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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.

  • U.S. Marines storm aboard MSC dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Laramie during a visit, board, search, and seizure exercise, photo by LCpl. Michael Petersheim/U.S. Marine Corps

    Report

    How Might Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly Affect the U.S. Military?

    Jun 30, 2016

    The Department of Defense recently announced that it will allow transgender personnel to serve openly. The number of transgender members will likely be a small fraction of the total force and have minimal impact on readiness and health care costs.

  • U.S. Air Force pilots conduct pre-flight checklists at Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport in Dakar, Senegal, November 4, 2014, photo by Maj. Dale Greer/U.S. Air National Guard

    Report

    Commercial Airlines May Siphon Pilots From U.S. Air Force

    Jul 12, 2016

    The commercial airline industry will continue hiring more pilots to replace its aging workforce, causing more U.S. Air Force aviators to leave the service. Pilot pay is increasing in the commercial sector while Air Force aviator and retention pay are now discretionary programs under DoD guidelines.

Explore National Security

  • Report

    Can We Explain Gender Differences in Officer Career Progression?

    The report provides a quantitative analysis of the differences in the career progression of officers based on gender, as well as the factors that explain these differences.

    Aug 17, 2016

  • A New York City fireman calls for 10 more rescue workers to make their way into the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 15, 2001

    Commentary

    ISIS vs. Al Qaida: Battle of the Terrorist Brands

    Rather than thinking of defeating terrorists solely in traditional military terms, it might make sense to think of bankrupting them. It might help to consider the factors that cause luxury brands to lose their luster or big box retailers to fail.

    Aug 16, 2016

  • French President Francois Hollande and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian review troops at the fort of Vincennes, France, July 25, 2016

    Commentary

    Emergencies: France, Mali, and Turkey Are Playing with Fire

    The leaders of France, Mali, and Turkey have declared formal states of emergency. France's Hollande and Mali's Keïta, while responding to real threats, are risking democracy. Erdogan appears to be targeting democracy and using Turkey's recent failed coup as a pretext.

    Aug 15, 2016

  • The U.S. and Japanese flags blend together

    Commentary

    Don't Weaken the U.S.-Japan Alliance, Strengthen It

    As long as the United States and Japan stick together, they should have the strength to deter or, if necessary, defeat the threats they face. But if Washington abandons its alliance commitments, the risk of war will rise and America will be less safe.

    Aug 14, 2016

  • Journal Article

    China's Search for a "Strategic Air Force"

    China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has undergone a transformation over the past two decades. As it continues to modernize, it is focused on becoming a strategic air force.

    Aug 11, 2016

  • U.S. Marines with their Georgian counterparts preparing for NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, March 24, 2015

    Commentary

    How Defense Choices Affect Military Readiness

    Because the United States cannot afford to prioritize and defend against every possible threat or contingency, it must accept risk with each decision it makes. And the more adaptive the adversary, the more likely it will confound readiness investments made previously to confront it.

    Aug 10, 2016

  • Report

    Mathematics Audit of the DoDEA Schools: 2014–2015

    This report is an audit of the then-current Department of Defense Education Activity mathematics program, built around standards established in 2009, to help prepare for a transition to Common Core State Standards, which began in 2014--2015.

    Aug 10, 2016

  • Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi meet at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, in Beijing, China, April 30, 2016

    Commentary

    Do Economic Ties Limit the Prospect of Conflict?

    China has grown stronger economically and militarily over the past 35 years and has become more assertive. Its trade and investment links with Japan are substantial but they have been declining, and are less of a constraint on conflict than before.

    Aug 9, 2016

  • Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front fighters enter the back of a pick-up truck in Arsal, Lebanon, December 1, 2015

    Commentary

    What's in a Name? The Rebranding of the Nusra Front

    Jabhat al-Nusra, which recently announced that it was severing its affiliation with al Qaeda, is now Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. This means less than meets the eye, but it does say something about the local atmosphere in Syria.

    Aug 8, 2016

  • Report

    An Independent Assessment of Air Force Compliance with Headquarters Reduction Goals

    RAND researchers assess the Air Force's response to Secretary of Defense direction to reduce headquarters spending, compare the Air Force's approach with practices from literature and industry, and identify opportunities for further reductions.

    Aug 8, 2016

  • A diplomatic delegation waits for China's President Xi Jinping to arrive at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, March 30, 2016, to attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington

    Q&A

    Q&A: An Unthinkable War Between the U.S. and China

    David Gompert, lead author of a RAND report that explores an unthinkable U.S.-China war answers questions about what the study does — and does not — say about the potential for such a war and its possible outcome.

    Aug 4, 2016

  • The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond alongside the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower conducting maritime security operations and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom, November 4, 2012

    Commentary

    Sustaining Britain's Role in NATO After Brexit

    In this period of geostrategic uncertainty about the future of the UK during its divorce from the EU, the U.S. should provide robust diplomatic and political support to ensure that Britain remains a major military power within the Atlantic Alliance.

    Aug 4, 2016

  • The American flag reflects in the glasses of an Army officer in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, April 22, 2012

    Report

    U.S. Military Pay Tables and Retention

    To help retain America's most experienced service members, Congress extended the military's basic pay tables to 40 years in 2007. Would retention be equally achieved by reverting to a 30-year pay table?

    Aug 3, 2016

  • A People's Liberation Army Air Force's long-range strategic bomber H-6K

    Commentary

    China Signals Resolve with Bomber Flights Over the South China Sea

    Since the PCA tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines' case on July 12, invalidating many of China's claims in the South China Sea, Beijing has sought to demonstrate its military strength in the region. The PLAAF's H-6K has played a key role.

    Aug 2, 2016

  • U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.

    Blog

    A Summer Reading List for Congress

    To help Hill staffers make the most of the Congressional recess, RAND has developed a list of must-read research and commentaries that will help ensure policymakers will return ready to hit the ground running.

    Aug 2, 2016

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a personal send-off for members of the Russian Olympic team at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, July 27, 2016

    Commentary

    How to Counter Putin's Subversive War on the West

    Russian cybercrime, Olympics doping, and other active measures have one thing in common: Moscow admits no wrongdoing. These scandals exacerbate the frigid relations between Moscow and the West. Diplomacy sometimes works slowly, but it helps.

    Aug 1, 2016

  • Guo Shengkun, China's Minister of Public Security, speaks during the Second U.S.-China High-Level Joint Dialogue on Cybercrime and Related Issues in Beijing, China, June 14, 2016

    Commentary

    The U.S.-China Cyber Agreement: A Good First Step

    China's apparent compliance with the cyber agreement might represent little more than a temporary shift in tactics. The U.S. should make clear that indictments may once again be sought if Chinese hackers resume cyber espionage against U.S. firms.

    Aug 1, 2016

  • Tool

    Officer Accession Planning: A Manual for Estimating Air Force Officer Degree Requirements

    This tool describes and provides implementation guidance for the process RAND Project AIR FORCE created to develop evidence-based degree requirements for officer accessions.

    Aug 1, 2016

  • A DNA sequence displayed on a computer screen and a scientist in a laboratory

    Commentary

    Can the Bioweapons Convention Survive Crispr?

    Crispr is a biotechnology that's making genetic editing easier, cheaper, and far more accessible, but it has also been called a major security threat. Do such advances in biotechnology make the bioweapons convention obsolete?

    Jul 29, 2016

  • Partner nations parading their colors at the opening ceremony of Combined Endeavor 2014 in Grafenwohr, Germany

    Commentary

    NATO Decides to 'Troop the Colours' As Symbol of Deterrence in the Baltics

    At its Warsaw summit in July, NATO agreed to establish a permanent rotating presence of its troops in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The decision may be interpreted as NATO's commitment to take its Baltic members' concerns seriously.

    Jul 28, 2016