Terrorism and Homeland Security

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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.

  • A former Islamic State prison in the town of Tabqa, after Syrian Democratic Forces captured it from Islamic State militants, Syria, May 12, 2017, photo by Rodi Said/Reuters

    Commentary

    ISIS: Weakened but Still Potent

    May 18, 2017

    ISIS is in the process of being defeated as an insurgency while preparing to transform into a clandestine terrorist group. But it will continue to pose a serious threat to the countries where it operates and to the Western nations it targets as it evolves and adapts.

  • Members of the Free Syrian Army distribute humanitarian aid to residents left in Harem town, Idlib Governorate, October 28, 2012, after Syrian jets bombarded Sunni Muslim regions across the country, photo by Asmaa Waguih/Reuters

    Report

    The U.S. Strategy to Defeat the Islamic State Needs an Overhaul

    May 8, 2017

    A broader strategy to beat the Islamic State should address the conditions that allowed the group to emerge and thrive. A long-term commitment is required to establish legitimate governance in Iraq and Syria and reconcile the disenfranchised Sunni Arab populations with their governments.

Explore Terrorism and Homeland Security

  • News Release

    One-Fourth of American Adults Notified of Data Breach in Past Year; Few Consumers Penalize Hacked Companies

    About a quarter of American adults reported that they were notified about their personal information being part of a data breach in the previous year, but only 11 percent of those who have ever been notified say they stopped doing business with the hacked company afterwards.

    Apr 13, 2016

  • Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee

    Commentary

    Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Is a National Security Threat

    National security and counterterrorism experts agree that rhetoric that paints all Muslims as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers has a high chance of breeding future terrorists. And evidence suggests that such language can hamper U.S. efforts to stop terrorists before they strike and to capture them after attacks.

    Apr 13, 2016

  • Infographic

    Data Theft Victims, and Their Response to Breach Notifications

    This infographic highlights the results of a study of consumer attitudes toward data breaches, notifications of those breaches, and company responses to such events.

    Apr 13, 2016

  • Woman typing into a laptop

    Report

    Few Consumers Penalize Hacked Companies for Data Breaches

    About a quarter of American adults surveyed reported that they received a data breach notification in the past year, but 77 percent of them were highly satisfied with the company's post-breach response. Only 11 percent of respondents stopped dealing with the company afterwards.

    Apr 13, 2016

  • People carry belongings they collected from their damaged houses as they walk near Syrian army soldiers in Palmyra, Syria, April 9, 2016

    Commentary

    Get Ready: Syria Will Need Peacekeepers

    For regional security and to deprive ISIS of what is still its most compelling and important sanctuary in the world today, the U.S. needs a new strategy for Syria that includes willingness to contribute to a substantial postwar military operation to stabilize the country.

    Apr 11, 2016

  • View to an operating room through an office window

    Commentary

    Ransomware Hackers Are Coming for Your Health Records

    Cyber criminals may be preying on hospitals because cyber protection measures likely have not kept pace with electronic data collection and because hospitals typically do not have backup systems and databases in place, even though such attacks can strain health care systems and potentially put patients' lives at risk.

    Apr 11, 2016

  • Syrian army soldiers inspect the site of a two bomb blasts in the government-controlled city of Homs, Syria, on February 21, 2016

    Commentary

    A New Kind of Battlefield Awaits the U.S. Military — Megacities

    Megacities are urban areas that seep into one another and have more than 10 million inhabitants. To counter violent non-state actors operating in megacities in the future, the U.S. military will have to be able to piece together a comprehensive and actionable intelligence picture, and under enormously challenging circumstances.

    Apr 6, 2016

  • Transportation soldiers and civilian harbormasters move cargo containers onto awaiting vessels in a training exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis

    Commentary

    Ten Years After the Safe Port Act, Are America's Ports Secure?

    The economic importance and visibility of America's ports make them attractive terrorism targets. Port security has improved, but many of the threats that motivated the Safe Ports Act in 2006 remain, and new dangers have emerged, including cyber threats.

    Apr 6, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Trade-off Across Privacy, Security and Surveillance in the Case of Metro Travel in Europe

    Focusing on train/metro travel we investigate whether Europeans perceive similar security and privacy issues as have been raised in recent discussions about surveillance.

    Apr 6, 2016

  • Philippine Army Lt. Col. Henry Bellan (left) and U.S. Army Lt. Col. John Garrity (right) bury a time capsule during a groundbreaking ceremony in San Narciso, Philippines, March 18, 2013

    Report

    The Impact of U.S. Special Operations Forces in the Philippines

    U.S. special operations forces' activities in the Philippines between 2001 and 2014 helped reduce transnational terrorist threats and support for terrorist groups. They also increased Philippine security forces' capabilities and enhanced bilateral defense ties.

    Apr 6, 2016

  • News Release

    U.S. National Security Decisionmaking Processes Need Trimming

    Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Security Council is necessary as the country contends with many more state and nonstate actors, around-the-clock public scrutiny, and exploding nontraditional threats.

    Apr 5, 2016

  • A self-driving vehicle travels on the road during a demonstration in Singapore, October 12, 2015

    Commentary

    The Police Could Be Controlling Your Self-Driving Car

    As self-driving cars become widespread, one of the biggest issues will be the rules under which public infrastructures and public safety officers may be empowered to override how autonomous vehicles are controlled.

    Apr 4, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama attends a meeting with the National Security Council at the State Department in Washington, February 25, 2016

    Report

    U.S. National Security Decisionmaking Processes Need Streamlining

    The U.S. national security system faces a range of management challenges. A leaner, more focused national security decisionmaking system can help the United States succeed in a period of tumultuous change.

    Apr 4, 2016

  • Emergency response personnel perform technical decontamination

    Journal Article

    Assessing Homeland Security Risks

    The Department of Homeland Security manages a diverse set of risks: terrorism, natural disasters, and major accidents. It is committed to using risk assessment to inform decisions and priorities. But assessing homeland security risks is challenging, in part due to the nature of the risks.

    Apr 4, 2016

  • U.S. sailors assigned to Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command monitor, analyze, detect, and respond to unauthorized activity within U.S. Navy information systems and networks

    Commentary

    The Online Fight Against ISIS

    To prevail against ISIS in cyberspace, the United States and its cyber soldiers will have to be capable of reacting quickly, while being guided by an overarching strategy. Secretary of Defense Carter urged U.S. Cyber Command to intensify the fight against ISIS but it would also be wise to recruit civilian volunteers.

    Apr 1, 2016

  • News Release

    New Research Finds Counter-Terrorism TACTICS for European Cities

    Counter-terrorism technologies and diverse partnerships are essential when dealing with terrorist threats in cities. The TACTICS project team has developed a technology-ready concept that could support counter-terrorism operations across Europe.

    Mar 31, 2016

  • Tourists leave from the Enfidha international airport in Sousse, Tunisia, June 27, 2015, after being evacuated following a terrorist attack on the beach

    Report

    Is Terrorism More Likely After a Major Attack?

    An examination of the historical record of terrorism in the United States and Europe between 1970 and the end of 2013 finds an absence of clustering for terrorist events around trigger events since 1994, no increases in terrorism on significant dates, and a decline of terrorism in the West since the 1970s.

    Mar 31, 2016

  • A senior airman working in defensive cyber operations at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado

    Commentary

    Rather Than Fearing 'Cyber 9/11,' Prepare for 'Cyber Katrina'

    The United States needs a smooth, well-functioning mutual aid system for cybersecurity that provides all of the hard-won benefits of the nation's system for hurricanes and other emergencies.

    Mar 30, 2016

  • Iraqi girls gesture peace signs after Iraqi security forces entered the town of Amerli, September 1, 2014

    Commentary

    Inciting Peace: Elevating Alternatives to ISIL's Message

    Malicious ideas, ideologies, and narratives (such as those promoted by ISIL) cannot just be eliminated — they need to be replaced.

    Mar 30, 2016

  • A Tunisian soldier holds his position during an exercise along the frontier with Libya in Sabkeht Alyun, Tunisia February 6, 2016

    Blog

    Tunisia's Role in Fight Against Terrorism Discussed at RAND Conference

    The fight against terrorism in Tunisia is a shared priority and responsibility with the U.S. and Europe but will also depend greatly on solving the security issues in neighboring Libya, according to participants at a March 23 conference at RAND.

    Mar 30, 2016