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

  • Aerial of Thule Air Base, Greenland, photo by JoAnne Castagna, Public Affairs/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Commentary

    Mind the Gap

    Jul 15, 2021

    For decades, NATO forces have used nearby bases to keep tabs on Russian submarines, surface ships, and aircraft transiting the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom Gap. Strong independence movements in Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Scotland could soon jeopardize this position.

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un take a walk in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this picture released by KCNA on June 21, 2019, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Can China Be a Real Partner in Bringing North Korea to the Nuclear Negotiating Table?

    Jul 14, 2021

    The United States remains committed to the goal of denuclearization of North Korea. China is more interested in maintaining a delicate geopolitical balance to counter U.S. influence in the region and in expanding its own reach. Thus, prospects for productive U.S.-China cooperation on the North Korean nuclear threat seem faint at best.

  • 2019-08-27T000000Z_113196812_RC1FFC467030_RTRMADP_3_RUSSIA-TURKEY

    Multimedia

    Russia's Su-57 Heavy Fighter Bomber: Is It Really a Fifth-Generation Aircraft?

    Jul 14, 2021

    RAND Defense Analyst Ryan Bauer discusses the variety of developmental challenges that the Russian Su-57 fifth-generation jet has experienced, decreasing the likelihood of Russia exporting the aircraft for a number of years despite continued marketing efforts.

  • May 2011 Parade - S-400

    Multimedia

    Russian S-400 Surface-to-Air Missile System: Is It Worth the Sticker Price?

    Jul 14, 2021

    Indian civilian and military leadership face investment choices that go beyond the decision to buy the S-400. To be effective, the S-400 needs to be deployed within a larger integrated air and missile defense system and requires a very skilled military workforce to operate. Otherwise, it will prove to be a costly and expensive military extravagance.

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects a long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 in an undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, May 15, 2017, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korean Nuclear Weapons Pose an Existential Threat to China

    Jul 13, 2021

    Despite the current border closures between their two countries, China and North Korea remain resolutely pledged to a “blood-alliance.” But this partnership has vastly different implications depending on which side of the border you consider.

More Research on International Affairs

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.

More International Affairs Briefings

Alerts & Newsletters

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

  • War, military threat, military power concept. China. Tanks toy near chinese flag on black background top view, photo by 9dreamstudio/AdobeStock

    Understanding Chinese Deterrence Signaling

    Jun 21, 2021

    As China leverages growing military capabilities and the availability of new communication channels, it is also changing its approach to deterrence signaling. New RAND research provides an analytic framework to interpret Chinese deterrence signaling and explores seven case studies of recent Chinese deterrence behavior.

  • 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

    What is the State of Deterrence in the Taiwan Strait and Korea?

    May 26, 2021

    Recent RAND research explored U.S. extended deterrence on the Korean Peninsula and in the Taiwan Strait. The researchers conclude that the state of deterrence in Korea is healthy, and all examined variables are robust or effective.

  • China with sunset on Earth

    RAND Research on China

    May 18, 2021

    Strategic competition with China is among the top foreign policy issues of the 117th Congress. RAND experts offer up insight on a variety of topics, including U.S. allies and partners, gray zone activities, and technology and supply chains.

  • A compilation of three images: Spasskaya Tower in Moscow, photo by Сергей Шармаков/Getty Images/iStockphoto; Great Hall of the People in Beijing: Spondylolithesis/Getty Images/iStockphoto; and a COVID-19 virus, image by BlackJack3D/Getty Images/iStockphoto. Design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    China and Russia: Superspreaders of Malign and Subversive COVID-19 Information

    May 3, 2021

    Both Russia and China appear to have employed information manipulation during the COVID-19 pandemic in service of their respective global agendas. A new RAND report describes the types of COVID-19-related malign and subversive information efforts with which sources linked to Russia and to China ostensibly targeted U.S. audiences in 2020.

  • U.S. Marines and sailors post security from the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD-2) off the coast of Southern Calif., December 4, 2020, photo by Lance Cpl. Cameron Rowe/U.S. Marine Corps

    The Link Between Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in the Military

    Apr 28, 2021

    Ambient sexual harassment—the sexual harassment of others in a service member's work environment—is strongly associated with risk of sexual assault, even after controlling for many other sexual assault risk factors, according to a RAND report.

  • Special operations forces in Afghanistan, photo by U.S. Army

    In Case You Missed It: Special Operations Forces Culture and Climate

    Apr 26, 2021

    After several years of high operational tempo, what is the future of special operations forces? Linda Robinson discusses ways to ensure the health and culture of the force, right-size the counterterrorism mission, and prioritize diversity.

  • 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.


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