International Affairs Issues

This page offers an easy way for policymakers to access International Affairs 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 or (703) 413-1100 x5643.

Recent Findings

  • Commentary

    Countries Buy Defective Chinese Military Equipment. Why?

    China's defense industry has exported malfunctioning and defective military equipment in recent years—leaving countries short of what's needed for their security while also draining military budgets. So why do countries continue to order military equipment from China?

    Jun 8, 2023

  • Commentary

    The Case For A Governance-First U.S. Security Policy In The Sahel

    Both terrorism and coups are on the rise in the Sahel. To reverse this troubling trend, the United states could ramp up support aimed at improving security governance, professionalizing militaries, and strongly sanctioning all forms of military takeovers in the region. This would require a real shift from the current U.S. security approach in the region.

    Jun 8, 2023

  • Commentary

    U.S.-China Rivalry in an Era of Weakening States

    With their weakened state capacity, disengaged publics, and imbalanced economies, the United States and China break the pattern seen in other rivalries between great powers. New theories and ideas will be required to cope with problems largely unknown to the great-power rivals of the recent past.

    Jun 6, 2023

  • Commentary

    What Is the Long-Term Strategy for Ukraine's Air Force?

    It is encouraging that Ukraine might receive F-16s to improve its combat capabilities. Western policymakers might begin thinking now about what the Ukrainian Air Force may require in the future, especially if the Russian threat remains acute.

    Jun 6, 2023

  • Report

    U.S.-China Rivalry in a Neomedieval World

    The neomedieval era, which began around 2000, is characterized by weakening states, fragmenting societies, imbalanced economies, and informalized warfare. What do these conditions mean for competition—and potential conflict—between the United States and China?

    Jun 6, 2023

More Research on International Affairs


  • Approaches to Counter Russian Social Media Influence

    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.]

    Mar 15, 2019

  • Overcoming the Threats of Our Strategic Competitors

    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.]

    Mar 27, 2018

  • United States and China: Trends in Military Competition

    Eric Heginbotham discusses relative U.S. and Chinese military capabilities, including the evolution of Chinese military capabilities, steps the United States can take to limit the impact of a growing Chinese military on deterrence, and other U.S. strategic interests.

    Oct 5, 2015

  • Strategic Rethink: Choices for America in a Turbulent World

    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.

    Jul 24, 2015

  • Congressional Options and Their Likely Consequences for a Nuclear Deal with Iran

    With nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 now extended beyond the original Nov. 24 deadline, some members of Congress might now attempt to intervene legislatively. RAND analyst Larry Hanauer will discuss eight potential courses of action that Congress could take that might either facilitate, hinder, or block implementation of a deal.

    Dec 16, 2014

More International Affairs Briefings

Alerts & Newsletters

RAND periodically sends alerts and newsletters to update Congress on highlights of recent work about international affairs.

  • Proxy Warfare in Strategic Competition

    New RAND research explores how the United States, China, and Russia might compete elsewhere in the world—primarily in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

    May 31, 2023

  • Proxy Warfare in Strategic Competition

    The prospect of the increasing use of proxy warfare has several implications for U.S. defense policy. Violent nonstate actors supported by states tend to be much more lethal than those without state support.

    Apr 27, 2023

  • Strategic Competition with China

    How to effectively compete with China ranks among the top national security concerns of the 118th Congress. Already this year, several committees have held hearings on various aspects of relations with China. RAND possesses deep and broad expertise on China that is available to congressional staff.

    Apr 20, 2023

  • Russian Military Operations in Ukraine

    One year has passed since Russia launched its full-scale invasion against Ukraine. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dara Massicot reflects on the past 12 months of war, discusses the current Russian offensive, and outlines different scenarios in the year ahead.

    Mar 30, 2023

  • China's Overseas Military Diplomacy and Implications for U.S. Interests

    The expansion of China's global interests and the subsequent increase in its overseas security footprint have led the Chinese leadership to elevate the role of military diplomacy in supporting China's foreign policy objectives.

    Feb 24, 2023

  • One Year After Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

    One year after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, RAND experts continue to analyze the conflict and provide their expertise to Congress.

    Feb 22, 2023

  • What if Russia Were to Attack NATO?

    Although U.S. and NATO planners have long focused on preparing for the contingency of a large-scale conflict with Russia, the Ukraine war has created a unique set of circumstances that make a more limited Russian attack plausible. A new RAND paper outlines the characteristics of a potential Russian attack that are relevant to informing a U.S. or NATO response.

    Jan 26, 2023

  • National Security and International Affairs in the 118th Congress

    What are the biggest national security and international affairs policy issues facing the 118th Congress? RAND experts offer up insights on topics including competing with China, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, strategic competition, military personnel. and space policy.

    Jan 24, 2023

  • Understanding a New Era of Strategic Competition

    RAND researchers developed a framework for assessing competition between major powers and assembled high-level findings and recommendations to support immediate policy decisions to ensure the U.S. competitive advantage.

    Dec 15, 2022

  • Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Outbreak

    A new RAND publication contains a collection of essays that explores topics of critical importance toward that end and identifies actions to take to not only improve pandemic preparedness but also help prevent the occurrence of future pandemics.

    Dec 13, 2022

  • How Might China React to U.S. Posture Changes?

    A new RAND report provides a framework for assessing likely Chinese reactions to planned or proposed posture enhancements in the Indo-Pacific region.

    Nov 30, 2022

  • China's Strategy and Activities in the Arctic

    A new RAND report assesses the potential implications of Chinese investments and activities in the Arctic for the regional rules-based order and for regional and transatlantic security.

    Oct 28, 2022

  • The Implications of Chinese Influence in the Pacific Islands

    A recent RAND testimony provides a baseline of what we know about China's gambit in the Pacific, including its strategic goals and approach, and discusses how Pacific Island states are responding.

    Sep 29, 2022

  • Pathways to Russian Escalation Against NATO from the Ukraine War

    The potential for Russia to decide to escalate the ongoing war in Ukraine by attacking a U.S. or allied target is a significant concern. A new RAND paper summarizes four plausible escalation pathways.

    Aug 23, 2022

  • What Military Capabilities are Most Needed to Counter China and Russia?

    A new RAND paper based on a deep bench of research identifies initiatives available to the Department of Defense in the near to middle term that analysis suggests can bolster the ability of the United States and its allied and partner forces to deter and defend against aggression by China and Russia.

    Jul 26, 2022

  • The Societal Foundations of National Competitiveness

    What characteristics of a nation or society contribute to competitive advantage? A new RAND report, through analysis of comparative studies of historical eras and trends, historical case studies, and the findings of issue-specific empirical research, seeks to answer that question.

    Jul 20, 2022

  • What Would Happen If China 'Quarantines' Taiwan?

    China recently asserted that the Taiwan Strait is not an international waterway, a claim that the United States government has rejected. What would happen if China were to take further coercive action against Taiwan and implement a quarantine?

    Jun 29, 2022

  • What Is the Likelihood of U.S. Allies Hosting Intermediate-Range Missiles?

    The demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty opened an opportunity for the United States to develop and deploy ground-based intermediate-range missiles (GBIRMs). The Indo-Pacific has been considered a potential location for these missiles, but how U.S. allies will respond to overtures to host GBIRMs is not clear.

    May 26, 2022

  • Countering China's Gray Zone Coercion

    Gray zone tactics are widely recognized as playing an increasingly important role in China’s efforts to advance its domestic, economic, foreign policy, and security objectives. But there is little consensus on which tactics pose the greatest challenges to the United States and its allies and partners.

    Apr 29, 2022

  • Assessing China’s Defense Industrial Base

    A new RAND report presents an assessment of the systemic strengths and vulnerabilities of China’s defense industrial base , and it was conducted to meet a congressional requirement from the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

    Apr 13, 2022

  • Responding to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine While Mitigating Escalation

    Russia has launched an unprecedented act of aggression against Ukraine. The United States and its allies must and can respond forcefully. But as they do, they should take into account the possibility of triggering a spiral of escalation that could lead to the only outcome worse than the invasion of Ukraine itself.

    Mar 25, 2022

  • Improving Department of Defense Civilian Casualty Policies

    A recently published RAND study on the Department of Defense’s civilian casualty procedures found that while DoD has created policies that reflect a strong commitment to comply with the law of war and mitigate civilian harm, there are considerable weaknesses in key areas in the process with gaps in resourcing and inconsistencies across theaters of operation.

    Feb 25, 2022

  • Modernizing the U.S. Nuclear Triad

    A new RAND paper describes the choices that have shaped the U.S. nuclear force posture in the past, the major questions and disagreements informing the current debate over nuclear modernization, and the significance of the decisions that will be made over the next several months.

    Feb 11, 2022

  • Keeping the Defense Industrial Base Afloat During COVID-19

    In a new exploratory analysis of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) data, RAND researchers summarize investments in Defense Industrial Base businesses that received assistance during the early months of the pandemic.

    Jan 28, 2022

  • How Have Sanctions Impacted Russian Arms Sales?

    New RAND research that examines Russian arms exports and the impact of sanctions found that U.S. diplomatic efforts buttressed by the prospect of third-party sanctions have had a "chilling effect" on countries considering Russian advanced conventional weapons.

    Dec 16, 2021

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