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

  • A view from space of the Middle East, West Asia, and East Europe at night, photo by wael alreweie/Getty Images


    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East

    Feb 23, 2021

    Long-standing U.S. policies in the Middle East that rely on defeating threats and keeping partners on "our side" have fallen short. What if the U.S. approach shifted from focusing on the threat of the day to a positive vision of a region supported by increased diplomatic and economic investments?

  • Members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces' infantry unit march during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base, Japan, October 23, 2016, photo by Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters


    Japanese Public Needs to Know SDF to Appreciate It

    Feb 19, 2021

    Although Japan does not call the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) a military, externally it is widely respected as a modern armed force fielding advanced defense capabilities. Given the threats facing Japan, it may benefit the Japanese public to better understand the value of the SDF as an armed force and the military cooperation that takes place with the United States.

  • Domestic Terrorism


    Domestic Terrorism in the U.S.: The Need to Rethink Strategy

    Feb 10, 2021

    An overview of testimony by Brian Michael Jenkins presented before the House Committee on Homeland Security on February 4, 2021.

  • Blog

    Unemployment Insurance, Domestic Extremists, Housing Insecurity: RAND Weekly Recap

    Feb 5, 2021

    This weekly recap focuses on what the pandemic has revealed about America's unemployment system, why stopping domestic extremism will be difficult, how housing insecurity may affect sleep, and more.

  • Two Air Force F-22 Raptors fly over Syria, February 2, 2018, while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, photo by Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott/Air National Guard


    Airpower Was Indispensable to Defeating ISIS

    Feb 5, 2021

    Some argue that airpower could have been applied more vigorously in Operation Inherent Resolve to have more quickly defeated ISIS. Airpower was essential, but ground forces led by Iraqi and Syrian partners were needed to destroy the Islamic State as a territorial entity.

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.

  • French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (L), French President Francois Hollande (C), French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (R), and students observe a moment of silence at the Sorbonne University, Paris, France, November 16, 2015

    American Response to the Terrorist Attacks in Paris

    Dec 15, 2015

    The November 13th coordinated assault in France punctuated a wave of terror attacks. What do the attacks mean for the coalition against ISIS and the global refugee crisis—and how should America respond?

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs official arrests an undocumented immigrant

    Prior Removal and Recidivism

    Jul 30, 2015

    Where should local officials direct their funds in order to address criminally involved unauthorized immigrants? A RAND study suggests local public safety interests and federal immigration enforcement priorities may well align around unauthorized immigrants with a record of prior removal.

  • Confirming information security

    Securing Cyberspace: Is Information-Sharing Enough?

    May 6, 2015

    Information-sharing is an important part of helping to keep companies and government institutions safe from online threats. But in order to address the nation's cybersecurity problem, a broader approach is required.

  • Chain link fence protecting American border

    Homeland Security Issues in the New Congress

    Jan 22, 2015

    From immigration and border security to terrorism and Department of Homeland Security management issues, the new Congress will be confronted with a legislative agenda and policy decision making that will have both major domestic and global repercussions.

  • Computer keyboard with data protection key

    October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

    Oct 28, 2014

    Credit card data breaches and photo leaks have policymakers and companies scrambling to make financial data and private information more secure. RAND research focuses on identifying threats to information security and data integrity, and implications for personal and institutional privacy.

  • A man holds up a sign in memory of U.S. journalist James Foley during a protest against the Assad regime in Syria in New York City, Aug. 22, 2014

    Why the U.S. Swaps Prisoners But Doesn't Pay Ransom

    Sep 9, 2014

    Why is the U.S. willing to exchange prisoners but not pay ransom? While there may be confusion about American policy on this issue, there are key differences between the Bergdahl and Foley cases.

  • 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.

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