National Security

Featured

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.

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives a New Year address in Pyongyang on January 1, 2017, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Trump Should Confront Kim Over ICBM Tests

    Jan 6, 2017

    Whether successful or not, an ICBM test by North Korea would be very much against U.S. interests and President-elect Trump should act to counter it as early as possible. A turn to the basics of deterrence would be the path most likely to succeed.

  • A Russian military vehicle rolls past a house set on fire by South Ossetian militia in the Georgian village of Kvemo-Achebeti outside the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, August 18, 2008, photo by Denis Sinyakov/Reuters

    Content

    A New Era in Relations with Russia

    Sep 21, 2016

    In the last decade, Russia has revamped its military, invaded two neighboring countries, intervened on behalf of President Bashar al Assad in Syria, and threatened NATO with nuclear saber rattling, aerial incursions, and military exercises.

Explore National Security

  • A young woman uses her smartphone in bed at night

    Essay

    The Costs of Poor Sleep Are Staggering

    Research shows that a little more sleep could help America's families, military, and economy.

    Mar 1, 2017

  • U.S. Army soldiers take part in a multi-service exercise on cyber capabilities at Ford Gordon in Augusta, Georgia, June 10, 2014

    Testimony

    Effective Cyberdeterrence Takes More Than Offensive Capability

    A successful cyberdeterrence posture has many prerequisites. These include attributing attacks to the correct party, thresholds for what merits retaliation, credibility, and offensive capability. For the United States, capability is the least in doubt.

    Mar 1, 2017

  • U.S. Army sergeant helps direct an M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle off a flatbed on Tapa Army Base, Estonia, June 4, 2015

    Testimony

    What It Will Take to Deter Russian Aggression in the Baltics

    The U.S. and NATO confront three challenges in deterring Russian aggression in the Baltics. Solving all three is vital to achieving core American objectives in Europe, which have been consistent and strong since 1945. The first step is to keep NATO in the game.

    Mar 1, 2017

  • A U.S. Army Soldier assigned to 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, provides security during Decisive Action Rotation 16-06 at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif

    Testimony

    How to Build the Army America Will Need

    The world has changed since 2014, when the size and capabilities of today's U.S. forces were set. As the Trump administration develops its defense policy and strategy, it must assess whether further growth in ground force size, capabilities, and posture are needed.

    Mar 1, 2017

  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) listens to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2ndR) at the start of a meeting at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany, February 16, 2017

    Commentary

    U.S. Should Test Russia on Islamic State

    The United States should consider accepting Russia's offer to help on ISIS, especially if the Trump administration is considering sending more troops or establishing safe zones in Syria.

    Feb 28, 2017

  • Report

    Air Force Strategic Planning: Past, Present, and Future

    This report examines the history of strategic planning efforts in the U.S. Air Force. Ultimately, this report argues that the Air Force still needs strategic planning, but perhaps not in its current form.

    Feb 28, 2017

  • U.S. Marines were among 4,000 soldiers from 11 NATO countries who participated in Exercise Iron Sword 16 in Lithuania

    Commentary

    America's NATO Partners Should Engage Trump in Brussels

    At May's NATO summit in Brussels, President Trump will be looking for a symbolic victory rather than a confrontation with 27 other national leaders. Therefore, Europe needs to create a positive outcome for him in advance.

    Feb 27, 2017

  • Japan Coast Guard vessel PS206 Houou sails in front of Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea, August 18, 2013

    Commentary

    The New 'Normal' in the East China Sea

    China and Japan are engaged in a long-term test of wills over disputed waters and territory in the East China Sea. The Japanese government has acknowledged the challenge it faces and has begun to invest in infrastructure and personnel projects to address it.

    Feb 27, 2017

  • Estonian soldiers in a military parade celebrate Estonia's Independence Day near the Russian border in Narva, February 24, 2015

    Report

    The Potential for Russian Hybrid Warfare in the Baltics

    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.

    Feb 23, 2017

  • Taiwanese soldiers salute from tanks during a military exercise in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan, July 4, 2015

    Report

    Transforming Taiwan's Reserve Force

    As the political-military challenge from China grows, Taiwan's reserve force may need to play a more prominent role in Taipei's approach to deterring Chinese aggression. Changing its reserve force size, structure, roles, missions, equipment, and training could help Taiwan offset PLA advantages.

    Feb 22, 2017

  • U.S. Air Force captain shakes hands with an Afghanistan National Army warehouse supervisor as they discuss storage and distribution for equipment and supplies in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 26, 2017

    Commentary

    Acquisition in Transition

    The DoD acquisition system is complex and ever-changing. It requires a trained and active workforce that has the support of Congress. Allowing some of the reforms to take place in a measured fashion would be a wise choice for the new administration and Congress.

    Feb 21, 2017

  • Report

    Developing a Capacity Assessment Framework for Marine Logistics Groups

    This report provides a capacity assessment framework to assist each of the Marine Logistics Groups, or any size unit, in determining the ability of logistics units to meet current and projected tasks.

    Feb 20, 2017

  • Report

    Improving Implementation of the Department of Defense Leahy Law

    The Leahy laws prohibit U.S. assistance to foreign security forces that have committed gross violations of human rights. This report analyzes the vetting process that helps the Department of Defense implement these laws and recommends improvements.

    Feb 17, 2017

  • U.S. Army Soldiers board a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at the Joint Multinational Training Command's (JMTC) Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany

    Testimony

    How to Restore the Power Projection Capabilities of the U.S. Armed Forces

    To help put the United States back on a path toward fielding forces that can defeat any adversary, the DoD needs money and insight. The latter can help inform decisionmaking. The former would let the DoD develop, acquire, and field new systems and postures.

    Feb 16, 2017

  • Taiwanese Coast Guard patrol ship, Kaohsiung (CG 129), during a rescue drill near the coast of Itu Aba in the South China Sea, November 29, 2016

    Commentary

    History and Current Developments Regarding Taiwan's Coast Guard

    As Asia-Pacific countries develop policies to regulate maritime zones of jurisdiction, the importance of coast guards as instruments of state policy has been growing. Taiwan's Coast Guard is an increasingly effective force facilitating the protection and regulation of Taiwanese maritime rights and interests in the East and South China Sea.

    Feb 15, 2017

  • Report

    2016 Assessment of the Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project: Executive Summary

    This executive summary presents the key findings of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 assessment of the Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project mandated in the National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2011.

    Feb 15, 2017

  • A member of the counterterrorism task force stands guard in Times Square, New York City, December 31, 2016

    Testimony

    No Easy Solutions to the Persistent Terrorist Threat

    Jihadist terrorism isn't the most dangerous threat to the United States. But it is the most prominent. There are no clear solutions to this problem, and all America's counterterrorism options entail risks.

    Feb 14, 2017

  • First Army Deputy Commanding General for Support, Maj. Gen. Paul Benenati, greets Bruce McDonald, a civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army from Michigan, at the Central Region CASA conference on Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., on Aug. 12, 2015

    Report

    2016 Assessment of the Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project

    This report accomplishes the fiscal year (FY) 2016 assessment of the Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project mandated in the National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2011.

    Feb 14, 2017

  • U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force special forces personnel participate in a training exercise at Naval Station Pascagoula, Mississippi, October 26, 2016

    Commentary

    The Mission to Counter WMD: Avoiding Missteps While Transitioning Responsibility

    U.S. Special Operations Command will soon lead the Pentagon's anti-WMD efforts. SOCOM is well positioned to contain and reduce threats, but will need new expertise to prevent the acquisition of related material and respond to crises.

    Feb 10, 2017

  • A girl dances while women pray at a protest against the Trump administration's travel restriction at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas, January 29, 2017

    Commentary

    Why a Travel Restriction Won't Stop Terrorism at Home

    It's not unreasonable to seek a review of immigration, and refugee-vetting procedures make sense. But America's jihadist terrorists are not imported from abroad. They are mostly homegrown.

    Feb 10, 2017