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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.

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  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at United Nations headquarters in New York, April 27, 2015

    Commentary

    The End of Nuclear Proliferation?

    As the last case of nuclear proliferation fades further into history, it may become politically difficult to allocate resources to preventing it as other pressing threats, such as bio- and cyber-terrorism, continue to emerge. The time to act to keep nuclear proliferation a thing of the past is now.

    Jul 26, 2016

  • Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and interior ministers from Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain before their meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 27, 2016

    Report

    The Outlook for Arab Gulf Cooperation

    Understanding what binds and divides the six Gulf Cooperation Council states can help policymakers prepare for future trends in a region with high stakes for U.S. strategic interests.

    Jul 26, 2016

  • An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged on-going land reclamation by China on Mischief reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, May 11, 2015.

    Commentary

    Judgment on the South China Sea: What's Next?

    On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines' claims to maritime entitlements in the South China Sea. How China reacts could have far-reaching consequences for all nations that depend on a peaceful and integrated Southeast Asia.

    Jul 22, 2016

  • Report

    Authorities for Military Operations Against Terrorist Groups: The State of the Debate and Options for Congress

    U.S. counterterrorism operations rely on authorizations from 2001 and 2002. This report surveys the debate over requirements for a new authorization, the terrorist challenge, purposes and key elements of such legislation, and congressional options.

    Jul 22, 2016

  • Aerographer's mates stand by as an unmanned underwater vehicle leaves the surface to search for mines as part of a training exercise

    Commentary

    The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Intelligence Agencies

    The defense community has already begun a healthy dialogue about the ethics of AI in combat systems. The intelligence community should develop standards for AI risk assessments and assign responsibility for conducting them.

    Jul 18, 2016

  • Young people stand in front of the U.S. Intelligence Community seal

    Report

    Millennials: Implications for the Intelligence Community

    Millennials are now America's largest living generation. How should the intelligence community adapt to interact with them as clients, employees, partners, and citizens?

    Jul 18, 2016

  • The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman transits the Atlantic Ocean on a deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts

    Commentary

    NATO's Russia Problem: The Alliance's Tough Road Ahead Post-Warsaw Summit

    NATO emerged from Warsaw more unified than some had predicted it would, especially after the shock of Brexit. But with strained economies, rising populism, and persistent threats from the East and the South, NATO still faces an uphill battle.

    Jul 13, 2016

  • Soldiers from U.S. Army Europe's Charlie Company show Ukrainian Marines and National Guard soldiers the proper procedures for clearing a room, September 16, 2014

    Commentary

    It's Getting Harder to Define Military Readiness. Here's What to Do About It.

    Focusing on one type of threat or the other — whether state or non-state in its general nature — is becoming a less tenable option as the United States considers how to assess and improve its military readiness.

    Jul 12, 2016

  • The Presidio of Monterey community celebrated Earth Day with an informational fair and a tree-planting ceremony involving service members and the National Arbor Society

    Report

    The Value of Military Installation Public-to-Public Partnerships

    Partnerships have benefited both U.S. military installations and communities in terms of cost savings, improved operations, access to additional expertise and resources, and improved military-community relations.

    Jul 12, 2016

  • Ukrainian and U.S. Sailors aboard of the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) work together on the forecastle of the ship as it departs Sevastopol Jan 30, 2012.

    Commentary

    The Growing Importance of Black Sea Security

    The U.S. and NATO response to Russia's more assertive policy in Europe since 2014 has focused heavily on deterring possible Russian threats to the Baltic region. As allies take steps to strengthen defense of the Baltic region, they need to pay increased attention to enhancing security and deterrence in the Black Sea area.

    Jul 11, 2016

  • Iraqi counterterrorism forces in Falluja after they recaptured the city from the Islamic State in June 2016

    Commentary

    To Defeat ISIL's Brand, Its Territory Must Be Reclaimed

    ISIL has been forced out of 56 places it once controlled, including five major cities. Taking its territory and diminishing its brand is required to reduce the group's operational capacity for carrying out or influencing local or distant attacks.

    Jul 8, 2016

  • An A-10C Thunderbolt II flies near a KC-135 Stratotanker after departing from Amari Air Base, Estonia, during an exercise with the Estonian Air Force and Maryland Air National Guard, June 3, 2013

    Report

    Opportunities for Enhanced Partnering on NATO's Northeastern Flank

    U.S. defense engagement priorities in Europe are shifting in the face of Russian aggression. By engaging strategically on NATO's northeastern flank, the United States can strengthen deterrence while minimizing inadvertent escalation.

    Jul 7, 2016

  • People's Liberation Army naval soldiers stand on a military vessel at a naval base in Hong Kong, July 1, 2016

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'China's Military Transformation,' by You Ji

    China's military has undeniably made tremendous strides in recent years. You Ji's book provides a collection of interesting and often perceptive observations on political and intellectual aspects of a rapidly modernizing People's Liberation Army.

    Jul 5, 2016

  • Puzzle with the flags of Great Britain and NATO

    Commentary

    Why Brexit Won't Necessarily Hurt NATO

    Concerns that the Brexit vote could weaken NATO are overblown. There will likely be a wide range of fallout that will spread beyond the economic realm, but the European Union is not NATO and it's far too early to expect dramatic outcomes.

    Jul 3, 2016

  • The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers JS Yamayuki (DD-129) and JS Yamagiri (DD-152) conduct formation drills during a passing exercise

    Commentary

    The Fallout from the Philippines Arbitration Case Against China

    What compels compliance with rulings based on international law? Whether or not China will pay a political price for ignoring a U.N. Law of the Sea Convention ruling will to a large degree be determined by how forceful other states respond in the aftermath of court action.

    Jun 30, 2016

  • Commercial Book

    PLA Influence on China's National Security Policymaking

    This book assesses the relationship between the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and its civilian masters by moving beyond media and pundit speculation to mount an in-depth examination and explanation of the PLA's role in national security policymaking.

    Jun 29, 2016

  • NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) 70-metric-ton configuration is seen launching to space in this undated artist's rendering released August 2, 2014

    Report

    Developing a Risk Assessment Methodology for NASA

    A decision support methodology integrates risk factors and risk management approaches tailored to NASA's management, operations, and acquisition structures. Designed for non-experts, any decisionmaker with any level of training can use it to compare risks within a common lens.

    Jun 29, 2016

  • Dawn breaks behind the Houses of Parliament and the statue of Winston Churchill in Westminster, London, Britain, June 24, 2016

    Commentary

    The Future of Transatlantic Security

    Without the UK, the EU's military and defense capabilities — including in key areas such as strategic lift, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and special forces — are considerably reduced.

    Jun 28, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Party-Army Relations Since the 16th Party Congress: The Battle of the "Two Centers"?

    The 12 months between the 16th Party Congress in October 2002 and the party plenum in November 2003 provide a fascinating snapshot of party-army relations in China.

    Jun 28, 2016

  • Journal Article

    China Ponders Post-2014 Afghanistan: Neither "All In" nor Bystander

    Since 2001, China has warily watched the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and associated footprint in Central Asia.

    Jun 28, 2016