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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.

  • People watch a huge screen showing the test launch of intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by KCNA, July 5, 2017, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Surgical Strike Against North Korea? Not a Viable Option

    Jul 14, 2017

    North Korea's July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit American soil has renewed talk of military intervention. But an effective limited military strike with minimal collateral damage and no escalation simply won't work.

  • The USS Lassen arrives at a South Korean naval port in Donghae as sailors wave South Korean and U.S. flags, March 9, 2013, photo by Republic of Korea Navy via Reuters

    Essay

    Are America's Overseas Security Commitments Worth It?

    Jul 7, 2017

    A growing debate has called into question U.S. international security commitments and whether their economic value outweighs their costs. Research suggests that the magnitude of the benefits could be substantial.

Explore National Security

  • Peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon patrol the Lebanese-Israeli border, January 19, 2015

    Commentary

    U.N. Peacekeeping Is a Good Deal for the U.S.

    Why should America spend taxpayer dollars on foreign peacekeepers when it could use the money to increase the capabilities of its own military? It turns out that U.N. peacekeepers are an incredibly good deal when compared to U.S. forces.

    Apr 2, 2017

  • A man walks past the European Commission headquarters on which is displayed a banner celebrating 60 years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, Brussels, Belgium, March 20, 2017

    Commentary

    Sixty Years Later European Integration Has Benefited EU Countries

    Sixty years after the Treaty of Rome, the EU is facing one of its most challenging periods. Closer ties and shared values across EU member states have provided social and economic benefits but any moves towards closer integration in Europe will fail to materialize in the absence of political will.

    Mar 28, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Shi'ite fighters during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Balad, north of Baghdad, Iraq, December 22, 2014

    Report

    Understanding ISIL and Principles for Defeating It

    U.S. policymakers weighing options to accelerate ISIL's defeat must develop specific courses of action that address both ISIL and the regional security issues that would emerge after its fall.

    Mar 21, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Counterterrorism service troops advance towards Ghozlani military complex, south of Mosul, Iraq, February 23, 2017

    Commentary

    For U.S., Many Options but No Clear Path in Middle East

    The struggle against jihadist terrorism has a long way to go. All courses of action come with risks, but are not mutually exclusive. The U.S. could escalate the fight, attack the root causes of terrorism, reduce the ungoverned spaces where terrorists find sanctuary, work with state partners in the Middle East, or withdraw from the region.

    Mar 6, 2017

  • Flags of the United Kingdom and the European Union being cut apart by scissors

    Report

    Defense and Security Implications of Brexit: International Perspectives

    The UK has begun negotiations to leave the EU. How can defense and security actors plan for, mitigate, and address the uncertainties brought on by Brexit?

    Mar 5, 2017

  • Illustration of the flags of the United Kingdom and the European Union

    Report

    What Are the Defense and Security Implications of Brexit?

    Brexit negotiations have focused on trade, sovereignty, and immigration. But the UK's decision to leave the EU also raises important defense and security questions for the UK, Europe, and the world.

    Mar 5, 2017

  • Report

    Defence and security after Brexit: Understanding the possible implications of the UK's decision to leave the EU — Overview report

    This RAND study examines the potential defence and security implications of the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union ('Brexit'), whether for the UK, Europe or globally.

    Mar 5, 2017

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath laying ceremony to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Moscow, Russia February 23, 2017

    Commentary

    How to Partner With Putin

    Improving relations with Russia is a worthy goal. President Donald Trump could seek to partner with Moscow on some issues, like North Korea, while keeping up heat on others, such as aggression in Ukraine.

    Mar 4, 2017

  • U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, February 3, 2017

    Commentary

    U.S.-Japan Defense Relations Under Trump

    U.S.–Japan relations appear to be stabilizing after a successful visit by Defense Secretary James Mattis to Tokyo that reaffirmed the alliance, followed by an equally successful visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the U.S. Next, will the Trump administration articulate goals for the region?

    Mar 3, 2017

  • A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015

    Commentary

    Sticking with the Complicated U.S.-Iran Relationship

    The United States and Iran differ on many issues, but they signed what has so far been a successful nuclear agreement and both seek to defeat the Islamic State. The U.S. would have more to gain by sticking with the relationship than by pursuing a policy of “regime change.”

    Mar 2, 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

  • 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