The first comprehensive assessment of Chinese military aid shows that China's $560 million total during 2013-2018 pales in comparison to the U.S. total of over $35 billion in the same period. This should offer advantages in the intensifying U.S.-China strategic competition.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine is forcing European nations to quickly re-evaluate how best to maintain their collective security. This makes the concept of European strategic autonomy—the EU's increased ability to operate independently and with partners of choice on defence and security matters—more relevant than ever.
In the U.S. Air Force, William Shelton managed hundreds of millions of dollars in acquisition programs. He retired as a colonel then joined RAND as an engineer. One of his recent projects provided the U.S. Space Force with a new approach to acquisition, designed around its unique mission.
If American deterrence fails, it may not be because adversaries doubt U.S. military capabilities so much as they doubt American willpower. Shifting those perceptions will require not just defense authorizations, but also repairing the social fabric here at home.
Before they became RAND researchers, Jonathan Wong and Joslyn Fleming served as U.S. Marines. In this interview, they discuss what made them want to join the service, what led them to research, and how their military experience guides the work they do at RAND.
With U.S. domestic challenges ranging from the ongoing pandemic to long-delayed infrastructure investments, now is a good time to consider spending that provides both domestic and national security benefits. Infrastructure spending offers one such example.
Should the National Guard provide an enduring quick reaction force for Washington, D.C., as apparently recommended in a recent report to Congress? Policymakers might ask themselves whether using the National Guard for this mission is actually the best solution.
The Pentagon has in recent years turned its attention to the need for speed in weapons system development and acquisition. While shortening the timeline for program development and fielding is important for Defense Department acquisition leaders, overly prioritizing speed can lead to issues with program management, sustainment, and other areas.
What will the next decade of warfare look like? Raphael Cohen led a project to answer that question for the U.S. Air Force. The team considered not just technological or force changes, but also how global politics, economics, and the environment will shift and evolve between now and 2030.
Considering the COVID-19 pandemic and inevitable economic difficulties, national governments should be encouraged to weigh their military requirements in a more cost-effective manner. Countries need to think strategically about the life cycle costs of equipment, not just the original purchase price.
The Pentagon has asked Congress to end the requirement that it make public an unclassified version of the Future Years Defense Program—the department's budget plans for at least the next five years. Although some information needs to be classified, the value of transparency for public debate and oversight in a democracy outweighs the marginal intelligence gains to U.S. adversaries.
The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a dramatic toll on the U.S. economy. This could have significant medium-term implications for the U.S. defense budget. The U.S. Department of Defense will need to find efficiencies that are of at least the same magnitude as the recent sequestration.
The Grim Reaper is a 700-foot-tall series of hills that Marine Corps recruits must summit to graduate from boot camp. As the Marine Corps attempts to transform from a second land army and counterinsurgency force to operate within contested maritime spaces, its recent budget request suggests that it will need to climb its own Grim Reaper to get there.