Peacekeeping and Stability Operations

As part of peacekeeping efforts, stability operations—post-conflict military efforts to bring peace and security to a region or country—represent an ongoing challenge for both military planners and civilian policymakers. RAND research has provided effective strategic recommendations in many such operations, helping those involved in unified stabilization, peacekeeping and security, transition, and reconstruction.

  • Afghan security forces take position during a gun battle between Taliban and Afghan security forces in Laghman province, Afghanistan, March 1, 2017

    Commentary

    How Trump Should Manage Afghanistan

    While media coverage has focused on Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan remains an important frontline state in the fight against terrorism. The Trump administration should aim to prevent Taliban forces from overthrowing the Afghan government, encourage political reconciliation where feasible, and pursue terrorists that threaten the U.S.

    Mar 21, 2017

  • A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter watches a convoy of his forces advancing north of Raqqa, Syria, February 5, 2017

    Commentary

    To Take Raqqa, the U.S. Must Work with Its Partner in the Fight Against the Islamic State Group

    Turkey strongly opposes the U.S. bid to arm the Syrian Kurds. Rushing into Raqqa without reaching agreement with Turkey would jeopardize larger U.S. regional and even global geopolitical objectives.

    Mar 13, 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

  • Displaced people who fled ISIS arrive at a military checkpoint before being transported to camps in eastern Mosul, Iraq, January 25, 2017

    Commentary

    Stabilizing Mosul After the Battle Against ISIS

    U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have retaken the east bank of Mosul and are planning to take the west soon. The military operations that oust ISIS are crucial to the city's liberation but failing to get the civilian response right risks a widening civil war.

    Feb 9, 2017

  • People fleeing violence in ISIS-controlled al-Bab, Syria arrive in the town's rebel-held outskirts, February 3, 2017

    Report

    Finding a Way Forward in Syria

    After six years of fighting in Syria, the odds of removing the Assad regime are worse than ever. But the new U.S. administration could help de-escalate the conflict by focusing on a realistic outcome: a decentralized Syria with agreed regional zones backed by external powers.

    Feb 8, 2017

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) talks with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani as they meet during a summit of Caspian Sea regional leaders in the southern city of Astrakhan September 29, 2014

    Commentary

    Iran Is at Putin's Mercy

    Russia and Iran have forged an unprecedented but fragile alliance in the Middle East. But there's no guarantee that Putin won't sell Iran out if he manages to forge better U.S. relations under Trump.

    Jan 12, 2017

  • Silhouettes of people on a Syrian national flag are seen at a peace march in Damascus, September 21, 2016

    Report

    How to Prevent State Collapse in Syria

    Syria will likely be a weak state in a volatile region when its civil war ends. How can U.S. policy create conditions for a transition that helps fight terrorism and preserve state institutions?

    Jan 9, 2017

  • Report

    Maritime Issues in the East and South China Seas: Summary of a Conference Held January 12–13, 2016

    This conference summary presents key insights from a January 2016 conference focusing on maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas.

    Dec 12, 2016

  • A worker reads a freshly printed newspaper with the headline reading "We will tremble" at a printer of the local daily Norte in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, November 9, 2016.

    Commentary

    Is the U.S. Abandoning the World Order It Created?

    In the 20th century the United States created and expanded a world order that has provided security and prosperity—and it has borne much of the cost for sustaining it. Can that liberal global order be updated rather than jettisoned?

    Nov 14, 2016

  • Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah take down a large portrait of Afghan President Hamid Karzai before a gathering in Kabul July 8, 2014

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'A Kingdom of Their Own: The Family Karzai and the Afghan Disaster'

    Foreign observers of Afghanistan tend to think of former President Hamid Karzai's government as a clan of corrupt thugs, led by a feckless, petulant whiner. Joshua Partlow's book tells the story and explores the question of how much the Karzais were responsible for the deterioration of U.S.-Afghan ties.

    Oct 15, 2016

  • News Release

    Humanitarian Relief and Reconstruction Program Helped Improve Economic Conditions and Security in Afghanistan

    The ability of the U.S. military to quickly provide small-scale humanitarian relief and reconstruction services in Afghanistan enhanced the operational effectiveness of U.S. forces there during the counterinsurgency-focused 2010-2013 time frame.

    Oct 13, 2016

  • Key Leader Engagement attendees observe a solar-powered water pump while discussing ongoing projects in Farah province, Afghanistan, September 28, 2013

    Report

    CERP Projects in Afghanistan Proved Effective

    Projects under the Commander's Emergency Response Program in Afghanistan ranged from rehabilitating a local well to hydro dam and reservoir restoration. The U.S. military's ability to provide humanitarian relief and reconstruction services enhanced the operational effectiveness of its forces there.

    Oct 13, 2016

  • An Indian army soldier keeps guard from a bunker near the border with Pakistan in Abdullian, southwest of Jammu, September 30, 2016

    Commentary

    Could the Kashmir Standoff Trigger Nuclear War?

    Militants trained in Pakistan have been raiding the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir for over a quarter of a century, but the recent attack was the deadliest in years. A short-term return to peace remains uncertain and the longer term is even harder to predict.

    Oct 10, 2016

  • F-15E Strike Eagles, assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, rest on the flightline at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, September 16, 2016

    Commentary

    Economic Benefits of U.S. Overseas Security Commitments Appear to Outweigh Costs

    U.S. policymakers should carefully weigh the potential losses against the potential gains when considering the desirability of large-scale retrenchments of U.S. overseas security commitments.

    Sep 23, 2016

  • News Release

    Cutting U.S. Overseas Security Commitments Could Cost U.S. World Trade Billions

    Reducing U.S. overseas security commitments, including troops and security treaties, could lead to greatly reduced trade, with the economic costs estimated to be more than triple any associated savings in U.S. defense spending.

    Sep 22, 2016

  • Research Brief

    Economic Benefits of U.S. Overseas Security Commitments Could Far Outweigh Costs

    Amid intensifying debate over U.S. funding and resources, RAND researchers find that the economic benefits of U.S. overseas security commitments could far exceed the costs.

    Sep 22, 2016

  • Tool

    Estimating the Value of Overseas Security Commitments: An Interactive Visualization

    Researchers estimated that U.S. economic losses from major retrenchments of overseas security commitments would be more than triple any gains. This visualization compares different estimated gains and losses from selected retrenchment levels and selected tax, spending, and trade multipliers.

    Sep 22, 2016

  • A formation of C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft fly in formation as they return from the Samurai Surge training mission near Mount Fuji, Japan, June 5, 2012

    Report

    The Value of Overseas Security Commitments

    U.S. overseas security commitments have positive and significant effects on both U.S. bilateral trade and non-U.S. global bilateral trade. If commitments were reduced, the economic costs from lost trade would be more than triple any associated savings in defense spending.

    Sep 22, 2016

  • The Australian Coat of Arms in metal hangs on the glass wall of a building

    Report

    Organising for Peace Operations: Lessons Learned from Bougainville, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands

    This report examines the governmental organizational structures that were used in three Australian-led interventions that commenced in the late 1990s and early 2000s in the Southwest Pacific regions: Bougainville, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands.

    Sep 20, 2016

  • An Afghan Local Police recruit receives his certificate of completion on graduation day in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, September 26, 2013

    Report

    Afghan Government Support for Local Police Program Is Shaky

    Established by U.S. and NATO special operations forces, the Afghan Local Police program was designed to become part of the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs (MOI). The MOI has made progress in logistics, personnel management, and training activities, but faces serious gaps in its ability to sustain the program.

    Jul 21, 2016