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.

  • drone-myth1

    Commentary

    Armed Drone Myth 1: They Will Transform How War Is Waged Globally

    Feb 17, 2015

    Long-range military drones are fundamentally misunderstood. Their champions wrongly contend they are revolutionizing warfare, while critics fear their spread would greatly increase the threat that China, terrorists, and others pose.

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy recruits chant slogan during a parade

    Report

    Sustaining U.S. Leadership in the Asia-Pacific Region

    Feb 23, 2015

    While the U.S. has been occupied with recent military operations, other potential adversaries have been advancing their own military capabilities. A debate over the appropriate set of responses — strategic, operational, and technical — has begun.

Explore Warfare and Military Operations

  • 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

  • A man shouts while demonstrators arrive at Trump Tower during a protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York, November 19, 2016

    Report

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

    The United States needs a coherent international strategy for today's turbulent world. But this will be hard to pursue without more domestic political consensus on America's global role.

    Jan 18, 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

  • CCTV footage released by the Charleston Police Department of a suspect wanted in connection with the shooting of several people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, June 6, 2015.

    Commentary

    The Wrong Terrorism Narrative

    Solving the problem of homegrown terrorism in the U.S. requires understanding the true nature of the complex problem of violent extremism. With such knowledge, authorities and communities will be better able to develop strategies to prevent the next tragic terrorist killing.

    Jan 15, 2017

  • French soldiers from Operation Barkhane stand outside their armored personnel carrier during a sandstorm in Inat, Mali, May 26, 2016

    Commentary

    Mali's Persistent Jihadist Problem

    The 2013 French intervention in Mali averted an al Qaeda-backed thrust toward the capital of Bamako and reduced the threat from other jihadist groups. To ensure a new threat does not materialize in Mali, France will need staying power and support from its European partners and the U.S.

    Jan 12, 2017

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) talks with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani as they meet during a summit of Caspian Sea regional leaders in the southern city of Astrakhan September 29, 2014

    Commentary

    Iran at Putin's Mercy

    Russia and Iran have forged an unprecedented, but fragile alliance in the Middle East. But there is no guarantee that Putin will not sell Iran out if he manages to forge better relations with the United States under Trump.

    Jan 12, 2017

  • Testimony

    Fifteen Years After 9/11: A Preliminary Balance Sheet: Addendum

    Document submitted on January 11, 2017 as an addendum to testimony presented before the House Armed Services Committee on September 21, 2016.

    Jan 12, 2017

  • In Camp 4 of Camp Delta at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, highly compliant detainees live in a communal setting

    Commentary

    What Should Trump Do About Gitmo?

    The new administration has options to deal with the detention facility established 15 years ago at Guantánamo Bay. It could maintain the status quo, make improvements to speed the trials, close the facility and relocate the remaining inmates, or accept new detainees.

    Jan 11, 2017

  • Silhouettes of people on a Syrian national flag are seen at a peace march in Damascus, September 21, 2016

    Report

    How to Prevent State Collapse in Syria

    Syria will likely be a weak state in a volatile region when its civil war ends. How can U.S. policy create conditions for a transition that helps fight terrorism and preserve state institutions?

    Jan 9, 2017

  • President Barack Obama talks about cyber hacking during the U.S. presidential election as he holds his final news conference of the year at the White House in Washington, December 16, 2016

    Commentary

    How to Deter Foreign Cyberattacks on U.S. Elections

    Deterring future cyber-meddling in U.S. elections will require convincing adversaries — Russia and others — that any future such meddling will either be ineffective and/or too costly to be worthwhile.

    Jan 5, 2017

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L), and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia December 29, 2016

    Commentary

    No Quick Fix with Russia

    A series of small steps is more likely to improve Western and Russian security than an attempt at a total reset. At the same time, sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and NATO actions to reassure and protect allies, must continue.

    Jan 3, 2017

  • People protest as electors gather to cast their votes amid allegations of Russian hacking to try to influence the U.S. presidential election in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, December 19, 2016

    Commentary

    Were Russian Hacks Really a Threat to American Democracy?

    The Russian attacks should be another wake up call about the relentless probing of America's digital assets by adversaries and the potential consequences of weak cyber defenses. But U.S. democracy appears to have survived safe and sound.

    Dec 30, 2016

  • A sailor opens a network monitoring program during an exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, August 22, 2016

    Commentary

    America's Cyber Security Dilemma — and a Way Out

    The United States should continue to pursue international cooperation in cyberspace, improve its ability to identify and expose the sources of attacks, and improve its oversight of the development and adoption of cyber-related technologies.

    Dec 22, 2016

  • The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia

    Commentary

    How Can We Be Sure Putin Hacked the Democrats?

    Did Russia conduct an election cyber campaign against America? There is likely no smoking gun. But there is presumably a preponderance of technical evidence, intelligence, and benefits to Moscow that points in that direction.

    Dec 16, 2016

  • French police secure a street near a travel agency where a gunman took seven people hostage in a robbery, in Paris, France, December 2, 2016

    Commentary

    Crime and Terror in Europe: Where the Nexus Is Alive and Well

    The idea of a crime-terror nexus does appear to be a major threat in Europe, where terrorists and criminals now recruit from the same milieu. Coperation between European law enforcement and intelligence agencies is critical.

    Dec 15, 2016

  • Report

    A Modeling Framework for Optimizing F-35A Strategic Basing Decisions to Meet Training Requirements

    This report presents a modeling framework designed to identify basing locations for the F-35A fleet and training range locations that minimize flying costs associated with composite force training exercises for combat mission-ready pilots.

    Dec 14, 2016

  • Journal Article

    On Strategic Communications Today: Enhancing US Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade

    Capabilities to inform, influence, and persuade are necessary both for national security success and as a cost-effective toolset relative to physical military power.

    Dec 14, 2016

  • Activists dressed as the artist Vincent van Gogh hold signs that say, "Don't listen to Russian propaganda," outside the Dutch embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, February 5, 2016

    Blog

    Insights on the Russian 'Firehose of Falsehood'

    A massive, ingenious, and concerning campaign of propaganda has been pumping westward for years, supporting the Russian agenda in Ukraine and Syria and likely trying to influence the U.S. presidential election.

    Dec 13, 2016

  • Report

    Maritime Issues in the East and South China Seas: Summary of a Conference Held January 12–13, 2016

    This conference summary presents key insights from a January 2016 conference focusing on maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas.

    Dec 12, 2016

  • Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army march in a parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, September 3, 2015

    Report

    Understanding China's Strategy

    Beijing's perceptions and assessments aren't static. They evolve as China's standing in the world increases and its interests grow. U.S. leaders should focus on understanding and managing competition with China on a global scale.

    Dec 6, 2016