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

  • 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

  • Yousef Al Otaiba, United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States, speaks at RAND's headquarters campus in Santa Monica, California, June 1, 2016

    Blog

    A New Middle East: Rhodes Scholars, Not Radicals

    United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba visited RAND to discuss what he sees as the UAE's progress as an emerging power in the Middle East and a reliable ally of the West. Despite threats to the region, the next generation of young people is spreading a culture of optimism, opportunity, and openness.

    Jun 2, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama puts his arm around Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after they laid wreaths in front of a cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, May 27, 2016

    Commentary

    President Obama's Visit to Japan and the Transformation of Japan's Defense Policy

    Washington and Tokyo have moved to actively shape and reinforce the values, norms, institutions, and regional order that have served to enable the Asia-Pacific to emerge as an engine of growth and bastion of freedom and democracy over the past nearly 40 years.

    May 31, 2016

  • Paratroopers parachute into the opening ceremony of Exercise Noble Partner in Vaziani, Georgia, May 10, 2015

    Commentary

    Georgia's Delicate Foreign Policy Dance

    Given the dangerous environment and the small size and relative military weakness of Georgia, it wisely pursues a good neighbor policy in all directions. Still, the country must improve its defense posture and for Georgia, the main security balancer is the United States.

    May 25, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama attends a press conference with Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang at the Presidential Palace Compound in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 23, 2016

    Commentary

    Why Has Obama Lifted the Arms Sales Ban on Vietnam?

    The lifting of the Vietnam arms embargo needs to be understood as part of the long process of normalizing relations with a former U.S. enemy and building toward a more cooperative, economically dynamic, and strategic future-oriented relationship.

    May 25, 2016

  • Report

    The Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DMHA): An Assessment of Roles and Missions

    This report examines the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance's history, activities, and roles to determine how its missions can best be performed to achieve the Department of Defense's objectives in this domain.

    May 16, 2016

  • The Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organization, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia, have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq, April 30, 2016

    Commentary

    Partitioning Iraq: Make a Detailed Case, or Cease and Desist

    The mostly non-Iraqi voices who want to divide the country into three ethno-sectarian cantonments—Shi'a, Sunni, and Kurd—owe the Iraqi people extensive, detailed clarification. If neither the Iraqi Arab polity nor Iraq's most powerful political factions seek three-way partition, then the case should be closed.

    May 16, 2016

  • Report

    SMART Security Cooperation Objectives: Improving DoD Planning and Guidance

    Evaluates the U.S. Department of Defense's effectiveness in developing SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and results-oriented, and time-bound) security cooperation objectives that facilitate assessment, monitoring, and evaluation.

    May 5, 2016

  • U.S. and Iraqi officers checking IDs in Baghdad, Iraq, October 2006

    Commentary

    Iraq Reconciliation Requires American Help

    It is time for the United States to step in and take the lead on the crucial process of reconciling the Sunnis with their government in order to bolster the tactical fight against ISIL and to ensure Iraq does not further destabilize.

    May 5, 2016

  • A team of U.S. Army soldiers from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa lead counter-IED training with the Kenyan Army

    Commentary

    A Competing Risks Approach to Security Sector Assistance for Fragile States

    How should the U.S. balance the risks of cooperating with troubling governments against the risk that ISIS or similar groups could gain strength in these fragile states?

    May 2, 2016