United States make a nuclear deal with Iran? What threat do cyber attacks pose to our nation? Should there be intelligence reform? In this Events @ RAND podcast, Mike Rogers speaks to these and other timely national security issues.

    Apr 21, 2015

  • Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks to Pentagon personnel, February 19, 2015

    Commentary

    Rethinking Risk in Defense

    The way the U.S. uses risk in national security has too often been ill-defined and misleading. The country needs a more focused and precise understanding of risk at the highest levels. In the process of developing one, risk processes should be judged by how they contribute to the making of effective strategy.

    Apr 20, 2015

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a live broadcast nationwide call-in in Moscow April 16, 2015; he said Russian military forces were not in Ukraine, denying allegations that Moscow is providing troops and support for pro-Russian rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine

    Commentary

    Ukraine Crisis Is a Geopolitical Game Changer

    Russia's aggression abroad and repression at home have altered the basic assumptions of earlier Western policy. By misjudging the tolerance for aggression in Europe, Moscow is bringing on the encirclement it fears. The West is now better prepared to deal with any further aggression and more confident that Ukraine's future will be as part of an enlarged Europe.

    Apr 17, 2015

  • Report

    Assessing and Evaluating Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade: Handbook for Practitioners

    This handbook compiles strong assessment practices and examples from a range of sectors in an easy-to-navigate format for personnel responsible for planning and assessing inform, influence, and persuade efforts in the U.S. Department of Defense.

    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

    Report

    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

  • Testimony

    There Will Be Battles in the Heart of Your Abode: The Threat Posed by Foreign Fighters Returning From Syria and Iraq: Addendum

    Document submitted on April 17, 2015 as an addendum to testimony presented before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on March 12, 2015.

    Apr 17, 2015

  • Report

    Identifying and Mitigating Risks in Security Sector Assistance for Africa's Fragile States

    Often those countries most in need of security sector assistance are least able to make good use of it. The author explores the risks of assistance to the fragile states of Africa and how the United States might better anticipate and mitigate them.

    Apr 15, 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

  • 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

  • Capt. Chuck Marks, commanding officer of Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, listens to Martin Gallivan, associate professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary, talk about the artifacts his team of students uncovered during the excavation of a Powhatan Indian village, a field study being conducted under a cooperative agreement between the Navy and the college

    Commentary

    A Funny Thing Happened When These Military Officers and Academics Got Together

    If senior officers and academics find themselves divided, is there a way to build respect and trust earlier in their careers, when less is at stake? A tabletop exercise suggested that the best way to bridge the civilian-military divide is not via large conferences or formal papers. Instead, it can be done by building trust, one person at a time, over time.

    Apr 6, 2015

  • Two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors are launched during a successful intercept test in September 2013

    Commentary

    South Korea's Missile-Defense System Decision: Q&A with Bruce Bennett

    What might it mean if the U.S. deploys the terminal high-altitude air defense missile system known as THAAD in South Korea? Chinese pressure on South Korea to not allow THAAD deployment has become a major regional security issue.

    Apr 3, 2015

  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani while addressing a joint meeting of Congress in Washington, March 25, 2015

    Commentary

    Give Ghani a Chance: Why This Time Is Different

    After years of broken promises, there's reason to believe that these will be kept under President Ashraf Ghani and that the pronouncements about a better U.S.-Afghan future deserve the benefit of the doubt.

    Mar 31, 2015