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 round table at the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 30, 2022, photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

    Commentary

    A New Era? NATO's Prioritisation of Human Security in an Insecure World

    Aug 10, 2022

    Human security and NATO's role and responsibility to protect civilians during conflict saw new prioritization in the alliance's 2022 Strategic Concept. While much progress has been made, more could be done to ensure the alliance can deliver on these commitments.

  • China's PLA released footage on Aug 8, 2022 showing training exercises conducted by the Navy's 2nd Type 075 amphibious assault ship, the Guangxi, photo by EyePress via Reuters

    Report

    Hypothetical Scenarios of U.S.-China Conflict

    Aug 10, 2022

    The prospect of China overtaking the United States to attain global primacy appears unlikely, but it is not impossible. An analysis of two conflict scenarios—one low-intensity and one high-intensity—illuminates how a U.S.-China war of power transition might unfold.

  • Blog

    Our New CEO, Algorithmic Bias, Equity in the Workplace: RAND Weekly Recap

    Aug 5, 2022

    This weekly recap focuses on what RAND’s new president and CEO envisions for the future, addressing bias in health care algorithms, creating equitable change in the workplace, and more.

  • The International Space Station, November 25, 2009, photo by NASA

    Commentary

    Russia's Withdrawal from the ISS, Another Sign of Its Space Decline?

    Aug 4, 2022

    Russia's threatened exit from the International Space Station could simply be more bluster from Moscow at a time of heightened tension between Russia and the West over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But it also appears to be another signal that Russia's profile in space is in decline, a trend that is likely to continue and that the United States could be preparing for now.

  • A Taliban fighter stands guard near the site where Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a U.S. strike over the weekend, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 2, 2022, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    After the al-Zawahiri Strike, the U.S. May Lack Capabilities in Afghanistan

    Aug 3, 2022

    The U.S. drone strike that killed Al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan took out one of the last remaining key figures behind the 9/11 terror attacks. But it also highlighted how little the United States got out of its 2020 bargain with the Taliban, and raised questions about the U.S. ability to adequately monitor the developing threat from this quarter going forward.

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.

  • The M-SHORAD system integrates guns, missiles, rockets, and sensors onto a Stryker A1 vehicle. It is designed to defend maneuvering forces against unmanned aircraft systems, rotary-wing, and residual fixed-wing threats, photo by Cpt. Jordan Allen/U.S. Army

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

    Jul 26, 2022

    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.

  • A crowd of people standing in a star formation over a background of red stripes of a U.S. flag, images by adimas and bennymarty/Adobe Stock

    The Societal Foundations of National Competitiveness

    Jul 20, 2022

    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.

  • Production line at Eminent Luggage Corp. in Taiwan and a <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ym_People_at_Keelung.jpg">ship at Keelung</a>, Taiwan, photos by Pichi Chuang/Reuters and pete/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">CC by 2.0</a>

    What Would Happen If China 'Quarantines' Taiwan?

    Jun 29, 2022

    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?

  • Flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California, August 18, 2019, photo by Scott Howe/U.S. Department of Defense

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

    May 26, 2022

    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.

  • Officers of the Vietnamese Marine Guard monitor a Chinese coast guard vessel in the South China Sea, about 130 miles offshore of Vietnam, May 15, 2014, photo by Nguyen Minh/Reuters

    Countering China's Gray Zone Coercion

    Apr 29, 2022

    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.

  • W01DN9 Chinese technicians monitor the precision, robotic welding of aviation and industrial materials at the Atlantic Welding Industry Park in Zigong, Sichuan Province, China, on November 20, 2017, photo by UPI/Alamy Stock Photo

    Assessing China’s Defense Industrial Base

    Apr 13, 2022

    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.

  • Destroyed military vehicles on a street, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region, Ukraine, March 1, 2022, photo by Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters

    Responding to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine While Mitigating Escalation

    Mar 25, 2022

    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.

  • An armoured vehicle of the Syrian Democratic Forces is seen along a road at the frontline in Raqqa, Syria, October 8, 2017, photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

    Improving Department of Defense Civilian Casualty Policies

    Feb 25, 2022

    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.

  • The launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile during a test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, February 5, 2020, photo by SrA Clayton Wear/U.S. Air Force

    Modernizing the U.S. Nuclear Triad

    Feb 11, 2022

    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.

  • Paycheck Protection Program borrower application form, photo by golibtolibov/Getty Images

    Keeping the Defense Industrial Base Afloat During COVID-19

    Jan 28, 2022

    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.

  • Russian missile air defence systems at the international military-technical forum Army-2021 in Moscow Region, Russia, August 23, 2021, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    How Have Sanctions Impacted Russian Arms Sales?

    Dec 16, 2021

    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.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting on the sidelines of a BRICS summit, in Brasilia, Brazil, November 13, 2019, photo by Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik via Reuters

    How Does the China-Russia Relationship Affect U.S. Interests?

    Nov 30, 2021

    A new RAND report examines the history of China-Russia cooperation, explores how Sino-Russian relations might evolve in the future, and outlines the potential implications for U.S. national security.

  • Russian soldiers man a checkpoint near the Georgian village of Kekhvi in breakaway South Ossetia, August 21, 2008, photo by Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

    Anticipating Adversary Military Interventions

    Oct 28, 2021

    New RAND research explores where, how, and how often U.S. adversaries (specifically, Russia, China, and Iran) have intervened militarily since 1946 and identifies why these adversaries have initiated military interventions and why they might do so in the future.

  • The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a mausoleum in Pyongyang, North Korea, photo by narvikk/iStock

    How Does North Korea Evade Sanctions?

    Oct 21, 2021

    New RAND research provides a detailed analysis of four North Korean sanctions evasion techniques and examines the various entities involved in these activities.

  • Out-of-focus image of a man sitting against a wall, photo by Vilin Visuals / Getty

    Suicide Prevention for U.S. Veterans

    Oct 12, 2021

    What role can research and public health efforts play in suicide prevention among U.S. veterans? Rajeev Ramchand outlines four strategies that are critical for preventing veteran suicides.

  • TV news anchor obscured by screen of interference over a Russian flag, images by namussi/Getty Images and Piotr Krzeslak/Adobe Stock; design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    Understanding and Defending Against Russia's Malign and Subversive Information Efforts in Europe

    Sep 29, 2021

    The authors of a new RAND report describe apparent efforts conducted by Russia and its agents involving the use of information to shape Russia's operating environment, focusing on the European context, and draw from existing practice to describe possible defensive approaches.

  • Syrian refugee children in the Ketermaya refugee camp, outside Beirut, Lebanon on June 1, 2014, photo by Dominic Chavez/World Bank

    What Can Be Done to Help Global Refugees Return Home?

    Sep 15, 2021

    Refugees make up roughly 30 million of the over 80 million people displaced globally. The authors of a new RAND report examine barriers to, and facilitators of, the safe and sustained return of refugees.

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting with the Russian Security Council

    Understanding Russian Grand Strategy

    Aug 31, 2021

    A new RAND report examined and tested elements of Russia's stated grand strategy and then outlined what behaviors would be expected if Russia's behavior reflected that strategy.

  • A U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor prepares to initiate "Lights," the start of her platoon's morning routine, photo by Sgt. Dana Beesley/U.S. Marine Corps

    Countering Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the Military

    Aug 26, 2021

    To help prevent sexual assault and harassment in the military, a new RAND report offers specific recommendations for policymakers, focused on enhancing accountability, improving knowledge and skills needed to prevent sexual assault and harassment, and enacting a research agenda for the Defense Department to set the standard for excellence in prevention.

  • People try to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 16, 2021, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Collapse in Afghanistan: Early Insights from RAND Researchers

    Aug 19, 2021

    The sudden end to America's longest war came Sunday as the Taliban rolled into the capital of Afghanistan and the national government collapsed. Even as the situation remains in flux, RAND experts have shared some of their initial thoughts on topics such as the issues fleeing Afghans may face, how the United States can protect refugees, and the implications of Afghanistan's collapse on terrorism and geopolitics.

  • China outlined in red on a NASA image of Earth, photo by NASA and RomoloTavani/Getty Images

    China's Quest for Global Primacy

    Jul 26, 2021

    China will aim to establish regional and global primacy by relying on economic prowess and diplomatic maneuvers, according to the authors of a new RAND report. The goal: gain a position of advantage from which China cannot be dislodged by the United States.

  • 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.


Subscribe to Congressional Alerts & Newsletters

Testimony

2010 and prior

More Testimony

Briefs

More Research on International Affairs