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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.

  • U.S. Marines storm aboard MSC dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Laramie during a visit, board, search, and seizure exercise, photo by LCpl. Michael Petersheim/U.S. Marine Corps

    Report

    How Might Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly Affect the U.S. Military?

    Jun 30, 2016

    The Department of Defense recently announced that it will allow transgender personnel to serve openly. The number of transgender members will likely be a small fraction of the total force and have minimal impact on readiness and health care costs.

  • U.S. Air Force pilots conduct pre-flight checklists at Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport in Dakar, Senegal, November 4, 2014, photo by Maj. Dale Greer/U.S. Air National Guard

    Report

    Commercial Airlines May Siphon Pilots From U.S. Air Force

    Jul 12, 2016

    The commercial airline industry will continue hiring more pilots to replace its aging workforce, causing more U.S. Air Force aviators to leave the service. Pilot pay is increasing in the commercial sector while Air Force aviator and retention pay are now discretionary programs under DoD guidelines.

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  • Report

    Overview of People's Liberation Army Air Force "Elite Pilots"

    This report draws on a wide variety of Chinese primary sources to provide an overview of how the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) selects and trains what it calls its elite fighter pilots.

    Aug 24, 2016

  • Syria Democratic Forces fighters inspect a center used by Islamic State religious police in Manbij, Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 16, 2016

    Commentary

    Demystifying the Islamic State

    To counter the threat the Islamic State group poses to the Middle East and the West, it is crucial to understand what the terrorist organization is and what it is not. Attributing all jihadist violence to a ruthless gang headquartered in Raqqa exaggerates the power of the group and plays into their propaganda and recruiting efforts.

    Aug 23, 2016

  • Report

    Air Force Management of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund: Opportunities for Improvement

    Using insights from interviews, legislation, and policy, this report develops a decision framework that will help the U.S. Air Force's Director of Acquisition Career Management improve management of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund.

    Aug 23, 2016

  • Sami Dayan (center), an al Qaeda militant, is escorted by police in a courtroom holding cell in Sanaa, Yemen, April 22, 2014

    Commentary

    A Persistent and Resilient Adversary: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

    The history of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula catalogues every dimension of frustration in combatting terrorism. But is it possible that the United States and its Gulf allies are finally getting the measure of AQAP?

    Aug 22, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the FY2016 budget at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, February 2, 2015

    Commentary

    President Obama's Controversial Legacy as Counterterrorism-in-Chief

    There were no attacks like 9/11 during Obama's eight years in office. But there were plenty of terrorist adversaries. While he will be judged in part for his domestic achievements, Obama's counterterrorism choices are a major part of his legacy.

    Aug 22, 2016

  • Tool

    Navy Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution: A Reference Guide for Senior Leaders, Managers, and Action Officers

    This tool documents key but enduring aspects of how the Navy implements the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution process so that action officers and Navy leaders can successfully navigate and effectively contribute to the process.

    Aug 22, 2016

  • Veteran filling out job application

    Report

    More Research Would Inform Innovative Approaches to Veteran Employment

    While the aim of veteran employment programs is to help veterans transition to civilian jobs, their impact is unclear. RAND hosted two workshops to recommend improvements to veteran employment opportunities and identify research gaps.

    Aug 22, 2016

  • U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Peace poses near her home in Spanaway, Washington, August 28, 2015

    Essay

    Transgender Troops: Fit to Serve

    The Pentagon's decision to open the ranks to transgender service members was informed by months of RAND research into the costs and numbers involved.

    Aug 18, 2016

  • Report

    Worldwide C-17 Availability to Support 82nd Airborne Operations from Fort Bragg/Pope Field

    This report explores C-17 availability and determines how quickly these aircraft and their aircrews can reach and depart from Fort Bragg/Pope Field, where the 82nd Airborne Division operates, from the many locations they are deployed to worldwide.

    Aug 18, 2016

  • Report

    Can We Explain Gender Differences in Officer Career Progression?

    The report provides a quantitative analysis of the differences in the career progression of officers based on gender, as well as the factors that explain these differences.

    Aug 17, 2016

  • A New York City fireman calls for 10 more rescue workers to make their way into the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 15, 2001

    Commentary

    ISIS vs. Al Qaida: Battle of the Terrorist Brands

    Rather than thinking of defeating terrorists solely in traditional military terms, it might make sense to think of bankrupting them. It might help to consider the factors that cause luxury brands to lose their luster or big box retailers to fail.

    Aug 16, 2016

  • French President Francois Hollande and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian review troops at the fort of Vincennes, France, July 25, 2016

    Commentary

    Emergencies: France, Mali, and Turkey Are Playing with Fire

    The leaders of France, Mali, and Turkey have declared formal states of emergency. France's Hollande and Mali's Keïta, while responding to real threats, are risking democracy. Erdogan appears to be targeting democracy and using Turkey's recent failed coup as a pretext.

    Aug 15, 2016

  • The U.S. and Japanese flags blend together

    Commentary

    Don't Weaken the U.S.-Japan Alliance, Strengthen It

    As long as the United States and Japan stick together, they should have the strength to deter or, if necessary, defeat the threats they face. But if Washington abandons its alliance commitments, the risk of war will rise and America will be less safe.

    Aug 14, 2016

  • Journal Article

    China's Search for a "Strategic Air Force"

    China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has undergone a transformation over the past two decades. As it continues to modernize, it is focused on becoming a strategic air force.

    Aug 11, 2016

  • U.S. Marines with their Georgian counterparts preparing for NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, March 24, 2015

    Commentary

    How Defense Choices Affect Military Readiness

    Because the United States cannot afford to prioritize and defend against every possible threat or contingency, it must accept risk with each decision it makes. And the more adaptive the adversary, the more likely it will confound readiness investments made previously to confront it.

    Aug 10, 2016

  • Report

    Mathematics Audit of the DoDEA Schools: 2014–2015

    This report is an audit of the then-current Department of Defense Education Activity mathematics program, built around standards established in 2009, to help prepare for a transition to Common Core State Standards, which began in 2014--2015.

    Aug 10, 2016

  • Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi meet at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, in Beijing, China, April 30, 2016

    Commentary

    Do Economic Ties Limit the Prospect of Conflict?

    China has grown stronger economically and militarily over the past 35 years and has become more assertive. Its trade and investment links with Japan are substantial but they have been declining, and are less of a constraint on conflict than before.

    Aug 9, 2016

  • Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front fighters enter the back of a pick-up truck in Arsal, Lebanon, December 1, 2015

    Commentary

    What's in a Name? The Rebranding of the Nusra Front

    Jabhat al-Nusra, which recently announced that it was severing its affiliation with al Qaeda, is now Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. This means less than meets the eye, but it does say something about the local atmosphere in Syria.

    Aug 8, 2016

  • Report

    An Independent Assessment of Air Force Compliance with Headquarters Reduction Goals

    RAND researchers assess the Air Force's response to Secretary of Defense direction to reduce headquarters spending, compare the Air Force's approach with practices from literature and industry, and identify opportunities for further reductions.

    Aug 8, 2016

  • A diplomatic delegation waits for China's President Xi Jinping to arrive at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, March 30, 2016, to attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington

    Q&A

    Q&A: An Unthinkable War Between the U.S. and China

    David Gompert, lead author of a RAND report that explores an unthinkable U.S.-China war answers questions about what the study does — and does not — say about the potential for such a war and its possible outcome.

    Aug 4, 2016