blog

Terrorists, Policing, Cyberattacks: RAND Weekly Recap

December 21, 2018

This week, we discuss trends in terrorism recruitment; the emerging era of international competition; strategies for better policing; who should investigate cyberattacks; teen vaping; and whether we're entering a new Cold War with China.

Police officials stand on the sidewalk as cars drive on the road in front of the Pulse night club, following a shooting in Orlando, Florida, June 21, 2016

Police stand in front of the Pulse night club, following a shooting in Orlando, Florida, June 21, 2016

Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

ISIL has been more successful than al Qaeda in recruiting Americans to support its cause. That's according to a new RAND report. Findings show the average ISIL terrorist recruit is more likely to be younger, less educated, and a U.S.-born citizen. And the historic stereotype of a Muslim, Arab, immigrant male as the most vulnerable to extremism is not representative of many terrorist recruits today. Understanding these shifting demographics is important to counterterrorism efforts.

Flags of the world

mayichao/Getty Images

A New Era of International Competition

What does the emerging era of international competition look like? A new RAND report finds it is likely to be most intense between a handful of specific states with status grievances and countervailing regional and global coalitions. And the hinge point of the competition will be the relationship between China and the United States. What's the best approach for this new era? Employ a mindset of “management,” rather than aiming for “victory.”

Pittsburgh Police stand with a group of University of Pittsburgh students

Photo by Jordan Mondel

Helping Police Find the Right Strategies

Which police interventions work best in certain situations, and which don't? RAND recently developed the Better Policing Toolkit to help police choose the best strategies—and put them to work. Project lead John Hollywood says the toolkit builds effective strategies around the idea of mutual trust and respect between police and the public. “This notion is important not only for improving relationships within our communities, but also for making them safer places to live.”

World map with electronic circuits

Photo by turk_stock_photographer/Getty Images

Who Should Investigate Cyberattacks?

Cyberattackers are rarely held accountable for their actions. And the current cyber attribution landscape is fragmented and confusing. RAND experts believe it may be time to create a global body that is narrowly focused on investigating and assigning responsibility for cyberattacks. This could help prevent further descent into the digital “wild west,” where computer users must fend for themselves.

Vape liquids for sale in New York, New York, September 20, 2018

Vaping liquids for sale in New York City, September 20, 2018

Photo by Melissa Fares/Reuters

Long-Term Dangers of Teen Vaping

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced new regulations that would ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in retail stores. What might happen if these changes fail to help reverse the teen vaping trend? According to RAND experts, e-cigarette use among young people could end up leading to more nicotine use in the long run.

Chess pieces with U.S. and China flags superimposted on world map background

Photo by Ellen11/Getty Images

Is This a New Cold War?

It's becoming more common for observers of global affairs to call the U.S.-China relationship a new Cold War. But RAND's Ali Wyne says this analogy is problematic. There are many ways the Cold War differs from today's tensions between Beijing and Washington. Because of these differences, Wyne says the United States will need to manage the China challenge differently than it did the Soviet threat.

Get Weekly Updates from RAND

If you enjoyed this weekly recap, consider subscribing to Policy Currents, our newsletter and podcast.