The U.S. armed forces are now preparing for an age of great-power competition and rightly so. The 2018 National Defense Strategy shows the Defense Department is focused on the threats posed by Russia and especially China to U.S. interests, allies, and established partners such as Taiwan. For now, U.S. forces appear poorly postured to meet these challenges.
It will take time to assess the extent to which Russia has “won“ in Syria. Absent a peaceful end to the conflict and an infusion of large-scale Western aid, downside risks for Russia could take some of the bloom off of its rose in Syria.
Moscow's form of information warfare targeting the West has attracted significant international attention since 2014, especially through its reinvigorated military intelligence branch. Nonetheless, little research has focused on these campaigns' apparent shortcomings. Most notable among operational errors are the confusing translation mistakes that undermine attempts at covert influence efforts.
In March 2019, RAND brought together a group of security experts to discuss Russia's strategy in the Black Sea region, and what Western countries can do to protect common interests and counter Moscow's malign influence there.
The West has only modest capacity to influence circumstances in most post-Soviet countries. In Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova, however, the West has the potential to make a real difference by supporting civil society and improved governance.
Israel has a right to defend itself from Iranian threats to its country. American leaders should consider balancing support for Israel's efforts to counter Iran with firm redlines about activities negatively impacting American interests.
The United States and its allies should anticipate the possibility of an updated Russian military doctrine as early as 2020. Evaluating this document closely is important for understanding Russian threat perceptions and the leadership's methods to address those threats.
Rising public protests in Russia may be putting the Kremlin on the defensive at home. But Moscow is playing offense abroad, challenging the West more than at any time since Ronald Reagan's presidency. Reagan's strategy to counter the Kremlin back then offers insights that could help guide U.S. policy today.
For busy staff, August's respite from back-to-back meetings, hearing preparation, and late votes is hard-earned. The summer recess also provides an opportunity to get ahead of issues that will resurface in the fall. To that end, we have compiled recent RAND research on topics likely to top the congressional agenda come September.
For years, Russia and the United States have been targeting each other's infrastructure through cyberattacks. But the aggression and scope of these operations now seem unprecedented. What are the best options for U.S. policymakers?