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 ocr@rand.org or (703) 413-1100 x5643.

Recent Findings

  • The SolarWinds logo is seen outside its headquarters in Austin, Texas, December 18, 2020, photo by Sergio Flores/Reuters

    Commentary

    Unconventional Supply Network Operations: A New Frontier in Global Competition

    Apr 19, 2021

    The technological advances of recent decades that have made supply networks drastically more efficient, valuable, and essential to every element of our daily lives have also created a highly interdependent, largely unsecured portfolio of potential attack surfaces.

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchange documents during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    Apr 19, 2021

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

  • Chinese marine surveillance ships cruising in the East China Sea, as the islands known as the Senkaku isles in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China are seen in the background, April 23, 2013, photo by Kyodo/Reuters

    Report

    The Health of U.S. and Partner Deterrence in the Gray Zone

    Apr 19, 2021

    Gray zone aggression, campaigns to achieve political objectives while remaining below the threshold of outright warfare, is on the rise. U.S. and allied deterrent postures are reasonably strong, though mixed, when it comes to China's aggression in the Senkaku Islands, Russia's in the Baltic states, and North Korea's in South Korea.

  • South Korean soldiers coordinate fires during a joint artillery exercise with U.S. soldiers near the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea, May 10, 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson/U.S. Army

    Report

    The State of Deterrence in Korea and the Taiwan Strait

    Apr 19, 2021

    The United States and South Korea have a robust military presence on the Korean peninsula that, at a minimum, would make any effort by North Korea to reunify the nations by force extremely costly. In contrast, the state of U.S. deterrence with regard to Chinese aggression against Taiwan is mixed.

  •  A perimeter fence around what is officially known as a vocational skills education center in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, September 4, 2018, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Upcoming Summit an Opportunity for Japan to Reconsider Whether to Join Rest of G-7 in Sanctioning China Over Genocide

    Apr 15, 2021

    Japan has been lukewarm in its response to global condemnation of China's crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. What options might President Biden have to encourage Japan to reconsider its position as he hosts his first in-person summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga?

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Briefings

  • 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.]

  • Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army march during a training session for a military parade, Beijing, September 1, 2015

    United States and China: Trends in Military Competition

    Oct 5, 2015

    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.

  • A map of the world projected onto a compass

    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.

  • Delegations of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi sit around the negotiations table during their meeting in Vienna November 24, 2014

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

    Dec 16, 2014

    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.

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Alerts & Newsletters

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

  • U.S Marines static line jump from a KC-130J Hercules over Drop Zone Basilone on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., December 10, 2020, photo by Lance Cpl. Drake Nickels/U.S. Marine Corps

    Sexual Assault Doubles the Odds of Military Separation

    Mar 31, 2021

    Exposure to sexual assault in the U.S. military doubled the odds that a service member would separate from the military within 28 months, and sexual harassment was associated with roughly eight percent of all military separations during this same time period.

  • 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

    Mar 4, 2021

    With the start of a new administration in the United States, the coming months might offer an opportune moment for Washington to rethink some of the fundamental premises underlying American policymaking in the Middle East and review how the United States engages the region, and for what purpose.

  • Closeup of a doctor tearing a prescription off a pad, photo by wdstock/Getty Images

    How to Improve Access and Control Costs in the TRICARE Prescription Drug Benefit

    Feb 26, 2021

    Like other providers of prescription drug coverage, TRICARE uses benefit design, formulary, and other tools to strike a balance between access to prescription drugs for beneficiaries and spending. How might TRICARE further improve access, control costs, or both?

  • An aerial view shows the Cave of the Patriarchs, a site sacred to Jews and Muslims, in the Palestinian city of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, November 2, 2020, photo by Ilan Rosenberg/Reuters

    Alternatives in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    Feb 19, 2021

    For decades, the two-state solution has dominated efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Today, there is a belief among analysts and the Israeli and Palestinian publics that the two-state solution might no longer be feasible in light of political and demographic trends and structural developments on the ground.

  • National Guardmen on U.S. Capitol security detail in Washington, DC, January 11, 2021, photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht/U.S. Air National Guard

    Considering National Security Policy in the 117th Congress

    Feb 17, 2021

    What are the biggest national security and international affairs policy issues facing the 117th Congress? RAND experts offer up insight on a variety of topics, including China, Russia, military personnel, space policy, and more.

  • In the foreground, an early warning aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force

    How Could the United States Work with Australia and New Zealand to Counter Chinese Influence?

    Jan 28, 2021

    There is growing concern in Australia and New Zealand about China's rising power and influence, and China is now openly criticized as a belligerent nation with assertive policies contrary to Australia's interests.

  • The guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey transits the Pacific Ocean while participating in Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC)

    Competing with China in the Indo-Pacific

    Dec 10, 2020

    In long-term strategic competition with China, how effectively the United States works with allies and partners is critical to U.S. success. To enable closer cooperation, the United States needs to understand how those countries respond to this contest.

  • The USS Carney, a missile-guided destroyer, approaches the Bosphorus Strait on its journey to transit out of the Black Sea, photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Weston Jones/U.S. Navy

    Russia, NATO, and Black Sea Security

    Nov 24, 2020

    The Black Sea region is a central locus of competition between Russia and the West for the future of Europe. Russia has long used political, military, economic, informational, and clandestine tools against countries in the area. How could the West respond?

  • Patricia Marshall, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center chief of strategy, shares information about the Defense Innovation Dashboard project with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass at the AFWERX Austin hub, Aug. 20, 2020. During the visit, the AFWERX team showcased various initiatives aimed toward modernizing the Air Force including the AFVentures Fellowship, Agility Prime program, AFWERX internships, Spark Colliders and RAPIDx, photo by Staff Sgt. Jordyn Fetter/Air National Guard

    Maintaining a Demographically Diverse Air Force Civilian Workforce

    Oct 29, 2020

    Minority groups, particularly women, tend to enter the Air Force civil service at lower grades than white men. That is one of the findings from a RAND report that documents the results of a study designed to better understand the challenges of Air Force civilian women, racial/ethnic minorities, and individuals with disabilities.

  • What Role Should Allies and Partners Play in U.S. Military Strategy and Operations?

    Oct 21, 2020

    How has the relationship between the United States and Europe advanced U.S. and global security over the past 70 years? RAND's Christine Wormuth explains why NATO is still relevant today and why this relationship is critical to U.S. security now and in the future.

  • A throng of shoppers in Myungdong, downtown Seoul, South Korea, July 17, 2011, photo by United Nations/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The North Korean Conventional Artillery Threat

    Sep 29, 2020

    North Korea maintains nearly 6,000 artillery systems within range of major South Korean population centers, which it could use to kill many thousands in just an hour. RAND researchers assessed the magnitude of this threat across five scenarios.

  • Supporters of the Houthi movement attend a rally to mark the 4th anniversary of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen's war, in Sanaa, Yemen, March 26, 2019, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Could the Houthis Be the Next Hizballah?

    Aug 27, 2020

    Iran has dramatically increased its investment in the Houthi movement, raising speculation that the Houthis will evolve into another regional proxy that serves to promote Iranian interests.

  • A map of the continental United States is shown with lines representing COVID-19 importation risk

    Tracking the Spread of COVID-19 with Air Travel Data

    Jul 28, 2020

    At the strategic level, projections of how COVID-19 is likely to propagate can inform defense-related decisions on global deployments, force health protection measures, and emerging risks that competitors may exploit infection patterns for strategic advantage.

  • A Delta IV rocket successfully launches the Global Positioning System IIF-5 satellite from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, February 20, 2014, photo by Ben Cooper/United Launch Alliance

    The Future of Warfare in 2030

    Jun 26, 2020

    What will future conflicts look like in 2030? A new RAND series seeks to answer this question by examining the factors that shape conflict, including trends in geopolitics, the global economy, and even climate change.

  • U.S. Army soldiers deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve await aerial extraction via CH-47 Chinook during a training exercise in Iraq, October 31, 2018, photo by 1st Lt. Leland White/U.S. Army National Guard

    Establishing an Enduring Commitment in Iraq

    May 29, 2020

    Recent events have caused uncertainty about the future of the U.S. military's presence in Iraq. However, these setbacks should be viewed in a larger context: U.S. interests could suffer if strategic competition in Iraq is abandoned.

  • An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington D.C., June 15, 2005, photo by Jason Reed/Reuters

    What Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Mean for the Defense Budget?

    Apr 30, 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a dramatic toll on the economy, and government relief efforts have increased the federal deficit. What could this crisis mean for defense spending?

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty at Prague Castle in the Czech Republic, April 8, 2010, photo by Jason Reed/Reuters

    Why Should the New START Agreement Be Extended?

    Mar 31, 2020

    Only one nuclear arms control agreement between the United States and Russia remains: the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). But that agreement expires next year.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 19, 2019, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    What Provokes Putin's Russia?

    Feb 27, 2020

    Deterring Russia without provoking it requires an understanding of what Russia considers to be redlines. A deterrent that is too heavy-handed might prompt the precise response that it sought to avoid.

  • In Case You Missed It: From SARS to the Coronavirus

    Feb 18, 2020

    China's battle against the coronavirus highlights the importance of transparency and open collaboration among scientists globally. RAND's Jennifer Bouey shares some ways the United States can help China manage the pandemic.

  • In Case You Missed It: Escalation with Iran

    Feb 13, 2020

    In response to the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran is likely to continue to take action against the United States. RAND's Ariane Tabatabai describes some of the tools Iran could use to challenge the United States.

  • An activist outside the Dutch embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, holds a banner that says not to listen to Russian propaganda, February 5, 2016, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Competing against Russia in the Gray Zone

    Jan 30, 2020

    RAND researchers ran a series of war games to explore Russian gray zone aggression--ranging from disinformation to electoral interference to little green men--in Europe.

  • In Case You Missed It: Implications of U.S.-China Collaborations on Global Health Issues

    Aug 27, 2019

    As the world's two largest economies, the United States and China face increasingly similar public health challenges. RAND's Jennifer Bouey outlines some potential initiatives that should be considered for future U.S.-China collaborations.

  • 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.

  • Red Square in Moscow, Russia, photo by mnn/Adobe Stock

    Competing Against Russia

    May 28, 2019

    The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently held a hearing on countering a resurgent Russia, and legislation has been introduced that seeks to address Moscow's destabilizing activities. What policies could the United States adopt to stress Russia’s military, its economy, or the regime's political standing at home and abroad?

  • In Case You Missed It: Russia and China in the Middle East

    May 23, 2019

    The Middle East is important to Russia, China, and the United States because of its strategic location and vast energy resources. What are the United States' strengths in this new era of strategic competition?


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