U.S. National Security Featured Findings Archives

Previously highlighted products, projects, and findings are available as archives in the following categories:

Acquisition and Technology Policy

Force Structure and Employment

Global Security Enviornment

Military Logistics and Infrastructure

Personnel, Training and Health Policy

For U.S. national security "hot topics" featured prior to 2004, visit the U.S. National Security "Hot Topics" Archive.

Acquisition and Technology Policy

Challenges and Issues with the Further Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Policy Options for Effective Life-Cycle Management of Resources — Apr. 17, 2009

Cover: Challenges and Issues with the Further Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Policy Options for Effective Life-Cycle Management of Resources

Over the next 20 years, the further aging of already-old aircraft will introduce challenges and issues for aircraft operators, including the U.S. Air Force. This report identifies those challenges and issues and explores policy options for addressing them in ways that can contribute to effective life-cycle management of resources.

An Examination of the Relationship Between Usage and Operating-and-Support Costs of U.S. Air Force Aircraft — Apr. 10, 2009

Cover: An Examination of the Relationship Between Usage and Operating-and-Support Costs of U.S. Air Force Aircraft

Systematically examining the empirical relationship between multiple U.S. Air Force systems' expenditures, flying hours, and fleet sizes, this research suggests a more sophisticated way to think about Air Force costs than is currently used.

Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Production Could Offer Major National Benefits — Dec. 11, 2008

piles of coal for a power station, photo courtesy of NREL.gov

The federal government can spark the creation of a commercially competitive coal-to-liquids industry by fostering early development of plants that would produce transportation fuels from coal, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Going Local: The Key to Afghanistan — Aug. 10, 2009

U.S. Army and translator take information from Afghani village elders, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/T

The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan stability is building a strong central government. This notion fails to grasp the local nature of Afghan politics according to this commentary by Seth G. Jones for The Wall Street Journal.

Economic Costs of Major Oil Supply Disruption Pose Risk to U.S. National Security — May 12, 2009

oil tanker at port

While on a net basis the United States imports nearly 60 percent of the oil it consumes, this reliance on imported oil is not by itself a major national security threat, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Air Force Service Procurement: Approaches for Measurement and Management — May 1, 2009

planes on combat patrol over Afhghanistan, photo courtesy of U. S. Air Force/Allmon

Testimony presented, by Laura H. Baldwin, before the House Armed Services Committee Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform on April 23, 2009.

Air Force Service Procurement: Approaches for Measurement and Management — Apr. 27, 2009

Titanium ingots

Testimony, by Laura H. Baldwin, presented before the House Armed Services Committee Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform on April 23, 2009.

The Netherlands F-16 Comparative Analysis: An Evaluation of the Process — Apr. 27, 2009

Aircraft repair process

Testimony presented, by Matt Bassford, before the Dutch Parliamentary Committee for Defence on April 6, 2009.

The Department of Defense Can Improve Its Response to and Management of Anthrax Incidents — Apr 22, 2009

medics wheel patients on stretcher into ambulance

New Research Brief assesses the Department of Defense (DoD) response to three potential anthrax-related incidents at DoD facilities in March 2005 and recommends ways that DoD can improve its incident-response capabilities.

Ultimate Exit Strategy — Mar. 26, 2009

Afghan policeman at Pakistan border checkpoint, photo courtesy of flickr/lafrancevi

The upcoming high-level conference on Afghanistan at The Hague will involve all the parties who have a stake and an interest in Afghanistan. With the situation in that country growing more precarious by the day, those attending this meeting must think big per this commentary by James Dobbins for the International Herald Tribune .

How China Can Strengthen Its Economy by Investing in High-Technology Applications — Feb. 13, 2009

Tianjin port, photo courtesy of Flickr/egorgrebnev

China's Tianjin Binhai New Area (TBNA) and Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) can best spur regional development and economic growth by focusing on emerging high-technology applications, including molecular-scale drug development and green manufacturing.

Assessing a Coal-to-Liquids Fuel Industry in the United States — Jan. 15, 2009

coal for a power station, photo courtesy of NREL.gov

Government actions to gain early experience in producing liquid fuels from coal offer major energy security benefits but also raise important economic governance, and environmental issues.

U.S. Department of Defense Faces Obstacles in Meeting Small-Business Contract Goals — Nov. 12, 2008

three business people

Many of the goods and services purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense are from industries that are often better suited to larger companies rather than smaller ones, complicating efforts to meet goals that about one-fourth of prime-contract dollars be awarded to small businesses.

Army Can Boost Mission Success by Better Managing Environmental Considerations — Sep. 23, 2008

Image courtesy of US Army

By better managing environmental issues during deployments, U.S. Army units can gain tactical and strategic advantages that will help in combat and post-conflict operations, and boost overall mission success, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Sustaining Key Skills in the UK Naval Industry — Jul. 25, 2008

Sustaining Key Skills in the UK Naval Industry

To preserve its ability to design, build, and support complex warships and submarines, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) will need to preserve and sustain several key technical skills in the maritime domain.

New Approaches to Planning, Executing, and Assessing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Operations - May 8, 2008

Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Operations

The U.S. Air Force has greatly increased the number of operational surveillance sensors and its ability to process data from these sensors. However, along with the increased number of sensors comes an increase in the complexity of the tasking of these assets.

Give Them Sabbaticals - May 7, 2008

Army training, courtesy of US Army

The Army’s Training With Industry program, though not tied to officer retention, could serve as the basis for an expanded effort to provide unique training in the diverse civilian world. In this commentary by Laura Miller, for USA Today, a new outlook on training could help prepare officers for the future military interactions and improve retention.

Coordination Could Breed Control in Iraq - Apr. 10, 2008

Coordination

Teamwork and coordination are vital for success in all sorts of activities on the athletic field, in business, in government and in war. Yet too often, the different branches of the U.S. military and the U.S. government in Iraq have failed to effectively coordinate their activities with each other and with their Iraqi counterparts. Be assured that better coordination alone won’t solve America’s problems in Iraq and guarantee victory. But without it, achieving victory will be much harder regardless of the number of troops the U.S. maintains, because successes achieved by one arm of the U.S. effort is too often undone by another.

RAND Study Offers Ways to Help North Korea Peacefully Modernize Its Political, Economic Structure - Mar. 10, 2008

Help North Korea Peacefully Modernize

An unprecedented joint report, based on a 2½-year-long collaboration between RAND and five international research institutions, recommends a new approach for North Korea to create fundamental, but peaceful, change in it’s archaic political, economic and security systems.

Stealing the Sword - Limiting Terrorist Use of Advanced Conventional Weapons — Nov. 14, 2007

Soldiers

Advanced conventional weapons could provide terrorists with a new and qualitatively different weapon capability. This report focuses on understanding how terrorist groups make technology choices and consequently how the United States can discourage their adoption of advanced conventional weapons.

The Knowledge Matrix Approach to Intelligence Fusion — Sep. 24, 2007

Control Room

As the U.S. military transforms to an information-based force, it will need to collect, combine, and utilize intelligence. The process known as fusion will help determine whether this intelligence is used in the most beneficial manner. Fusion is the process of combining pieces of information to produce higher-quality information. This report describes one approach to capturing the fusion process in a constructive simulation.

Is Weapon System Cost Growth Increasing? A Quantitative Assessment of Completed and Ongoing Programs — Sep. 7, 2007

V-22

In recent decades, there have been numerous attempts to rein in the cost growth of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition programs. This report suggest that development cost growth over the past three decades has remained high and without any significant improvement.

U.S. Air Force Procurement Methods Require Workforce Tranformation — Feb. 23, 2005

Air Force Leadership

The U.S. Air Force is adopting commercial "best practices" to change the way it purchases goods and services, with the goals of reducing costs and improving performance. Air Force personnel require additional training to develop the skills necessary to implement these commercial practices.

Refined Health Status System Aids VA Budget Allocation — Feb. 21, 2005

EKG image

A quantitative analysis of the factors influencing patient and facility costs led the Veterans Health Administration to adopt more precise categories for patients' health status and to modify regional allocations to better treat patients.

Assessing Technology's Effects on Military Decisionmaking — Dec. 1, 2004

plane over target

Advances in information gathering and sharing can improve military awareness and collaboration, but the effects of new technologies on military decisionmaking still need to be assessed.

Force Structure and Employment

Too Many Months of Military Deployment Can Reduce Reenlistment Rates — Oct. 8, 2009

soldier overlooking mountains, MG873 cover

Although U.S. Army deployments have been linked positively to the likelihood of reenlisting for much of the past decade, a new RAND Corporation study shows that by 2006 the mounting burden of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan reached the point where deployment had a negative effect on reenlistment.

U.S. Strategy Should Avoid Inflating Iran's Role in Middle East Instability, Exploit Constraints on Iranian Power and Seek Areas of Engagement — May 19, 2009

cover of MG-781

Iran’s rise as a regional power presents a key foreign policy and security challenge to the United States, but its reach may be more limited than Western conventional wisdom suggests, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

United States Should Tailor Its Russia Policy to Build on Shared Views and Interests — Apr. 2, 2009

store employee watches Medvedyev on TVs

The United States has an opportunity to improve relations with Russia and build on shared views and interests, rather than pursue coercive steps that may one day backfire, according to a RAND Corporation report issued today.

Going Local: The Key to Afghanistan — Aug. 10, 2009

U.S. Army and translator take information from Afghani village elders, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/T

The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan stability is building a strong central government. This notion fails to grasp the local nature of Afghan politics according to this commentary by Seth G. Jones for The Wall Street Journal.

Timeline to Withdraw U.S. Troops from Iraq Is Feasible, but Combat Forces Are Needed for Elections — Jul. 28, 2009

U.S. soldier salutes Iraqi flag

The timetable set by President Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq is feasible, however it is important that an adequate combat force is retained to ensure a peaceful election in January 2010.

Mullah Sprung from Gitmo Jail Now Leads Foe in Afghan Campaign — Jul. 10, 2009

U.S. and Afghan Army commanders meet, photo courtesy of U.S. Navy/Gay

Marines fighting in Southern Afghanistan are facing a familiar enemy, Mullah Zakir, a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who now leads the resurging Taliban, however, this restructuring may present an opportunity, as discussed by Seth G. Jones in this commentary for the New York Post.

On Dry Land - The Onshore Drivers of Piracy — Jul. 9, 2009

freight transport machinery

Although the international community has responded to the growing piracy problem off Somalia on the sea, Peter Chalk and Laurence Smallman argue in this commentary for Jane's Intelligence Review online that eradication of piracy will require actions on land as well.

Russia and the Perils of Personal Diplomacy — Jul. 7, 2009

U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev, photo courtesy of npsglobal.org

History predicts U.S.-Russia relations will require more than a personal bond of nations’ leaders, according to this commentary by F. Stephen Larrabee that appeared on NYTimes.com.

Policing Pakistan — Jun. 30, 2009

Afghan policeman at Pakistan border checkpoint, photo courtesy of flickr/lafrancevi

The United States has spent some $12 billion trying to help Pakistan save itself, however most of the aid has gone to the Pakistan army, when the focus should be on the police force, according to this commentary by C. Christine Fair that appeared in Wall Street Journal Asia.

Can Gitmo's Terrorists Be Rehabilitated? — Jun. 30, 2009

back of Guantanamo detainee being escorted, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Baltz

Whether Gitmo terrorists can be rehabilitated or not, U.S. must plan more strategic counterterrorism, as discussed by Aidan Kirby Winn in this commentary that appeared in The Christian Science Monitor.

The PLA Navy's "New Historic Missions": Expanding Capabilities for a Re-emergent Maritime Power — Jun. 15, 2009

Chinese Navy men, photo courtesy of Family Security Matters

Testimony presented, by Cortez A. Cooper, before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on June 11, 2009.

No Surprise in Failure To Deter N. Korea — June 2, 2009

North Korean rocket test launch, photo courtesy of The Inquisitr

North Korea's latest misbehavior highlights an uncomfortable truth: the failure of the United States and the international community to deter North Korean actions according to Bruce W. Bennett in his commentary that appeared in Chicago Tribune.

Rethink Washington's 'War of Ideas' — June 2, 2009

corporate meeting

The term "Global War on Terror" is out of favor in the government lexicon, and new drug czar Gil Kerlikowske wants to end the use of the phrase "War on Drugs." The words we use communicate certain things and also shape how we think about them, as discussed in this commentary by Christopher Paul for The Christian Science Monitor.

U.S. Strategy Should Avoid Inflating Iran's Role in Middle East Instability, Exploit Constraints on Iranian Power and Seek Areas of Engagement — May 19, 2009

cover of MG-781

Iran’s rise as a regional power presents a key foreign policy and security challenge to the United States, but its reach may be more limited than Western conventional wisdom suggests, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Countering the Military's Latest Fad — May 18, 2009

Army Maj. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal briefs reporters in 2003, photo courtesy of DefenseLINK/Stikkel

The recent choice of top U.S. commander in Afghanistan reflects military's latest fad in warfare planning as discussed in this commentary, by Celeste Ward, for The Washington Post.

Assessing Mexico's Narco-Violence — May 18, 2009

Mexican street sign depicts figure holding gun, photo courtesy of flickr/mañoso

Drug-related violence in Mexico has more than doubled over the past 18 months, with a sharp increase in crimes that can only be understood as atrocities, since these are some of the same tactics used by al-Qaeda in Iraq according to Benjamin Bahney and Agnes Gereben Schaefer in this commentary for The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Records From Coalition Provisional Authority Shed Light On Occupation Of Iraq — May 13, 2009

toppling of Iraq statue of Saddam Hussein

The record of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein compares favorably to that of many other U.S. efforts at post-conflict reconstruction, particularly in the areas of economic development, rule of law, education, health and democratization, according to a study released today by the RAND Corporation.

From Strategy to Implementation: The Future of the U.S.-Pakistan Relationship — May 7, 2009

USAID representative present shield for Pakistani vocational center for girls, photo courtesy of flickr/crspakistan

Testimony presented, by C. Christine Fair, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 5, 2009.

The Department of Defense Can Improve Its Response to and Management of Anthrax Incidents — Apr 22, 2009

medics wheel patients on stretcher into ambulance

New Research Brief assesses the Department of Defense (DoD) response to three potential anthrax-related incidents at DoD facilities in March 2005 and recommends ways that DoD can improve its incident-response capabilities.

South Asia's Taliban Problem: Multiple Threats From Multiple Groups — Apr. 15, 2009

a Muslim man, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Herrera

For India, the development of a conducive environment on its western flank for groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad has already resulted in sophisticated terrorist attacks on Indian soil, most recently in Mumbai as discussed by Seth G. Jones for NYTimes.com.

Afghanistan Is NATO's Most Important Challenge — Apr. 6, 2009

A display of flags outside the Nato Summit in Strasbourg, 4 April 2009, photo courtesy of flickr/Dow

This week's NATO summit is not the most important moment on this year's trans-Atlantic calendar. That honor belonged to the Group of 20 (G20) summit that was just concluded in London as discussed in this commentary by Robert E. Hunter for RFERL.org, the website of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

Ways to Improve U.S. Stability and Reconstruction Missions Are Outlined — Apr. 3, 2009

MG852 cover

Recent stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq have underlined the need for the United States to shift the burden of these operations away from the Defense Department and onto other government agencies better suited to the work, according to a study released today by the RAND Corporation.

U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan — Apr. 2, 2009

U.S. soldiers combating insurgency in Afghanistan, photo courtesy of defenseimagery.mil/Chasse

Testimony presented by Seth G. Jones before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia on April 2, 2009.

The Torture Debate, Redux — Apr 2, 2009

guards at the Guantanamo Prison

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been insisting again that the coercive interrogation techniques used against terrorism detainees after 9/11 prevented attacks on the United States. More on this debate is the subject of this commentary by Brian Michael Jenkins for GlobalSecurity.org.

Ultimate Exit Strategy — Mar. 26, 2009

Afghan policeman at Pakistan border checkpoint, photo courtesy of flickr/lafrancevi

The upcoming high-level conference on Afghanistan at The Hague will involve all the parties who have a stake and an interest in Afghanistan. With the situation in that country growing more precarious by the day, those attending this meeting must think big per this commentary by James Dobbins for the International Herald Tribune .

Assessing Combat Exposure and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Troops and Estimating the Costs to Society: Implications from the RAND Invisible Wounds of War Study — Mar. 24, 2009

silhouette of soldiers

Testimony presented by Terri Taielian before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs on March 24, 2009.

In Afghanistan, It's Deadly at the Top — Feb. 23, 2009

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, photo courtesy of Flickr/KarlMarx

Rather than perpetuating a love-hate-kill relationship with their leaders, Afghans need to develop respect for the laws and institutions of their new democracy, as discussed in this commentary by Cheryl Benard that appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Two RAND Researchers in the News for USIP Report on Afghanistan Security Weaknesses — Feb. 17, 2009

U.S. Sgt and Royal Danish soldier march in Afghanistan, photo courtesy of Army/Pullen

C. Christine Fair and Seth G. Jones are in the news for Securing Afghanistan, a report they've written for the United States Institute of Peace on weaknesses in the Afghan security environment. The authors largely attribute failed efforts to stabilize the country to a lack of oversight of international aid programs at work there.

Going the Distance — Feb. 15, 2009

soldiers in Afghanistan, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Abney

The war in Afghanistan isn't doomed. We just need to rethink the insurgency. The U.S. can still turn things around in Afghanistan if it exploits insurgency's weaknesses, as stated in this commentary by Seth G. Jones for The Washington Post.

How China Can Strengthen Its Economy by Investing in High-Technology Applications — Feb. 13, 2009

Tianjin port, photo courtesy of Flickr/egorgrebnev

China's Tianjin Binhai New Area (TBNA) and Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) can best spur regional development and economic growth by focusing on emerging high-technology applications, including molecular-scale drug development and green manufacturing.

Family Readiness and Coping During Deployments Key Issues for National Guard and Reserve — Feb 11, 2009

soldiers say goodbye to wives

As the U.S. military continues to rely on the National Guard and Reserve for overseas deployments, making sure their families are adequately prepared for those missions is critical.

United States, East Africa Allies Must Overcome Radical Islam to Reshape the Region's Security — Feb. 4, 2009

cover of MG-782

While al Qaeda is the primary terrorist/extremist threat in East Africa, the region suffers more broadly from a danger of radical Islamist groups and organizations that the United States and its allies must address to reshape the region's security environment.

Terrorists Can Think Strategically: Lessons Learned From the Mumbai Attacks — Jan. 28, 2009

security camera photo of two terrorists from 11/26/08 Mumbai attack

In testimony presented before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Brian Michael Jenkins discusses the increasing use of terrorism as an effective strategic weapon.

Mumbai Terrorist Attacks Show Rise of Strategic Terrorist Culture — Jan. 16, 2009

Terror in Mumbai, photo courtesy of Flickr

The Mumbai terrorist attacks in India suggest the possibility of an escalating terrorist campaign in South Asia and the rise of a strategic terrorist culture, according to a study issued today by the RAND Corporation.

The Obama Withdrawal From Iraq: How Fast? — Dec. 16, 2008

U.S. soldiers against Iraq sunset, photo courtesy of Army/Medellin

The debate over withdrawal of American forces from Iraq has effectively ended: Troops will begin withdrawing in early 2009.... What is not yet entirely clear is what type of residual American force may remain in Iraq, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

Piracy Needs Regional Answer — Nov. 26, 2008

anti-piracy training, photo courtesy of U.S. Navy/Erdmann

The international community is at something of a loss as to how to respond to the increasingly audacious nature of piracy off the Horn of Africa, exemplified by the hijacking of the Saudi-owned supertanker Sirius Star and three other ships last week.

While China's Regional Influence Grows, U.S. Remains Key Security and Economic Partner in East Asia — Nov. 17, 2008

pacific currents

A new study infers that America's key East Asian allies do not see China as a viable strategic alternative to the United States and that allied nations seek to broaden economic and diplomatic relations with both the United States and China.

Defeating Terrorist Groups — Nov. 12, 2008

defeating terroist groups

Since 1997, the Defense Department and other federal agencies have been assigned agency-specific goals of spending a set percentage of contract dollars on goods and services with small businesses.

Changes Needed in Way the United States Conducts Military Interventions — Oct. 2, 2008

U.S. troops at capitol, photo courtesy of Army

In preparing for possible future military interventions, the United States needs to shift substantial resources and integrate military-civilian efforts.

Army Can Boost Mission Success by Better Managing Environmental Considerations — Sep. 23, 2008

Image courtesy of US Army

By better managing environmental issues during deployments, U.S. Army units can gain tactical and strategic advantages that will help in combat and post-conflict operations, and boost overall mission success, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Defeating Terrorist Groups — Sep. 23, 2008

Anti Terrorist Patrol - Courtesy of US Army

Testimony presented by Seth G. Jones before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism and Unconventional Threats and Capabilities.

Meeting America's Security Challenges Beyond Iraq: A Conference Report — Sep. 22, 2008

Globe, looking toward future

This conference discussed a list of security obligations that America faces, as well as future security issues likely to be problematic for any new administration, and discussed how the U.S. government and defense community should address these challenges.

Smooth Presidential Transition Is Crucial To Early Foreign Policy and National Security Success — Sep. 8, 2008

President George W. Bush

The foreign policy success of incoming presidents, particularly in the early years of a presidency, is largely determined by how well the new administration learns from the successes and failures of the outgoing president, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Too Soon to Judge the Surge — Aug. 29, 2008

Three soldiers, photo courtesy of Army/Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika

Most of the units involved in the surge have been withdrawn from Iraq, and troop levels are about what they were before the surge was announced. And if General Petraeus recommends, further troop cuts may be adopted this fall. The key question is whether levels of violence will remain low once those troops are gone.

Terrorism expert examines intelligence on al Qaida in "Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?" — Aug. 19, 2008

icbm guidance system, courtesy of Flickr

Offering insights into vital questions of national security, presidential decisionmaking, and terrorist motives, world-renowned terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins examines how terrorists think about nuclear weapons and nuclear terror.

Stop the "War" on Terror: Calling It a "War" Is a Boon to Terrorist Recruiters — Aug. 6, 2008

Sustaining Key Skills in the UK Naval Industry

Military might against terrorist groups isn’t working. After studying the record of 648 terrorist groups between 1968 and 2006, military force has rarely been effective, as discussed in this commentary by Seth G. Jones and Martin C. Libicki for the Christian Science Monitor.

A New Grand Strategy for the United States — Jul. 31, 2008

Image courtesy of US Army Flickr

Testimony presented by Robert E. Hunter before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on July 31, 2008.

Colonel Cardinal's Iceberg Theory — Jul. 31, 2008

antarctic iceberg, courtesy of Flickr/Josh Landis

Colonel Chuck Cardinal, former director of the Pacific Command's inter-agency coordination group for counterterrorism, devised a novel overarching “Iceberg Theory”, which is the subject of this commentary by Dick Hoffman for The San Diego Union-Tribune .

U.S. Should Rethink “War On Terrorism” Strategy to Deal with Resurgent Al Qaida — Jul. 30, 2008

Image courtesy of Comstock Royalty-Free Images

Current U.S. strategy against the terrorist group al Qaida has not been successful in significantly undermining the group's capabilities, according to a new RAND Corporation study issued today.

Sustaining Key Skills in the UK Naval Industry — Jul. 25, 2008

Sustaining Key Skills in the UK Naval Industry

To preserve its ability to design, build, and support complex warships and submarines, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) will need to preserve and sustain several key technical skills in the maritime domain.

European Union Has Developed a Nascent, but Growing Capacity to Deploy and Employ Armed Force - Jul. 8, 2008

EUFOR and Chadian soldier

The European Union has recently demonstrated the capacity to deploy and employ armed force outside its borders in support of broader common policy objectives, creating a new player in nation-building operations.

Shortcomings in Planning for Post-Combat Period in Iraq Outlined - June 30, 2008

Image courtesy of US Army

Efforts to adequately plan for the post-combat period in Iraq were thwarted by overly optimistic views held by top civilian leaders and a belief among military leaders that civilian authorities would be responsible for postwar operations, according to a report by RAND Corporation researchers.

Taliban's Sanctuary Bases in Pakistan Must Be Eliminated - Jun. 9, 2008

Army soldier before suspected Taliban stronghold

If Taliban sanctuary bases in Pakistan are not eliminated, the United States and its NATO allies will face crippling long-term consequences in their effort to stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Increase In Piracy And Terrorism At Sea; Little Evidence Supports Fear That The Two Crimes Are Merging - Jun. 5, 2008

Piracy and Terrorism at Sea

Acts of piracy and terrorism at sea are on the rise, but there is little evidence to support concerns from some governments and international organizations that pirates and terrorists are beginning to collude with one another, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

New Approaches to Planning, Executing, and Assessing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Operations - May 8, 2008

Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Operations

The U.S. Air Force has greatly increased the number of operational surveillance sensors and its ability to process data from these sensors. However, along with the increased number of sensors comes an increase in the complexity of the tasking of these assets.

Invisible Wounds of War - Apr. 17, 2008

Invisible Wounds of War

he RAND Corporation conducted a comprehensive study of the mental health and cognitive needs of U.S. servicemembers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, the costs associated with mental health and cognitive conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and traumatic brain injury, and the care systems available to deliver treatment. The study is the first of its kind to consider mental health and cognitive problems associated with deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq from a broad societal perspective.

Coordination Could Breed Control in Iraq - Apr. 10, 2008

Coordination

Teamwork and coordination are vital for success in all sorts of activities on the athletic field, in business, in government and in war. Yet too often, the different branches of the U.S. military and the U.S. government in Iraq have failed to effectively coordinate their activities with each other and with their Iraqi counterparts. Be assured that better coordination alone won’t solve America’s problems in Iraq and guarantee victory. But without it, achieving victory will be much harder regardless of the number of troops the U.S. maintains, because successes achieved by one arm of the U.S. effort is too often undone by another.

The New Deterrence: Overwhelming and Searching Retaliation - Apr. 10, 2008

WMD

On February 8, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley announced that the United States had recently adopted "a new declaratory policy to help deter terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States, our friends, and allies", as discussed in this commentary by Elbridge Colby for Weekly Standard.

America is Making a Difference in Eastern Afghanistan - Apr. 2, 2008

U.S. soldier and Afghani working on building, photo courtesy U.S. Army

The United States has turned a corner in Afghanistan, as discussed by Seth G. Jones in this commentary for Globe and Mail . It has made some progress against the Taliban and other insurgent groups in eastern Afghanistan, and created a window of opportunity to spread this elsewhere.

Human Resource Management and Army Recruiting - Analyses of Policy Options - Mar. 28, 2008

Recruiting

U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) is faced with the challenge of ensuring that the flow of qualified volunteers is adequate to meet future active-duty accession requirements. This report documents research methods, findings, and policy conclusions from a project analyzing human resource management options for improving recruiting production. It details research designed to develop new insights to help guide future recruiter management policies. The research involves econometric analyses of three large and rich datasets. The first analysis compares the career paths of enlisted personnel, including recruiters. The second analyzes individual recruiter characteristics and links those characteristics with their productivity, controlling for a variety of independent factors. Finally, the research focuses on station-level recruiting outcomes, paying close attention to the management options that can affect recruiter production and effort. This work will interest those involved in the day-to-day management of recruiting resources as well as researchers and analysts engaged in analyses of military enlistment behavior.

A New National Strategy for Korea: North Korea Threats Require Deterrence, Reconciliation - Mar. 13, 2008

A New National Strategy for Korea

Over the last five years, the South Korean government has tried to downplay the military threat posed by North Korea. However North Korea still poses a serious military threat to South Korea as discussed by Bruce Bennett in this commentary for Korea Herald.

U.S. Failed to Monitor and Adapt to Insurgent Trends in Iraq - Mar. 11, 2008

U.S. Failed to Monitor and Adapt to Insurgent Trends in Iraq

The inability of the United States to monitor insurgent trends in Iraq and apply new counterinsurgency tactics led many Iraqi civilians to side with sectarian groups, propelling the country to the brink of civil war, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Why We Need to Nail Osama — Feb. 28, 2007

Osama bin Laden

The recent killing of Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyah begs a larger question: How important is it to take out key terrorists such as Osama bin Laden? The costs and benefits of such action is the subject of this commentary by Elbridge Colby for the Washington Times.

United States Lacks the Capability to Counter Insurgency in the Muslim World - Feb. 11, 2008

State of Afghan Insurgency

A new RAND report finds that large-scale U.S. military intervention and occupation in the Muslim world is at best inadequate, at worst counter-productive, and, on the whole, infeasible. The United States should shift its priorities and funding to improve civil governance, build local security forces, and exploit information-capabilities.

Nora Bensahel discusses counter insurgency in Iraq - Jan. 24, 2008

Iraq Insurgency Interview

A group of former Sunni insurgents in Iraq joined forces to form, “The Awakening Council.” that has grown to about 70,000 members and has helped quell the violence. Nora Bensahel discusses with Katy Clark of PRI, The World that the group is now under attack by the current insurgents in Iraq.

Preparing the Army for Stability Operations - Doctrinal and Interagency Issues — Nov. 27, 2007

Stability Operations - Afghanistan

A great deal of activity has been aimed at revising the approach for Stabilization, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) operations. In this document the authors provide a series of recommendations on how the Army can act to advance the interagency process for SSTR operations. They also provide specific recommendations for the Army to consider in revising its doctrine on SSTR operations.

Assessing the Value of U.S. Army International Activities - Oct. 24, 2007

International Operations

A number of important steps have been taken in recent years to improve the planning and management of Army International Activities (AIA). Still, a need remains, and is widely recognized, for a high-level assessment mechanism to allocate AIA resources more efficiently, execute AIA programs more effectively, and highlight the contributions of AIA to the National Military Strategy, the DoD Security Cooperation Guidance, and The Army Plan. This report presents a framework for assessing the value of the Army’s non-combat interactions with other militaries.

Assessing the Assignment Policy for Army Women — Aug. 7, 2007

Assessing the Assignment Policy for Army Women

The current U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) policy for assigning military women was issued in 1994, and the U.S. Army’s assignment policy dates to 1992. This research serves to inform DoD decisionmaking with regard to the clarity and appropriateness of the current DoD and Army assignment policies, especially given how units are operating in Iraq.

Hurricane Katrina Response Shows Need to Tailor Some National Guard Units for Disaster Work — June 4, 2007

Katrina Aid

Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath caused enormous physical destruction and human suffering, but it also offers lessons for how the nation can better prepare for natural disasters and large-scale terrorists attacks. The most important problem was the speed with which local, state and federal civilian organizations were overwhelmed, but the military response also had shortcomings in the critical first few days.

New Security Threats Beyond Iraq Will Require Changes in Military Deployments and Structure — May 22, 2007

Military Deployment

The complex military challenges facing the United States will require all four military services to rethink the way forces are manned, equipped and deployed. This report outlines three key security challenges to the United States, its interests, and its allies: terrorist and insurgent groups; regional powers with nuclear weapons, such as North Korea; and increasing security competition in Asia, which could result in a military confrontation with China.

A New Division of Labor - Meeting America's Security Challenges Beyond Iraq — May 17, 2007

Division of Labor

A new U.S. grand strategy has been emerging, one that requires not only resources but patience and commitment: the promotion of democracy and freedom abroad. This research assesses the primary challenges to U.S. security in the emerging security environment and offers suggestions for how the U.S. strategy and the defense program should be adjusted in order to meet these challenges.

The Counterinsurgency Fight: Think Globally, Lose Locally — April 27, 2007

Counterinsurgency

Confronted with insurgents in several countries and a true global terror network operating in others, some people are tempted to incorrectly to view these opponents as a monolithic force, waging a global insurgency to destroy freedom. The reasons for this misconception and proposals for successful responses are the subject of this commentary by James T. Quinlivan and Bruce R. Nardulli for the Washington Post.

The New Face of Naval Strike Warfare — Nov. 21, 2005

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy

The combat leverage of U.S. carrier strike groups has improved qualitatively since Sept. 11, 2001, with carrier-based fighters conducting coordinated missions in areas of Afghanistan and Iraq well beyond coastal reaches. Future plans hold promise for further advancements.

What Should the U.S. Army Look Like in 20 Years? — Aug. 25, 2005

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army

Predicting the force needs of the Army is difficult in today's uncertain world. Alternative futures analysis offers a spectrum of different "future worlds" to help force developers meet the challenges of the next 20 years.

Military Actions Have Stretched U.S. Army Thin — Jul. 13, 2005

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army by Edward Martens

Frequent troop deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the U.S. Army so thin that many active-duty combat units spend more than one of every two years on foreign battlefields, leaving few brigades ready to respond to crises elsewhere.

Nation-Building Missions Require Greater Security Planning — Jul. 21, 2005

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army by Sgt. Lorie Jewell

U.S. nation-building missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have been largely unsuccessful in establishing law and order. More troops, aid, and a peace treaty or formal surrender might have prevented a prolonged insurgency.

Alleviating Air Force Workforce Shortages — Jun. 27, 2005

woman soldier

The U.S. Air Force faces a manpower shortage in many critical career fields. An overall force-management framework that focuses on high-level coordination and centralized planning is needed to diagnose workforce problems and implement solutions across the entire force.

Understanding Stress Casualties in Urban Warfare — Jun. 17, 2005

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army, by Spc. Kelly Hunt

Historically, combat stress casualties are not higher in city operations. Commanders still need the skills to treat and prevent stress casualties and understand their implications for urban warfare.

U.S. Public Supports Military Action in War on Terror — May 29, 2005

American Flags

Americans support the global war on terror because they believe the United States has “important stakes” in the conflict, and will support other military actions overseas as well if they believe important stakes are involved.

Global Security Environment

Afghan Battle Needs Backing Of Local Power Base — Feb. 16, 2010

U.S. Marines carry gear to helicopter in Marja, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/SSgt A. Clute

In a NPR Morning Edition interview, Afghanistan expert Seth G. Jones discusses how gaining support from tribal leaders is necessary for the success of the current U.S. and Afghan offensive against the Taliban in the town of Marjah.

RAND Study Analyzes Factors Contributing to Iraq's Security After U.S. Forces Withdraw — Feb. 5, 2010

soldiers in Afghanistan, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Abney

As it withdraws troops from Iraq, the U.S. must work not only to maintain security in that nation, but also focus on how the action will impact other regional interests, according to a RAND study issued today. It presents an analytical framework for policymakers to examine the shifting motivations and capabilities of the groups that affect Iraq's security, as well as options for U.S. responses to continuing challenges.

Improved U.S.-Turkish Relations Are Vital to Better Security in the Persian Gulf and Middle East — Feb. 3, 2010

Turkey - U.S. Relations

The United States can take a major step in improving the security environment in the Middle East and Persian Gulf by giving new impetus to revitalizing its security partnership with Turkey, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Limited Options: Deterring North Korea and Iran — Aug. 18, 2009

Peacekeepr ICBM missile at silo opening, photo courtesy of defenseimagery.mil/Rush

The U.S. has used several strategies to stop or slow nuclear weapon development in Iran and North Korea, with little success. The result is that maintaining regional security will be much more difficult as discussed in this commentary by Lowell H. Schwartz for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Going Local: The Key to Afghanistan — Aug. 10, 2009

U.S. Army and translator take information from Afghani village elders, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/T

The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan stability is building a strong central government. This notion fails to grasp the local nature of Afghan politics according to this commentary by Seth G. Jones for The Wall Street Journal.

Timeline to Withdraw U.S. Troops from Iraq Is Feasible, but Combat Forces Are Needed for Elections — Jul. 28, 2009

U.S. soldier salutes Iraqi flag

The timetable set by President Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq is feasible, however it is important that an adequate combat force is retained to ensure a peaceful election in January 2010.

Mullah Sprung from Gitmo Jail Now Leads Foe in Afghan Campaign — Jul. 10, 2009

U.S. and Afghan Army commanders meet, photo courtesy of U.S. Navy/Gay

Marines fighting in Southern Afghanistan are facing a familiar enemy, Mullah Zakir, a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who now leads the resurging Taliban, however, this restructuring may present an opportunity, as discussed by Seth G. Jones in this commentary for the New York Post.

On Dry Land - The Onshore Drivers of Piracy — Jul. 9, 2009

freight transport machinery

Although the international community has responded to the growing piracy problem off Somalia on the sea, Peter Chalk and Laurence Smallman argue in this commentary for Jane's Intelligence Review online that eradication of piracy will require actions on land as well.

Russia and the Perils of Personal Diplomacy — Jul. 7, 2009

U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev, photo courtesy of npsglobal.org

History predicts U.S.-Russia relations will require more than a personal bond of nations’ leaders, according to this commentary by F. Stephen Larrabee that appeared on NYTimes.com.

Policing Pakistan — Jun. 30, 2009

Afghan policeman at Pakistan border checkpoint, photo courtesy of flickr/lafrancevi

The United States has spent some $12 billion trying to help Pakistan save itself, however most of the aid has gone to the Pakistan army, when the focus should be on the police force, according to this commentary by C. Christine Fair that appeared in Wall Street Journal Asia.

Can Gitmo's Terrorists Be Rehabilitated? — Jun. 30, 2009

back of Guantanamo detainee being escorted, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Baltz

Whether Gitmo terrorists can be rehabilitated or not, U.S. must plan more strategic counterterrorism, as discussed by Aidan Kirby Winn in this commentary that appeared in The Christian Science Monitor.

Iran's Real Winners: The Revolutionary Guards — Jun. 23, 2009

hands holding small free iran sign, photo courtesy of flickr/Steve Rhodes

Despite huge protests, Iranian President Ahmadinejad has been re-elected. As discussed by Alireza Nader on rand.org the post-election crackdown on the demonstrators suggest that the Iranian political system is moving in a new and potentially dangerous direction.

BRIC-à-Brac — Jun. 16, 2009

Flags of the participating counties

The leaders of the BRIC countries Brazil, Russia, India, and China hold their first stand-alone summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Tuesday, June 16, but the timing of this meeting is hardly coincidental, as discussed by Andrew Weiss for ForeignPolicy.com .

Getting Value from the U.S.-ROK Summit — Jun. 16, 2009

North Korean and ROK Army guards on either side of the Military Demarcation Line, photo courtesy of defenseimagery.mil/Varhegyi

North Korea has been aggressively trying to upstage the summit between South Korea and U.S. President Barack Obama as discussed by Bruce W. Bennett in this commentary for The Korea Herald.

The PLA Navy's "New Historic Missions": Expanding Capabilities for a Re-emergent Maritime Power — Jun. 15, 2009

Chinese Navy men, photo courtesy of Family Security Matters

Testimony presented, by Cortez A. Cooper, before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on June 11, 2009.

Lebanon Vote Tilts to the West — Jun. 10, 2009

Lebanese voter dips thumb in ink bottle, photo courtesy of flickr/Sana Tawlieh

The result of the June 7 parliamentary elections in Lebanon is a boon for the U.S., but it would be well-advised to play for the long term in Lebanon with a pragmatic policy that deals with the reality of Hezbollah's political power while continuing to strengthen moderate forces and national institutions, write Aram Nerguizian and Ghassan Schbley.

Engaging Iran: Opportunities and Obstacles — Jun. 8, 2009

Southern iwan with the square ablutions pool in the middle of of Masjed-e Jame mosque's sahn courtyard, the largest sahn in Iran, photo courtesy of flickr/youngrobv

In this Congressional Briefing held on June 8, 2009, Ambassador David Aaron, director of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, moderates a discussion on Iran, one of the United States' most critical and high-profile foreign policy concerns.

Living with the Outcome: Elections in Lebanon — June 5, 2009

The Lebanese parliament building in downtown Beirut, photo courtesy of flickr/nathanm

The pro-Western alliance favored by the United States won Sunday's parliamentary elections in Lebanon. According to this commentary, by Ghassan Schbley, that appeared in The Washington Times, the result may be a boon for the Obama administration, but it also presents challenges.

Living with the Outcome: Elections in Lebanon — June 5, 2009

banners, people, flags at 2009 Lebanese parliamentary elections, photo courtesy of flickr/Sana T

The United States needs to play for the long term in Lebanon with a pragmatic policy that deals with the reality of Hezbollah's political power while continuing to strengthen moderate forces and national institutions, as discussed by Ghassan Schbley GlobalSecurity.org.

No Surprise in Failure To Deter N. Korea — June 2, 2009

North Korean rocket test launch, photo courtesy of The Inquisitr

North Korea's latest misbehavior highlights an uncomfortable truth: the failure of the United States and the international community to deter North Korean actions according to Bruce W. Bennett in his commentary that appeared in Chicago Tribune.

Rethink Washington's 'War of Ideas' — June 2, 2009

corporate meeting

The term "Global War on Terror" is out of favor in the government lexicon, and new drug czar Gil Kerlikowske wants to end the use of the phrase "War on Drugs." The words we use communicate certain things and also shape how we think about them, as discussed in this commentary by Christopher Paul for The Christian Science Monitor.

A Better Bargain for Aid to Pakistan — June 1, 2009

Pakistan refugees in Amam, photo courtesy of flickr/Al Jazeera English

Since 2001, the United States has spent about $12 billion to help Pakistan. Yet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared Pakistan a "mortal threat" to international security. Washington needs to strike a far better bargain for its billions, as stated in this commentary by C. Christine Fair for The Washington Post .

U.S. Strategy Should Avoid Inflating Iran's Role in Middle East Instability, Exploit Constraints on Iranian Power and Seek Areas of Engagement — May 19, 2009

cover of MG-781

Iran’s rise as a regional power presents a key foreign policy and security challenge to the United States, but its reach may be more limited than Western conventional wisdom suggests, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Assessing Mexico's Narco-Violence — May 18, 2009

Mexican street sign depicts figure holding gun, photo courtesy of flickr/mañoso

Drug-related violence in Mexico has more than doubled over the past 18 months, with a sharp increase in crimes that can only be understood as atrocities, since these are some of the same tactics used by al-Qaeda in Iraq according to Benjamin Bahney and Agnes Gereben Schaefer in this commentary for The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Pakistan, Taliban and Global Security – Part II — May 13, 2009

Afghan policeman at Pakistan border checkpoint, photo courtesy of flickr/lafrancevi

The evolving situation in Pakistan imay be the most dangerous international situation since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, states Robert D. Blackwill in this commentary for YaleGlobal Online. The U.S. should consider working together with India and other nations on a common strategy to contain Pakistan's Wahabist extremism.

Records From Coalition Provisional Authority Shed Light On Occupation Of Iraq — May 13, 2009

toppling of Iraq statue of Saddam Hussein

The record of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein compares favorably to that of many other U.S. efforts at post-conflict reconstruction, particularly in the areas of economic development, rule of law, education, health and democratization, according to a study released today by the RAND Corporation.

Economic Costs of Major Oil Supply Disruption Pose Risk to U.S. National Security — May 12, 2009

oil tanker at port

While on a net basis the United States imports nearly 60 percent of the oil it consumes, this reliance on imported oil is not by itself a major national security threat, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

NATO After the Summit: Rebuilding Consensus — May 7, 2009

A display of flags outside the Nato Summit in Strasbourg, 4 April 2009, photo courtesy of flickr/Downing Street

Testimony presented, by Robert E. Hunter, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on European Affairs on May 6, 2009.

From Strategy to Implementation: The Future of the U.S.-Pakistan Relationship — May 7, 2009

USAID representative present shield for Pakistani vocational center for girls, photo courtesy of flickr/crspakistan

Testimony presented, by C. Christine Fair, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 5, 2009.

Opposing View: Keep Arms Off Ships — May 4, 2009

Military aircraft monitoring pirate activities

Does the provision of private security contractors provide a viable solution to the growing problem of piracy off the Horn of Africa? In this commentary, by Peter Chalk, for USA Today, employing security contractors poses problems on several fronts.

Swine Flu: A Real Security Threat — Apr. 30, 2009

Mexican migrant workers

In the rush of constant news updates on swine flu, we must recognize that controlling the spread of this disease is not simply a health concern but also one of national security, as discussed by Melinda Moore in this commentary for the Baltimore Sun.

U.S.-Mexico Strategic Partnership Needed to Help Mexico Improve Its Security Institutions — Apr. 28, 2009

U.S. - Mexican border security

The United States should forge a strategic partnership with Mexico that emphasizes reform and long-term institution building as a way to battle the ongoing drug war and other security challenges that face Mexico, according to a new RAND Corporation report.

European Union at Cross Purposes in Kosovo — Apr. 27, 2009

Flag of Kosovo, a country in crisis

Standing on the Mitrovica bridge looking at the Serbian flags flying on the northern side of the Iber River, it is clear that something is gravely amiss in Europe's youngest democracy, Kosovo, as discussed in this commentary by Christopher S. Chivvis for GlobalSecurity.com.

Who Has the Will to Fight Piracy? — Apr. 22, 2009

pirates off Somali shore, photo courtesy of U.S. Navy/Zalasky

The recent French and American rescues of hostages held by pirates off the coast of Somalia were necessary and proper. No one believes these actions will end piracy, unless we impose risks on the pirates, according to this commentary by Brian Michael Jenkins for GlobalSecurity.org.

Leaving the Nest — Apr. 17, 2009

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates during the Southeastern European Defense Ministerial in Ohrid,

In the wake of President Obama’s recent European trip, hopes for a rejuvenation of transatlantic security cooperation continue to rise, as discussed in this commentary by Christopher S. Chivvis for The National Interest online.

South Asia's Taliban Problem: Multiple Threats From Multiple Groups — Apr. 15, 2009

a Muslim man, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Herrera

For India, the development of a conducive environment on its western flank for groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad has already resulted in sophisticated terrorist attacks on Indian soil, most recently in Mumbai as discussed by Seth G. Jones for NYTimes.com.

Afghanistan Is NATO's Most Important Challenge — Apr. 6, 2009

A display of flags outside the Nato Summit in Strasbourg, 4 April 2009, photo courtesy of flickr/Dow

This week's NATO summit is not the most important moment on this year's trans-Atlantic calendar. That honor belonged to the Group of 20 (G20) summit that was just concluded in London as discussed in this commentary by Robert E. Hunter for RFERL.org, the website of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

Obama's Turkish Dilemma — Apr. 6, 2009

President Obama meeting with Turkey Leaders

President Obama’s visit to Ankara this week highlights Turkey’s growing strategic importance to the United States and a high stakes dilemma for the President and for U.S. strategic interests, according to this commentary by F. Stephen Larrabee for CNN.com .

U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan — Apr. 2, 2009

U.S. soldiers combating insurgency in Afghanistan, photo courtesy of defenseimagery.mil/Chasse

Testimony presented by Seth G. Jones before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia on April 2, 2009.

The Torture Debate, Redux — Apr 2, 2009

guards at the Guantanamo Prison

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been insisting again that the coercive interrogation techniques used against terrorism detainees after 9/11 prevented attacks on the United States. More on this debate is the subject of this commentary by Brian Michael Jenkins for GlobalSecurity.org.

Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan — Mar. 26, 2009

U.S. soldier and Afghani police office map out security, photo courtesy of defenseimagery.mil/Chasse

Testimony presented by James Dobbins before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs on March 26, 2009.

France's Creeping Reintegration — Mar. 24, 2009

French Soldier

The announcement by French President Sarkozy that France will return to NATO's integrated military command, is expected to remove an important irritant in U.S.-French relations and open up new possibilities for strengthening U.S.-European cooperation according to this commentary by F. Stephen Larrabee for GlobalSecurity.org.

Iran's New Contender — Mar. 24, 2009

Iranian President with Saudi Leader

Iran’s presidential race just got more interesting, with former Prime Minister Mousavi joining the race and former President Khatami withdrawing, this development poses the most significant challenge yet to current President Ahmadinejad, as discussed in this commentary by Alireza Nader for Project Syndicate .

U.S. Strategy Should Avoid Inflating Iran's Role in Middle East Instability, Exploit Constraints on Iranian Power and Seek Areas of Engagement — May 19, 2009

cover of MG-781

Iran’s rise as a regional power presents a key foreign policy and security challenge to the United States, but its reach may be more limited than Western conventional wisdom suggests, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

U.S.-NATO Immersion Course — Mar. 11, 2009

NATO Meeting

At a major conference in Munich last month, Vice President Joseph Biden underscored the U.S. determination to rebuild strong and productive relations with its European allies. At the conference, no issue mattered more than Afghanistan, as discussed by Robert E. Hunter in this commentary for The Washington Times.

Antecedents and Implications of the November 2008 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Attack Upon Several Targets in the Indian Mega-City of Mumbai — Mar. 11, 2009

Home Guard guiding traffic with the Mumbai Police, photo courtesy of flickr/calamur

Testimony presented by C. Christine Fair before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection on March 11, 2009.

Is Iraq Safe Yet? — Mar. 9, 2009

suicide bombing aftermath, Iraq

The Obama administration's plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq has sparked fears that Iraq will again plunge into wide-scale violence. Those fears are, for the most part, overblown, according to a commentary by Lowell J. Schwartz for Project Syndicate.

Afghanistan: The Regional Solution — Mar. 9, 2009

Afghani village men, photo courtesy of defenseimagery.mil/Gay

Obama’'s move to commit more troops to Afghanistan must be part of a broader strategic shift as discussed in this commentary by F. Stephen Larrabee that appeared on CNN.com.

To Talk With Iran, Stop Not Talking — Mar. 3, 2009

side by side pictures of Iranian President Ahmadinejad and U.S. President Obama, courtesy of Flickr/

If goal is to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, U.S. must stop not talking to Tehran, as discussed in this commentary by James Dobbins that appeared in the Washington Post.

Wanted Dead or Alive? When We Don't Get Our Man — Mar. 3, 2009

Osama bin Laden Speaking

As visceral as the urge may be to bring Bin Laden to justice - dead or alive - however history shows that if the target is sent into hiding by the search, then we have effectively met our goal, as discussed in this commentary by Benjamin Runkle that appeared in the International Herald Tribune.

In Afghanistan, It's Deadly at the Top — Feb. 23, 2009

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, photo courtesy of Flickr/KarlMarx

Rather than perpetuating a love-hate-kill relationship with their leaders, Afghans need to develop respect for the laws and institutions of their new democracy, as discussed in this commentary by Cheryl Benard that appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

A Trans-Atlantic Moment — Feb. 23, 2009

NATO Response Force, photo courtesy of Flickr/MATEUS_27:24&25

The election of Obama offers chance to repair frayed U.S., Europe security partnerships according to this commentary co-authored by F. Stephen Larrabee for The Washington Times.

Two RAND Researchers in the News for USIP Report on Afghanistan Security Weaknesses — Feb. 17, 2009

U.S. Sgt and Royal Danish soldier march in Afghanistan, photo courtesy of Army/Pullen

C. Christine Fair and Seth G. Jones are in the news for Securing Afghanistan, a report they've written for the United States Institute of Peace on weaknesses in the Afghan security environment. The authors largely attribute failed efforts to stabilize the country to a lack of oversight of international aid programs at work there.

Could Mexico Fail? — Feb. 13, 2009

wall at U.S., Mexican border, photo courtesy of Flickr/dcipjr

Lawlessness in Mexico is approaching terrorism and becoming a U.S. security issue along the border according to this commentary by Brian Michael Jenkins for Homeland Security Today.

Going the Distance — Feb. 15, 2009

soldiers in Afghanistan, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Abney

The war in Afghanistan isn't doomed. We just need to rethink the insurgency. The U.S. can still turn things around in Afghanistan if it exploits insurgency's weaknesses, as stated in this commentary by Seth G. Jones for The Washington Post.

What the Israeli Right Owes to Hamas — Feb. 13, 2009

Israeli TAU students protest Hamas, photo courtesy of Flickr/ShadoWalker

The Hamas attacks and Gaza war moved Israel's political center to the right in recent election as discussed in this commentary by Claude Berrebi for ForeignPolicy.com.

How China Can Strengthen Its Economy by Investing in High-Technology Applications — Feb. 13, 2009

Tianjin port, photo courtesy of Flickr/egorgrebnev

China's Tianjin Binhai New Area (TBNA) and Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) can best spur regional development and economic growth by focusing on emerging high-technology applications, including molecular-scale drug development and green manufacturing.

Congressional Panel Discussion on Transatlantic Security — Feb. 12, 2009

Obama inauguration videocast to huge crowd in Berlin, photo courtesy of Flickr/helter-skelter

Director of RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center James Dobbins will moderate a discussion on Revitalizing the Transatlantic Security Partnership: An Agenda For Action on February 12, 2009, co-hosted by the Bertelsmann Stiftung.

Asia's Nonproliferation Laggards: China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia — Feb. 9, 2009

Power plant near one of Beijing's

President Obama has a strong tool to get key Asian nations to curb spread of nuclear weapons as discussed in this commentary by Charles Wolf, Jr. for Wall Street Journal Asia .

United States, East Africa Allies Must Overcome Radical Islam to Reshape the Region's Security — Feb. 4, 2009

cover of MG-782

While al Qaeda is the primary terrorist/extremist threat in East Africa, the region suffers more broadly from a danger of radical Islamist groups and organizations that the United States and its allies must address to reshape the region's security environment.

Terrorists Can Think Strategically: Lessons Learned From the Mumbai Attacks — Jan. 28, 2009

security camera photo of two terrorists from 11/26/08 Mumbai attack

In testimony presented before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Brian Michael Jenkins discusses the increasing use of terrorism as an effective strategic weapon.

Mumbai Terrorist Attacks Show Rise of Strategic Terrorist Culture — Jan. 16, 2009

Terror in Mumbai, photo courtesy of Flickr

The Mumbai terrorist attacks in India suggest the possibility of an escalating terrorist campaign in South Asia and the rise of a strategic terrorist culture, according to a study issued today by the RAND Corporation.

Defeating Hamas Will Not Defeat Iran — Jan. 14, 2009

Defeating Hamas Will Not Defeat Iran

Some observers speculate that the Isreali offensive against Hamas has a second target: Iran. Some even imagine a domino effect, with Hamas's defeat a defeat for radicalism across the region. In this commentary by Dalia Dassa Kaye for ForeignPolicy.com, one should not be so sure.

Guidelines and Recommendations for Opening Dialogue with Iran — Jan. 8, 2009

statue from Kish island Dariush grand hotel, Iran - photo courtesy of Flickr/nIma

While Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad grabs the headlines, it is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who is Iran's most powerful figure. And... it is Khamenei's sense of strategic confidence, distrust of the United States and his focus on Iranian sovereignty that are the sources behind Tehran's aversion to compromise.

Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Plays Complex Role in Iran's Political, Economic, Cultural Scene — Jan. 8, 2009

Islamic Revolutionary Guards

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has evolved to take on a greater role in the nation's political, economic and cultural arenas in addition to serving as a major military force.

Is Ahmadinejad in Trouble? — Dec. 17, 2008

Iran's President Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may lose the June 2009 presidential election. And a more pragmatic figure... may assume power. But no one, especially in the United States, should count on a dramatic change in Iran's policies, even if Ahmadinejad loses, writes Alireza Nader.

The Backlash Against Terror — Dec. 11, 2008

Mumbai Hotel on Fire

The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, are part of a disturbing trend across the Muslim world of groups that target civilians in the name of Islam, according to this commentary by Seth G. Jones for the Ethics Newsline, a publication of the Institute for Global Ethics.

Mumbai's Terrifying Logic — Dec. 9, 2008

Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai

We tend to describe terrorism as senseless violence, but it seldom is. If we look at the attacks from the attackers’ perspective, we can discern a certain strategic logic, as discussed in this commentary by Brian Michael Jenkins for United Press International.

India, Pakistan Must Confront Threat of More Violence — Dec. 9, 2008

Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai

As the last Mumbai sites were being cleared of terrorists, grim signs emerged of the challenges that face India and Pakistan, as discussed in this commentary by C. Christine Fair for CNN.com.

Piracy Needs Regional Answer — Nov. 26, 2008

anti-piracy training, photo courtesy of U.S. Navy/Erdmann

The international community is at something of a loss as to how to respond to the increasingly audacious nature of piracy off the Horn of Africa, exemplified by the hijacking of the Saudi-owned supertanker Sirius Star and three other ships last week.

While China's Regional Influence Grows, U.S. Remains Key Security and Economic Partner in East Asia — Nov. 17, 2008

pacific currents

A new study infers that America's key East Asian allies do not see China as a viable strategic alternative to the United States and that allied nations seek to broaden economic and diplomatic relations with both the United States and China.

Obama's First International Crisis — Nov. 16, 2008

Barack Obama giving speech

According to Vice President Joe Biden, the new President Barack Obama "will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in power," as discussed by Brian Micheal Jenkins in this commentary for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Defeating Terrorist Groups — Nov. 12, 2008

defeating terroist groups

Since 1997, the Defense Department and other federal agencies have been assigned agency-specific goals of spending a set percentage of contract dollars on goods and services with small businesses.

Talk to the Taliban? Not Now — Nov. 12, 2008

A Taliban captured by soldiers in Afghanistan, photo courtesy of Army/J. Wagner

When U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus reviewed the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, he was advised to engage in peace talks with the Taliban. According to this commentary, by Cheryl Benard for UPI.com, this may not be an advisable approach.

Know Your Enemy: From Iraq to Afghanistan — Nov. 9, 2008

U.S. soldiers walk through Afghan poppy fields, photo courtesy of Army/SSG K. Davis

As debate continues about how to fight a resurgent Al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and along the Pakistan border, leaders in Washington, Kabul and Islamabad seem lost about what to do next.

Georgia Dispute Derails Bid to Stop Nuke Terrorism — Oct. 6, 2008

Russian nuclear warhead, photo courtesy of Flickr

In the wake of Russia’s actions in Georgia, the U.S. has delayed talks with Moscow dealing with missile defense and reducing the size of strategic nuclear arsenals as discussed by Brian Micheal Jenkins for Providence Journal.

Political Reform in the Arab World is a Mixed Bag in Confronting Terrorism — Sep. 24, 2008

Iraq Politics - Image Courtesy of Flickr

A RAND Corporation study issued today finds that democratic political reforms can marginalize extremists and undermine support for political violence, but cosmetic reforms and backtracking on democratization can exacerbate the risk of terrorism.

Defeating Terrorist Groups — Sep. 23, 2008

Anti Terrorist Patrol - Courtesy of US Army

Testimony presented by Seth G. Jones before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism and Unconventional Threats and Capabilities.

Meeting America's Security Challenges Beyond Iraq: A Conference Report — Sep. 22, 2008

Globe, looking toward future

This conference discussed a list of security obligations that America faces, as well as future security issues likely to be problematic for any new administration, and discussed how the U.S. government and defense community should address these challenges.

A Nuclear 9/11? — Sep. 11 2008

Brian Michael Jenkins

Will terrorists go nuclear? It is a question that worried public officials and frightened citizens have been asking for decades. It is no less of a worry today, as we ponder the seventh anniversary of 9/11 as discussed by Brian Micheal Jenkins for CNN.com .

Ukraine: The Next Crisis? — Sep. 7, 2008

tank at Ukrainian Independence Day Parade, photo courtesy of Flickr

The Russian invasion of Georgia has sent shock waves throughout the West and the former Soviet space - especially Ukraine. Indeed, Ukraine could be the next potential crisis according to this commentary by F. Stephen Larrabee for www.project-syndicate.org.

Georgia: Breakdown of Vision the West Had for a New Europe — Aug. 28, 2008

Russian President Putin and EU Commission President Barrolo, photo courtesy of Fllickr

Since the Russian Federation sent tanks, troops, and planes slicing into Georgia, commentators have reached for a variety of historic parallels.... None of these supposed parallels catches the current situation.

Kosovo and South Ossetia More Different Than Similar — Aug. 26, 2008

Russian tank in Georgia, photo courtesy of Flickr

The Russian government has long highlighted the similarities between Kosovo and South Ossetia. When Kosovo declared independence, Russia argued that this would embolden South Ossetia, as discussed by Olga Oliker in this commentary for RFERL.org .

Turkey's Second Chance — Aug. 25, 2008

Turkey Prime Minister Erdogan, photo courtesy of Flickr

The recent decision by the Turkish Constitutional Court not to close the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) helped Turkey narrowly dodge a dangerous political bullet, according to this commentary by F. Stephen Larrabee for the Washington Times .

After the Taliban: Nation-Building in Afghanistan — Aug. 19, 2008

U.S. soldier with Afghan children

Ambassador James Dobbins recounts how the U.S. administration reluctantly adjusted to its new role as nation-builder, yields insights into how government and diplomacy really work, and explains why it has failed to stabilize Afghanistan or Iraq.

Terrorism expert examines intelligence on al Qaida in "Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?" — Aug. 19, 2008

icbm guidance system, courtesy of Flickr

Offering insights into vital questions of national security, presidential decisionmaking, and terrorist motives, world-renowned terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins examines how terrorists think about nuclear weapons and nuclear terror.

Stop the "War" on Terror: Calling It a "War" Is a Boon to Terrorist Recruiters — Aug. 6, 2008

Sustaining Key Skills in the UK Naval Industry

Military might against terrorist groups isn’t working. After studying the record of 648 terrorist groups between 1968 and 2006, military force has rarely been effective, as discussed in this commentary by Seth G. Jones and Martin C. Libicki for the Christian Science Monitor.

Dressed To Kill: Why the Number of Female Suicide Bombers is Rising in Iraq — Jul. 31, 2008

Iraqis wounded in suicide bombing, photo courtesy of Flickr

Muslim female suicide bombers are on the rise. For almost 10 years, we have warned that women would start playing a more aggressive role in groups like Al Qaeda, as discussed in this commentary by Farhana Ali for Newsweek .

U.S. Should Rethink “War On Terrorism” Strategy to Deal with Resurgent Al Qaida — Jul. 30, 2008

Image courtesy of Comstock Royalty-Free Images

Current U.S. strategy against the terrorist group al Qaida has not been successful in significantly undermining the group's capabilities, according to a new RAND Corporation study issued today.

Turkey's broadening crisis

Turkey's Broadening Crisis - Jul. 28, 2008

Turkey is facing a domestic political crisis that not only threatens the country’s internal stability but could weaken its ties to the West and exacerbate instability in the Middle East as discussed by F. Stephen Larrabee in the International Herald Tribune.

How to Save Karzai - Jul. 25, 2008

How to Save Karzai

Afghanistan’s president is no George Washington, it’s true. But with Afghanistan growing more chaotic by the day, now is no time to throw Hamid Karzai under the bus as discussed in this commentary by Seth Jones for Foreign Policy .

European Union Has Developed a Nascent, but Growing Capacity to Deploy and Employ Armed Force - Jul. 8, 2008

EUFOR and Chadian soldier

The European Union has recently demonstrated the capacity to deploy and employ armed force outside its borders in support of broader common policy objectives, creating a new player in nation-building operations.

Dealing with Iran: The Case for Talking - Jul. 1, 2008

Russian Soccer Diplomacy

Negotiating with Iran will not necessarily produce accomodations, however it will provide more information, which will in turn lead to more options, better choices and wiser policy, as discussed by James Dobbins in this commentary for the International Herald Tribune .

China's Responsibility to Protect: The Nation Can Help Citizens in Myanmar, Sudan — Jun. 17, 2008

Image courtesy of Flickr

Of all countries remiss in their responsibility to protect human rights, China bears special scrutiny because of its influence with the Myanmar and Sudanese regimes, writes David C. Gompert.

Taliban's Sanctuary Bases in Pakistan Must Be Eliminated - Jun. 9, 2008

Army soldier before suspected Taliban stronghold

If Taliban sanctuary bases in Pakistan are not eliminated, the United States and its NATO allies will face crippling long-term consequences in their effort to stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Increase In Piracy And Terrorism At Sea; Little Evidence Supports Fear That The Two Crimes Are Merging - Jun. 5, 2008

Piracy and Terrorism at Sea

Acts of piracy and terrorism at sea are on the rise, but there is little evidence to support concerns from some governments and international organizations that pirates and terrorists are beginning to collude with one another, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

The Challenges of Trying Terrorists as Criminals - Proceedings of a RAND/SAIS Colloquium - May 30, 2008

Prisoner at Guantanamo Bay

Held in Washington in January 2008, this colloquium brought together a distinguished group of specialists in strategy and intelligence joined with lawyers, prosecutors, and judges – to discuss the challenges of using criminal trials as one instrument in combating terrorism.

Afghan Progress Spotty but Hopeful - May 12, 2008

Afghanistan people, progress, but spotty, Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Progress in Afghanistan is a study in contrasts. Progress is substantial in the north, but limited in the south. In this commentary by Obaid Younossi and Peter Dahl Thruelsen for the Providence Journal, sustained efforts are required by the UN and the Afghan government to develop a multiyear, well-resourced political, military and economic roadmap.

A House of Tribes for Iraq - Apr. 29, 2008

Iraq Tribal Meeting, photo courtesy Flicker

Many western notions of governance struggle with Iraq, however one that deserves a close look is the effort to create a unique upper legislative body: The House of Tribes, as discussed in this commentary by Theodore W. Karasik and Ghassan Schbley for Washingtonpost.com.

Good Morning, Syria! – Time to Revisit Our Axis of Evil List? — Apr. 22, 2008

Radio Studio

Syria is changing and the United States should take notice. A vibrant youth scene, chic cafe’s, art exhibitions, modish shopping districts, and the WiFi hotspots in a country late to adopt the Internet, are not the only surprises in Syria, as discussed in this commentary by Cheryl Benard and Edward O’Connell for the Providence Journal .

The New Deterrence: Overwhelming and Searching Retaliation - Apr. 10, 2008

WMD

On February 8, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley announced that the United States had recently adopted "a new declaratory policy to help deter terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States, our friends, and allies", as discussed in this commentary by Elbridge Colby for Weekly Standard.

Finding Common Ground in an Uncommon Nation - Mar. 19, 2008

Boys in Damascus

After a recent trip to Syria, Edward O'Connell and Cheryl Benard, in this commentary for Malibu Magazine, found themselves happening one night upon an unsettling and perception-busting TV program, they found that in a country known for defending terrorism, programs that portrayed quite the opposite.

Iraq's Sunni Time Bomb - Apr. 4, 2008

Iraqi police recruits, photo courtesy U.S. Army

While the recent fighting in Basra and Baghdad has alerted us to the danger that Shiite-on-Shiite violence poses to our goals in Iraq, it should not divert our focus from the fact that the Sunni tribesmen who have sided with the American-led coalition may turn against us. A commentary by Matthew Sherman for the New York Times .

America is Making a Difference in Eastern Afghanistan - Apr. 2, 2008

U.S. soldier and Afghani working on building, photo courtesy U.S. Army

The United States has turned a corner in Afghanistan, as discussed by Seth G. Jones in this commentary for Globe and Mail . It has made some progress against the Taliban and other insurgent groups in eastern Afghanistan, and created a window of opportunity to spread this elsewhere.

Georgia on Their Mind — Mar. 27, 2007

Osama bin Laden

As NATO heads toward its summit meeting in Bucharest on April 3-4, the question of NATO enlargement – especially whether to give Membership Action Plans, or MAPs, to Georgia and Ukraine – has re-emerged as a contentious issue, as discussed in this commentary by F. Stephen Larrabee for International Herald Tribune.

Danish Cartoons Doom Us All - Mar. 21, 2008

Muslim protest Danish cartoons

Last week's rage in Pakistan over reprints of cartoons and a forthcoming Dutch film that insult Islam's holy book once again entangles Muslims and the West in a fury over freedom of speech, as discussed in this commentary by Farhana Ali for United Press International.

An Independent Kosovo Was a Part of the U.N.’s Plan - Mar. 12, 2008

Flag of an Independent Kosovo

Diplomatic wrangling over Kosovo’s declaration of independence this week has created a good deal of misunderstanding about the U.N. Security Council Resolution that defines that society’s current status and future evolution. James Dobbins provides this commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

U.S. Failed to Monitor and Adapt to Insurgent Trends in Iraq - Mar. 11, 2008

U.S. Failed to Monitor and Adapt to Insurgent Trends in Iraq

The inability of the United States to monitor insurgent trends in Iraq and apply new counterinsurgency tactics led many Iraqi civilians to side with sectarian groups, propelling the country to the brink of civil war, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

A Post-Musharraf Pakistan Policy - Mar. 10, 2008

A Post-Musharraf Pakistan Policy

Now that the parliamentary elections in Pakistan have gone decisively against President Musharraf, will the newly elected prime minister agree to work with Musharraf? If not, what should the United States do in response? This is the subject of a new commentary by Farhana Ali for Washingtonpost.com.

RAND Study Offers Ways to Help North Korea Peacefully Modernize Its Political, Economic Structure - Mar. 10, 2008

Help North Korea Peacefully Modernize

An unprecedented joint report, based on a 2½-year-long collaboration between RAND and five international research institutions, recommends a new approach for North Korea to create fundamental, but peaceful, change in it’s archaic political, economic and security systems.

Why We Need to Nail Osama — Feb. 28, 2007

Osama bin Laden

The recent killing of Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyah begs a larger question: How important is it to take out key terrorists such as Osama bin Laden? The costs and benefits of such action is the subject of this commentary by Elbridge Colby for the Washington Times.

United States Lacks the Capability to Counter Insurgency in the Muslim World - Feb. 11, 2008

State of Afghan Insurgency

A new RAND report finds that large-scale U.S. military intervention and occupation in the Muslim world is at best inadequate, at worst counter-productive, and, on the whole, infeasible. The United States should shift its priorities and funding to improve civil governance, build local security forces, and exploit information-capabilities.

International Perspectives on Interagency Reform - Jan. 29, 2008

Courtesy of the US Army

The United States and many of its allies and partners have become increasingly involved in stability operations and nation building around the world. This testimony by Nora Bensahel before the Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations suggests major capability shortfalls that may undermine prospects for success.

Nora Bensahel discusses counter insurgency in Iraq - Jan. 24, 2008

Iraq Insurgency Interview

A group of former Sunni insurgents in Iraq joined forces to form, “The Awakening Council.” that has grown to about 70,000 members and has helped quell the violence. Nora Bensahel discusses with Katy Clark of PRI, The World that the group is now under attack by the current insurgents in Iraq.

Long-term Instability? - Dec. 31, 2007

Long-term instability?

The tragic assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto casts a dark shadow across Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state with a long history of militarism and militancy. According to this commentary by C. Christine Fair for the Washington Times, this event could move Pakistan towards a deeper and irreversible slide into Islamist violence.

The State of the Afghan Insurgency - Dec. 11, 2007

State of Afghan Insurgency

Six years after the overthrow of the Taliban regime, Canada, NATO, and the Afghan government stand at an important crossroads. Testimony presented by Seth G. Jones before the Canadian Senate National Security and Defence Committee on December 10, 2007.

Talking to the Enemy - Track Two Diplomacy in the Middle East and South Asia — Sep. 19, 2007

Talking to the Enemy

This monograph examines regional, multilateral track two dialogues in the Middle East and South Asia that are focused on arms control and other cooperative security measures. The author provides assessments of regional security trajectories in both regions, particularly proliferation dynamics, as well as suggestions on how to improve future track two efforts.

U.S. Policy Options for Iraq - A Reassessment — Aug. 8, 2007

NATO Peacekeepers

Iraq is the most pressing national security issue facing the United States today. This book evaluates the costs and benefits of five alternative strategies the United States could pursue in Iraq and provides a discussion of next steps if the United States decides to withdraw from Iraq, arguing that the United States needs to prepare now to mitigate the effects of failure.

Assessing the Value of U.S. Army International Activities — Nov. 7, 2006

Assessing the Value of U.S. Army International Activities

This report presents a framework for assessing the value of the Army’s non-combat interactions with other militaries. It provides an overview of AIA programs and establishes their connection to the U.S. government’s current strategy for security cooperation. It also provides a matrix of eight AIA “ends,” derived from top-level national and Army guidance, and eight AIA “ways,” which summarize the various capabilities inherent in AIA programs.

Rebuilding Security Forces and Institutions in Iraq — Jan. 4, 2006

Security Forces in Iraq

The Coalition Provisional Authority's record at rebuilding Iraqi security forces and building security sector institutions has been mixed, with too much emphasis on meeting short-term Iraqi security needs at the expense of long-term institution-building.

China's Defense Industry Emerging from Its Troubled Past — Dec. 29, 2005

China Defense, Photo: Defense Industry Daily

Despite 25 years of weakness, China's defense industry is showing signs of improvement. Advances in the missile, shipbuilding, aviation, and information technology sectors could enhance China's military position, with short-term implications for Taiwan and long-term implications throughout Asia.

The New Face of Naval Strike Warfare — Nov. 21, 2005

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy

The combat leverage of U.S. carrier strike groups has improved qualitatively since Sept. 11, 2001, with carrier-based fighters conducting coordinated missions in areas of Afghanistan and Iraq well beyond coastal reaches. Future plans hold promise for further advancements.

Next Steps in Reshaping Intelligence — Oct. 31, 2005

DNI

The creation of the Director of National Intelligence position reshaped how U.S. intelligence is organized. The next steps are transforming how it does business by improving analysis; shaping intelligence by mission or issue rather than collection source or agency; and more.

Preparing Officers for Interagency and Multinational Service — Oct. 18, 2005

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army

As the U.S. confronts increasingly complex threats, military leaders must learn to work with civilian agencies and military leaders of other nations. A strategic approach that manages experience and education would help prepare officers for this service.

China Fails to Adequately Control WMD Exports — Sep. 26, 2005

China's Export Controls

China lacks the resources to fully implement its laws and regulations designed to control exports of sensitive goods and technologies that could be used to help create chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.

Experts Explore the Roots and Motivations of Religious Conflict — Aug. 8, 2005

mosque

Intelligence analysts and religion experts convened for a RAND-sponsored workshop to address religious motivations in international politics and possible causes for violence with religious roots — with emphasis on radical Islam.

Next Steps in the War on Terror — Jun. 28, 2005

Car Bomb

A RAND-sponsored conference presented research on counterterrorism issues. Participants discussed understanding the nature of the terrorist threat, taking direct action against and reducing support for terrorists, and protecting the homeland.

The Effects of National Power on Global Relations — Jun. 7, 2005

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker

A workshop hosted by RAND and the CIA's Strategic Assessments Group, in cooperation with Barry Hughes and his International Futures model, explored how power is wielded on a continuum ranging from persuasion, through economic aid, to military action.

Costs of Korean Unification Will Depend on Circumstances — Jun. 3, 2005

Korean Unification

North Korea's government and economy have been shrouded in obscurity since the mid-1960s. Unification with South Korea will require a multifaceted strategy to ensure security and constrain costs, particularly if the system were to unravel.

Reducing the Risk of Weapons-Expertise Diversion — May 31, 2005

biohazard multiple icons

States and terrorist groups have attempted to recruit and acquire weapons-critical knowledge, skills, and materials from the former Soviet Union. U.S. programs designed to reduce the risk of diversion are outdated and should be adjusted to address the biggest threats.

China's Defense Spending Lower Than Previous Estimates — May 19, 2005

China's Military

China's defense spending is estimated to be between 2.3 and 2.8 percent of the nation's GDP. This is 40 to 70 percent higher than official Chinese government figures, but substantially lower than previous outside estimates of the share of GDP devoted to defense.

Experts Discuss China's Role as Rising Regional Power — Mar. 14, 2005

China

China's economic and military power in Asia is growing, raising questions about its role in regional security issues. A conference jointly sponsored by RAND and the French Institute of International Relations examined options for U.S.-European cooperation on China policy.

Military Logistics and Infrastructure

Timeline to Withdraw U.S. Troops from Iraq Is Feasible, but Combat Forces Are Needed for Elections — Jul. 28, 2009

U.S. soldier salutes Iraqi flag

The timetable set by President Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq is feasible, however it is important that an adequate combat force is retained to ensure a peaceful election in January 2010.

Economic Costs of Major Oil Supply Disruption Pose Risk to U.S. National Security — May 12, 2009

oil tanker at port

While on a net basis the United States imports nearly 60 percent of the oil it consumes, this reliance on imported oil is not by itself a major national security threat, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Air Force Service Procurement: Approaches for Measurement and Management — May 1, 2009

planes on combat patrol over Afhghanistan, photo courtesy of U. S. Air Force/Allmon

Testimony presented, by Laura H. Baldwin, before the House Armed Services Committee Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform on April 23, 2009.

Challenges and Issues with the Further Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Policy Options for Effective Life-Cycle Management of Resources — Apr. 17, 2009

Cover: Challenges and Issues with the Further Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Policy Options for Effective Life-Cycle Management of Resources

Over the next 20 years, the further aging of already-old aircraft will introduce challenges and issues for aircraft operators, including the U.S. Air Force. This report identifies those challenges and issues and explores policy options for addressing them in ways that can contribute to effective life-cycle management of resources.

An Examination of the Relationship Between Usage and Operating-and-Support Costs of U.S. Air Force Aircraft — Apr. 10, 2009

Cover: An Examination of the Relationship Between Usage and Operating-and-Support Costs of U.S. Air Force Aircraft

Systematically examining the empirical relationship between multiple U.S. Air Force systems' expenditures, flying hours, and fleet sizes, this research suggests a more sophisticated way to think about Air Force costs than is currently used.

Air Force Service Procurement: Approaches for Measurement and Management — Apr. 27, 2009

Titanium ingots

Testimony, by Laura H. Baldwin, presented before the House Armed Services Committee Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform on April 23, 2009.

The Netherlands F-16 Comparative Analysis: An Evaluation of the Process — Apr. 27, 2009

Aircraft repair process

Testimony presented, by Matt Bassford, before the Dutch Parliamentary Committee for Defence on April 6, 2009.

Ways to Improve U.S. Stability and Reconstruction Missions Are Outlined — Apr. 3, 2009

MG852 cover

Recent stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq have underlined the need for the United States to shift the burden of these operations away from the Defense Department and onto other government agencies better suited to the work, according to a study released today by the RAND Corporation.

Assessing a Coal-to-Liquids Fuel Industry in the United States — Jan. 15, 2009

coal for a power station, photo courtesy of NREL.gov

Government actions to gain early experience in producing liquid fuels from coal offer major energy security benefits but also raise important economic governance, and environmental issues.

The Obama Withdrawal From Iraq: How Fast? — Dec. 16, 2008

U.S. soldiers against Iraq sunset, photo courtesy of Army/Medellin

The debate over withdrawal of American forces from Iraq has effectively ended: Troops will begin withdrawing in early 2009.... What is not yet entirely clear is what type of residual American force may remain in Iraq, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

Piracy Needs Regional Answer — Nov. 26, 2008

anti-piracy training, photo courtesy of U.S. Navy/Erdmann

The international community is at something of a loss as to how to respond to the increasingly audacious nature of piracy off the Horn of Africa, exemplified by the hijacking of the Saudi-owned supertanker Sirius Star and three other ships last week.

U.S. Department of Defense Faces Obstacles in Meeting Small-Business Contract Goals — Nov. 12, 2008

three business people

Many of the goods and services purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense are from industries that are often better suited to larger companies rather than smaller ones, complicating efforts to meet goals that about one-fourth of prime-contract dollars be awarded to small businesses.

Too Soon to Judge the Surge — Aug. 29, 2008

Three soldiers, photo courtesy of Army/Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika

Most of the units involved in the surge have been withdrawn from Iraq, and troop levels are about what they were before the surge was announced. And if General Petraeus recommends, further troop cuts may be adopted this fall. The key question is whether levels of violence will remain low once those troops are gone.

After the Taliban: Nation-Building in Afghanistan — Aug. 19, 2008

U.S. soldier with Afghan children

Ambassador James Dobbins recounts how the U.S. administration reluctantly adjusted to its new role as nation-builder, yields insights into how government and diplomacy really work, and explains why it has failed to stabilize Afghanistan or Iraq.

A New Grand Strategy for the United States — Jul. 31, 2008

Image courtesy of US Army Flickr

Testimony presented by Robert E. Hunter before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on July 31, 2008.

Sustaining Key Skills in the UK Naval Industry — Jul. 25, 2008

Sustaining Key Skills in the UK Naval Industry

To preserve its ability to design, build, and support complex warships and submarines, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) will need to preserve and sustain several key technical skills in the maritime domain.

European Union Has Developed a Nascent, but Growing Capacity to Deploy and Employ Armed Force - Jul. 8, 2008

EUFOR and Chadian soldier

The European Union has recently demonstrated the capacity to deploy and employ armed force outside its borders in support of broader common policy objectives, creating a new player in nation-building operations.

Shortcomings in Planning for Post-Combat Period in Iraq Outlined - June 30, 2008

Image courtesy of US Army

Efforts to adequately plan for the post-combat period in Iraq were thwarted by overly optimistic views held by top civilian leaders and a belief among military leaders that civilian authorities would be responsible for postwar operations, according to a report by RAND Corporation researchers.

Give Them Sabbaticals - May 7, 2008

Army training, courtesy of US Army

The Army’s Training With Industry program, though not tied to officer retention, could serve as the basis for an expanded effort to provide unique training in the diverse civilian world. In this commentary by Laura Miller, for USA Today, a new outlook on training could help prepare officers for the future military interactions and improve retention.

A New National Strategy for Korea: North Korea Threats Require Deterrence, Reconciliation - Mar. 13, 2008

A New National Strategy for Korea

Over the last five years, the South Korean government has tried to downplay the military threat posed by North Korea. However North Korea still poses a serious military threat to South Korea as discussed by Bruce Bennett in this commentary for Korea Herald.

New Security Threats Beyond Iraq Will Require Changes in Military Deployments and Structure — May 22, 2007

Military Deployment

The complex military challenges facing the United States will require all four military services to rethink the way forces are manned, equipped and deployed. This report outlines three key security challenges to the United States, its interests, and its allies: terrorist and insurgent groups; regional powers with nuclear weapons, such as North Korea; and increasing security competition in Asia, which could result in a military confrontation with China.

U.S. Should Take Advantage of Improved Security in Iraq to Withdraw - Dec. 4, 2007

U.S. Should Take Advantage of Improved Security in Iraq to Withdraw

The recent improvement in security in Iraq may provide the U.S. military with a chance to achieve the best realistic outcome of the conflict to date: the extrication of the bulk of it’s forces. This topic is the subject of a commentary by David C. Gompert for the San Francisco Cronicle.

Enlisting Madison Avenue - The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation — Jul. 17, 2007

Supply Depot

Business marketing practices may provide a useful framework for improving U.S. military efforts to shape the attitudes and behaviors of local populations. This research extracts lessons from business practices and adapts them to U.S. military efforts, developing a unique approach to shaping that has the potential to improve military-civilian relations, the accuracy of media coverage of operations, communication of U.S. and coalition objectives, and the reputation of U.S. forces in theater and internationally.

Hurricane Katrina - Lessons for Army Planning and Operations — Jun. 4, 2007

Hurrican Katrina Aid

The efforts undertaken by civilian and military organizations in response to Hurricane Katrina were historically unprecedented, but problems did arise in the military response that contributed to delays in accomplishing evacuations and relief operations. This report presents a number of steps can be taken to enhance future military disaster-response efforts.

Impossible Certainty - Cost Risk Analysis for Air Force Systems — May 8, 2006

Cost Analysis

To help set the Air Force’s cost uncertainty analysis policy, the authors recommend that the Air Force flexibly use multiple methods for different cases; have consistent, uniform communications formats between analysts and decisionmakers; periodically track and update cost estimate records; and consider risk reserves to fund costs that arise from unforeseen circumstances.

U.S., Europe Should Cooperate on Navigation Satellite System — Aug. 1, 2005

Global GPS

By 2008, the EU expects to begin operating a space-based positioning, navigation, and timing system similar to the U.S. global positioning system (GPS). U.S.-European cooperation on such systems could offer economic benefits, enhance service for the global community, and reduce civilian demands on the U.S. GPS.

Centralized Maintenance Can Improve USAF Combat Support — Mar. 7, 2005

Air Force plane

Despite many advantages, reorganizing the U.S. Air Force into an Air and Space Expeditionary Force places serious demands on combat support infrastructure. Consolidating intermediate maintenance at forward support locations may lessen the burden.

Transfer of Lands Containing Unexploded Ordnance Proves Difficult — Jan. 13, 2005

Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Army by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Burton

In the ongoing process of U.S. Army base closure and realignment, lands containing unexploded ordnance have proved particularly difficult and costly to transfer. With few exceptions, little progress has been made.

Communications Networks for Military Operations Need Improvement — Dec. 29, 2004

The U.S. military relies on high-capacity communications networks to transfer intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data, but these networks can be threatened in hostile environments. Future communications systems need to protect against such threats.

Personnel, Training and Health Policy

Children on the Home Front: The Experiences of Children from Military Families — Mar. 2, 2010

Image Courtesy of Flickr

In 2009, about 2 million children in the United States had a parent in either the active or reserve component of the military. RAND has recently completed the largest study to date of how military children are faring academically, socially, and emotionally during an extended period of wartime.

Studies’ Estimates of PTSD Prevalence Rates for Returning Service Members Vary Widely — Feb. 23, 2010

silhouette of soldiers

Summarizes analyses of existing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) studies for war zone veterans, finding that the prevalence estimates vary widely and are linked to the use of different PTSD diagnostic definitions and divergent study samples.

What Are the Effects of Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) on Navy Manpower, Personnel, and Training? — Feb. 23, 2010

Aircraft Carrier

Introducing Consolidated Afloat Networks Enterprise Services (CANES) had only limited implications for the Navy's information technology community.

Longer Parental Deployment Linked to More Emotional Challenges for Military Children — Dec. 7, 2009

silhouette of family

Children in military families may suffer from more emotional and behavioral difficulties when compared to other American youths, with older children and girls struggling the most when a parent is deployed overseas, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

The Impact of Deployment on the Post-Deployment Labor Market Earnings of Reservists — Nov. 9, 2009

U.S. Army reservists taking re-enlistment oath, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. M. Alices

In this Congressional Briefing held on November 9, 2009, senior economist David Loughran presents findings about whether reservists who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer economic hardship in their post-deployment years because of lost civilian work experience, injury, and other difficulties adjusting to civilian work life.

Too Many Months of Military Deployment Can Reduce Reenlistment Rates — Oct. 8, 2009

soldier overlooking mountains, MG873 cover

Although U.S. Army deployments have been linked positively to the likelihood of reenlisting for much of the past decade, a new RAND Corporation study shows that by 2006 the mounting burden of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan reached the point where deployment had a negative effect on reenlistment.

Going Local: The Key to Afghanistan — Aug. 10, 2009

U.S. Army and translator take information from Afghani village elders, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/T

The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan stability is building a strong central government. This notion fails to grasp the local nature of Afghan politics according to this commentary by Seth G. Jones for The Wall Street Journal.

Timeline to Withdraw U.S. Troops from Iraq Is Feasible, but Combat Forces Are Needed for Elections — Jul. 28, 2009

U.S. soldier salutes Iraqi flag

The timetable set by President Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq is feasible, however it is important that an adequate combat force is retained to ensure a peaceful election in January 2010.

U.S. Strategy Should Avoid Inflating Iran's Role in Middle East Instability, Exploit Constraints on Iranian Power and Seek Areas of Engagement — May 19, 2009

cover of MG-781

Iran’s rise as a regional power presents a key foreign policy and security challenge to the United States, but its reach may be more limited than Western conventional wisdom suggests, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Countering the Military's Latest Fad — May 18, 2009

Army Maj. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal briefs reporters in 2003, photo courtesy of DefenseLINK/Stikkel

The recent choice of top U.S. commander in Afghanistan reflects military's latest fad in warfare planning as discussed in this commentary, by Celeste Ward, for The Washington Post.

Swine Flu: A Real Security Threat — Apr. 30, 2009

Mexican migrant workers

In the rush of constant news updates on swine flu, we must recognize that controlling the spread of this disease is not simply a health concern but also one of national security, as discussed by Melinda Moore in this commentary for the Baltimore Sun.

Gauging Future Demand for Veterans' Health Care: Does the VA Have the Forecasting Tools It Needs? — Apr. 29, 2009

Military Health Care

Testimony presented, by Katherine M. Harris, before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on April 29, 2009.

Redefining ‘Old Age’: 60 Is the New 40 — Apr. 27, 2009

Elderly Woman with Walker

In this commentary by Linda G. Moore, that appeared in the Shanghai Daily, she discusses that China's population is aging quickly. To address this issue, two options are identified: try to slow it down or develop policies and programs to deal with whatever negative consequences there might be.

The Department of Defense Can Improve Its Response to and Management of Anthrax Incidents — Apr 22, 2009

medics wheel patients on stretcher into ambulance

New Research Brief assesses the Department of Defense (DoD) response to three potential anthrax-related incidents at DoD facilities in March 2005 and recommends ways that DoD can improve its incident-response capabilities.

Ultimate Exit Strategy — Mar. 26, 2009

Afghan policeman at Pakistan border checkpoint, photo courtesy of flickr/lafrancevi

The upcoming high-level conference on Afghanistan at The Hague will involve all the parties who have a stake and an interest in Afghanistan. With the situation in that country growing more precarious by the day, those attending this meeting must think big per this commentary by James Dobbins for the International Herald Tribune .

Assessing Combat Exposure and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Troops and Estimating the Costs to Society: Implications from the RAND Invisible Wounds of War Study — Mar. 24, 2009

silhouette of soldiers

Testimony presented by Terri Taielian before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs on March 24, 2009.

Family Readiness and Coping During Deployments Key Issues for National Guard and Reserve — Feb 11, 2009

soldiers say goodbye to wives

As the U.S. military continues to rely on the National Guard and Reserve for overseas deployments, making sure their families are adequately prepared for those missions is critical.

Terrorists Can Think Strategically: Lessons Learned From the Mumbai Attacks — Jan. 28, 2009

security camera photo of two terrorists from 11/26/08 Mumbai attack

In testimony presented before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Brian Michael Jenkins discusses the increasing use of terrorism as an effective strategic weapon.

Reasons Why Hispanics Remain Underrepresented in Military, Despite Interest — Jan. 12, 2009

recruiting officer of Diversity Directorate, photo courtesy of U.S. Navy/Eifert

Lower high school graduation rates and higher rates of obesity are two of the reasons that many Hispanics are denied entry into the U.S. military. Although Hispanics do well once in the military, they are underrepresented in all branches of the nation's armed forces, primarily because they often fail to meet eligibility requirements.

Defeating Terrorist Groups — Nov. 12, 2008

defeating terroist groups

Since 1997, the Defense Department and other federal agencies have been assigned agency-specific goals of spending a set percentage of contract dollars on goods and services with small businesses.

Know Your Enemy: From Iraq to Afghanistan — Nov. 9, 2008

U.S. soldiers walk through Afghan poppy fields, photo courtesy of Army/SSG K. Davis

As debate continues about how to fight a resurgent Al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and along the Pakistan border, leaders in Washington, Kabul and Islamabad seem lost about what to do next.

Changes Needed in Way the United States Conducts Military Interventions — Oct. 2, 2008

U.S. troops at capitol, photo courtesy of Army

In preparing for possible future military interventions, the United States needs to shift substantial resources and integrate military-civilian efforts.

War's Invisible Wounds — Sep. 28, 2008

Soldier Hugs Wife

Nearly 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan service veterans who have returned home, about one in five, may suffer from combat-stress-related mental health problems as discussed in this commentary for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Army Can Boost Mission Success by Better Managing Environmental Considerations — Sep. 23, 2008

Image courtesy of US Army

By better managing environmental issues during deployments, U.S. Army units can gain tactical and strategic advantages that will help in combat and post-conflict operations, and boost overall mission success, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Effects of Deployments on Spouses of Military Personnel — Sep. 23, 2008

Deployment Affects Kids Also, image courtesy of Flickr

A recent dissertation by Bogdan Savych examines the effect of deployment on spousal labor force participation and household well-being.

Too Soon to Judge the Surge — Aug. 29, 2008

Three soldiers, photo courtesy of Army/Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika

Most of the units involved in the surge have been withdrawn from Iraq, and troop levels are about what they were before the surge was announced. And if General Petraeus recommends, further troop cuts may be adopted this fall. The key question is whether levels of violence will remain low once those troops are gone.

A New Grand Strategy for the United States — Jul. 31, 2008

Image courtesy of US Army Flickr

Testimony presented by Robert E. Hunter before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on July 31, 2008.

Colonel Cardinal's Iceberg Theory — Jul. 31, 2008

antarctic iceberg, courtesy of Flickr/Josh Landis

Colonel Chuck Cardinal, former director of the Pacific Command's inter-agency coordination group for counterterrorism, devised a novel overarching “Iceberg Theory”, which is the subject of this commentary by Dick Hoffman for The San Diego Union-Tribune .

U.S. Should Rethink “War On Terrorism” Strategy to Deal with Resurgent Al Qaida — Jul. 30, 2008

Image courtesy of Comstock Royalty-Free Images

Current U.S. strategy against the terrorist group al Qaida has not been successful in significantly undermining the group's capabilities, according to a new RAND Corporation study issued today.

Sustaining Key Skills in the UK Naval Industry — Jul. 25, 2008

Sustaining Key Skills in the UK Naval Industry

To preserve its ability to design, build, and support complex warships and submarines, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) will need to preserve and sustain several key technical skills in the maritime domain.

European Union Has Developed a Nascent, but Growing Capacity to Deploy and Employ Armed Force - Jul. 8, 2008

EUFOR and Chadian soldier

The European Union has recently demonstrated the capacity to deploy and employ armed force outside its borders in support of broader common policy objectives, creating a new player in nation-building operations.

Shortcomings in Planning for Post-Combat Period in Iraq Outlined — Jun. 30, 2008

Image courtesy of US Army

Efforts to adequately plan for the post-combat period in Iraq were thwarted by overly optimistic views held by top civilian leaders and a belief among military leaders that civilian authorities would be responsible for postwar operations, according to a report by RAND Corporation researchers.

Hurricane Katrina Response Shows Need to Tailor Some National Guard Units for Disaster Work — June 4, 2007

Katrina Aid

Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath caused enormous physical destruction and human suffering, but it also offers lessons for how the nation can better prepare for natural disasters and large-scale terrorists attacks. The most important problem was the speed with which local, state and federal civilian organizations were overwhelmed, but the military response also had shortcomings in the critical first few days.

New Security Threats Beyond Iraq Will Require Changes in Military Deployments and Structure — May 22, 2007

Military Deployment

The complex military challenges facing the United States will require all four military services to rethink the way forces are manned, equipped and deployed. This report outlines three key security challenges to the United States, its interests, and its allies: terrorist and insurgent groups; regional powers with nuclear weapons, such as North Korea; and increasing security competition in Asia, which could result in a military confrontation with China.

Give Them Sabbaticals - May 7, 2008

Army training, courtesy of US Army

The Army’s Training With Industry program, though not tied to officer retention, could serve as the basis for an expanded effort to provide unique training in the diverse civilian world. In this commentary by Laura Miller, for USA Today, a new outlook on training could help prepare officers for the future military interactions and improve retention.

Invisible Wounds of War - Apr. 17, 2008

Invisible Wounds of War

he RAND Corporation conducted a comprehensive study of the mental health and cognitive needs of U.S. servicemembers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, the costs associated with mental health and cognitive conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and traumatic brain injury, and the care systems available to deliver treatment. The study is the first of its kind to consider mental health and cognitive problems associated with deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq from a broad societal perspective.

Coordination Could Breed Control in Iraq - Apr. 10, 2008

Coordination

Teamwork and coordination are vital for success in all sorts of activities on the athletic field, in business, in government and in war. Yet too often, the different branches of the U.S. military and the U.S. government in Iraq have failed to effectively coordinate their activities with each other and with their Iraqi counterparts. Be assured that better coordination alone won’t solve America’s problems in Iraq and guarantee victory. But without it, achieving victory will be much harder regardless of the number of troops the U.S. maintains, because successes achieved by one arm of the U.S. effort is too often undone by another.

The New Deterrence: Overwhelming and Searching Retaliation - Apr. 10, 2008

WMD

On February 8, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley announced that the United States had recently adopted "a new declaratory policy to help deter terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States, our friends, and allies", as discussed in this commentary by Elbridge Colby for Weekly Standard.

America is Making a Difference in Eastern Afghanistan - Apr. 2, 2008

U.S. soldier and Afghani working on building, photo courtesy U.S. Army

The United States has turned a corner in Afghanistan, as discussed by Seth G. Jones in this commentary for Globe and Mail . It has made some progress against the Taliban and other insurgent groups in eastern Afghanistan, and created a window of opportunity to spread this elsewhere.

Human Resource Management and Army Recruiting - Analyses of Policy Options - Mar. 28, 2008

Recruiting

U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) is faced with the challenge of ensuring that the flow of qualified volunteers is adequate to meet future active-duty accession requirements. This report documents research methods, findings, and policy conclusions from a project analyzing human resource management options for improving recruiting production. It details research designed to develop new insights to help guide future recruiter management policies. The research involves econometric analyses of three large and rich datasets. The first analysis compares the career paths of enlisted personnel, including recruiters. The second analyzes individual recruiter characteristics and links those characteristics with their productivity, controlling for a variety of independent factors. Finally, the research focuses on station-level recruiting outcomes, paying close attention to the management options that can affect recruiter production and effort. This work will interest those involved in the day-to-day management of recruiting resources as well as researchers and analysts engaged in analyses of military enlistment behavior.

A New National Strategy for Korea: North Korea Threats Require Deterrence, Reconciliation - Mar. 13, 2008

A New National Strategy for Korea

Over the last five years, the South Korean government has tried to downplay the military threat posed by North Korea. However North Korea still poses a serious military threat to South Korea as discussed by Bruce Bennett in this commentary for Korea Herald.

United States Lacks the Capability to Counter Insurgency in the Muslim World - Feb. 11, 2008

State of Afghan Insurgency

A new RAND report finds that large-scale U.S. military intervention and occupation in the Muslim world is at best inadequate, at worst counter-productive, and, on the whole, infeasible. The United States should shift its priorities and funding to improve civil governance, build local security forces, and exploit information-capabilities.

Assessing the Value of U.S. Army International Activities - Oct. 24, 2007

International Operations

A number of important steps have been taken in recent years to improve the planning and management of Army International Activities (AIA). Still, a need remains, and is widely recognized, for a high-level assessment mechanism to allocate AIA resources more efficiently, execute AIA programs more effectively, and highlight the contributions of AIA to the National Military Strategy, the DoD Security Cooperation Guidance, and The Army Plan. This report presents a framework for assessing the value of the Army’s non-combat interactions with other militaries.

Assessing the Assignment Policy for Army Women — Aug. 7, 2007

Assessing the Assignment Policy for Army Women

The current U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) policy for assigning military women was issued in 1994, and the U.S. Army’s assignment policy dates to 1992. This research serves to inform DoD decisionmaking with regard to the clarity and appropriateness of the current DoD and Army assignment policies, especially given how units are operating in Iraq.

Human Resource Management and Army Recruiting - Analyses of Policy Options — Dec. 21, 2006

U.S. Army Photo Enlistment

U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) is faced with the challenge of ensuring that the flow of qualified volunteers is adequate to meet future active-duty accession requirements. This report documents research methods, findings, and policy conclusions from a project analyzing human resource management options for improving recruiting production.

Models of Operational Training in Fighter Squadrons — Nov. 4, 2005

U.S. Air Force Photo - Flight Training

Operational squadrons in the U.S. Air Force spend most of their time training to accomplish two objectives: to maintain readiness to deploy and operate in wartime, contingencies, and other engagements, and to prepare aircrew members for subsequent assignments at wings, major air commands, and the Air Staff. This report describes a model of aircrew training in an operational fighter squadron.

Reserve Recruiting in the College Market — Oct. 4, 2005

Soldiers in classroom, photo courtesy of the U.S. Army

The demand for college among U.S. military reservists is strong and increasing. To continue to attract high-quality personnel, recruits could be given the option to attend college without the risk of being activated with their Reserve units.

Military Actions Have Stretched U.S. Army Thin — Jul. 13, 2005

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army by Edward Martens

Frequent troop deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the U.S. Army so thin that many active-duty combat units spend more than one of every two years on foreign battlefields, leaving few brigades ready to respond to crises elsewhere.

Reviewing Military Retirees' Pharmacy Benefits Could Lower Costs — Apr. 13, 2005

pills and medicine

The U.S. military health care system has experienced rapid growth in expenditures over the past decade. To lower costs, it should discourage retirees' use of retail pharmacies and carefully implement a three-tier drug benefit.

New Recruitment Policies Could Improve U.S. Army Retention — Apr. 8, 2005

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army by Master Sgt. Jose Velazquez

The U.S. Army spends an average of $15,000 to recruit each soldier, and current recruiting policies and management influence their retention rate. Different management strategies could cut attrition without compromising Army standards.

Developing the Air Force's Senior Leader Workforce — May 11, 2005

airplane refueling

To help improve the Air Force's general officer (GO) development approach, RAND Project AIR FORCE conducted a study of GO positions and Senior Executive Service positions and the competencies required for each. This work resulted in new insights and methods for developing future Air Force senior leaders.