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

  • Counterterrorism police stand guard at the annual Gay Pride Parade in Greenwich Village, June 25, 2017, photo by PeskyMonkey/Getty Images


    The Growing Irrelevance of Organizational Structure for U.S. Domestic Terrorism

    Jul 2, 2020

    For decades, America's primary terrorist threat came from groups based abroad. Today, a new crop of terrorist actors is emerging from within our own borders. Although diverse and for the most part unconnected to each other, they share a common objective of disrupting society and in the process, overturning existing norms if not the entire political, social, and economic order.

  • Daniel Gerstein


    Rethinking the Role of the Strategic National Stockpile

    Jun 29, 2020

    An overview of testimony by Daniel M. Gerstein presented before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on June 24, 2020.

  • Oklahoma National Guardsmen check medical supply orders for quality while conducting warehouse support operations at the Strategic National Stockpile in Oklahoma City, April 20, 2020, photo by Tech. Sgt. Kasey Phipps/OK Air National Guard


    The Strategic National Stockpile and COVID-19

    Jun 24, 2020

    The United States maintains a stockpile of drugs, vaccines, and other medical supplies to provide for the nation's emergency health security. COVID-19 has highlighted the need to update current stockpiling capabilities to help prepare for future biological events, including pandemics.

  • Voters prepare to cast their ballot in the Democratic primary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 2, 2020, photo by Rachel Wisniewski/Reuters


    Keep Voters Healthy. Keep Elections Secure. Can the U.S. Do Both?

    Jun 22, 2020

    U.S. adversaries have stepped up cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns. The United States should expect these foes to take advantage of the logistical challenges of voting in a COVID-19 world to redouble their efforts against elections.

  • Members of the Great Lakes anti-fascist organization (Antifa) fly flags during a protest against the Alt-right outside a hotel in Warren, Michigan, March 4, 2018, photo by Stephanie Keith/Reuters


    The Dangers of Designating Antifa as a Terrorist Organization Now

    Jun 22, 2020

    The notion of designating Antifa as a terrorist organization may be intended to be a discrete act. But the precedent it would set could bring major strategic changes to how the United States uses counterterrorism laws, with uncertainties about whether those changes better serve national security.

More Research on Homeland Security More Research on Terrorism


  • Crowd of people walking street, photo by blvdone/Adobe Stock

    How Do We Prevent the Next Homegrown Terrorist?

    May 3, 2019

    What is the right terrorism prevention strategy for the federal government? Brian Jackson will discuss the nature of the homeland terrorist threat, past and current terrorism prevention policies, and recommendations for policymakers. [Washington, D.C.]

  • Chat bot in the form of binary code

    Approaches to Counter Russian Social Media Influence

    Mar 15, 2019

    How can policymakers combat the threat of Russian social media influence? Elizabeth Bodine-Baron will discuss different approaches and policy options to respond to Russian influence via disinformation spread on social media in the United States. [Washington, D.C.]

  • Chinese militaary vehicles carrying DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles, potentially capable of sinking a U.S. Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in a single strike, travel past Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Beijing Thursday Sept. 3, 2015

    Overcoming the Threats of Our Strategic Competitors

    Mar 27, 2018

    What weapon systems and posture enhancements should Congress and the Defense Department consider to prepare the United States for potential conflicts? In a RAND Congressional Briefing, David Ochmanek will discuss solutions that could help defend against national security challenges. [Washington, D.C.]

  • Capturing data/information theft

    Equifax and the Data-Breach Era: How Worried Should We Be?

    Oct 26, 2017

    Large-scale data breaches have compromised the identifying information of millions of people. What can policymakers do to improve responses to such breaches, and how can the public protect information that has already been compromised? Lilian Ablon and Sina Beaghley answer these questions and more in a RAND Congressional Briefing.

  • Syrian refugees, stuck between the Jordanian and Syrian borders, wait to cross into Jordan near the town of Ruwaished, January 14, 2016

    Lessening the Risk of Refugee Radicalization

    Feb 16, 2016

    Historical cases show that refugee radicalization is not inevitable, but fears within the United States persist. How does radicalization happen within refugee groups? And how can the U.S. government mitigate risks and safeguard the homeland?

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.

  • In Case You Missed It: The Strategic National Stockpile and COVID-19

    Jul 8, 2020

    COVID-19 has exposed serious weaknesses in our national preparedness for a global pandemic, including with the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). Daniel Gerstein provides recommendations for rethinking the SNS to help prepare for future emergencies.

  • Illustration of a network, security information, and AI technology, image by  issaronow/Adobe Stock

    Countering Coercion in Cyberspace, Terrorism Prevention, Opioids at the Border, and More

    Jan 17, 2020

    RAND experts have testified and answered questions for staff on a variety of homeland security topics in recent years, including terrorism prevention, fentanyl flows into the United States, and Coast Guard workforce issues.

  • In Case You Missed It: Illicit Supply of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids

    Aug 1, 2019

    RAND's Bryce Pardo discusses how illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids, often from China, are changing the U.S. drug policy landscape. He outlines four potential policy responses to combat the synthetic opioid crisis.

  • In Case You Missed It: How Do We Prevent the Next Homegrown Terrorist?

    Jun 7, 2019

    In this Congressional briefing, Brian Jackson discusses past and current terrorism prevention strategies. He also shares considerations for policymakers and the federal government forging a path forward.

  • Central America on a globe, photo by Bobtokyoharris/Getty Images

    Central American Migrants Pay Smugglers Hundreds of Millions of Dollars On Their Way North

    May 16, 2019

    Who is making money off the flow of migrants from Central America to the United States, and what can policymakers do to disrupt these transactions? A new Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center report finds that transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) are not the only, or even the main, culprits bringing migrants to our border.

  • In Case You Missed It: Approaches to Counter Russian Social Media Influence

    Apr 1, 2019

    In this Congressional briefing, Elizabeth Bodine-Baron discusses different approaches and policy options to respond to the specific threat of Russian influence via disinformation spread on social media in the United States.

  • Runners pass through scanners as they are checked by New York Police Department officers upon arrival for the New York City Marathon, November 3, 2013

    Considering Homeland Security Policy in the 116th Congress

    Feb 4, 2019

    What are the biggest homeland security policy issues facing the 116th Congress? RAND experts offer up insight on a variety of topics, including information warfare, cyber threats, terrorism, and more.

  • A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka Jayhawk helicopter crew conducts vertical replenishment training with the crew aboard Coast Guard Cutter Maple in Southeast Alaska's Western Channel

    Catch Up Quick: Homeland Security Issues for Congress

    Aug 14, 2018

    Catch up on the homeland security issues facing Congress, including cybersecurity, the Coast Guard and United States border, and countering violent extremism.

  • Afghanistan

    In Case You Missed It: A Path Forward in Afghanistan

    Jun 14, 2018

    U.S. assistance to Afghanistan has been enormous in scale and complexity for more than a decade and a half. How can the United States increase stability in Afghanistan through civilian and security assistance and best advance U.S. national security objectives? RAND's Laurel Miller recommends a path forward.

  • wargaming

    Overcoming the Threats of Our Strategic Competitors

    Apr 13, 2018

    What weapon systems and posture enhancements should Congress and the Defense Department consider to prepare the United States for potential conflict? David Ochmanek provides recommendations for revising U.S. forces and force planning.

  • Web access

    In Case You Missed It: Data Thieves

    Mar 22, 2018

    In 2017, there were more than one thousand data breaches exposing over a billion records of sensitive data. What's happening to stolen data and how is it being monetized? Lillian Ablon addresses these concerns.

  • Pedestrians walk along 5th Avenue in New York City, June 14, 2016

    Where Do America's Jihadists Come From?

    Dec 19, 2017

    RAND expert Brian Michael Jenkins writes that nationality is a poor predictor of later terrorist activity, and most jihadists in the United States are made in the United States—not abroad.

  • Farmer in tractor preparing land with seedbed cultivator

    In Case You Missed It: Federal Research and Devleopment for Agricultural Biodefense

    Dec 7, 2017

    Daniel M. Gerstein testified before Congress to discuss threats to U.S. agriculture and how federal investments in R&D could help maintain a healthy and vibrant agricultural sector.

  • Hands typing with visual of computer code

    In Case You Missed It: Equifax and the Data-Breach Era

    Nov 13, 2017

    There has been a recent string of large-scale data breaches that have compromised the private information of millions of customers. Lillian Ablon and Sina Beaghley briefed Congressional staff on how the government and breached companies can better protect victims.

  • Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando police chief John Mina, and FBI agent Ron Hopper at a news conference after the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016

    Catch Up Quick: Homeland Security Issues for Congress

    Aug 15, 2017

    Catch up on the homeland security issues facing Congress, including cybersecurity, terrorism, terrorist financing, and countering violent extremism.

  • The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen in this undated photo in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 5, 2017

    In Case You Missed It: North Korea's Continuous Provocations

    Aug 9, 2017

    Bruce Bennett briefed congressional staff North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, China's role on the Korean Peninsula, and implications for U.S. policy.

  • The Grand al-Nuri Mosque where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a new caliphate in July 2014 is seen in ruins after it was retaken by Iraqi forces from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2017

    In Case You Missed It: The Terrorist Diaspora

    Jul 13, 2017

    An overview of the testimony presented by Colin Clarke before the House Homeland Security Committee Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States on July 13, 2017.

  • Binary code bursts from phones held by a crowd of people with an overlay of glowing electronic numbers

    Homeland Security Issues in the 115th Congress

    Mar 9, 2017

    RAND experts provide insight on the biggest homeland security issues facing the 115th Congress, including cybersecurity, terrorism, emergency response, DHS management issues, and border security.

  • The ISIS hashtag is seen typed into a Twitter smartphone app, February 6, 2016

    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?

  • Tourists leave from the Enfidha international airport in Sousse, Tunisia, June 27, 2015, after being evacuated following a terrorist attack on the beach

    In the Wake of Terror, is it Safe to Travel?

    Apr 22, 2016

    Major terrorist events trigger public fear that other attacks may soon follow, but there is a lack of evidence to suggest this. Among other findings, RAND researchers discovered an absence of multiple terrorist events following large attacks over the last two decades.

  • 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.

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