Asymmetric Warfare

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The 9/11 terrorist attacks and the war in Afghanistan are among the best-known recent examples of asymmetric warfare: conflicts between nations or groups that have disparate military capabilities and strategies. RAND investigates political and military responses to — and the impacts of — counterinsurgency, terrorism, and other forms of irregular warfare.

  • A Delta IV rocket successfully launches the Global Positioning System IIF-5 satellite from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, February 20, 2014, photo by Ben Cooper/United Launch Alliance

    Research Brief

    What Will the Future of Warfare Look Like?

    May 11, 2020

    Poor predictions about wars stem from failing to think holistically about the factors that drive changes in the global environment and their implications for warfare. Geopolitical, economic, military, space, nuclear, cyber, and other trends will shape the contours of conflict through 2030.

  • A group of U.S. NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) soldiers climb off a destroyed Bosnian tank March 16, 1996, that was hit in 1992, at the beginning of the war between Bosnian Moslem and Serbs, photo by Peter Andrews/Reuters

    Report

    Why America Fails in Irregular Warfare

    Jul 29, 2020

    A memoir drawn from four decades of experience in the U.S. Army explores the strengths and limitations of America's irregular warfare capability. The author, who often saw success at the tactical level only to be followed by strategic muddling and eventual failure, offers ideas on how to develop a world-class way of irregular war.

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    Hannah Jane Byrne

    Defense Analyst
    Education M.A. in security studies, Georgetown University; B.A. in political science, Johns Hopkins University

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    Raphael S. Cohen

    Acting Director, Strategy and Doctrine Program, RAND Project AIR FORCE; Senior Political Scientist
    Education Ph.D. in government, Georgetown University; M.A. in security studies, Georgetown University; B.A. in government, Harvard University

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    Ben Connable

    Senior Political Scientist; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education Ph.D. in war studies, King's College London; M.A. in national security affairs, Naval Postgraduate School; M.A. in strategic intelligence, American Military University; B.A. in political science, University of Colorado, Boulder

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    Brandon Corbin

    Defense Analyst
    Education M.A. in security studies, Georgetown University; B.S. in engineering management, US Mil Academy at West Point

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    Krystyna Marcinek

    Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education M.Phil. in policy analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School; M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies, Jagiellonian University, Poland

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    Erik E. Mueller

    Defense Analyst
    Education M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, University of Chicago; B.A. in international affairs, Lewis & Clark College

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    Jan Osburg

    Senior Engineer
    Education Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, University of Stuttgart; M.S. in aerospace engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

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    Christopher Paul

    Senior Social Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. in sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

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    Stephanie Pezard

    Senior Political Scientist and Associate Research Department Director for Defense and Political Sciences (DPS)
    Education Ph.D. in political science, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva; M.A. in history, French Institute of Political Science, Paris (Sciences Po); M.A. in political science, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva; B.A. in history, French Institute of Political Science, Paris (Sciences Po)

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    Eric Robinson

    Senior Research Programmer & Analyst
    Education M.P.P. in public policy, College of William & Mary; B.A. in economics, government, College of William & Mary

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    Christopher M. Schnaubelt

    Senior Political Scientist
    Education Ph.D. in political science, University of California Santa Barbara; M.S.S. in strategic studies, U.S. Army War College

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    Barbara Sude

    Adjunct Political Scientist
    Education Ph.D. in Near Eastern studies, Princeton University; B.S. in Arabic studies, Georgetown University