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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Explore Warfare and Military Operations

  • Digital internet security concept

    Announcement

    RAND Hosts Cybersecurity Exercise

    The discussion of cybersecurity should not be trapped within narrow technical, national security, or legal stovepipes and should include an examination of economic, civil, and societal factors. With that goal in mind, RAND hosted an analytic exercise on cybersecurity.

    Sep 3, 2015

  • Report

    Information Operations: The Imperative of Doctrine Harmonization and Measures of Effectiveness

    In an update to a 2012 RAND report on information operations (IO) in Afghanistan, this paper describes the continuing challenges of IO doctrine integration and harmonization and the establishment of measures of effectiveness for IO.

    Aug 28, 2015

  • Testimony

    An Assessment of the Counter-ISIL Campaign: One Year after Mosul: Addendum

    Document submitted August 24, 2015 as an addendum to testimony presented before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities on June 24, 2015.

    Aug 27, 2015

  • Afghan National Army soldiers, advised and assisted by NATO Train, Advise, Assist Command, conduct a fire support mission in Zabul province, Afghanistan

    Commentary

    In Afghanistan, the Glass Is Still Better Seen as Half Full: A Response to Gary Owen

    While things are certainly not “great” in Afghanistan, there are more reasons for hope than many had expected to see by this point in the transition from a large U.S. presence to a greatly reduced one.

    Aug 24, 2015

  • Afghan officials in Pakistan August 13, 2015 discussing reviving suspended peace talks with the Afghan Taliban, days after Taliban attacks killed dozens of people in Kabul

    Commentary

    Afghanistan, Choose Your Enemies Wisely

    The Taliban's new leadership may be the last decent opportunity for a political solution to the conflict. Without one, the Islamic State could make Afghanistan the next Iraq or Syria.

    Aug 24, 2015

  • View of the Earth from space

    Essay

    Interdependence Day: Contending with a New Global Order

    A team of RAND experts took a sober look at the threats facing the United States and developed a playbook of strategies to address them.

    Aug 21, 2015

  • U.S. and Spanish Marines signal acknowledgement

    Report

    A Building Partner Capacity Assessment Framework: Tracking Inputs, Outputs, Outcomes, Disrupters, and Workarounds

    This report presents a framework intended to help with planning for building partner capacity events, monitoring progress while the effort is in progress, and assessing results.

    Aug 21, 2015

  • Nepalese soldiers unload aid and relief supplies from a UH-1Y Venom in the Kavrepalanchowk District, May 11, 2015

    Report

    What Works Best When Building Partner Capacity in Challenging Contexts

    When forced to build partner capacity in challenging contexts, what can the United States do to maximize the prospects for success?

    Aug 21, 2015

  • A woman grieves near the grave of a relative who was a victim of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, at the Potocari Memorial Center and Cemetery, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Commentary

    20 Years Later, the Lessons of Bosnia-Herzegovina

    U.S. intervention in Bosnia ended the fighting, bought time for a political solution to be reached, and halted the humanitarian crisis. But 20 years later, the prospects for lasting peace and a true multiethnic society to emerge in Bosnia are not encouraging.

    Aug 19, 2015

  • Soldiers with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, conducted a brigade-size air assault during Operation Dark Eagle, June 23, 2014

    Testimony

    Limiting Regret: Building the Army That the United States Will Need

    How big and how ready does the United States need the U.S. Army to be to meet its commitments? There is an imbalance between these commitments and America's current force planning. Correcting this would be challenging, but there are options that may help limit regret and strategic failures down the road.

    Aug 18, 2015

  • U.S. soldiers take pictures of President Barack Obama at U.S. military base Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, South Korea, April 26, 2014

    Commentary

    Loose Clicks Sink Ships: When Social Media Meets Military Intelligence

    Social media updates can reveal military intelligence. But stopping a soldier from posting a geotagged tweet or Instagram photo presents challenges.

    Aug 14, 2015

  • A U.S. Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter flies over Kalam Valley during humanitarian relief efforts in Pakistan, August 2010

    Commentary

    Pakistan's Shocking Strategic Shift

    Pakistan's security policies have experienced striking but underappreciated shifts since 2001 along three dimensions: aggressive behavior, strategic orientation, and self-examination.

    Aug 12, 2015

  • The word 'war' in the middle of a maze

    Report

    Challenges for Democracies Facing Asymmetric Conflicts

    Contemporary asymmetric warfare poses critical challenges for democracies. Can it be addressed through an overarching strategic framework, or must separate strategies be formulated for each circumstance?

    Aug 12, 2015

  • Tunisian soldiers and police patrol near Algeria's border in Kasserine, Tunisia July 4, 2015 after an Islamist militant attack on a beach hotel that killed 38 foreigners

    Commentary

    Algeria: The Bastion of North Africa

    Algeria could be a key regional partner for the United States and France in security and counterterrorism efforts against Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. It has a clear interest in quelling the threat posed by regional jihadists and it has local knowledge that could be helpful to U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

    Aug 11, 2015

  • Testimony

    Strategies for Defending U.S. Government Networks in Cyberspace: Addendum

    Document submitted on July 31, 2015 as an addendum to testimony presented before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies on June 24, 2015.

    Aug 3, 2015

  • Firemen work around the World Trade Center after both towers were attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001

    Commentary

    The 1970s and the Birth of Contemporary Terrorism

    While terrorism worldwide has increased over the past four decades — and the threat of terrorism continues to dominate Americans' fears — the nearly 14 years since 9/11 have been tranquil on the home front compared to the violent 1970s.

    Jul 30, 2015

  • congressional-podcast-teaser-highres

    Multimedia

    Strategic Rethink: Choices for America in a Turbulent World

    In this July 2015 Congressional Briefing, Ambassador James Dobbins discusses the report he coauthored with Howard Shatz and David Ochmanek, Choices for America in a Turbulent World. This is the first paper in the "Strategic Rethink" project, in which RAND researchers examine the most consequential choices that are likely to face this president and the next.

    Jul 24, 2015

  • Glowing globe

    Project

    The RAND Strategic Rethink Project

    The RAND Strategic Rethink project explores important strategic questions facing the United States, producing a guide for policymakers, citizens, educators, and the media on the most critical global choices and challenges facing the country.

    Jul 23, 2015

  • News Release

    With Upcoming 2016 Election, Global Power Shifts Will Face the Next U.S. President

    Chaos in the Middle East, Russian intervention, Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, climate change, and a decline in U.S. military readiness have raised questions about how America envisions its role in a turbulent geopolitical environment. Nevertheless, the world is not falling apart and these difficulties are not beyond the United States' ability to manage.

    Jul 23, 2015

  • World map, connected people icons, and binary code

    Commentary

    War on the Web

    While the U.S. Cyber Command is preparing the nation's defenses for the coming ramp-up in cyberwarfare-like attacks, the messages spread instantly by hordes of attackers through social media may not be receiving the attention they deserve.

    Jul 23, 2015