National Security Issues

This page offers an easy way for policymakers to access national security research and analysis that is relevant to current Congressional agendas. For additional information, to request documents, or to arrange a briefing, contact the RAND Office of Congressional Relations at ocr@rand.org or (703) 413-1100 x5395.

Recent Findings

  • Essay

    Understanding North Korea

    Aug 18, 2017

    How should the U.S. respond to North Korea's provocative behavior? Even the best military options could be cataclysmically bad, but there are nonmilitary options to convince Kim Jong Un that the costs of his provocations outweigh any benefits.

  • Commentary

    When the Car Is a Terror Weapon, Can We Prepare for Attacks?

    Aug 18, 2017

    Soft targets, so-called because they are more vulnerable to terrorism due to lower levels of security, are notoriously difficult to protect, and the latest shift to using vehicles to conduct ramming attacks only compounds the problem for authorities.

  • Commentary

    The Islamic State May Be Failing, but Its Strategic Communications Legacy Is Here to Stay

    Aug 17, 2017

    The Islamic State's caliphate is collapsing but its legacy will live on virtually because of its information operations. The scale of the menace presented by the group today pales in comparison to other global challenges, yet it manages to dominate and terrorize the public mind.

  • Commentary

    Assad's Attacks Should Not Be Repeated, Forgotten, or Excused

    Aug 15, 2017

    Despite signing the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty in October 2013, Assad has continued chemical attacks on the Syrian opposition. To counter Assad and others who might turn to the use of chemical weapons, the U.S. could collaborate with other major powers to bolster the international ban on them.

  • Commentary

    Privatizing the Military Unlikely to Be a Viable Solution in Afghanistan

    Aug 14, 2017

    Operational contractors are now an entrenched part of the Department of Defense’s total force and are here to stay. But replacing U.S. military personnel with contractors is not likely to be a militarily effective solution for the Afghanistan problem.

More Research on National Security

Briefings

  • North Korea's Continuous Provocations

    Jul 17, 2017

    North Korea's provocative behavior has heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and caused alarm throughout Northeast Asia and beyond. Bruce Bennett will brief Congress on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, the role of China, implications for U.S. policy, and more.

  • Strategic Rethink: Choices for America in a Turbulent World

    Jul 24, 2015

    How does America envision its role in a turbulent geopolitical environment with growing challenges? Ambassador James Dobbins, Howard Shatz, and David Ochmanek examine the most consequential choices that are likely to face this president and the next.

  • The Use of Long-Range Armed Drones: Fact v. Myth

    Mar 3, 2015

    The Obama administration announced a new policy setting standards for exporting and using armed drones which will allow for the wider export of armed drones to allied nations. A panel of RAND experts will seek to dispel some of the myths that have arisen with respect to the use of long-range armed drones.

  • Hidden Heroes: America's Military Caregivers

    May 15, 2014

    Military caregivers play an essential role in caring for injured or wounded service members and veterans. Terri Tanielian and Rajeev Ramchand will present the challenges today's military caregivers face, and what Congress and others can do to support them.

  • Do Joint Fighter Programs Save Money?

    Mar 28, 2014

    Mark Lorell will discuss how historically, the need to accommodate different service requirements into a single design or common design family can lead to increased program complexity and cost growth that may cancel out the theoretical costs savings gained from a joint approach.

More National Security Briefings

Alerts & Newsletters

RAND periodically sends email alerts to update Congress on highlights of recent work concerning national security.

  • Cyber Power Potential of the Army Reserve

    Jul 27, 2017

    Faced with increasing cyber threats, the military's demand for cyber professionals is growing. One resource that could help fill the gap is the reserve component.

  • What Causes Individuals in Yemen to Reject Violent Extremism?

    Jun 19, 2017

    Yemen—afflicted by civil war and home to one of al Qaeda's most dangerous affiliates—offers ample opportunity for individuals to embrace violent extremism. Given these conditions, what causes some Yemenis to reject such violence?

  • National Security Issues in the 115th Congress

    May 30, 2017

    RAND experts testify and answer questions for congressional staff on a variety of national security topics. For the 115th Congress , RAND offers insights into the Russian threat, China's military transformation, the Syrian conflict, and terrorism.

  • Rolling Back the Islamic State

    May 25, 2017

    RAND research finds that the preferable option for countering the Islamic State is a rollback strategy that relies on local forces backed by U.S. special operations forces, intelligence assets, and airpower.

  • A Strategy for Syria

    Apr 28, 2017

    Following the Assad regime's abhorrent use of chemical weapons and the United States' subsequent air strike, lawmakers called for a strategy in Syria. RAND's Linda Robinson lays out three principles that may help devise one.

  • Hybrid Warfare in the Baltics: Threats and Potential Responses

    Mar 27, 2017

    RAND recently analyzed the threat to the Baltics by examining Moscow's use of hybrid warfare. What steps should the United States take to bolster the resilience of the Baltics in the face of hybrid actions?

  • A Strategy to Counter ISIL as a Transregional Threat

    Feb 28, 2017

    Eradicating the global violent jihadist threat, including ISIL, is not possible as long as the underlying conditions that feed Sunni Arab grievances continue. New analysis from RAND offers a strategy to counter ISIL with a focus on steps to confront the violent jihadi threat over the long term.

  • How to Solve America's Cyber Security Dilemma

    Jan 19, 2017

    Russia's interference in the 2016 election has put a spotlight on cyber security. As Congress considers how to protect against efforts to disrupt the country's network-dependent military and society, RAND experts offer up an unconventional approach.

  • Improving Security Cooperation Assessment, Monitoring, and Evaluation

    Nov 19, 2016

    Assessment, monitoring, and evaluation (AME) processes in place at the combatant commands and in the Pentagon are not comprehensive or standardized. RAND experts propose a hybrid management model that could help improve AME tools.

  • Assessing the Campaign Against Al Shabaab

    Oct 22, 2016

    Al Qa'ida-linked al Shabaab has been weakened, but not yet defeated. A recent RAND report recommends steps U.S. policymakers can take to help prevent the terrorist group's resurgence.

  • Retention, Incentives, and DoD Experience Under the 40-Year Military Pay Table

    Sep 19, 2016

    RAND's review of the military pay table found that while both the 30-year and 40-year pay tables could be equally effective in retaining members, it is preferable to keep the 40-year table.

  • Can U.S. Social Media Strategy Weaken ISIS on Twitter?

    Aug 29, 2016

    ISIS opponents on Twitter outnumber supporters by a six-to-one margin, but the supporters are much more prolific, each producing 50 percent more tweets per day. What steps could policymakers take to help defeat the message of terrorists?

  • Can the Air Force Keep Pilots Amid Increased Airline Hiring?

    Aug 16, 2016

    If major airline hiring and civilian pilot pay remain consistent or increase, the Air Force will have to take steps in order to prevent a pilot shortage. It could consider increasing the cap for aviator retention pay from its current $25,000 annual level.

  • What Are the Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly?

    Jul 21, 2016

    Given the small estimated number of transgender personnel and the even smaller number who would seek gender transition-related treatment, a recent RAND study estimates a loss of less than 0.0015 percent of total available labor-years in the active component.

  • How to Improve the Pentagon's Security Cooperation Planning

    Jun 22, 2016

    To improve assessment, monitoring, and evaluation of the DoD's security cooperation programs, experts recommend providing SMART criteria and prioritization guidance to combatant commands—and working with them to create a planning system centered on country plans.

  • Introducing Value-Based Purchasing into TRICARE Reform

    May 13, 2016

    Congress is considering reforming TRICARE, the health plan for military beneficiaries in the United States. Lawmakers have a range of options and could potentially develop a stronger program that provides greater value-based care in a more efficient manner.

  • Can China and the United States Find Common Ground on Cyber?

    Apr 18, 2016

    Against the backdrop of Chinese intrusions like the hack of the Office of Personnel and Management, reaching an agreement on cyber norms might seem impossible. But RAND analysis suggests that the United States could gain leverage by linking cyber issues to the health of the overall bilateral relationship.

  • How can Congress Consolidate DoD's 123 Security Cooperation Authorities?

    Mar 30, 2016

    When debating the National Defense Authorization Act, Congress may consider reforming the patchwork of authorities that allow for security cooperation activities with foreign partners—in favor of a more streamlined approach.

  • A Peace Plan for Syria

    Feb 26, 2016

    A new RAND publication concludes that the best chance for peace in Syria is for the external actors in the conflict to push their associates to accept a ceasefire. The authors propose creating three "safe zones" based on ethno-sectarian divisions and current battle lines.

  • Implications of the Paris Attack on U.S. National Security

    Dec 10, 2015

    Following the terror attacks in Paris, what are the implications on the U.S. strategy in Syria, as well as the nation's homeland security? The attack emphasizes the importance of intelligence efforts both abroad and at home.

  • America's Security Deficit: Balancing Strategy and Resources

    Nov 5, 2015

    With U.S. forces spread thinly across a wide range of commitments, they are failing to keep pace with their most capable adversaries, and combat readiness is poor. Dealing with this security deficit will involve making a strategic choice to either spend more on defense or adopt a less ambitious national security strategy.

  • How the Current Conflicts Are Shaping the Future of Syria and Iraq

    Oct 16, 2015

    There is a substantial gap between U.S. national objectives and a realistic evaluation of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. To help close this gap, national objectives must be based on realistic assessments of the conflicts and how they shape the future of both nations as well as the broader Middle East.

  • What Works Best When Building Partner Capacity in Challenging Contexts?

    Sep 3, 2015

    As Congress considers how best to support Iraqi forces and other partners in stopping the rise of the Islamic State, it is worth examining past missions for successes and failures. A series of case studies helps identify the challenges that can interfere with a successful capacity building mission, as well as recommended policy options.

  • Precision and Purpose: Airpower in the Lybian Civil War

    Aug 11, 2015

    What is the role that NATO and partner nation airpower played in enabling Libyan rebels to defeat Muammar Qaddafi in 2011? RAND researchers detailed the contributions of each participating country to draw valuable lessons from this intervention.

  • Air Base Attacks and Defensive Counters: Historical Lessons and Future Challenges

    Jul 8, 2015

    With the development of long-range, highly accurate conventional missiles, there is a renewed focus on countering attacks on U.S. air bases. The United States will need to adapt its power-projection concepts to operate under a greater threat of attack.

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Testimony

2010 and prior

June 18, 2010
Considerations for the Use of Private Security Contractors in Future U.S. Military Deployments

Molly Dunigan

Testimony presented before the Commission on Wartime Contracting.

April 28, 2010
The Role of Incentive Pays in Military Compensation

James Hosek

Testimony presented before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Personnel.

March 9, 2010
Children on the Home Front: The Experiences of Children from Military Families

Anita Chandra

Testimony presented before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Military Personnel.

February 22, 2010
Stabilization from the Bottom Up

Seth G. Jones

Testimony presented before the Commission on Wartime Contracting.

January 28, 2010
Reconstructing Haiti

James Dobbins

Testimony presented before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

May 6, 2009
NATO After the Summit: Rebuilding Consensus

Robert E. Hunter

Testimony presented before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on European Affairs.

April 23, 2009
Air Force Service Procurement: Approaches for Measurement and Management

Laura H. Baldwin

Testimony presented before the House Armed Services Committee Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform.

April 2, 2009
U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan

Seth G. Jones

Testimony presented before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia.

March 26, 2009
Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

James Dobbins

Testimony presented before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.

March 24, 2009
Assessing Combat Exposure and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Troops and Estimating the Costs to Society: Implications from the RAND Invisible Wounds of War Study

Terri Tanielian

Testimony presented before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.

March 11, 2009
Antecedents and Implications of the November 2008 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Attack Upon Several Targets in the Indian Mega-City of Mumbai

C. Christine Fair

Testimony presented before the ouse Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection.

February 26, 2009
Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

James Dobbins

Testimony presented before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

September 24, 2008
U.S.-Pakistan Relations: Assassination, Instability, and the Future of U.S. Policy

C. Christine Fair

Testimony presented before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.

Testimony unavailable - oral remarks only.

July 31, 2008
A New Grand Strategy for the United States

Robert E. Hunter

Testimony presented before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

July 15, 2008
Does America Need A New Grand Strategy?

James Dobbins

Testimony presented before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

June 12, 2008
Invisible Wounds of War: Quantifying the Societal Costs of Psychological and Cognitive Injuries

Christine Eibner

Testimony presented before the Joint Economic Committee.

June 11, 2008
Invisible Wounds of War: Recommendations for Addressing Psychological and Cognitive Injuries

Terri Tanielian

Testimony presented before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

June 11, 2008
Invisible Wounds of War: Summary of Key Findings on Psychological and Cognitive Injuries

Lisa H. Jaycox

Testimony presented before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

April 3, 2008
An Iraqi Modus Vivendi: How Would It Come About and What Would It Look Like?

Terrence K. Kelly

Testimony presented before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

April 2, 2008
Getting Back on Track in Afghanistan

Seth G. Jones

Testimony presented before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

February 14, 2008
Ungoverned Territories

Angel Rabasa

Testimony presented before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.

January 29, 2008
International Perspectives on Interagency Reform

Nora Bensahel

Testimony presented before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

January 16, 2008
U.S.-Pakistan Relations: Assassination, Instability, and the Future of U.S. Policy

C. Christine Fair

Testimony presented before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

September 5, 2007
The Role of the Department of Defense in Provincial Reconstruction Teams

Michelle Parker

Testimony presented before House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

September 5, 2007
Research and Development Issues for Producing Liquid Fuels from Coal

James T. Bartis

Testimony presented before the House Science and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

June 28, 2007
Policy Issues for Coal-to-Liquid Development

James T. Bartis

Testimony presented before the Commonwealth of Kentucky House Appropriations and Revenue Committee.

June 26, 2007
Policy Issues for Coal-to-Liquid Development: Addendum

James T. Bartis

Addendum to testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on May 24, 2007.

May 24, 2007
Policy Issues for Coal-to-Liquid Development

James T. Bartis

Testimony presented before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

April 26, 2007
Improving the Department of Defense's Small Business Innovation Research Program

Bruce Held

Testimony presented before the House Science and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation.

September 26, 2006
Policy Issues for Alternative Fuels for Military Operations

James T. Bartis

Testimony presented to the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Readiness and Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities.

September 20, 2006
Radicalization: Homeland Security Implication

John D. Woodward, Jr.

Testimony presented to the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment.

August 8, 2006
Border Security and the Terrorist Threat

K. Jack Riley

Testimony presented to the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Cybersecurity, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Science, and Technology.

July 18, 2006
Islam and the West: Searching for Common Ground: The Terrorist Threat and the Counter-Terrorism Effort

Bruce Hoffman

Testimony presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

April 21, 2006
Federal Agencies Can Adapt Best Commercial Practice to Improve Their Acquisition of Services

Frank Camm

Testimony presented to the Acquisition Advisory Panel.

April 6, 2006
Trends in the United Kingdom's Naval Shipbuilding Industrial Base: Lessons for the United States

John F. Schank

Testimony presented before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Seapower.

March 30, 2006
Information Sharing and Emergency Responder Safety Management

Brian A. Jackson

Testimony presented before the House Government Reform Committee.

February 28, 2006
Aerial Refueling Recapitalization Requirements

Michael Kennedy

Testimony presented to the House Armed Service Committee, Subcommittee on Projection Forces.

Testimony unavailable - informal remarks.

January 26, 2006
Enhancing Emergency Preparedness in California

Michael A. Wermuth

Testimony presented to the California Little Hoover Commission.

November 9, 2005
Stabilization and Reconstruction: No Longer a Non-Traditional Mission?

James Dobbins

Testimony presented to the House Armed Services Committee, Non-Traditional Missions Panel.

Testimony unavailable - closed hearing.

November 1, 2005
Space Security

David Mosher

Testimony presented to the House Armed Services Committee, Asymmetric and Unconventional Threats Gap Panel.

Testimony unavailable - informal remarks.

September 29, 2005
Does Our Counter-Terrorism Strategy Match the Threat?

Bruce Hoffman

Testimony presented to the House International Relations Committee, Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation.

May 19, 2005
Roles and Issues of NASA's Wind Tunnel and Propulsion Test Facilities for American Aeronautics

Philip Anton

Testimony addendum submitted for the Record to the House Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics.

March 16, 2005
Roles and Issues of NASA's Wind Tunnel and Propulsion Test Facilities for American Aeronautics

Philip Anton

Testimony presented to the House Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics.

February 2, 2005
Emerging Threats to National Security

Gregory T. Treverton

Testimony presented to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

March 24, 2004
Toward an Expeditionary Army: New Options for Combatant Commanders

Eric Peltz

Testimony presented to the House Armed Services Committee.

March 24, 2004
Deployment, Retention, and Compensation

James Hosek

Testimony presented to the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Total Force.

March 24, 2004
Developing and Using General and Flag Officers

Harry J. Thie

Testimony presented to the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Total Force.

July 24, 2003
Competitive Sourcing and the Morale of Federal Employees

Frank Camm

Testimony presented before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia.

May 12, 2003
The Defense Civilian Workforce: Insights from Research

Beth J. Asch

Testimony presented before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring and the District of Columbia.

April 1, 2003
Remarks Before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

Michael A. Wermuth

Testimony presented to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

March 31, 2003
Remarks Before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

Brian Michael Jenkins

Testimony presented before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

October 8, 2002
Lessons of 9/11

Bruce Hoffman

Testimony submitted for the Record to the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence, Joint September 11, 2001 Inquiry.

December 13, 2001
The National Guard and Homeland Security

Bernard D. Rostker

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate.

April 3, 2001
Protecting American Interests Abroad: U.S. Citizens, Businesses, and Non-Governmental Organizations

Bruce Hoffman

Testimony resented to the Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives.

March 27, 2001
Combating Terrorism: In Search of a National Strategy

Bruce Hoffman

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives.

November 16, 1999
A Review of the Scientific Literature as It Pertains to Gulf War Illnesses; Pyridostigmine Bromide

Beatrice A. Golomb and C. Ross Anthony

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Health and Oversight and the Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives.

February 24, 1999
Aging Aircraft: Implications for Programmed Depot Maintenance and Engine-Support Costs

Raymond A. Pyles

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Procurement, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. House of Representatives.

More Testimony

Briefs

More National Security Briefs