Latest NSRD Work

  • Gauging What Employers Think: Lessons Learned from Fielding the 2022 Department of Defense National Survey of Employers April 11, 2024

    The process of developing and administering the 2022 Department of Defense National Survey of Employers yielded lessons learned beyond the substantive findings presented in the main research report. In this companion report, the authors catalog the survey lessons, describe the implications of the lessons, and make recommendations to inform future efforts.

  • Understanding and Improving Civilian Employer Experiences with Guard and Reserve Duty April 11, 2024

    In this report, researchers update and extend an earlier study to document the views of employers of reserve component (RC) members and reevaluate Department of Defense (DoD) policy, federal legislation, and state legislation. For this study, the researchers integrated the results of a multimethod approach that included interviews with subject-matter experts and RC members and the fielding of the 2022 DoD National Survey of Employers.

  • The Fates of Nations: Varieties of Success and Failure for Great Powers in Long-Term Rivalries April 10, 2024

    Rivalries, especially with China, promise to define U.S. foreign policy and national security challenges for decades. The authors identify historical modes of strategic success and failure in great power rivalries that offer lessons for the United States. They define categories of success and failure and present case studies on specific historical examples that are associated with success and failure.

  • Military Recruiter Access to High Schools: Improving Policy and Practice April 9, 2024

    Graduating high school students are a critical source of new recruits for the U.S. military, but military recruiters' access to high schools varies widely. In this report—the first systematic analysis of issues that recruiters face in accessing secondary schools and their students—the authors seek to provide the U.S. Department of Defense with analysis and recommendations on how to improve recruiters’ access to high schools.

  • Projections of Disability in the Department of Defense Workforce Through 2031: Estimating Future Assistive Technology Requirements for Department of Defense Civilian Employees and Service Members April 9, 2024

    The Department of Defense (DoD) requires estimates of the number of its workers with disabilities to support its strategic goals and compliance with federal regulation. In this report, the authors seek to estimate the potential demand for assistive technology (AT), given projections of the number of DoD civilian employees — and of injured and wounded service members — with disabilities, as well as anticipated requests and costs for AT.

  • Addressing Stressors for National Guard Personnel: Insights From Leadership April 3, 2024

    The high demand for National Guard support of domestic operations has raised concerns about potential impacts for Guard members and their families and a variety of personnel management challenges. The authors explore the National Guard’s recent mission demands, identify the challenges that the pace of operations has created for Guard members and their families, and examine what service and support programs are in place to address these challenges.

  • Xi's Cross-Strait Policy in the "New Era" April 3, 2024

    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.

  • Analysis of Alternative Uses for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility March 28, 2024

    In response to three fuel releases, the Secretary of Defense authorized the permanent closure of the Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Hawaii. This report fulfills a congressional requirement to assess alternatives for reusing the site. The authors evaluate five alternatives according to executability, economics, nonfinancial considerations, and robustness to uncertainty and recommend delaying any decision for the foreseeable future.

  • Maintaining the Edge? The People's Liberation Army's Logistics and Maintenance Lessons Learned and Approaches Relevant for Counterintervention March 21, 2024

    Testimony presented before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on March 21, 2024.

  • Countering China's Military Strategy in the Indo-Pacific Region March 21, 2024

    Testimony presented before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on March 21, 2024.

  • The Chinese Industrial Base and Military Deployment of Quantum Technology: Addendum March 19, 2024

    Document submitted March 15, 2024, as an addendum to testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on February 1, 2024.

  • The Future of Indo-Pacific Information Warfare: Challenges and Prospects from the Rise of AI March 14, 2024

    The authors address the timely issue of AI-powered information warfare in the Indo-Pacific region and its implications for regional and global security, delving into the appropriate strategies required for an effective near-term response. By examining China's tactics, the authors explore the future of information warfare in the region and how defense organizations and their partners can adapt and respond to these evolving challenges.

  • Trust, But Verify: The Security Clearance Process and Experience March 13, 2024

    The U.S. government is working to modernize information collection from individuals who apply for a security clearance while improving customer experience and adhering to principles of fairness and equity. 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.

  • A Framework for Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Digital Engineering: A Systems Approach March 13, 2024

    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. The authors reviewed existing literature and developed decision support frameworks incorporating (1) established DoD cost-benefit analysis approaches and (2) established systems engineering decision methodologies.

  • The Societal Basis for National Competitiveness: Chinese and Russian Perspectives March 12, 2024

    This report is part of a larger RAND study on the societal foundations of national competitiveness. The authors surveyed Chinese and Russian thinking about the qualities of nations that tend to produce competitive advantage and found that both China and Russia hold starkly different views from most U.S. and Western officials and analysts about the societal sources of competitive advantage.

  • National Guard Youth ChalleNGe: Program Progress in 2022–2023 March 12, 2024

    The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program is a residential, quasi-military program for youth ages 16 to 18 who are experiencing difficulty in traditional high school. This report covers the 2022–2023 program year and is the eighth in a series of annual reports that RAND researchers have issued over three research projects. Each report documents the progress of ChalleNGe participants during a specific program year.

  • Integrating Intermediate Force Capabilities into Wargames March 6, 2024

    There are challenges, but also significant potential benefits, in integrating intermediate force capabilities—a suite of systems that includes non-lethal weapons, electromagnetic warfare, cyber, and information operations—into wargames.

  • Intermediate Force Capabilities: High-Value Options for the U.S. Military March 6, 2024

    RAND researchers used metrics and vignettes to assess and illustrate the value and complementarity of intermediate force capabilities, including non-lethal weapons, information operations, electromagnetic warfare, and cyber capabilities.

  • Naval Logistics in Contested Environments: Examination of Stockpiles and Industrial Base Issues March 6, 2024

    The U.S. Navy is evolving to distributed maritime operations (DMO) in response to increased capabilities of near-peer adversaries, in the Western Pacific. To support DMO, the Navy needs new approaches to logistics and the resupply and sustainment of distributed units. The authors identify supply chain challenges for munitions and spare parts and recommend strategies to address demand forecasting, budgetary concerns, and industrial base capacity.

  • Harnessing the Power of Private Sector Innovation to Defeat a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan: Relighting Vulcan's Forge March 5, 2024

    American policymakers have become increasingly concerned about the Department of Defense’s ability to defeat a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. To counter this, RAND gathered a group of private sector technologists with defense experts to explore technological solutions that could be deployed quickly (before 2027) and which had the potential to make a game-changing impact on the conflict. The participants generated 17 solutions that met these criteria.

  • The Emerging Competitive Paradigm: A Contest of Effective Governance February 29, 2024

    This paper is part of a larger project that considers the societal sources of national dynamism and competitive advantage. The first phase of analysis generated an intriguing insight: that competitive success in great-power rivalries comes, in part, from being effectively aligned to the demands of a historical era—the competitive paradigm of the period. This paper investigates that idea in more depth.

  • Repeated Exposure to Low-Level Military Occupational Blasts: An Overview of the Research, Critical Gaps, and Recommendations February 28, 2024

    Testimony presented before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Military Personnel Subcommittee on February 28, 2024.

  • The Karzas-Latter-Seiler Model of a High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse: A New Numerical Code for an Old Model February 26, 2024

    This paper accompanies the release of a new software implementation of an approximation of the Karzas-Latter model due to Seiler.

  • Has Trust in the U.S. Intelligence Community Eroded? Examining the Relationship Between Policymakers and Intelligence Providers February 13, 2024

    Policy and U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) professionals have suggested that the IC is held in increasingly lower regard by some decisionmakers and that predictions have had variable success in influencing decisionmakers. Researchers explored whether and to what degree trust in intelligence predictions and national estimates has degraded over time and what factors might have driven any changes in the relationship between policymakers and the IC.

  • Understanding the Impact of Department of Defense Youth Programs on Bridging the Civilian-Military Divide February 13, 2024

    In considering whether Department of Defense youth programs help bridge the civilian-military divide, the authors survey school leaders to gauge their awareness and perceptions of these programs; review curricula to understand how they support students' development of civics, leadership, and service knowledge; and conduct analyses on the influence of these programs on military applications and accessions.

  • Technological and Economic Threats to the U.S. Financial System: An Initial Assessment of Growing Risks February 13, 2024

    The resilience and stability of the U.S. financial system is critical to economic prosperity. However, the rapid pace of technological and geopolitical change introduces new potential threats that must be monitored and assessed. The authors explore emerging and understudied threats to the financial system, focusing on risks from social media, advances in artificial intelligence, and the changing role of economic statecraft in geopolitics.

  • Planning for the Aftermath: Assessing Options for U.S. Strategy Toward Russia After the Ukraine War February 9, 2024

    U.S. policy choices made at the conclusions of past wars have had enduring consequences. Although there is no end in sight to the Russia-Ukraine war, U.S. policymakers should begin considering a postwar Russia strategy now. To facilitate these considerations, the authors of this report review U.S. strategic options and the trade-offs that different choices pose for long-term U.S. interests.

  • The Day After: Postwar U.S. Strategy Toward Russia February 9, 2024

    Although there is no end in sight to the Russia-Ukraine war, U.S. policymakers should begin considering postwar Russia strategy now. This brief reviews U.S. strategic options and trade-offs that different choices pose for long-term U.S. interests.

  • Attributing Biological Weapons Use: Strengthening Department of Defense Capabilities to Investigate Deliberate Biological Incidents February 6, 2024

    This report describes issues related to the attribution of biological weapons (BW) use and identifies areas in which the U.S. Department of Defense could enhance its capabilities to (1) support U.S. investigative capabilities into the alleged use of BW or toxin weapons and (2) strengthen international efforts, specifically United Nations mechanisms, to hold state and nonstate actors accountable for BW development, proliferation, and use.

  • A Security Strategy for the Black Sea February 5, 2024

    This report outlines the strategic setting, regional challenges and threats, key planning assumptions, risk and risk mitigation, and finally DIME-based recommendations for enhancing security and stability in the Black Sea region.

  • The Future of Multilateral Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention February 5, 2024

    The multilateral system, defined as the set of rules, norms, and institutions that together constitute the world's governance architecture, is not static. Several drivers of change threaten to erode hard-earned gains the system has delivered.

  • PLA Social Media Warfare and the Cognitive Domain February 2, 2024

    The article explores how the Chinese military has come to recognize the important role of social media in modern conflict and peacetime operations through its discussions of "social media warfare."

  • Powering the PLA Abroad: How the Chinese Military Might Fuel Its Overseas Presence February 2, 2024

    This article explores Chinese military thinking on the role of renewable energy for powering its overseas bases, focusing on the research of Zheng Chongwei, a Chinese military researcher.

  • The End of China's Period of Strategic Opportunity: Limited Opportunities, More Dangers February 2, 2024

    Anxious Chinese leaders have elevated national security as a priority and sought to manage various international and domestic risks.

  • The Autocrat's Predicament: The Political Peril of Economic Upgrade in Single-Party Authoritarian Regimes February 1, 2024

    In their quest for national revival, China's leaders under Xi Jinping have sought to improve the economy's performance. The disappointing economic record of authoritarian regimes provides ample grounds for doubt, yet not all have failed. Why have some succeeded where most did not?

  • Exploring the Implications of Generative AI for Chinese Military Cyber-Enabled Influence Operations: Chinese Military Strategies, Capabilities, and Intent February 1, 2024

    Testimony presented before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission at the hearing "Current and Emerging Technologies in U.S.-China Economic and National Security Competition" on February 1, 2024.

  • The Chinese Industrial Base and Military Deployment of Quantum Technology February 1, 2024

    Testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on February 1, 2024.

  • Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution in Comparative Organizations: Volume 1, Case Studies of China and Russia January 23, 2024

    The Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) Reform asked the RAND Corporation for an independent analysis of PPBE-like functions in selected countries and other federal agencies. In this volume, RAND researchers conduct case studies of the defense budgeting processes of China and Russia.

  • Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution in Comparative Organizations: Volume 2, Case Studies of Selected Allied and Partner Nations January 23, 2024

    The Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) Reform asked the RAND Corporation for an independent analysis of PPBE-like functions in selected countries and other federal agencies. In this second volume of four reports on this subject, RAND researchers conducted case studies of the defense budgeting processes of Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

  • Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution in Comparative Organizations: Volume 4, Executive Summary January 23, 2024

    The Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) Reform asked the RAND Corporation for an independent analysis of PPBE-like functions in selected countries and non-Department of Defense federal agencies. This executive summary distills key insights from nine case studies of budgeting processes across comparative organizations, as detailed in three companion volumes.

  • Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution in Comparative Organizations: Volume 3, Case Studies of Selected Non-DoD Federal Agencies January 23, 2024

    This report, part of a four-volume set, presents case studies of planning, programming, budgeting, and execution (PPBE) functions in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to provide insights for improving the U.S. Department of Defense's PPBE processes.

  • Central Bank Digital Currencies and U.S. Strategic Competition with China January 18, 2024

    This report describes the potential role of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in strategic competition, focusing on whether and how the more advanced stage of China's CBDC project might advantage China, how decisions regarding the international governance of CBDCs might affect U.S. national power, and how the design choices of a U.S. CBDC might affect its capabilities as an instrument of national power.

  • Implications of Outbound Investment Controls January 17, 2024

    Testimony submitted to the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on January 17, 2024.

  • Intellectual Firepower: A Review of Professional Military Education in the U.S. Department of Defense January 4, 2024

    In this report, the authors describe the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) officer professional military education system, review how it operates, compare it with civilian educational institutions, analyze effects of possible changes, and identify opportunities to further align the system to DoD’s needs. The report contains detailed descriptive information about each educational institution in the system.

  • Plagues, Cyborgs, and Supersoldiers: The Human Domain of War January 2, 2024

    The emergence of ever more countries with advanced biotechnology capabilities raises a new, more dynamic future for biotechnology at war. The authors of this report explore existing and future biotechnology breakthroughs and address how they could be used in war and conflict—particularly by warfighters. The authors also use vignettes to show possible applications of biotechnology by state or nonstate actors.

  • Comparative Analysis of U.S. and PRC Efforts to Advance Critical Military Technology: Volume 1, Analytic Approach for Conducting Comparative Technology Assessments January 2, 2024

    This report outlines an approach for comparatively assessing the capacity, progress, and impact of critical military technologies under development in the United States and the People’s Republic of China. This approach is designed to be applicable across a diverse range of technologies and used to conduct comparative analyses of U.S. and PRC efforts to develop and deploy critical technologies for military use.

  • Kicking the Tires? The People's Liberation Army's Approach to Maintenance Management December 14, 2023

    The People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) growing ability to project and sustain power will rely on its logistics capabilities, systems, and processes. Understanding the PLA’s approach to maintenance management is essential for assessing the PLA’s ability to sustain a modernized force. The authors provide an overview of the PLA’s approach to maintenance to inform a broader understanding about how the PLA plans to operate and sustain its forces.

  • China's AI Exports Database (CAIED) December 11, 2023

    With average annual commitments reaching $85 billion in the Belt and Road Initiative era, China has been one of the world's largest providers of development financing. The China AI Exports Database (CAIED) tracks Chinese government-supported development finance projects that utilized or enabled Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in the Global South between 2000 and 2017.

  • China's AI Exports: Developing a Tool to Track Chinese Development Finance in the Global South — Technical Documentation December 11, 2023

    This report is the technical documentation for the China's AI Exports Database, a tool that tracks Chinese government–supported development finance projects that used or enabled artificial intelligence technology in the Global South between 2000 and 2017. The goal of the report is to explain the motivation, data source, methodology, and codebook of building the tool. This report also presents a detailed codebook for the database.

  • China's AI Exports: Technology Distribution and Data Safety December 11, 2023

    Researchers from the RAND Corporation and AidData jointly built a new database on China's artificial intelligence (AI) export projects funded with official development financing. In this report, the authors analyze this quantitative dataset — adding qualitative country case studies based on interviews and social media analysis — to examine the distribution, technology, financing, and data safety aspects of China's AI exports.

  • The Dynamic Retention Model: Theory, Estimates, Innovations, and Extensions December 6, 2023

    This report summarizes decades of RAND Corporation research on the dynamic retention model, a model particularly suited to assess major structural changes in compensation systems, such as that of the U.S. military and civil service institutions. The purpose is to provide researchers and analysts with the technical details of the DRM and recent extensions in one document rather than scattered across many.

  • Deterrence Under Uncertainty: Artificial Intelligence and Nuclear Warfare December 5, 2023

    Using insights from computer science, Deterrence Under Uncertainty: Artificial Intelligence and Nuclear Warfare evaluates how AI could make nuclear war winnable, and whether that possibility is likely. Detailed chapters explain how the landscape of nuclear deterrence is changing and debunk the myths of machine intelligence and nuclear weapons.

  • U.S.-Japan Alliance Conference: The U.S.-Japan Alliance in an Era of Strategic Competition November 29, 2023

    Key U.S. allies are looking at the war in Ukraine to draw lessons for their security planning, a trend that has opened new chances for U.S.-Japan security ties to expand and deepen. These proceedings present insights that experts on Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and U.S. security policies presented at RAND Corporation–hosted virtual conferences that explored relevant issues on the U.S.-Japan alliance regarding strategic competition.

  • The Limits of Russian Manipulation: National Identity and the Origins of the War in Ukraine November 29, 2023

    Russia’s manipulation of Ukraine, which culminated in the 2022 invasion, demonstrated that Russia was willing to resort to all means necessary to secure a regional sphere of influence that included Ukraine. But events could have taken a different direction. Using the concept of national identity as a starting point, RAND researchers developed a framework to illuminate the underlying causes of the Russia-Ukraine war.

  • Pathways from Climate Change to Conflict in U.S. Central Command November 29, 2023

    This report presents an analysis of the pathways from climate change to conflict and how that relationship is unfolding in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR). The analysis is based on a semistructured literature review of causal pathways from climate change to conflict and three case studies of climate-related conflict in the CENTCOM AOR.

  • A Hotter and Drier Future Ahead: An Assessment of Climate Change in U.S. Central Command November 29, 2023

    The first in a series focused on climate change and the security environment, this report presents analysis on how climate change will affect the physical environment in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility in 2035, 2050, and 2070. The report highlights locations that are projected to experience the biggest changes, as well as those that are most exposed to climate hazards.

  • Defense Planning Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Central Command November 29, 2023

    Stressors from climate change will become more intense and more frequent in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility. This development will likely contribute to CENTCOM's shift from a warfighting-focused command to a command that responds to and conducts traditional and nontraditional security missions. The aim of this report is to help CENTCOM planners prepare for a future security environment that is affected by climate change.

  • Planning for an Uncertain Future: What Climate-Related Conflict Could Mean for U.S. Central Command November 29, 2023

    As climate change increasingly disrupts human and natural systems, this report presents analysis and characterizes how climate hazards could affect the physical and security environment in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility.

  • Conflict Projections in U.S. Central Command: Incorporating Climate Change November 29, 2023

    This report presents an analysis of the impact of climate change on the frequency of conflict in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. The authors characterize the current state of scholarship on the topic before applying a machine learning framework to generate new conflict projections. They then identify reasons why existing work might underestimate the relationship between climate hazards and conflict.

  • Mischief, Malevolence, or Indifference? How Competitors and Adversaries Could Exploit Climate-Related Conflict in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility November 29, 2023

    A variety of potential conflicts in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, ranging from civil unrest to intrastate wars and even to interstate wars, could be related to climate change. Climate change could also exacerbate existing security challenges or create additional ones that generate new requirements in the theater. How U.S. competitors and adversaries might exploit these developments is an important issue for security planners.

  • The United States and China—Designing a Shared Future: The Potential for Track 2 Initiatives to Design an Agenda for Coexistence November 21, 2023

    The U.S.-China rivalry is intensifying, causing mistrust and stifling the impacts of Track 1.5 and Track 2 dialogues. The authors of this report review the status of U.S.-China relations, the roster of Track 2 dialogues, the record of such dialogues, and the criteria for successful Track 2 initiatives. They conclude that a new Track 2 effort focused on long-term coexistence is needed to stem the decline in U.S.-China relations.

  • Revisiting RAND's Russia Wargames After the Invasion of Ukraine: Summary and Implications November 21, 2023

    This report summarizes the conclusions of RAND discussions that reexamined tabletop exercises and analysis from the past eight years. This review assisted in understanding the nature of and reasons for the differences between the wargames and the actual patterns of warfare noted during the start of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The authors identify implications for future wargaming of potential conflicts involving major powers.

  • Logic Model for Non-Lethal Weapons in the U.S. Department of Defense November 20, 2023

    This logic model is intended to help characterize the impact of Non-Lethal Weapons (NLWs) within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). It provides a structure in which activities are linked to direct outputs, which contribute to higher-level outcomes, then to ultimate strategic goals from the 2022 National Defense Strategy. This model is based on findings from a RAND project that assessed the impact of diverse Intermediate Force Capabilities (IFCs).

  • An Assessment of U.S.-Allied Nations' Industrial Bases in Quantum Technology November 16, 2023

    This report presents an assessment of the quantum technology industrial bases of several U.S.-allied nations that are major players in the development of quantum technology, beginning with a global look and then focusing on the quantum industrial bases of Australia, the UK, Germany, and Japan. It gives recommendations for how the United States can promote strong ties with its allies in quantum technology research and development.

  • Improving Behavioral Health Care in the Military Health System: Challenges, Promising Strategies, and Research Directions November 16, 2023

    To support the Military Health System in its mission to provide high-quality behavioral health (BH) care to service members, the authors highlight four potential priority areas for improvement: increasing access to BH care, ensuring effective integration of virtual BH care, focusing on the quality of BH care delivered by private-sector providers, and prioritizing racial and ethnic equity in BH care.

  • Quantifying Vulnerability Lifespans for U.S. Marine Corps Joint Cyber Weapons November 14, 2023

    The authors assembled novel datasets of publicly tracked common vulnerabilities and exposures, estimated vulnerability operational times, and collected software update cadence data to explore potential trends across a variety of software product categories. Altogether, the data were used to quantify cost and operational time uncertainties in estimating life-cycle costs of the U.S. Marine Corps Joint Cyber Weapons program.

  • A New Approach to Power Projection: Reversing the Erosion of U.S. and Allied Military Power and Influence November 14, 2023

    Since the Cold War, U.S. defense strategy has been predicated on military forces that were superior in all domains to those of any adversary. But the nature of warfare has evolved, and that superiority is gone. The RAND National Security Research Division hosted a discussion focused on emerging approaches to projecting power against the United States' most capable adversaries and the implications of these new approaches for defense planning.

  • Select Space Concepts for the New Space Era November 14, 2023

    In this Perspective, space researchers at the RAND Corporation identify space sustainability, security, and governance concepts that they believe are worthy of future research. Each concept reflects a topic that RAND has not researched in depth before.

  • AI and Geopolitics: How Might AI Affect the Rise and Fall of Nations? November 3, 2023

    Public policy has not yet caught up to the rapidly expanding use of artificial intelligence (AI) by both states and private entities. The authors of this paper describe potential futures for the use and regulation of AI, noting that AI could become an actor, not just a factor, developing its own motives and objectives.

  • Securing Artificial Intelligence Model Weights: Interim Report October 31, 2023

    As frontier artificial intelligence (AI) models become more capable, protecting them from malicious actors will become more important. If AI systems rapidly become more capable over the next few years, achieving sufficient security will require investments — starting today — well beyond what the default trajectory appears to be. This working paper suggests steps that can be taken now to avoid future problems.

  • A Diverse and Trusted Workforce: Examining Elements That Could Contribute to the Potential for Bias and Sources of Inequity in National Security Personnel Vetting­ October 31, 2023

    National security workforce applicants must provide detailed personal information for the background investigation to adjudicate their security clearance eligibility. The authors aim to identify elements that could contribute to bias and sources of inequity in the personnel vetting process for sensitive federal positions. These factors could inhibit the U.S. government’s goals to hire personnel with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

  • Industry and Government Collaboration on Security Guardrails for AI Systems: Summary of the AI Safety and Security Workshops October 31, 2023

    These conference proceedings capture the industry and government perspectives emerging from a series of workshops hosted by the RAND Corporation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 2023 to inform policymakers and the broader public discussion about artificial intelligence safety and security. Participants identified concerns about national security, potential policies to mitigate risks, and key questions for future research.

  • How to Assess the Impact of Non-Lethal Weapons October 30, 2023

    A RAND team used a structure called a "logic model" to assess the tactical, operational, and strategic impact of non-lethal weapons. This article characterizes what these systems and operations are intended to achieve and how they do so.

  • Alternative Futures for Digital Infrastructure: Insights and Considerations for the Department of Defense October 30, 2023

    A competition for digital infrastructure (DI) is underway between the United States and China, which has implications for military forces and operations that rely on this infrastructure in competition and conflict. This report summarizes an alternative futures analysis of how the global DI could evolve out to 2050 and the military implications of those futures for the United States and China.

  • Keeping Up with the Joneses: How Can DoD Address Its Technical Talent Shortage? October 30, 2023

    The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) recognizes that it is struggling to recruit and retain the technical talent it needs. An October 2023 panel discussion examined the key role technical talent will play in DoD’s digital transformation, the factors behind the department’s current shortage of technical talent, and the steps DoD can take to address recruiting and retention barriers. 

  • Options for Strengthening ROK Nuclear Assurance October 29, 2023

    As the North Korean nuclear weapon threat has grown, many in the Republic of Korea (ROK) do not feel assured by the U.S. nuclear umbrella. They favor ROK development of nuclear weapons, a potential disaster for the ROK and the United States. The authors propose options for strengthening that assurance, including enhancing strategic clarity, coercing the North to freeze its nuclear weapons, and committing U.S. nuclear weapons to support the ROK.

  • Development as a Tool of Economic Statecraft: A Net Assessment of U.S. and Chinese Approaches October 23, 2023

    In this report, the authors conduct a net assessment of U.S. and Chinese development assistance and cooperation. The authors describe each country's differing approaches to economic engagement with developing countries and conduct a data-driven comparison to identify strategic asymmetries that might present opportunities for the United States to better compete with China for relationships and influence in the developing world.

  • Incorporating Environmental Considerations into Defense Acquisition Practices October 19, 2023

    The impacts of climate change and other environmental threats are increasingly perceived by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) as a national security threat. RAND researchers assess the knowledge, tools, and capabilities needed by the acquisition workforce to infuse environmental considerations into DoD requirements, acquisition, and resource allocation decisionmaking.

  • Women, Peace, and Security in Action: Including Gender Perspectives in Department of Defense Operations, Activities, and Investments October 18, 2023

    Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) is the recognition of women's impact on peace and security decisionmaking, and the disproportionate impact that conflict has on women.This report presents vignettes to help U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) stakeholders understand WPS relevance to national security and how WPS principles and gender perspectives have been applied in DoD mission areas.

  • The Operational Risks of AI in Large-Scale Biological Attacks: A Red-Team Approach October 16, 2023

    In this report, the authors address the emerging issue of identifying and mitigating the risks posed by the misuse of artificial intelligence (AI)—specifically, large language models—in the context of biological attacks and present preliminary findings of their research. They find that while AI can generate concerning text, the operational impact is a subject for future research.

  • The Nightingale Versus the Bear: What Persuasion Research Reveals About Ukraine's and Russia's Messaging on the War October 12, 2023

    Have Ukraine's information campaigns been more persuasive than Russia's since the start of the 2022 conflict? Who is winning the information war? The answers are complex. RAND researchers examined Russia's and Ukraine's influence campaigns — both those targeting each state's own people and military and those targeting the adversary — through the lens of persuasion research to understand whether these campaigns have been persuasive and why or why not.

  • The Race for U.S. Technical Talent: Can the DOD and DIB Compete? October 6, 2023

    This policy brief uses LinkedIn data to track the movement of tech workers between industries and metro areas, with a particular focus on the U.S. Department of Defense, the defense industrial base, and the so-called “Big Tech” companies.

  • Building U.S. Responses to Russia's Threats to Use Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons: A Game Theoretic Analysis of Brinkmanship October 5, 2023

    The authors examine U.S. tools and levers to respond to Russia’s potential employment of nonstrategic nuclear weapons in its conflict with Ukraine. They provide an overview of Russia’s nuclear doctrine and capabilities, look at Russia’s nuclear escalation through the lens of game theory, and assess how the 1999 Kargil War sheds light on possible responses for avoiding escalation without conceding to adversary demands.

  • Connector Survivability in the Current Operating Environment October 4, 2023

    Survivability is a critical consideration for the U.S. Navy’s fleet of amphibious connectors. Current operating concepts and an evolving threat environment demand that the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps re-evaluate survivability of connectors in their analysis for the current and future fleet. Connectors that were deemed survivable for missions in a different threat environment might not be survivable when operating against an evolved adversary.

  • Defending Without Dominance: Accelerating the Transition to a New U.S. Defense Strategy September 28, 2023

    This Perspective examines the gap between U.S. defense aspirations and the reality of current policy. In this Perspective, the author surveys grand strategy principles that call for a U.S. ability to project power to help deter major war in key regions, defines the U.S. defense strategic approach of the post–Cold War era and its key assumptions, and explains the reasons why these assumptions are no longer valid.

  • Qualities Precede Quantities: Deciding How Much Is Enough for U.S. Nuclear Forces September 27, 2023

    Developments in the nuclear strategies of the People's Republic of China, Russia, and North Korea have led some to argue that the United States needs to expand its own nuclear forces to deter these potential adversaries. This Perspective articulates a framework for determining sizing for U.S. nuclear forces. The author argues that adversary perceptions should be the primary criteria for sizing U.S. nuclear forces.

  • Understanding the Risk of Escalation in the War in Ukraine September 21, 2023

    This research brief describes analysis of escalation risks in the war in Ukraine, including what can be learned from the conflict to date and what escalation risks may be most acute going forward.

  • Escalation in the War in Ukraine: Lessons Learned and Risks for the Future September 21, 2023

    This report evaluates the potential for further escalation in the conflict in Ukraine, including the prospects for escalation to Russian nuclear use. The report is intended to inform U.S. and NATO policymakers as they consider how to avoid further escalation of the conflict while assisting Ukraine in its efforts to defeat the Russian invasion and to better inform the public debate around these issues.

  • Building a Joint Cyber Weapons Acquisition Program in the Marine Corps: Software Acquisition Pathway Lessons Learned September 20, 2023

    The authors present lessons learned and observations from an effort to help inform future U.S. Marine Corps Joint Cyber Weapon program acquisition information requirements and educate Department of Defense Software Acquisition Pathway (SWP) program planning efforts. Programs can better use the SWP by prioritizing the acquisition artifact schedule, ensuring stakeholder communication, tailoring artifacts to program needs, and resourcing the program effectively.

  • Impact of Individual Augmentation Policy on Navy Reserve Force Readiness September 7, 2023

    Individual augmentation, intended to address shortages, has evolved into a standard practice. The authors examine this policy's impact on the Navy Reserve in terms of recruiting, retention, individual and unit readiness, and ability to maintain a ratio of time deployed to time at home, specifically in mobilization of forces for duty in operations associated with the Global War on Terror and in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

  • Creating Selective Overmatch: An Approach to Developing Cyberspace Options to Sustain U.S. Primacy Against Revisionist Powers September 7, 2023

    The 2022 National Defense Strategy calls for “integrated deterrence” in how the U.S. military uses its cyberspace forces to address the strategic challenges posed by revisionist powers, such as China. The authors apply the concept of selective overmatch to reevaluate current U.S. cyber operations in light of competition and possible conflict with China and show how this framework can provide a roadmap for U.S. Cyber Command’s future operations.

  • The Rise of Generative AI and the Coming Era of Social Media Manipulation 3.0: Next-Generation Chinese Astroturfing and Coping with Ubiquitous AI September 7, 2023

    In this Perspective, the authors argue that the emergence of ubiquitous, powerful generative artificial intelligence poses a potential national security threat in terms of the risk of misuse by U.S. adversaries (in particular, for social media manipulation) that the U.S. government and broader technology and policy community should proactively address. The authors explore the Chinese military's use against Taiwan as a case study for these risks.

  • Rethinking Jointness? The Strategic Value of Jointness in Major Power Competition and Conflict September 5, 2023

    This report examines whether the assumption that jointness—the combination of cross-service activities, capabilities, operations, and organizations that enhances and increases the capabilities of individual services beyond their organic contributions—is valuable to the U.S. military is correct. Understanding which aspects of jointness are most valuable and why can help the Department of Defense compete more effectively against its adversaries.

  • Proposals to Address Political Interference: Outcomes of a Trilateral Dialogue September 5, 2023

    Prior to the events of February 2022, political interference was one of the most significant challenges in Russia-West relations. These proceedings reflect a series of discussions among U.S., Russian, and European Union nongovernmental experts who were convened in 2020–2021 to discuss mutual concerns regarding political interference and to find common ground on measures to address them.

  • A Framework of Deterrence in Space Operations August 31, 2023

    This report presents a framework on the nature and requirements of deterrence in space operations. Drawing on lessons from nuclear and cyber and selected national approaches to space deterrence, it presents three archetypes for space deterrence. It concludes that a comprehensive approach to space deterrence is likely to be most successful and should be tailored to address the distinct risk calculus and informational needs of various adversaries.

  • Saving the Government Money: Recent Examples from RAND's Defense-Related Federally Funded Research and Development Centers August 25, 2023

    RAND houses three defense-related federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs). FFRDCs apply the research capital they have developed over the years to help decisionmakers not only solve problems but also save money. This publication lists and summarizes recent projects that have helped save the government money or identified ways to do so.

  • Military Academy Students Can Now Retain Parental Rights: Department of Defense Options for Managing the Change August 22, 2023

    As of 2023, DoD allows enrolled cadets and midshipmen to retain parental rights. This brief explores potential DoD policy changes that could help cadet and midshipman parents care for their children, succeed in school, and become exemplary officers.

  • Ensuring Parental Rights of Military Service Academy Cadets and Midshipmen: Policy and Cost Implications August 22, 2023

    This report characterizes legal, policy, practice, and cost implications of U.S. Department of Defense options to comply with new congressional requirements to allow service academy cadets and midshipmen who become parents to retain their parental rights. The authors also recommend changes to military policies and practices that could help these student-parents better care for their children, succeed in school, and become exemplary officers.

  • Weakened States Pose Problems for War Scenarios August 21, 2023

    Any question of conflict between the United States and China must take into account diminishing state legitimacy and capacity, the privatization of violence, and the rise of non-state actors and identities.

  • Toward a New Paradigm in U.S. Foreign Policy: Harnessing the Power of American Society in Pursuit of U.S. National Security Objectives August 17, 2023

    In this Perspective, the authors call for the development of a new paradigm for U.S. foreign policy—a “whole of America” approach anchored in a shared understanding that the nation’s governments, businesses, civil society, and academic institutions all have unique roles to play in defending core U.S. principles of democracy and freedom.