Security Cooperation

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The NATO alliance served its participants well in countering the strategic threat once posed by the Soviet Union, but the rise of other regional powers and coalitions since end of the Cold War has prompted a reevaluation of existing alliances. RAND research has provided policymakers with essential information on how best to forge new defense cooperation agreements and strengthen old alliances to counter emerging security threats.

  • American and world flags as gears, photo by id-work/iStock

    Report

    Friends, Foes, and Future Directions: U.S. Partnerships in a Turbulent World

    Jan 5, 2016

    How should the United States manage its relationships with partners and adversaries in a world of shrinking defense budgets and reduced political will for international engagement?

  • Peshmerga soldiers provide security during react-to-contact training near Irbil, Iraq, October 2015, photo by Spc. Tristan Bolden/U.S. Army

    Report

    Countering ISIL Requires a Stronger U.S.-Coalition Strategy

    Apr 20, 2016

    While the campaign against ISIL has degraded the group by targeting its leadership and retaking a portion of territory, achieving lasting defeat of ISIL in Iraq and Syria will require increased effort by the U.S. to help train local forces to hold territory. Also, political agreements must be forged to resolve key drivers of conflict among Iraqis and Syrians.

Explore Security Cooperation

  • 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

  • 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

  • The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond alongside the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower conducting maritime security operations and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom, November 4, 2012

    Commentary

    Sustaining Britain's Role in NATO After Brexit

    In this period of geostrategic uncertainty about the future of the UK during its divorce from the EU, the U.S. should provide robust diplomatic and political support to ensure that Britain remains a major military power within the Atlantic Alliance.

    Aug 4, 2016

  • A People's Liberation Army Air Force's long-range strategic bomber H-6K

    Commentary

    China Signals Resolve with Bomber Flights Over the South China Sea

    Since the PCA tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines' case on July 12, invalidating many of China's claims in the South China Sea, Beijing has sought to demonstrate its military strength in the region. The PLAAF's H-6K has played a key role.

    Aug 2, 2016

  • News Release

    Cooperation Among the Arab Gulf States Is Key to U.S. Interests and Regional Stability, Despite Friction

    The increased influence of Arab Gulf states in regional affairs such as the fighting in Syria and the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen has raised the stakes for relations between the six nations and poses significant consequences for stability.

    Jul 28, 2016

  • Partner nations parading their colors at the opening ceremony of Combined Endeavor 2014 in Grafenwohr, Germany

    Commentary

    NATO Decides to 'Troop the Colours' As Symbol of Deterrence in the Baltics

    At its Warsaw summit in July, NATO agreed to establish a permanent rotating presence of its troops in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The decision may be interpreted as NATO's commitment to take its Baltic members' concerns seriously.

    Jul 28, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • ISmoke billows from a building after a Taliban attack in Gereshk district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, March 9, 2016

    Blog

    Strategic Reversal in Afghanistan

    A new contingency plan considers what an unraveling of Afghanistan's political and security situation over the next 18 months would mean — and what can be done to prevent it.

    Jun 24, 2016

  • An Afghan National Army soldier keeps watch at a check post in Logar province, Afghanistan, February 16, 2016

    Commentary

    Afghanistan After Mansour

    The death of Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour is unlikely to transform the conflict in Afghanistan or improve the prospects for a deal between Kabul and the Taliban. In the coming months, the U.S. presence in the country will be as important as ever.

    Jun 17, 2016

  • Report

    Defense Institution Building: An Assessment

    Presents an analysis of defense institution building (DIB), recommends goals and objectives, identifies partner nation and DIB activity selection criteria, develops a strategy for coordinating activities, and recommends accountability procedures.

    Jun 7, 2016