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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.

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  • A K-9 police unit keeps watch as passengers make their way through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

    Commentary

    Improving Domestic Security to Combat Today's Terrorist Threats

    Today, the U.S. confronts a multilayered terrorist threat and the recent spate of attacks in Europe underscores the necessity for ensuring that intelligence keeps up with it. Intelligence services must continue to prevent terrorist assaults dispatched from abroad, head off new shoe and underwear bombers, intercept individuals returning from jihadist fronts with terrorist intentions, while at the same time uncovering and thwarting homegrown plots.

    Jan 30, 2015

  • Iraqi security forces guard during the building of a new road between Diyala province and Samarra December 21, 2014. The Badr Organization, a leading political party and militia with ties to Iran, is supervising the new road.

    Commentary

    Salvaging Iraq

    The Iranian government, particularly the Revolutionary Guards, is playing a huge role in helping the Iraqi security forces fight the Islamic State. Iraq and Iran share a 910-mile border that is mostly porous. Iraq's territorial integrity is critical for Iran too.

    Jan 26, 2015

  • Bashar al-Assad meeting with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran August 19, 2009

    Commentary

    Iran's Goals in Syria

    Iran is playing a crucial role in buttressing President Bashar Assad, through military advice, provision of weapons, and funding of the cash-strapped Syrian government. The Assad regime might not survive without support of Iran and its allies such as Hezbollah.

    Jan 26, 2015

  • French Muslims hold an Islamic flag and a banner reading "Do not touch my prophet, anything but the Messenger of Allah" as they gather in central Paris January 18, 2015

    Commentary

    Eight Lessons from the Charlie Hebdo Attack

    Among the lessons to be learned from the attacks in Paris are that terrorism has many audiences, Al-Qaida remains a threat, would-be warriors are unconcerned with the schisms among jihadist camps, Europe has a more serious problem, such an attack could happen in the U.S., and intelligence is crucial.

    Jan 23, 2015

  • Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan sign the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in the White House on December 8, 1987

    Commentary

    The Difference Between Negotiation and Appeasement

    Sound diplomacy weighs costs and benefits, based on a hard-nosed evaluation of American interests and values. It makes concessions only in exchange for concrete gains, but it still requires flexibility and willingness to trade, bargain, and make deals, including with adversaries. This is not the same thing as appeasement.

    Jan 22, 2015

  • Saudi border guards patrol Saudi Arabia's northern border with Iraq

    Commentary

    ISIS Aims to Occupy Mecca

    As ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reaches for control of the holy sites in and around Mecca and Medina and the wealth that comes with them, the U.S., NATO, and others should consider providing significant equipment and know-how to shore up the border defenses of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan.

    Jan 19, 2015

  • Protesters set fire to U.S. and Israeli flags to protest the Israeli offensive in Lebanon in front of Istanbul University after Friday prayers in Beyazit Mosque in Istanbul, August 4, 2006

    Blog

    Dialogue on Asymmetric Threats Concludes Two-Day Workshop on U.S. and Israeli Security Challenges

    Few nations have more experience with asymmetric conflicts than Israel and the United States. At the National Press Club in Washington, Brian Michael Jenkins of RAND and Admiral Amichay Ayalon, former director of Shin Bet, Israel's security agency, discussed the dynamics of the changing security environment.

    Jan 16, 2015

  • An exhibit on the Cuban Missile Crisis at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, December 18, 2014

    Commentary

    Greater Disorder Does Not Imply Greater Insecurity

    President Obama said in June, “If you had to choose any moment to be born in human history…you'd choose this time. The world is less violent than it has ever been.” While his proposition may seem incongruous with the present crises across Eurasia, evidence suggests that the world is indeed becoming more secure.

    Jan 7, 2015

  • An airline passenger stands in a full-body scanner at a TSA checkpoint at LAX in February 2014 after U.S. authorities issued a warning to airlines to watch out for militants who may have hidden bombs in their shoes

    Commentary

    What Research Says About Profiling

    When police take action on the basis of race, creed, or ethnicity it is corrosive, unfair, ineffective, and can stoke the flames of police-community tension. But as we have found from a variety of assessments, law enforcement is best served when it bases its activities on risk—not on personal characteristics.

    Dec 18, 2014

  • A hostage runs toward a police officer outside Lindt cafe, where other hostages are being held, in Martin Place, Sydney, December 15, 2014

    Blog

    Could the Sydney Café Siege Happen Elsewhere?

    As the world mourns those lost in the Sydney café siege, investigations have begun examining the efficacy of Australia's anti-terrorism measures and details about the background and motives of the gunman. At the same time, terrorism experts are reflecting on where else such an attack could emerge.

    Dec 17, 2014

  • Tool

    A Database of U.S. Security Treaties and Agreements

    The U.S. portfolio of treaties and agreements can offer insights into the distribution and depth of U.S. international commitments, including its military commitments, relationships, capabilities, and vulnerabilities in a given area.

    Dec 17, 2014

  • Report

    U.S. Security-Related Agreements in Force Since 1955: Introducing a New Database

    The U.S. portfolio of treaties and agreements can offer insights into the distribution and depth of U.S. international commitments, including its military commitments, relationships, capabilities, and vulnerabilities in a given area.

    Dec 17, 2014

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a speech at the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Nov. 26, 2014, during which she accuses Russia of violating international law with its interventions in Ukraine and said resolving the conflict would require patience

    Commentary

    The Greatest Challenge to U.S.-European Security Cooperation Today: The Ukraine Crisis

    Germany and America are leading Western policy in addressing the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The basic strategy is to support Ukraine and pressure Moscow to halt aggression, while leaving the door open to diplomacy. Sustaining Western unity is essential, but may not be easy to achieve.

    Dec 8, 2014

  • News Release

    China and U.S. Can Reduce the Risk of War by Learning from History's Blunders

    The history of wars caused by misjudgments reveals that leaders relied on cognitive models, or simplified representations of their worlds, that were seriously at odds with objective reality. China and the U.S. could learn from historical strategic blunders regarding war and peace, and four examples of decisions that turned out well.

    Dec 2, 2014

  • Afghan National Army soldiers walk at the Forward Base in Nari district near the army outpost in Kunar province, February 24, 2014

    Commentary

    What's the Plan? The Afghan National Security Forces

    The Afghan National Security Forces remain very much a work in progress. In the coming months, the resiliency and cohesiveness of the ANSF will be put to the test as the NATO coalition transitions to a non-combat mission. Growing pains can be expected.

    Dec 2, 2014

  • World War II soldiers

    Report

    China and U.S. Can Reduce the Risk of War by Learning from History's Blunders

    The history of wars caused by misjudgments reveals that leaders relied on cognitive models, or simplified representations of their worlds, that were seriously at odds with objective reality. China and the U.S. could learn from historical strategic blunders regarding war and peace, and four examples of decisions that turned out well.

    Dec 2, 2014

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in August 2014

    Commentary

    Putting Putin in His Place

    Developing an effective and sustainable strategy to deal with the multi-layered problem that Putin's Russia has created requires deterring Russia while also engaging it. The U.S. and Europe should have confidence that they are up to the task.

    Nov 26, 2014

  • Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev meets with U.S. President Barack Obama during a nuclear security summit in April 2010

    Commentary

    Celebrating the Success of Project Sapphire

    Twenty years ago this week, the United States transported over 600 kilograms of at-risk, weapons-usable highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Kazakhstan to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for safekeeping. Kazakhstan had the courage to trust its new relationship with the U.S. to help prevent the proliferation of dangerous material to countries that might seek to build nuclear weapons.

    Nov 21, 2014

  • Report

    Looking Backward and Forward: Policy Issues in the Twenty-first Century

    This collection features twenty-five essays written between 2002 and 2007, covering a wide range of worldwide economic, political, security, and diplomatic issues.

    Nov 20, 2014

  • Afghan security forces arrive at the site of a blast in Kabul November 18, 2014

    Commentary

    What's the Plan? The NATO Coalition in Afghanistan

    The imminent changes to the NATO mission in Afghanistan will be profound and, more crucially, carry unpredictable outcomes. After January 1, the removal of tens of thousands of coalition troops will trigger an inevitable period of adjustment as all sides involved in the conflict press for a new equilibrium that tilts in its favor.

    Nov 19, 2014