National Security Research Division

RAND's National Security Research Division (NSRD) advances understanding of the world's most pressing security threats and develops policies and strategies to help U.S. and allied government policymakers mitigate and defend against those threats. Our research priorities include deterring China and Russia—and thereby averting a worst-case, catastrophic, great-power war (i.e., WWIII); managing the risks and opportunities posed by artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and other advanced technologies; preparing more effectively for the dynamic impacts of climate change on geopolitics and U.S. military operations; strengthening alliances; and ensuring the health, well-being, and readiness of the Joint Force to execute the U.S. National Defense Strategy. Undergirding our research priorities is a deep commitment to fostering the next generation of national security strategists and policy leaders.

NSRD operates the National Defense Research Institute (NDRI), a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), whose primary mission is to support the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Combatant Commands, the Joint Staff, the defense agencies, and the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. NSRD also supports numerous non-Department of Defense (DoD) clients, including non-DoD Intelligence Community (IC) organizations, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); other U.S. government agencies, such as the Department of State (DoS); international governments, such as Australia; and foundations focused on national security.


  • Two Years After Russia Invaded Ukraine: Q&A with RAND Experts

    RAND experts discuss the state of the conflict in Ukraine and its prospects, the war's global implications, possible outcomes and solutions, and what the West and the rest of the world might be doing now and once hostilities end.

    Feb 19, 2024

  • Japan's Alliance with the U.S. Has Just Gone Global

    The most profound aspect of the recent U.S.-Japan summit was the underlying message: the U.S.-Japan alliance is now global. This is an alliance now focused on the public goods of global peace, stability, and prosperity, committed to jointly building a free and open international order.

    Apr 16, 2024

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Latest Publications

  • Xi's Cross-Strait Policy in the "New Era"

    The January 2024 election of Lai Ching-te (William Lai) as president of Taiwan will likely make the Taiwan Strait an increasingly tense and dangerous environment, with potentially significant consequences for U.S. policy and strategy both there and throughout the Indo-Pacific.

  • A Framework for Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Digital Engineering

    RAND researchers worked to understand the costs and benefits of digital engineering in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and develop a decision support framework for digital engineering activities in weapon system programs.

  • Trust, but Verify: The Security Clearance Process and Experience

    RAND hosted a panel discussion about steps that the U.S. government can take to ensure that the security clearance process is not only better understood but also fair and equitable to grow its talent base to meet national security needs.

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