Civil-Military Relations

RAND research on civil-military relations includes studies of how a military employs civilian contractors, how military bases interact with their neighbors, and how a nation's military affects its politics—and vice versa.

  • Report


    Military Recruiter Access to High Schools: Improving Policy and Practice

    In this report—the first systematic analysis of this issue—the authors seek to provide the U.S. Department of Defense with analysis and recommendations on how to improve military recruiters’ access to high schools.

    Apr 9, 2024

  • National Guard soldiers prepare pallets of food for distribution in the Gleaners warehouse, Pontiac, Michigan, November 4, 2020, photo by MSgt David Kujawa/U.S. Air National Guard


    Addressing Stressors for National Guard Personnel

    Domestic demands on the National Guard have been much higher than in past decades as it has had to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest, border operations, and natural disasters. How has this affected Guard members, and what services and supports can help them?

    Apr 3, 2024

  • Report


    Understanding the Impact of Department of Defense Youth Programs on Bridging the Civilian-Military Divide

    The authors assess school leaders’ awareness and perception of Department of Defense youth programs, the ways such programs build connections with communities, and the extent to which these programs help bridge the civilian-military divide.

    Feb 13, 2024

  • U.S. intelligence agency seals arranged in a circle over an abstract background, images by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Golubovy/Adobe Stock


    Has Trust in the U.S. Intelligence Community Eroded?

    An analysis of the relationship between policymakers and intelligence providers finds that the degree of perceived bias in intelligence estimates is highly dependent on the presidential administration in power. And the most common reason for bias from policymakers is the desire to minimize the appearance of dissent.

    Feb 13, 2024

  • Multimedia


    What Americans Think About Veterans—and Why It Matters

    The RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute shared results from a recent survey on how U.S. adults view veterans. Experts discussed the role of public perceptions in policies to support veterans and promote national security.

    Feb 2, 2024

  • (l-r) Ryan Graves, David Grusch, and David Fravor attend a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on “Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena: Implications on National Security, Public Safety, and Government Transparency” in Washington, D.C., July 26, 2023, photo by Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters


    UFO Research Is Only Harmed by Antigovernment Rhetoric

    There is an undercurrent of conspiracy theory and, relatedly, antigovernment sentiment brewing around the issue of unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP). If it grows, it could prove toxic to any factual and scientific discussion of UAPs.

    Sep 22, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Findings from the Sustaining Delivery of the Covenant Programme

    This study, conducted on behalf of the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (AFCFT), evaluates the grant funding provided through the AFCFT’s Strengthening Delivery Programme (SDP) and Sustaining Delivery Programme.

    Sep 18, 2023

  • Local residents make anti-tank obstacles to defend the city after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, February 27, 2022, photo by Serhii Hudak/Reuters


    Ukrainian Civilians' Contributions to Resisting Russia

    Civilian-based resistance in Ukraine began in the first hours of Russia's 2022 invasion. Civilians' actions have potential value in helping ensure victory by regaining territorial integrity and maintaining political sovereignty. And this war offers insight into what civilian contributions in future wars could look like.

    Aug 15, 2023

  • U.S. Navy sailors recover a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, February 5, 2023, U.S. Navy photo via EyePress News/Reuters


    UFOs Are Not the Only Potential Threat in American Skies

    How can the United States best monitor its millions of square miles of domestic airspace for unidentified anomalous phenomena—what were once called UFOs—or anything else? Public reporting could help officials identify potential threats—but it'd help if the sightings being reported were actually unknown aerial phenomena and not U.S. military aircraft.

    Jul 25, 2023

  • A drone or other object in the sky during a colorful sunset, photo by Наталья Босяк/Adobe Stock


    Where Are Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Sightings in the United States?

    The February 2023 Chinese surveillance balloon incident raised questions about the degree to which the U.S. government knows who is flying what over its skies. Public reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena may help officials identify potential threats.

    Jul 25, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Defence Guidance for Integrated Working

    The Defence Guidance for Integrated Working aims to help defence personnel working at operational and tactical levels integrate effectively with partners across government and achieve UK objectives.

    Jun 27, 2023

  • Soldiers in Taiwan, July 6, 2020, photo by Wang Yu Ching/Office of the President, Taiwan/CC BY 2.0


    Could Taiwan Fend Off a Chinese Attack?

    China's growing military advantage suggests that, even with major improvements to Taiwan's defenses, U.S. intervention will be necessary to deter or defeat an attack by China. Changes in aspects of Taiwan's political leadership and social cohesion offer the surest path for developing the island's capacity to resist a large-scale attack.

    Jun 27, 2023

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry views Kabul from the window of a Black Hawk military helicopter in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 26, 2013, photo by U.S. State Department/Alamy


    The Bureaucratic Inertia of U.S. Afghanistan Policy

    The U.S. policy goal of preventing Afghanistan from becoming a haven for terrorists remained constant for 20 years even as the dynamics of the war and the will of the policymaking community changed and there was no apparent hope of military victory. Why?

    Feb 21, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Policymaking to Support Resilience in Democratic Countries: An Examination of Sweden, Israel, and Australia

    This article identifies measures that contribute to resilience in democracies. Policymakers in democratic countries should anticipate emerging trends and threats to enhance their resilience in a complex and dangerous security environment.

    Nov 8, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Teachers' Stress, Drug Dealing in San Francisco, Preventing Mass Shootings: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on stress among America's educators, what state governments can do to prevent targeted violence, stopping open-air drug dealing in San Francisco, and more.

    Jun 17, 2022

  • A young programmer working late at night, photo by gorodenkoff/Getty Images


    Comparing the Organizational Cultures of the Department of Defense and Silicon Valley

    The U.S. Department of Defense seeks to work more effectively with Silicon Valley in order to better leverage artificial intelligence technology. What cultural differences might complicate DoD-Silicon Valley collaboration? And in what areas is there common ground?

    Jun 9, 2022

  • Boys gather near a building damaged by a U.S. drone air strike targeting suspected al Qaeda militants in Shabwa, Yemen, February 3, 2013, photo by Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi/Reuters


    Trying to Forestall the Next Civilian Casualty Horror

    After civilians are injured or killed, the U.S. Defense Department isn't doing enough to learn from its own failures. The Pentagon needs to devote resources and senior leader attention to an issue that has historically lacked both. Civilian protection should become the singular priority for a critical mass of people across the organization.

    Feb 3, 2022

  • Military parade after the 2021 coup d'état in Kaloum, Guinea, September 6, 2021, photo by Aboubacarkhoraa/CC BY 4.0 International


    Are Military Coups Back in Style in Africa?

    There have been five coups in sub-Saharan Africa since August 2020. On a continent that was recently lauded for its democratic advancement, this backsliding suggests the military coup may be dangerously back in fashion. Why are more coups happening now?

    Dec 1, 2021

  • The Baltic Way demonstration on the Riga-Bauska highway, near Kekava, Latvia, August 23, 1989, photo by Uldis Pinka/CC-BY-SA


    Civilian Resilience in the Baltic States

    Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have a history of resistance to foreign occupation. If the countries were occupied today, civilians could play a powerful role in their defense. They could impose costs on the occupier, deny consolidation, reduce capacity for repression, secure allied support, and expand popular support.

    Nov 1, 2021

  • Report


    Enhancing Defence's Contribution to Societal Resilience in the UK: Lessons from International Approaches

    This study sought to understand other nations' approaches to societal resilience to enhance UK resilience. The study defined societal resilience and its importance, analysed other countries' practices, and identified lessons relevant to UK Defence.

    Oct 21, 2021