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RAND researchers examine military and national security issues across a broad spectrum — from political dissent and military training to tactical operations and reconstruction efforts — and take a long-term, global perspective. Terrorism, types of warfare, and international intervention are among the many topics RAND explores.

  • U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice listens as Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi speaks during a meeting in Beijing, China, July 25, 2016, photo by Mark Schiefelbein/Reuters/Pool

    Report

    Exploring the Course and Consequences of a Sino-U.S. War

    Jul 28, 2016

    Premeditated war between the United States and China is very unlikely. But the danger that a mishandled crisis could trigger hostilities cannot be ignored. A new analysis illuminates various paths a war could take and their possible effects.

  • Fighters of the anti-government guerilla group UNITA parade under a portrait of their leader Jonas Savimbi, November 12, 1985, marking the 10th anniversary of Angolan Independence from Portugal, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commercial Book

    Guide to Understanding Insurgency Warfare

    Nov 1, 2016

    An exploration of the history and dynamics of 181 insurgencies since 1946 provides lessons for those fighting insurgent campaigns today in such countries as Syria, Libya, and Iraq.

Explore Warfare and Military Operations

  • A man breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017.

    Commentary

    Why Would Assad Use Chemical Weapons?

    The use of chemical weapons today provokes international condemnation, if not always action. Those who order their deployment risk being charged with war crimes. So why would Syria's President Bashar Assad use them?

    Apr 14, 2017

  • Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando police chief John Mina, and FBI agent Ron Hopper at a news conference after the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016

    Commentary

    Domestic Terrorism: Weighing the Challenges

    The U.S. is struggling to find an effective way to counter violent extremism at home and counteract the presence of terrorist groups on social media. Policymakers are tasked with managing a military defeat of IS in the Middle East while lowering the risk of blowback in the U.S. at the same time.

    Apr 13, 2017

  • An Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service convoy moves towards Mosul, Iraq, February 23, 2017

    Commentary

    Assessing U.S. Terrorism Challenges Around the Globe

    For the United States, countering terrorism saw both progress and setbacks in 2016. The U.S. will need to keep pace with terrorist abilities to adapt to its countermeasures while maintaining a high operational tempo punctuated by aggressive counterterrorism strikes.

    Apr 13, 2017

  • People's Liberation Army soldiers march outside the Great Hall of the People ahead of the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, China, March 5, 2017

    Testimony

    Chinese Contingency Planning for Regional Hotspots

    The Chinese People's Liberation Army has modernized significantly over the past two decades—bringing in world-class inventory and new technology. But the major issue facing the PLA remains its ability to adequately train and prepare staffs for a range of scenarios.

    Apr 13, 2017

  • A fleet of ships sail out at sea as China and Russia's naval joint drill concludes in China

    Testimony

    Chinese Political and Military Thinking Regarding Taiwan and East and South China Seas

    Official Chinese documents and scholarly writings provide insight into how Chinese leaders consider potential conflict with Taiwan and in the East and South China Seas—and how they might regard escalation in any conflict involving U.S. forces.

    Apr 13, 2017

  • Report

    The Abilities of the British, French, and German Armies to Generate and Sustain Armored Brigades in the Baltics

    This report assesses the current capacity of Britain, France, and Germany to generate armored units for a hypothetical deployment to the Baltics. Could they muster a full brigade each? How quickly could they do that, and for how long?

    Apr 12, 2017

  • A battle damage assessment image of Shayrat Airfield, Syria, following U.S. missile strikes, April 6, 2017

    Commentary

    The Need for a Strategy from the Trump Administration

    The Trump administration's strategy toward Syria, Russia, and its campaign to counter the Islamic State group needs to be guided by a clear sense of priorities and realism regarding the stakes for the U.S. Its standing in the Middle East and the world could depend on how skillfully this crisis is handled.

    Apr 10, 2017

  • Armed police officers stand at the Carriage Gates entrance to the Houses of Parliament, following the attack in Westminster earlier in the week, in London, Britain March 25, 2017

    Commentary

    Two Very Different Views of Terrorism and What to Do About Them

    Does the public want fewer government initiatives aimed at fighting terrorism, or more? The answer could lie in the type of attack involved as well as in individual perceptions of risk and how much inconvenience people are willing to accept in the name of public safety.

    Apr 6, 2017

  • Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov (right) attends a meeting on Syria at U.N. headquarters in New York City, April 5, 2017

    Commentary

    Why the Syria Chemical Attack Is a Big Problem for Putin

    The growing use of chemicals and toxins as tools of assassination and terrorism are troubling trends. Global expressions of outrage over the latest attack in Syria could weaken Assad’s international support. Russia should listen and abandon its support for the regime while joining the international chorus of denunciation.

    Apr 6, 2017

  • Report

    Assessing Tracked and Wheeled Vehicles for Australian Mounted Close Combat Operations: Lessons Learned in Recent Conflicts, Impact of Advanced Technologies, and System-Level Implications

    We assess trade-offs between tracked and wheeled combat vehicles by exploring lessons learned from conflict in various parts of the world, the implications of advanced technologies, and system-level implications of the different classes of vehicles.

    Apr 5, 2017

  • Peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon patrol the Lebanese-Israeli border, January 19, 2015

    Commentary

    U.N. Peacekeeping Is a Good Deal for the U.S.

    Why should America spend taxpayer dollars on foreign peacekeepers when it could use the money to increase the capabilities of its own military? It turns out that U.N. peacekeepers are an incredibly good deal when compared to U.S. forces.

    Apr 2, 2017

  • World map

    Commentary

    Why It's So Hard to Stop a Cyberattack — and Even Harder to Fight Back

    Cyber weapons attack the underlying network or computer systems. The possibility of unexpected effects in the cyber world is therefore greater than in conventional warfare. Not knowing if the effects were intentional complicates the response.

    Mar 30, 2017

  • Firefighters put out fires at oil wells that were set ablaze by Islamic State militants before they fled the oil-producing region of Qayyara, Iraq, January 28, 2017

    Report

    The Future of ISIL's Finances

    ISIL has been described as the wealthiest terrorist group in history. It has developed diversified revenue streams from seizing control of banks, extortion, and trafficking oil. As global counter-ISIL efforts progress, how might the group's finances evolve?

    Mar 29, 2017

  • Report

    Tactical Cyber: Building a Strategy for Cyber Support to Corps and Below

    This report proposes a strategy for tactical Army cyber operations, enumerating overarching goals, objectives, and associated activities. Instructive case studies are provided that support implementation of the strategy.

    Mar 28, 2017

  • Children pose after registering at a school and receiving new backpacks in Mosul, Iraq, January 23, 2017

    Commentary

    The Urgent Need for an Education Plan in Mosul

    In addition to restoring Mosul's damaged infrastructure, efforts to stabilize the city must include a plan to rebuild education. Students need to make up years of missed K-12 and university education, and ISIS indoctrination needs to be undone.

    Mar 27, 2017

  • Fighters of the Syrian Islamist rebel group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham cheer on a pickup truck after a Russian helicopter was shot down in the north of Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, August 1, 2016

    Commentary

    Al Qaeda in Syria Can Change Its Name, but Not Its Stripes

    Al Qaeda in Syria, by any name, remains a dangerous and capable terrorist organization with the ability to conduct attacks in the West. Those seeking to grapple with the threat the group poses should focus less on its names and more on its actions.

    Mar 23, 2017

  • A coder types on laptop keyboard

    Commentary

    Reining in Internet Abuse

    The internet is being used for harmful, unethical, and illegal purposes. Examples include incitement and recruitment by terrorists, cyber bullying, and malicious fake news. Americans say they are unhappy with the tone of the online discourse, but are reluctant to consider potential remedies.

    Mar 23, 2017

  • People rush to a site hit by what activists said was heavy shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, June 16, 2015

    Commentary

    Holding Assad Accountable for Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

    With two no votes from China and Russia, the UN Security Council failed to pass a resolution punishing Syrian officials for their roles in chlorine attacks in 2014 and 2015. Leadership from the United States on this issue could show allies that despite a change in government, the U.S. remains committed to holding those who use chemical weapons accountable.

    Mar 22, 2017

  • Russian military helicopters fly during rehearsals for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, May 3, 2014

    Testimony

    Russian Hybrid Warfare: What Is It, and What Can Be Done About It?

    Russia's use of subversive actions, such as information and cyber operations, threatens U.S. interests in Europe. Addressing this hybrid threat will take time and effort. And any U.S. response must be developed alongside efforts to bolster conventional deterrence.

    Mar 22, 2017

  • Report

    Assessing and Evaluating Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade: Worked Example

    This report presents a realistic but fictional scenario as context for how assessment planning for inform, influence, and persuade efforts should work in practice, demonstrating core principles and best practices for developing effective assessments.

    Mar 22, 2017