Terrorism and Homeland Security


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.

  • U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism February 19, 2015, photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters


    Tackling Radicalization Before It Begins

    Feb 23, 2015

    Why not turn the question of violent extremism inside out and develop programs that reinforce non-radicalization? That is, rather than eliminating drivers, focus instead on strengthening the factors that inhibit violent extremism.

  • Militant Islamist fighters ride horses in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014, photo by Stringer/Reuters


    The Threat Posed by Foreign Fighters Returning from Syria and Iraq

    Mar 12, 2015

    An estimated 3,400 foreign fighters have come from Europe and other Western countries to join jihadist fronts in Syria and Iraq. What is the threat posed by these Western fighters? And how can the U.S. better identify and intercept returning foreign fighters from countries covered by the Visa Waiver Program?

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  • Migrants walk toward the Austrian border town of Spielfeld, in Sentilj, Slovenia, November 18, 2015


    The Syrian Refugee Crisis and U.S. National Security

    America has a long tradition of offering protection to refugees, and the threat from refugees has historically been relatively low. However, the government should continue to reassess its refugee program and ensure that it safeguards national security.

    Nov 19, 2015

  • A passerby pauses near a makeshift memorial with U.S. and French flags outside the French embassy in Washington, November 16, 2015


    What the Paris Attacks Mean for U.S. Strategy in Syria and Homeland Security

    Events in the Middle East and Europe have direct implications for U.S. homeland security. And the attacks in Paris have increased pressure to step up the fight in Syria and Iraq. But Americans should consider the threat in context, and adjustments to U.S. strategy in Syria should only be a matter of degrees.

    Nov 19, 2015

  • A tank of the Syrian National Army in the outskirts of Damascus on September 21, 2013


    The Dynamics of the Conflicts in Syria and Iraq and the Threat Posed by Homegrown Terrorists and Returning Western Fighters

    The fighting in Iraq and Syria is likely to continue. How will the dynamics of these conflicts shape the region and events beyond? And what threat do Westerners who've joined jihadists on these battlefields and homegrown terrorists pose to the U.S. homeland?

    Nov 18, 2015

  • Report

    Cybersecurity in the European Union and Beyond: Exploring the Threats and Policy Responses

    The study seeks to better understand cybersecurity threats and existing cybersecurity capabilities in the European Union and the United States, examining in tandem transnational cooperation and perceptions of the effectiveness of the EU response.

    Nov 18, 2015

  • Islamic State fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province, Syria, June 30, 2014


    ISIS Will Become More Deadly Before It Dies

    The lesson with ISIS is straightforward. Western populations should be prepared for an upsurge in violence if ISIS continues to lose territory. There has already been a growth in attacks and plots across the West with operational or inspirational ties to ISIS.

    Nov 18, 2015

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    The Paris Terror Attacks and Confronting ISIS

    In this Call with the Experts, RAND terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins offers insights on ISIS's latest strategy and capabilities, how the West can fight it, and what the tragedy in Paris could mean for the Syrian refugee crisis.

    Nov 18, 2015

  • French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (L), French President Francois Hollande (C), French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (R), and students observe a moment of silence at the Sorbonne University, Paris, France, November 16, 2015


    Insights on the Paris Terror Attacks from RAND Experts

    RAND experts weigh in on what the wave of coordinated terror attacks across Paris means for France, the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, the global refugee crisis, and more.

    Nov 17, 2015

  • A French soldier from Operation Barkhane rides in an armoured vehicle in Timbuktu, November 5, 2014


    The French Way of War

    There is a French way of warfare that reflects the French military's lack of resources and its modest sense of what it can achieve. They specialize in carefully apportioned and usually small but lethal operations, often behind the scenes.

    Nov 17, 2015

  • The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen as flags fly at half staff at the Washington Monument, November 16, 2015


    Time to Prepare for the Unthinkable

    Given ISIS's strategy, it seems only a matter of time before these extremists might attempt an attack in the United States. The irony is that the very rights that Americans hold so dear — liberty, privacy, freedom — place it at greater risk. So what should America do to prepare?

    Nov 16, 2015

  • French police stand guard outside a commercial center in Nice, November 14, 2015, the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris


    Why the Paris Terrorists Couldn't Be Stopped

    Terrorists almost always have the advantage. Theoretically, they can attack anything, anywhere, anytime. And governments cannot protect everything, everywhere, all the time.

    Nov 16, 2015

  • Candles in the French national colours are placed near the Bataclan concert hall the morning after a series of deadly attacks in Paris, November 14, 2015


    Big Questions Facing France

    In Paris, the heavily armed terrorists reportedly struck at six locations, including restaurants, a football stadium, and a theater during a rock concert. It seems clear the killers must have had some confederates. That would mean some terrorists are still at large.

    Nov 14, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Deterrence, Influence, Cyber Attack, and Cyberwar

    This study uses a simple model to speculate about whether deterrence can be a significant part of dealing with special features of the cyber attack challenge, and distinguishing different classes and contexts of cyber threats.

    Nov 13, 2015

  • A U.S. Air Force airman works at the 561st Network Operations Squadron, which executes defensive cyber operations


    The Two Sides of Cybersecurity

    Securing government networks is certainly necessary, but authorities should not lose sight of the need to couple their defense of America's networks with appropriate resources dedicated to combatting criminal, terrorist, and other threats in cyberspace.

    Nov 13, 2015

  • Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail (right) listens to rescue workers as he looks at the remains of a Russian airliner after it crashed in central Sinai, north Egypt, October 31, 2015


    Passing Judgment on Russian Plane Crash Before the Facts Are In

    A bright flash and catastrophic event suggest an explosion, but do not necessarily exclude the possibility of a mechanical failure. This would not, in fact, be the first time evidence pointed to a terrorist attack when none existed.

    Nov 12, 2015

  • The remains of a Russian airliner that crashed are found near Al-Arish, Egypt, October 31, 2015


    Could the Russian Jet Crash in Egypt Prompt a Change of Direction for Putin and Russia?

    If ISIS was responsible for the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268, a Russian passenger jet, this may alter the strategic equation for Moscow.

    Nov 9, 2015

  • Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani and U.S. President Barack Obama after their joint news conference in Washington March 24, 2015


    Saving Afghanistan: More Than Just Troops

    President Obama's decision to preserve troop strength in Afghanistan is a major step in the right direction. But his commitment to continued support for President Ghani and the national unity government as they pursue critical reforms will determine whether the U.S. troop commitment has any value.

    Nov 5, 2015

  • Prisoner wearing handcuffs in a courtroom


    What's Next on the Convicted Terrorist's Timeline?

    As inmates near the end of their sentences for terrorism-related offenses, and with some individuals already freed, it's time to explore what considerations may be necessary.

    Nov 4, 2015

  • A schoolgirl walks past damaged buildings in Maarrat al-Numan, Syria, October 28, 2015


    Partition Syria to Crush the Islamic State

    The Islamic State will never join in any settlement. Peace in Syria therefore requires that everyone else stop fighting each other and join in suppressing the Islamic State.

    Nov 1, 2015

  • Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller gives a tour of the VW factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, October 21, 2015


    When Public Trust in Corporations Is Shaken

    The Volkswagen scandal comes at a time when the public's trust in both the automotive industry and tech companies is at risk. The level of public trust in an individual organization could end up burnishing — or infecting — an entire industry or new technology.

    Oct 28, 2015

  • An F-15 flying over Nevada during a USAFWS Mission Employment Exercise


    Improving the Cybersecurity of U.S. Air Force Weapon Systems

    U.S. Air Force weapon systems containing information technology may be vulnerable to intelligence exploitation and cyberattacks. But there are steps that the Air Force can take to improve the security of these systems throughout their life cycles.

    Oct 27, 2015