RAND is a world leader in research on terrorism, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, disaster management, and homeland security—topics that affect a wide variety of policy areas and challenge individuals and nations worldwide. As a public service, RAND disseminates all its unclassified research online or in printed documents.
As the last Mumbai sites were being cleared of terrorists, grim signs emerged of the challenges that face India and Pakistan. Unfortunately, beginning to know what the Mumbai attack was — and what it was not — only augurs more violence for India. At least three factors are at play, writes Christine Fair.
We tend to describe terrorism as senseless violence, but it seldom is. If we look at the attacks from the attackers' perspective, we can discern a certain strategic logic, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
Vice President-elect Biden was on solid historical ground. He was not implying that there is a band of bad guys hiding in some cellar conjuring up a crisis specifically to take on Obama. It is simply that, many new American presidents have confronted major foreign policy crises within their first year in office, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, are part of a disturbing trend across the Muslim world of groups that target civilians in the name of Islam. Less visible to Western eyes, but potentially just as significant, is a growing backlash among Muslims who condemn such attacks as unethical, writes Seth Jones.
The 9/11 tragedy was a catalyst that accelerated the pace of the changes in the UK security model that were already occurring due to the waning threat of terrorism from the IRA and the growing threat from those who espoused an ideology of violent jihadism. The changes took place in three main areas, writes Lindsay Clutterbuck.
When Sen. Joe Biden observed during the presidential campaign that a new President Barack Obama "will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in power," he was on solid historical ground, writes Brian Jenkins.
As new U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus got a firsthand look at the worsening security situation in Afghanistan last week, he heard from some U.S., British and Afghan officials that the best way forward is to engage in peace talks with the Taliban. Such talks have already even tentatively begun. This is a bad idea.
As debate continues about how to fight a resurgent Al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and along the Pakistan border, leaders in Washington, Kabul and Islamabad seem lost about what to do next.... And most experts agree that an Al Qaeda-orchestrated attack on the U.S. homeland would likely be plotted from their sanctuary in these border areas, write Benjamin Bahney and Renny McPherson.
Given American concerns about nuclear proliferation and the possibility of nuclear terrorism, tying U.S.-Russian cooperation in the nuclear domain with the current Russia-Georgia quarrel may amount to shooting ourselves in the foot in a misguided attempt to punish Russia, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
America is uniquely susceptible to nuclear terror. Beneath our characteristic national optimism lie seams of anxiety, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
Will terrorists go nuclear? It is a question that worried public officials and frightened citizens have been asking for decades. It is no less of a worry today, as we ponder the seventh anniversary of 9/11, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
Too often we talk only about the ongoing challenges facing education, health care, transportation and economic development across the Gulf South — Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.... We need to determine new ways to work together across state lines to focus on solutions that will benefit the entire region, writes Melissa Flournoy.
A significant emphasis has been placed on female suicide bombers' tactical success, and efforts to determine why they kill focus on al-Qaida's recruitment of women. But little attention is paid to the personal motivation women have for killing themselves and dozens of innocents around them, writes Farhana Ali.
Military might against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups isn't working – and no wonder. After studying the record of 648 terrorist groups between 1968 and 2006, we've found that military force has rarely been effective in defeating this enemy. Indeed, the US reliance on military force – especially conventional military forces – has often been counterproductive, write Seth G. Jones and Martin C. Libicki.
Muslim female suicide bombers are on the rise.... But for those of us who have studied the phenomenon, the assaults should not come as a surprise, writes Farhana Ali.
As we continue to pour invaluable resources into our sixth year in Iraq, and the U.S. public and politicians wonder what we should do next, now may be a good time to revisit the overarching theory of our campaign plan in the Pacific: Colonel Cardinal's Iceberg Theory, writes Dick Hoffmann.
In academia and, increasingly, corporate America, sabbaticals are a time-honored way to step aside from the daily grind and intellectually reboot. The U.S. Army should embrace something similar, writes Laura Miller.
The time may come to start contemplating whether Syria might follow the example of Libya and make its way off the axis of evil, write Cheryl Benard and Ed O'Connell.
[T]he United States should leave no one in doubt: participation or complicity in a WMD attack will trigger "overwhelming" and searching retaliation, writes Elbridge Colby.
The United States can and should move beyond a "one size fits all" approach to sizing military forces toward a construct that shapes each service for the types of operations it is actually expected to conduct in the future, write Andrew Hoehn and David Ochmanek.