Warfare and Military Operations

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.

  • European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wait for the start of talks in Vienna April 9, 2014

    Blog

    Too Important to Fail

    Preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state would contribute to global security, and especially to the security and stability of the Middle East, but these are not the only considerations at hand.

    Apr 18, 2014

  • Soldiers practice decontaminating themselves during training on Camp Casey, South Korea

    Blog

    The U.S. Army Must Remain Prepared for Battle

    Converting the Army into a force suited only for homeland defense or humanitarian missions abroad, without the ability to fight sophisticated foes as part of a joint force, would result in an unprepared Army.

    Apr 18, 2014

  • Multimedia

    The Days After a Deal: Iran, Its Neighbors, and U.S. Policy Following a Nuclear Agreement

    On April 3, 2014, the RAND Corporation held a half-day conference in its Washington office addressing "The Days After a Deal: Iran, its Neighbors, and U.S. Policy Following a Nuclear Agreement." As nuclear negotiations with Iran approach a deadline for a final deal this summer, the RAND conference looked ahead at some of the critical "day after" questions following a potential nuclear agreement.

    Apr 17, 2014

  • A suicide car bomb hit two diplomatic vehicles entering the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7, 2008

    Blog

    Book Review: A Reporter Analyzes the Driving Role of Pakistan in the Afghan War

    With its focus on Pakistan, Gall's “The Wrong Enemy” is a valuable contribution to a body of work on the American war in Afghanistan that has become stale and hackneyed. It provides a raw, unvarnished look at one of the darkest and least understood parts of the war.

    Apr 11, 2014

  • Multimedia

    Russia: What Happened? What's Next?

    In this April 2014 podcast, Olga Oliker discusses what Crimea—and Ukraine—mean for Moscow, for Kiev, and for Vladmir Putin, and the implications of Putin's actions for the U.S. and NATO.

    Apr 9, 2014

  • Al Qaeda fighters celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces in Fallujah, March 20, 2014

    Testimony

    Counterterrorism and the Role of Special Operations Forces

    Over the long run, the persistent nature of the terrorism threat to the United States suggests that special operations forces should remain a key part of the struggle against al Qa’ida and other Salafi-jihadist groups.

    Apr 8, 2014

  • Blog

    Russia Hacks a U.S. Drone in Crimea as Cyberwarfare Has Gone Wireless

    For American audiences and policymakers alike, cyber activities in Crimea provide a chilling reminder that cyberspace is emerging as a 21st-century global battlefield.

    Apr 7, 2014

  • Report

    Assessing Stop-Loss Policy Options Through Personnel Flow Modeling

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense identified several policy options for reducing or eliminating the use of stop-loss in the Army. This briefing documents the results of a quantitative study of these proposed alternative policies.

    Apr 7, 2014

  • General David Petraeus, Stephen Hadley, and David Ignatius

    Blog

    RAND Conference: Iran in the Days After a Nuclear Deal

    Expressing optimism that a deal to end Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons could succeed, experts said during a panel discussion at RAND that such an agreement could open the door to a new era for Iran, free of international sanctions but still cautious of relations with the U.S.

    Apr 3, 2014

  • Philippine and U.S. marine soldiers in a joint military exercise in Ulugan bay, Philippines

    Blog

    The Foreign Policy Essay: The Limits of Small Footprints

    The history of “small-footprint approaches” should be sobering. It suggests that such approaches are good at preventing allied governments from losing against rebels, but are not very good at actually winning wars.

    Mar 31, 2014

  • Report

    Assessing Security Cooperation as a Preventive Tool

    Based on an analysis of security cooperation (SC) data and state fragility scores for 107 countries in 1991-2008, a correlation is described between provision of SC by the United States and a reduction in partner state fragility.

    Mar 20, 2014

  • Syrian refugees wave flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad

    Multimedia

    Navigating Turmoil in the Middle East

    Listen in on this joint RAND-Wilson Center panel discussion on new and ongoing U.S. foreign policy challenges in the Middle East.

    Mar 18, 2014

  • Libyans protesting against the General National Congress in Benghazi February 28, 2014

    Report

    Libya Needs More International Support

    The international community's limited approach to post-conflict stabilization of Libya has left the nation struggling and on the brink of civil war. The essential tasks of establishing security, building political and administrative institutions, and restarting the economy were left almost entirely up to Libya's new leaders. No international forces were deployed to keep the peace, in contrast with NATO interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

    Mar 17, 2014

  • News Release

    Libya Needs More International Support

    The international community's limited approach to post-conflict stabilization of Libya has left the nation struggling and on the brink of civil war.

    Mar 17, 2014

  • U.S. troops stand guard at the site of a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul

    Blog

    Stuck Between a Rock and the 'Zero Option'

    A total drawdown of American forces — the “zero option” — is a real possibility. Recently, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the United States would begin planning for this contingency because of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's failure to sign a bilateral security agreement.

    Mar 13, 2014

  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, displaying on Monday what Israel said were seized Iranian-supplied missiles bound for militants in Gaza. He called on the West not to be fooled by Tehran's diplomatic outreach over its nuclear program.

    Blog

    Iran Deal: Will Israel Play Spoiler?

    Israel will not embrace an agreement that is likely to leave in place some limited Iranian nuclear enrichment and infrastructure, but it nonetheless will not likely derail a deal with actions like a military strike.

    Mar 12, 2014

  • Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul listen to his speech during the presidential campaign in Kabul March 5, 2014

    Blog

    The Pernicious Effects of Uncertainty in Afghanistan

    While upcoming elections and sustained Taliban attacks are keeping many Afghans on edge, the greatest long-term threat to Afghanistan right now is the slow, insidious rot of uncertainty that is permeating nearly every facet of Afghan society.

    Mar 12, 2014

  • A Russian serviceman stands on duty near a map of the Crimea region near the city of Kerch March 4, 2014. President Vladimir Putin ordered troops involved in a military exercise in western Russia back to base on Tuesday in an announcement that appeared intended to ease East-West tension over fears of war in Ukraine.

    Blog

    Ukraine and the Death of Territorial Integrity

    Russia's increasingly brazen violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity threatens to undermine the widely accepted principle that international borders are not subject to further revision, a principle that has contributed to a global decline in interstate war in recent decades.

    Mar 5, 2014

  • Research Brief

    Lessons for a Negotiated Settlement in Afghanistan — If History Serves as a Guide

    Historical insurgencies that ended in settlement after a stalemate have generally followed a seven-step path. A master narrative distilled from these cases could help guide and assess the progress toward a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.

    Feb 28, 2014

  • News Release

    'Small Footprint' Counterinsurgency Strategies Work Best with Narrow Range of Partners

    Future U.S. efforts should focus on finding areas of agreement with partner nations and possibly convening networks of people in those nations who can implement changes and then providing the necessary resources and technical expertise.

    Feb 26, 2014