Commentary from the RAND Army Research Division

  • Members of the Virgin Islands National Guard hand out food and water to civilians at a distribution point on St. Croix after Hurricane Irma, September 22, 2017
    Emergency Services and Response

    Arroyo Researchers Visit Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

    Dec 19, 2017

    A small team of researchers from RAND Arroyo Center went to Puerto Rico two weeks after the island was struck by Hurricane Maria. They are compiling their observations into a series of studies for the Army, with recommendations to smooth its response to future disasters.

  • U.S. Army paratroopers jump from a C-17 Globemaster III over the Juliet Drop Zone in Pordenone, Italy, June 12, 2013
    Military Force Planning

    Reimagining and Modernizing U.S. Airborne Forces for the 21st Century

    Apr 20, 2016

    Many of the challenges the U.S. will face in the coming years across the range of military operations could be deep inland and require rapid response. Airborne forcible entry — with reimagined and modernized airborne forces — would offer decisionmakers options in crises that they do not possess today.

  • Syrian army soldiers inspect the site of a two bomb blasts in the government-controlled city of Homs, Syria, on February 21, 2016
    Urban Warfare

    A New Kind of Battlefield Awaits the U.S. Military — Megacities

    Apr 6, 2016

    Megacities are urban areas that seep into one another and have more than 10 million inhabitants. To counter violent non-state actors operating in megacities in the future, the U.S. military will have to be able to piece together a comprehensive and actionable intelligence picture, and under enormously challenging circumstances.

  • U.S. sailors assigned to Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command monitor, analyze, detect, and respond to unauthorized activity within U.S. Navy information systems and networks
    Cyber Warfare

    The Online Fight Against ISIS

    Apr 1, 2016

    To prevail against ISIS in cyberspace, the United States and its cyber soldiers will have to be capable of reacting quickly, while being guided by an overarching strategy. Secretary of Defense Carter urged U.S. Cyber Command to intensify the fight against ISIS but it would also be wise to recruit civilian volunteers.

  • Two teens using laptops
    Cybercrime

    The Military Should Increase Efforts to Find and Enlist Young Hackers

    Mar 10, 2016

    Some notorious cyberattacks have been carried out by computer-savvy teens. They don't all have criminal intentions, they just have a particular aptitude for writing code and operating in cyberspace. The U.S. military should consider embracing and cultivating this pool of talent.

  • U.S. Army soldiers participate in a live-fire exercise in Konotop, Poland, January 18, 2016
    United States Army

    Planning for the 'Army of the Future'

    Feb 17, 2016

    What must the Army be ready to do as part of a joint force, now and in the future? What capacities and capabilities should the Army have in order to be ready? The NCFA comes up short in its answers to both of these questions.

  • S-400 Triumf SAMs during the rehearsal for 2009 Victory Day parade in Moscow
    Missile Defense

    How China's New Russian Air Defense System Could Change Asia

    Jan 21, 2016

    The Russian S-400 TRIUMF surface to air missile entered the media spotlight when Moscow deployed the system after Turkey's shoot-down of a Russian plane near the Syria border on Thanksgiving Day. This episode demonstrated the S-400's potential as a weapon with strategic effects, a role that China may seek to exploit in future crises.

  • 152-mm howitzer 2A65 Msta-B in Saint-Petersburg Artillery museum
    Military Strategy

    Artillery Returns to the Battlefield in the War Against ISIL

    Jan 11, 2016

    Together with increased air attacks, the Syrians and their Russian advisors seek to revitalize combined arms forces, and artillery is critical to their vision of such forces.

  • Uniformed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, march outside a Ukrainian military base, March 5, 2014
    Military Strategy

    Struggle in the Gray Zone and World Order

    Dec 22, 2015

    Recent experience suggests that the targets of gray zone campaigns recognize them for what they are — aggressive efforts to overturn the status quo. Gray zone aggression often prompts exactly the sort of reactions it's meant to avoid.

  • World map, connected people icons, and binary code
    The Internet

    War on the Web

    Jul 23, 2015

    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.

  • Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks to Pentagon personnel, February 19, 2015
    Threat Assessment

    Rethinking Risk in Defense

    Apr 20, 2015

    The way the U.S. uses risk in national security has too often been ill-defined and misleading. The country needs a more focused and precise understanding of risk at the highest levels. In the process of developing one, risk processes should be judged by how they contribute to the making of effective strategy.

  • Platoon leaders and platoon sergeants marching during the Headhunter leadership challenge at Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 15, 2014
    Military Personnel

    The Most Enduring Lesson: People

    Apr 10, 2015

    Given the complex, technology-heavy, and conceptually-nuanced environment of today's military, the quality of military personnel is the dominant form of competitive advantage. All the services today place maintaining a high-quality force at the top of their list of priorities.

  • U.S. Army soldiers cheer as U.S. President Barack Obama signs H.R. 3230, the Veteran's Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014
    Military Veterans

    Research Drives Ongoing Support for Veterans

    Nov 10, 2014

    On November 11, we honor the service and sacrifices of America's veterans. But as they return home and adjust to civilian life, veterans and their families face new challenges and communities struggle to meet their unique needs. Rigorous research is essential to addressing these challenges and finding long-term solutions. RAND explores key issues concerning veterans such as employment, health and well-being, family support, and education.

  • Shi'ite volunteers, who've joined the Iraqi army against militants from the radical Islamic State, take part in weapons training, July 18, 2014
    Iraq

    Defeating the Islamic State: Crafting a Regional Approach

    Jul 22, 2014

    While ISIL may achieve temporary tactical gains from declaring the caliphate, it made the strategic error of declaring all other Sunni political actors illegitimate. This may provide an opening to build a coalition that can create and implement a regional strategy to attack ISIL.

  • Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade training with NATO allies in Poland
    Military Force Planning

    Rethinking U.S. Force Planning

    May 16, 2014

    While the renewed interest in crisis response forces by the military services is welcome in these times of uncertainty, forces that are permanently assigned to a geographic combatant command and based in a region continue to offer distinct benefits. RAND research has shown that an overseas presence enhances contingency responsiveness in most cases.

  • DPU Soldiers conduct cyber defense exercise
    Cyber Warfare

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

    Apr 7, 2014

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

  • Soldiers move to secure a helicopter landing zone in Paktika Province
    United States Army

    Failure to Learn: Reflections on a Career in the Post-Vietnam Army

    Jan 24, 2014

    In the aftermath of a decade of war, the Army must have an objective, serious debate — one that it never engaged in after Vietnam — to understand its experiences, both good and bad.

  • man reading in a library
    G.I. Bill (The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944)

    Post-9/11 GI Bill: A Good Investment in Our Veterans Can Be Better

    Nov 8, 2013

    To better tailor the benefits to the actual needs of veterans, it is important to determine how much the implementation has really improved, and if there are lessons that can be drawn to improve future initiatives. Of critical concern is whether veterans have the information they need to take the best advantage of their GI Bill benefits.

  • A autonomous vehicle maneuvers over concrete blocks during a demonstration.
    Military Technology

    War Robots Will Lessen Killing — Not Increase It

    Oct 18, 2013

    Could armed autonomous robots embark on a campaign of indiscriminate killing? John Matsumura says there is a convincing base of evidence that robots are more likely to prevent slaughter than engage in it.

  • U.S. soldiers on a joint patrol with the Afghan National Army
    Asymmetric Warfare

    New RAND Report Updates, Expands Research on Successful Counterinsurgency Approaches

    Sep 27, 2013

    When a country is threatened by an insurgency, what efforts give its government the best chance of prevailing? A new update to a RAND 2010 study expands the data set of 30 insurgencies to 71, and compares all 71 of them begun and completed worldwide since World War II.