Warfare and Military Operations

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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

  • Estonian soldiers in a military parade celebrating Estonia's Independence Day near border crossing with Russia in Narva, February 24, 2015

    Report

    The Potential for Russian Hybrid Warfare in the Baltics

    Russia would likely have trouble using nonviolent tactics to destabilize the Baltics. Russian covert violent action is also unlikely to succeed on its own. Thus, the main vulnerability of the Baltics is Russia’s local conventional superiority.

    Feb 23, 2017

  • U.S. Army Soldiers board a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at the Joint Multinational Training Command's (JMTC) Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany

    Testimony

    How to Restore the Power Projection Capabilities of the U.S. Armed Forces

    To help put the United States back on a path toward fielding forces that can defeat any adversary, the DoD needs money and insight. The latter can help inform decisionmaking. The former would let the DoD develop, acquire, and field new systems and postures.

    Feb 16, 2017

  • U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force special forces personnel participate in a training exercise at Naval Station Pascagoula, Mississippi, October 26, 2016

    Commentary

    The Mission to Counter WMD: Avoiding Missteps While Transitioning Responsibility

    U.S. Special Operations Command will soon lead the Pentagon's anti-WMD efforts. SOCOM is well positioned to contain and reduce threats, but will need new expertise to prevent the acquisition of related material and respond to crises.

    Feb 10, 2017

  • Displaced people who fled ISIS arrive at a military checkpoint before being transported to camps in eastern Mosul, Iraq, January 25, 2017

    Commentary

    Stabilizing Mosul After the Battle Against ISIS

    U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have retaken the east bank of Mosul and are planning to take the west soon. The military operations that oust ISIS are crucial to the city's liberation but failing to get the civilian response right risks a widening civil war.

    Feb 9, 2017

  • Somali government soldiers secure the scene of an explosion in front of Dayah hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, January 25, 2017

    Commentary

    U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy Must Be About More Than ISIS

    ISIS is a worthy candidate for eradication, but failing to also target its franchises, al-Qaida splinters, and other non-aligned groups in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia could allow other threats to metastasize.

    Feb 9, 2017

  • People fleeing violence in ISIS-controlled al-Bab, Syria arrive in the town's rebel-held outskirts, February 3, 2017

    Report

    Finding a Way Forward in Syria

    After six years of fighting in Syria, the odds of removing the Assad regime are worse than ever. But the new U.S. administration could help de-escalate the conflict by focusing on a realistic outcome: a decentralized Syria with agreed regional zones backed by external powers.

    Feb 8, 2017

  • Iraqi army gather during a fight with Islamic State militants in Rashidiya, North of Mosul, Iraq, January 30, 2017.

    Commentary

    The Need for a Targeted Counter-ISIL Strategy

    Defeating ISIL is only possible if political conditions change in the Middle East, North and West Africa, and South Asia, and in ways that are exceedingly unlikely. The coalition should focus on reducing ISIL's ability to conduct attacks and on removing the underlying conditions that feed Sunni grievances.

    Feb 5, 2017

  • Hands programming code on a laptop

    Project

    Evaluation of the Dutch Defence Cyber Strategy

    A highly effective defence cyber strategy is vital for national and international organisations in safeguarding and increasing the effectiveness of their defence capabilities and enhancing their own cyber resilience. The Dutch Ministry of Defence has thus asked RAND Europe and VKA to evaluate its strategy.

    Jan 31, 2017

  • A family walks next to an Iraqi tank during a fight with ISIS militants in Rashidiya, north of Mosul, Iraq, January 30, 2017

    Commentary

    Is ISIS Breaking Apart?

    The coalition tasked with countering ISIS has made progress, and ISIS is sure to break apart further over the next few years. Any splinter groups that result could differ from their parent organization, so counterterrorism strategies will need to adjust.

    Jan 31, 2017

  • U.S. soldiers execute a fire mission to support Iraqi security forces during the Mosul counteroffensive in northern Iraq, December 24, 2016

    Report

    Countering ISIL as a Transregional Threat

    The U.S. counter-ISIL strategy must recognize the long-term nature of the global violent jihadi threat. U.S. diplomatic and military actions should focus on reducing the appeal of ISIL and disrupting the transregional network that supports it.

    Jan 31, 2017

  • Hezbollah members salute during the funeral of Ali Fayyad, a senior commander who was killed fighting in Syria, Lebanon, March 2, 2016

    Commentary

    Hezbollah Is Winning the War in Syria

    Hezbollah's participation in operations in Syria have likely helped improve the group's interoperability with other military organizations, hone its tactics, and expand its ability to command and control forces in a combat environment—all of which can be exported back to its native Lebanon.

    Jan 30, 2017

  • Venezuelan soldiers patrol during a military operation to destroy clandestine drug laboratories in Zulia, Venezuela, near the border with Colombia, December 6, 2014

    Report

    How to Counter Transnational Criminal Networks

    Transnational criminal networks have expanded their global reach. In some cases, they have even converged with terrorist groups. How do these networks threaten U.S. interests? And what can be done to combat them?

    Jan 27, 2017

  • Two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 35th Fighter Squadron land in sync after a training sortie Feb. 13, 2014, at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea.

    Commentary

    A Political Earthquake in Seoul and Its Repercussions for U.S. Policy

    With new administrations in the U.S. and South Korea, it's time to find a middle ground and set up a new common policy toward North Korea. The pressures felt by both countries make the relationship all the more vital to the historical allies.

    Jan 25, 2017

  • Report

    Regional foreign policy dynamics and their implications for the Mediterranean Region

    This publication is part of a series of four RAND Perspectives (PE) each focusing on different challenges in the Mediterranean region. The focus of this PE is on regional foreign policy dynamics and their implications for stability and security.

    Jan 25, 2017

  • Report

    Cross-Cutting Challenges and their Implications for the Mediterranean region

    This publication is part of a series of four RAND Perspectives (PE) each focusing on different challenges in the Mediterranean region. The focus of this PE is on cross-cutting challenges and their implications for regional stability and security.

    Jan 25, 2017

  • Report

    Troubled waters: a snapshot of security challenges in the Mediterranean region

    This publication is part of a series of four RAND Perspectives (PE) each focusing on different challenges in the Mediterranean region. The focus of this PE is on defence and security issues and their implications for regional stability.

    Jan 25, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Parental Deployment, Adolescent Academic and Social–Behavioral Maladjustment, and Parental Psychological Well-Being in Military Families

    Long deployments can increase the risk for negative adolescent and parental outcomes, relative to short or no deployment; military fathers and adolescent boys may be more strongly affected than military mothers and adolescent girls.

    Jan 24, 2017

  • French President Francois Hollande (L) walks with Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of Mali at the international conference center of Bamako ahead of the France-Africa summit in Bamako, Mali, January 14, 2017.

    Commentary

    What Mali Really Needs

    Mali needs more international engagement, as well as serious pressure on the Malian state to strengthen its hold on the country. The key will be helping beyond just security force assistance and conventional economic development aid; Mali needs help governing.

    Jan 23, 2017

  • News Release

    Domestic Political Discord Now the Greatest Threat to U.S. Global Leadership

    Faced with traditional threats from opponents such as Russia and emerging threats from non-traditional adversaries such as the Islamic State, the United States needs a comprehensive foreign policy strategy that can provide stability and improve policymakers' ability to manage in today's more complex and turbulent times.

    Jan 18, 2017

  • Aerial view of the Earth

    Research Brief

    Exploring America's Role in a Turbulent World

    The post–Cold War era is over. The United States faces new challenges abroad and rising political polarization at home. How should America advance its interests and pursue new opportunities around the world?

    Jan 18, 2017