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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 four U.S. federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) explore topics from acquisition and technology to personnel and readiness.

  • Estonian soldiers in a military parade celebrate Estonia's Independence Day near the Russian border in Narva, February 24, 2015, photo by Ints Kalnins/Reuters

    Report

    The Potential for Russian Hybrid Warfare in the Baltics

    Feb 23, 2017

    Russia would likely have trouble using nonviolent tactics to destabilize the Baltics. Covert violent action is also unlikely to succeed on its own. Thus, the Baltics' main vulnerability is Russia's local superiority in conventional forces.

  • Military vehicles carrying DF-26 ballistic missiles travel past Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Beijing, September 3, 2015, photo by Andy Wong/Pool/Reuters

    Report

    China's Evolving Approach to Nuclear Deterrence

    Mar 15, 2017

    China's nuclear posture has been consistent since 1964. But in recent years, China has increased the numbers of its missiles and warheads and improved the quality of its force. Understanding its future nuclear direction is critical to shaping U.S. strategy.

Explore National Security

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised a ballistic rocket launching drill of Hwasong artillery units of the Strategic Force of the KPA

    Commentary

    Murder, Missiles, and Messages from North Korea

    Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile on February 12 — one day before Kim Jong Nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was murdered in Malaysia — and four more on March 6. What would lead North Korea to carry out these provocations?

    Mar 24, 2017

  • A coder types on laptop keyboard

    Commentary

    Reining in Internet Abuse

    The internet is being used for harmful, unethical, and illegal purposes. Examples include incitement and recruitment by terrorists, cyber bullying, and malicious fake news. Americans say they are unhappy with the tone of the online discourse, but are reluctant to consider potential remedies.

    Mar 23, 2017

  • Fighters of the Syrian Islamist rebel group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham cheer on a pickup truck after a Russian helicopter was shot down in the north of Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, August 1, 2016

    Commentary

    Al Qaeda in Syria Can Change Its Name, but Not Its Stripes

    Al Qaeda in Syria, by any name, remains a dangerous and capable terrorist organization with the ability to conduct attacks in the West. Those seeking to grapple with the threat the group poses should focus less on its names and more on its actions.

    Mar 23, 2017

  • Dissertation

    The Defense Acquisition Workforce Growth Initiative: Changing Workforce Characteristics and the Implications for Workforce Retention

    Examines the U.S. defense acquisition workforce growth initiative and estimates how it has influenced overall cohort-level retention rates.

    Mar 23, 2017

  • People rush to a site hit by what activists said was heavy shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, June 16, 2015

    Commentary

    Holding Assad Accountable for Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

    With two no votes from China and Russia, the UN Security Council failed to pass a resolution punishing Syrian officials for their roles in chlorine attacks in 2014 and 2015. Leadership from the United States on this issue could show allies that despite a change in government, the U.S. remains committed to holding those who use chemical weapons accountable.

    Mar 22, 2017

  • Russian military helicopters fly during rehearsals for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, May 3, 2014

    Testimony

    Russian Hybrid Warfare: What Is It, and What Can Be Done About It?

    Russia's use of subversive actions, such as information and cyber operations, threatens U.S. interests in Europe. Addressing this hybrid threat will take time and effort. And any U.S. response must be developed alongside efforts to bolster conventional deterrence.

    Mar 22, 2017

  • Report

    Assessing and Evaluating Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade: Worked Example

    This report presents a realistic but fictional scenario as context for how assessment planning for inform, influence, and persuade efforts should work in practice, demonstrating core principles and best practices for developing effective assessments.

    Mar 22, 2017

  • Afghan security forces take position during a gun battle between Taliban and Afghan security forces in Laghman province, Afghanistan, March 1, 2017

    Commentary

    How Trump Should Manage Afghanistan

    While media coverage has focused on Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan remains an important frontline state in the fight against terrorism. The Trump administration should aim to prevent Taliban forces from overthrowing the Afghan government, encourage political reconciliation where feasible, and pursue terrorists that threaten the U.S.

    Mar 21, 2017

  • A new multi-role Russian MiG-35 fighter flies during its international presentation at the MiG plant in Lukhovitsy outside Moscow, Russia January 27, 2017.

    Commentary

    Thinking Constructively About Overmatch

    To regain military superiority the Pentagon has suggested a strategy that focuses on emerging technologies and deterrence. But it will need more than new technologies to deter and respond to aggression; it should also take into account grand strategy and acquisition considerations and keep countering Russia and China a top priority.

    Mar 21, 2017

  • Soldiers drive a CM33 Clouded Leopard infantry fighting vehicle during the annual Han Kuang military drill simulating the PLA invading the island, in southern Taiwan, August 25, 2016

    Commentary

    Why China Will Not Unify with Taiwan by 2020

    The prospects for peaceful unification of China and Taiwan continue to dim. Nothing Beijing has tried to woo or coerce Taiwan has worked. For those determined to compel Taiwan's unification, military subjugation remains a last option. But it would only worsen China's security environment.

    Mar 21, 2017

  • Report

    Knowing the Enemy: Understanding the Islamic State and Principles for Defeating It

    RAND researchers outline general principles that U.S. policymakers must consider when conceiving and weighing appropriate strategies to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

    Mar 21, 2017

  • Risk board game

    Commentary

    Why Strategies Disappoint — and How to Fix Them

    Strategies fail because leaders are unwilling to make difficult decisions — to focus on one threat as opposed to another, prioritize resources, and then explain their decisions publicly — at the risk of being wrong. Can the new U.S. administration succeed in fixing the strategy process?

    Mar 20, 2017

  • NATO Response Force and Allied Marines from the U.K., U.S., Sweden, and Finland simulate amphibious assaults on a Swedish beachhead during BALTOPS 2015

    Commentary

    The Hidden Potential of NATO's Gator Navies

    Improving U.S.-European amphibious interoperability would bolster the alliance's defense posture in a non-provocative manner that complements recent moves in land forces. The 2017 Summit in Brussels presents an opportunity to refine allied ground posture while adding this maritime dimension.

    Mar 17, 2017

  • Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands

    Commentary

    How Will Defense and Security Be Affected by Brexit?

    Trade and migration issues have dominated Brexit discussions. But the UK's decision to leave the EU also creates challenges for security, deepening uncertainty at a time when little certainty exists.

    Mar 16, 2017

  • Construction on the Army Test and Evaluation Command headquarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, as part of a 2011 BRAC plan

    Commentary

    Making BRAC Politically Palatable

    Taxpayer dollars have been used for decades to maintain bases that should have been realigned or closed. If policymakers would like more efficient use of defense dollars, they might consider allowing new rounds of Base Realignment and Closure.

    Mar 16, 2017

  • Members of the NYPD's Counterterrorism Bureau stand watch at the Union Square Holiday Market in Manhattan, December 20, 2016

    Commentary

    Taking the 'Terror' Out of Terrorism Requires Outsmarting Fear

    Terrorism aims to create terror. Building an effective counterterror strategy could help society understand how terrorism works, then work together toward a psychologically more resilient and less vulnerable mindset.

    Mar 16, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Response Strategies to the Cost Escalation of Defence Equipment: Executive Summary

    Published in EDA studies - Executive summary.

    Mar 15, 2017

  • Pakistani soldiers at an army post in the Shawal mountains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, near a known haven for al Qaeda militants, April 29, 2006

    Commentary

    Beware the New Mujahideen: The Threat from Future Jihadist Networks

    Today's terrorist networks will multiply far beyond the wars in Iraq and Syria. When one conflict ends, these fighters often join another. It is critical they be denied safe haven and the ability to train and network in ungoverned territories.

    Mar 14, 2017

  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (right) greets Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the State Department in Washington, February 28, 2017

    Commentary

    What Are the Chances of the U.S. and China Going to War?

    War between the United States and China seems far-fetched. But complacency would be a mistake. Washington and Beijing should keep a direct channel open between their defense ministers to defuse any potential crises or escalation.

    Mar 14, 2017