Homeland Security and Terrorism Issues

This page offers an easy way for policymakers to access homeland security and terrorism 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 x5643.

Recent Findings

  • Following the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, members of Iraq's parliament voted to expel American soldiers from Iraq, January 5, 2020, photo by Iraqi Parliament Media Office/Handout via Reuters


    Iraq's Vote to Expel U.S. Troops Is Iran's True Victory

    Jan 6, 2020

    If American soldiers are ejected from Iraq, the consequences may be far-reaching and damaging to U.S. strategic interests. What options remain to reset the relationship between Washington and Baghdad?

  • Hezbollah supporters attend a funeral ceremony rally to mourn Iran's Qassem Soleimani, in the suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, January 5, 2020, photo by Aziz Taher/Reuters


    All-Out U.S.-Iran War Is Unlikely. But Low-Level War Expected to Continue

    Jan 6, 2020

    Iranian retaliation for Soleimani's killing and counter-retaliation by the United States seem likely. But Tehran and Washington have good reasons to inflict limited pain without engaging in a full-scale war.

  • Militia members hold a portrait of Iranian Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani during a protest of an air campaign in Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition, Baghdad, March 31, 2015, photo by Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters


    Iranian Commander Soleimani Killed: RAND Experts React

    Jan 3, 2020

    The White House has confirmed that a U.S. airstrike authorized by President Trump killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani just outside the Baghdad airport in Iraq. We've rounded up how RAND researchers reacted to the news.

  • Blog

    Most Popular RAND Research of 2019

    Dec 24, 2019

    The search for lasting solutions to difficult policy problems starts with facts. Here are the 10 research projects that rand.org readers engaged with the most in 2019.

  • Image by Alyson Youngblood/RAND Corporation


    Most Popular RAND Blog Commentary of 2019

    Dec 23, 2019

    Terrorism. The humanitarian crisis at the border. How to engage friends and foes on the world stage. Here are the top 10 commentaries that readers engaged with most on The RAND Blog in 2019.

More Research on Homeland Security More Research on Terrorism


  • Close up of Lily Ablon holding DEFCON 21 challenge medal

    Lessons from a Hacker: Cyber Concepts for Policymakers

    Sep 14, 2015

    What do policymakers need to know as they confront growing concerns over cybersecurity? Lillian Ablon provides insights into some of the complexities of cybersecurity policymaking, including why software vulnerabilities matter and the motivations of various cyber threats actors.

  • rally to legalize marijuana

    Marijuana Legalization: What We Know and What We Don't

    Jul 17, 2012

    This November, voters in multiple states will be asked to consider propositions concerning decriminalization and legalization of marijuana. Join RAND experts for a panel discussion on marijuana laws and policies at both the state and federal level.

  • Credit card with computer chip

    Information Sharing for Cyber-Security: Evidence from Europe

    May 7, 2012

    The U.S. House and Senate have numerous cyber-security proposals on the agenda to consider in the coming months. In this briefing, Neil Robinson presents evidence from empirical studies conducted in Europe regarding cyber-security and information exchange.

  • Globe with world map and circuit board in background

    Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar

    Feb 22, 2012

    With dire warnings about U.S. cyber vulnerabilities, the Obama administration is pushing Congress to pass a comprehensive cybersecurity bill, and Senate and House committees are moving forward to craft such legislation. Martin Libicki, a RAND senior management scientist, discusses cyberwar and policy considerations.

  • Police Departments' Post-9/11 Focus on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

    Jul 20, 2011

    In this July 2011 Congressional Briefing, Lois Davis discusses adjustments made by law enforcement agencies to strengthen their counterterrorism and homeland security capabilities, and the new funding challenges faced by police departments since 9/11.

More Homeland Security and Terrorism Briefings

Alerts & Newsletters

RAND periodically sends newsletters to update Congress on highlights of recent work about terrorism and homeland security.

  • hands on a computer keyboard in a dark room

    Want to Fight Cybercrime? Start by Thwarting the Cyber Black Market

    Jun 6, 2014

    Ever since the major cybersecurity breach at Target Corp. late last year, Members of Congress have begun exploring how these breaches occur and how companies, and the government, can respond to prevent further attacks. An understanding of the cyber black markets is key.

  • Al-Qaeda fighters celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, on a main street in Fallujah, west of Baghdad

    Brothers Killing Brothers: The Current Infighting Will Test al Qaeda's Brand

    May 9, 2014

    How do terrorists resolve internal disputes? RAND terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins writes that they often do it the old-fashioned way: they kill each other. He examines a decentralized al Qaeda to ask whether its internal disputes create intelligence and public information opportunities for the U.S.

  • New York City firefighters pour water on the wreckage of 7 World Trade Center in Sept. 2001

    New Study: Extending TRIA Could Lower Federal Costs

    Apr 21, 2014

    The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act will expire at the end of this year and Congress is considering the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets. In a terrorist attack with losses up to $50 billion, the federal government would spend more helping to cover losses than if it had continued to support a national terrorism risk insurance program.

  • RAND.org's Redesign: New Homepage and Navigation Optimization for All Devices

    Mar 20, 2014

    RAND.org has been reimagined to make high quality research and insights more accessible to Hill staff like you. The new homepage and updated navigation optimize content delivery for your preferred device and place our most timely content at your fingertips.

  • A group of firefighters walk amid rubble near the base of the destroyed World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001

    Expiration of Terrorism Risk Insurance Act Could Impact National Security

    Mar 12, 2014

    The current terrorism risk insurance act will expire in 2014 and Congress again is considering the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets. If the act expires and the take-up rate for terrorism insurance falls, then the U.S. would be less resilient to future terrorist attacks.

  • Migrants climb off a train during their journey toward the U.S.-Mexican border

    What Should Immigration Reform Look Like?

    Feb 3, 2014

    While competing priorities have prevented Congress from enacting comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the core challenge at the U.S.-Mexican border has remained the same as ever: to balance the supply of workers with the demand for workers, neither of which stops at the border, regardless of border enforcement.

  • Women carrying children run for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree in Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013

    Could an Attack Like the One in Nairobi's Westgate Mall Happen in the United States?

    Oct 22, 2013

    The four-day terrorist attack on Nairobi's Westgate Mall closely mirrored a 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai. Could an attack like this happen in the United States? Brian Jenkins discussed this possibility in testimony for a recent Congressional hearing.

  • U.S. Customs & Border Protection Officer on duty in Arizona

    Border Security Is Key to Immigration Reform

    Jul 22, 2013

    Solving the United States' complex immigration problems requires using all policy tools and measuring the effects of reform immediately. By adopting these principles now Congress could give the United States an opportunity to improve immigration policy as it learns more about what parts of reform are working and which are not.

  • residents clean up after the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013

    Better Preparedness for Natural Disasters

    Jul 17, 2013

    As the United States gears up for hurricane season, the RAND Corporation and the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute, based in New Orleans, have research and experts available to assist you in preparing legislation related to disaster preparedness.

  • Is the United States Ready to End the War on Terror?

    Jun 13, 2013

    President Obama spoke on U.S. drone and counterterrorism policy, saying that we “must finish the work of defeating al Qaeda and its associated forces.” But RAND political scientist Paul Miller argues that while we do not want the war to last forever, defining conditions of the end is not an easy task: the enemy gets a vote, too.

  • protesters marching with American flags

    What Will Immigration Reform Look Like?

    May 14, 2013

    As Congress debates immigration reform, how to measure border security is just one of many issues to consider. For instance, the passage of immigration enforcement laws by Arizona and other states raises the potential for state and local law enforcement agencies to be accused of racial profiling when enforcing immigration laws.

  • Is a Secure Border Possible?

    Mar 28, 2013

    With Congress considering various immigration bills, RAND researchers look at what the current state of research can tell us about immigration policy and border security.

  • SOTU Policy Preview

    Feb 11, 2013

    Preparing for the State of the Union address? Here 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.

  • Protecting US Interests in Cyberspace: Goals for Congress

    Dec 6, 2012

    Cyberspace has no boundaries, an attack can come from virtually anywhere, and the "map" changes constantly. As it is impossible to block every cyber attack, strategy and policy should be focused on how to respond once that attack occurs.

  • October Is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

    Oct 19, 2012

    As Cybersecurity Awareness Month has arrived, the Obama administration is considering issuing an executive order to give the Homeland Security Department the authority to develop voluntary cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure. RAND has research and experts available to provide insights into cybersecurity proposals.

  • What Is the Most Cost-Effective Aviation Fleet for the U.S. Forest Service?

    Sep 20, 2012

    Wildfire suppression costs have increased dramatically since 2000, currently costing taxpayers an average of about $1.65 billion per year. The U.S. Forest Service should upgrade its large airborne firefighting fleet to include more amphibious scooper aircraft, with air tankers and helicopters in a supporting role during the initial attack of fires before they become large.

  • A More Effective TSA

    Aug 23, 2012

    As airport security lines get longer, travelers continue to ask: are all the baggage screenings, shoe removals, and pat-downs worth the extra time and hassle? RAND researchers assess the costs and benefits of aviation security interventions in order to help policymakers decide on potential changes to the system.

  • How Can We Better Allocate Resources in Patrolling U.S. Borders?

    Jun 7, 2012

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is responsible for protecting U.S. borders against terrorist threats, criminal endeavors, illegal immigration, and contraband. But because of budgetary and other resource constraints, it cannot "see and be" everywhere at once.

  • Cybersecurity Policy: Using RAND Research to Inform Debate

    Apr 24, 2012

    This week the House is considering four bills related to cybersecurity, and the Senate is soon to consider S 2105, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. RAND has research and analysis to enrich the debate and provide strategies that policymakers can use as they address the challenges ahead.

  • "Planned" Randomness as an Effective Border Tactic

    Apr 19, 2012

    As the immigration issue heats up for the upcoming election season, border security is sure to be at the forefront of the public debate. But what kind of border security methods can give proven results and return on taxpayer investment?

  • What's Next for Al Qaeda?

    Mar 30, 2012

    Two recent incidents, the burning of copies of the Koran and the killing of civilians by an American serviceman, have inflamed Afghan public opinion and in turn have led to questions here in the U.S. about whether America is losing the ideological battle in Afghanistan to the Taliban and al Qaeda.

  • How Do Trusted Traveler Programs Fare in Face of Terrorist Attacks to Exploit Them?

    Mar 22, 2012

    Identifying individuals who likely pose less risk than others and allowing them to pass through aviation security with reduced security screening—a process known as a trusted traveler program—could reduce the security burdens on some travelers while improving security overall.

  • Senior Staff SOTU Debrief from RAND Corporation

    Jan 25, 2012

    We've assembled a selection of RAND reports, journal articles, commentary, videos, and experts on these SOTU topics that provide you with analysis, insights, and ideas you can use in the months ahead.

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