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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.

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  • A Syrian refugee shows his passport after he and 30 other Syrians were rescued by a Greek coast guard patrol boat May 29, 2015

    Testimony

    Admitting Syrian Refugees: The Intelligence Void and the Emerging Homeland Security Threat

    The deeply intertwined wars in Syria and Iraq continue to impact U.S. national security. Based on threats posed by a number of terrorist groups in the region, it's important to examine potential risks from increased refugee flows and ensure that the U.S. refugee program safeguards national security.

    Jun 24, 2015

  • Network hub and cable

    Testimony

    Strategies for Defending U.S. Government Networks in Cyberspace

    Hackers, including state and non-state actors, are continuing to find opportunities to penetrate U.S. government networks. Defending these networks will require a systems approach.

    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

  • A Tunisian holds up a flag during celebrations marking the fourth anniversary of Tunisia's revolution, Tunis, January 14, 2015

    Commentary

    Tunisia in the Crosshairs

    The open-ended nature of the Islamic State group's threat against Tunisair suggests that it intends to target Tunisia for the long haul. The United States should counter the threats with steadfast and sustained cooperation and assistance.

    Jun 22, 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

  • An Afghan border policeman escorts a detained suspected Taliban fighter near Walli Was in Paktika province near border with Pakistan November 5, 2012

    Commentary

    Expanding the Caliphate

    ISIS in South Asia, which it calls the Islamic State of Khorasan, is larger than most recognize, boasting between several hundred and several thousand fighters. But for now, it is closer to a loose affiliate than a direct arm of the organization.

    Jun 12, 2015

  • Smoke rises after what activists said were clashes with Islamic State fighters in Soran Azaz, Aleppo countryside June 1, 2015

    Commentary

    Islamic State's Global Expansion

    The radical Islamist group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is now expanding in roughly a dozen countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia by exploiting local grievances, doling out money, and leveraging its battlefield successes.

    Jun 4, 2015

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    Multimedia

    RAND Experts Discuss Iran’s Role in Iraq: Room for Cooperation

    Alireza Nader, senior international policy analyst with the RAND Corporation, discusses his study, “Iran's Role in Iraq: Room for Cooperation?” with Khorshied Samad, RAND senior media relations officer and Lisa Sodders, RAND media relations officer.

    Jun 2, 2015

  • Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) allied with Iraqi forces against the Islamic State, preparing to attack Tikrit March 26, 2015

    Report

    Could U.S.-Iran Cooperation Help Combat ISIL?

    Limited tactical cooperation between the United States and Iran may be possible in weakening Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant even if the two nations don't share long-term interests. U.S. and Iranian military forces are fighting the same enemy in Iraq and U.S. air power seems to complement Iran's on-the-ground presence.

    Jun 1, 2015

  • Report

    Army Global Basing Posture: An Analytic Framework for Maximizing Responsiveness and Effectiveness

    This report develops a methodology and a framework for global Army positioning and uses that framework to assess U.S. Army forward stationing from a perspective of maximum responsiveness and effectiveness and identifies potential improvements.

    Jun 1, 2015

  • Demonstrators hold up their signs during the Stop Watching Us: A Rally Against Mass Surveillance march near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 26, 2013

    Commentary

    The USA Freedom Act: The Definition of a Compromise

    The USA Freedom Act does not “balance” privacy and national security, nor is it clear that any legislation can credibly do so. There's no monolithic view of what such a balance should look like.

    May 29, 2015

  • 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

  • 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