Office of Congressional Relations
2010 State of the Union address

SOTU Policy Preview
from RAND Corporation

Preparing for the State of the Union (SOTU) address? Below is a preview of topics from President Obama's inaugural address that he may cover on Tuesday night, along with helpful links to related RAND analyses, reports, and commentary.


Gun Regulations

  • After the tragedy in Newtown, President Obama and Vice President Biden announced a series of new measures intended to deal with gun violence.
  • The problem of gun violence is larger and much more complex than mass shootings, so RAND researchers discuss the many questions looming and discuss how existing research findings can answer some, but not all of them.

Climate Change

  • President Obama specifically addressed climate change as one of his main policy goals.
  • In the wake of Sandy, RAND's Jordan Fischbach says the federal government could learn from Louisiana's post-Katrina planning to better protect coastal populations from superstorms, as seen in this short video.

The President may also bring up:


  • RAND analysts examined how the DoD might execute deeper reductions in the defense budget. The three alternative strategies can be found here.
  • With defense budget cuts occurring both here and in Europe, RAND's Stephen Larrabee asserts that NATO alliance members will have to seek ways to provide security with fewer resources.


  • RAND continues to analyze new policy options in the ongoing U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.
  • RAND's Seth Jones argues that recent Afghan history actually suggests that if the country can hold reasonably free and fair elections, and defeated candidates can agree to step aside, Afghanistan has a chance of moving beyond its Soviet legacy.


  • Syria continues to be a global problem especially since reports have discussed intelligence of chemical weapons present in Syria.
  • In a recent RAND Blog post on Syria ("The Syrian Game Changer"), RAND researchers suggest that the Obama administration should lead an international coalition devoted to containing Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you have any questions or want additional information about any of the above research, feel free to reach out to me at, 703-413-1100 x5654, or our Congressional Relations main line at x5395. We're also on the web at

Best regards,

Win Boerckel
Director, Office of Congressional Relations
RAND Corporation

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