Defense Cooperation

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The NATO alliance served its participants well in countering the strategic threat once posed by the Soviet Union, but the rise of other regional powers and coalitions since end of the Cold War has prompted a reevaluation of existing alliances. RAND research has provided policymakers with essential information on how best to forge new defense cooperation agreements and strengthen old alliances to counter emerging security threats.

  • Flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California, August 18, 2019, photo by Scott Howe/U.S. Department of Defense

    Report

    Challenges of Deploying Ground-Based Intermediate-Range Missiles on Allied Lands

    The United States has been hoping to develop and deploy ground-based intermediate-range missiles to the Indo-Pacific. But what is the likelihood of its treaty allies in the region—Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand—hosting these systems? Are there alternatives to permanent basing?

    Apr 28, 2022

  • Fourth and fifth generation aircraft from eight countries participated in a partnership flight to kick-off Blue Flag 21, over Uvda Air Base, Israel, on Oct. 17, 2021. This biennial training event is essential to building and maintaining defensive interoperability and ensuring Israel’s and other nations’ qualitative edge. Large-force exercises, like Israel-led Blue Flag, allow partner nations to build trust and develop a common understanding of the security environment, photo by Israeli Air Force

    Report

    Security Cooperation in a Strategic Competition

    Neither China nor Russia has a formal doctrine or strategy for security cooperation. How can the United States enhance its security cooperation policies and activities to its competitive advantage?

    Apr 6, 2022

Explore Security Cooperation

  • Taiwan Navy Marines conducted a scenario-based drill near Penghu, Taiwan, October 24, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Xi Likely Won't Be Attacking Taiwan Anytime Soon

    Rather than start a war, Xi Jinping is more likely to intensify China's use of coercive measures against Taiwan, including diplomatic, economic, and military pressure coupled with cyber and psychological operations. If coercion fails, Beijing might turn to force as a last resort, but this still seems unlikely given the many complicating factors.

    Nov 15, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the U.S.- Pacific Island Country Summit at the State Department in Washington, D.C., September 29, 2022, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    America's Pacific Island Summit: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    The United States hosted its first Pacific Islands Summit in September. Pacific Island leaders and observers from over a dozen states participated in the event and pledged to jointly tackle various challenges. But this historic summit was hardly an absolute success, and should be put within its proper context.

    Nov 7, 2022

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hosts Japan's Minister of Defense Yasukazu Hamada at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., September 14, 2022, photo by Lisa Ferdinando/U.S. Department of Defense

    Commentary

    How Should the U.S. Military Share Secrets?

    For security cooperation to work, allies may need access to details of U.S. military plans and activities. But does the need for a clearly defined U.S. advantage prevent sharing information that may be broadly in the U.S. interest? Who should evaluate this advantage, and at what level?

    Oct 31, 2022

  • CM-11 tanks fire artillery during a live-fire drill, in Pingtung county, Taiwan, September 7, 2022, photo by Ceng Shou Yi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ukraine's Dream Could Be Taiwan's Nightmare

    Defenders of territorial sovereignty and a peaceful world order may be cheered by Ukraine's success, but there is danger that success could decrease the urgency of efforts to strengthen Taiwan. China will seek to learn from the problems Russia has had in Ukraine. Will the U.S. and other supporters of Taiwan do the same?

    Oct 28, 2022

  • Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building destroyed by a Russian drone strike in Kyiv, October 17, 2022, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    Planning Now for a Negotiated Outcome in Ukraine

    The United States should consider keeping open lines of communication with Russia. While it may not lead to peace in Ukraine any time soon, it could help mitigate the risks of dramatic escalation and indefinite war.

    Oct 28, 2022

  • A compilation of images showing global connections, chess pieces, and a member of the U.S. military, photos by piranka/Getty Images; Anusorn/Adobe Stock; and Lance Cpl. Mackenzie Binion/U.S. Marine Corps

    Report

    The Role of Information in U.S. Concepts for Strategic Competition

    Gray zone activities—acts of aggression that remain below the threshold of war—can be used to gain an edge in great-power competition. How can the information environment support U.S. responses to these activities?

    Oct 25, 2022

  • Russia claims to have successfully test-launched its nuclear-capable Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile in Plesetsk, Russian Federation, in this photo released by the Russian Ministry of Defence, April 20, 2022, photo by Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Putin's Nuclear Gambit Is a Huge Mistake

    Russia is losing in Ukraine, and the rhetoric of Russian leaders has recently become ever more apocalyptic. The United States and its allies should be prepared in case Russia goes down the nuclear path, but fear should not drive the Western response to Russia's nuclear bluster.

    Oct 19, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    The Challenges and Opportunities of Institutional Capacity Building Through Professional Military Education: Lessons from the Defense Education Enhancement Program

    This report is intended to inform U.S. personnel, NATO Allies, and other Euro-Atlantic governments of the Defense Education Enhancement Program's status from 2018 to 2020, its opportunities and challenges, and ways the program can be improved.

    Oct 11, 2022

  • BTS perform during the 64th Annual Grammy Awards show in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. April 3, 2022, photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Commentary

    Could K-Pop Help Deter Kim Jong-un's Provocations?

    The United States and Republic of Korea could be more specific and creative in seeking to deter Kim Jong-un. The global popularity of K-Pop could be part of the strategy.

    Oct 11, 2022

  • Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi attends a news conference in Tehran, Iran, August 29, 2022, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Iran Nuclear Deal: Is the Juice Still Worth the Squeeze?

    The talks to reinstate the Iran nuclear deal have been dragging on for 18 months. But the negotiations are not about very much; the general contours of the original agreement still hold. As the clock keeps ticking, though, it gets harder to revive it. At some point, the juice won't be worth the squeeze.

    Oct 10, 2022

  • Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers set up High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems supplied by the United States in Ukraine, July 5, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Protecting Ukraine's Future Security

    Western support for Ukraine's future security could depend in part on how the war ends and the extent to which Moscow remains threatening. Ukraine can better protect its security through robust, tangible security ties with the West.

    Oct 10, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin declares the annexation of four Ukrainian provinces at the Great Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia, September 30, 2022, photo by Grigory Sysoyev/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    A Moment of Strategic Clarity

    With the Russian mobilization and declared annexation, whatever prospects there were for a negotiated peace seem to have all but vanished. Any result short of Ukrainian victory will be, in the long run, a worse outcome for the rules-based international order.

    Oct 3, 2022

  • A Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet makes its approach for takeoff at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 13, 2022, photo by Staff Sgt. Carlos Ferran/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Should Greenland and Denmark Become Part of NORAD?

    As tensions with Russia rise to levels not seen since the Cold War, NORAD may need to detect and counter increasing numbers of aerial intrusions. One way to strengthen NORAD's capabilities: Invite Greenland and Denmark to join the command.

    Sep 16, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden talks with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1, 2021, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    Indonesia Is Looking for More Than Security Support from the United States

    Rather than remain aloof from the new great power competition between the United States and China, Indonesia has quietly, albeit determinedly, favored relations with Washington, though in reality, it does not have much of a choice.

    Sep 14, 2022

  • A Japan Ground Self Defense Force soldier (left) and a U.S. Army soldier (right) salute the Japanese and U.S. flags during the opening ceremony of Rising Thunder 2021 at Yakima Training Center, Washington, December 1, 2021, photo by Spc. Dean Johnson/U.S. Army

    Report

    Economic Benefits of U.S. Alliances and Military Engagement

    Decisions about alliances and forward military presence should be based on a range of factors beyond potential economic benefits. But there is evidence that military engagement has historically helped the U.S. economy by promoting international commerce.

    Sep 1, 2022

  • Signing of Treaty on Outer Space in May, 1964, photo by United Nations/ CC BY-SA 2.0

    Commentary

    Reduce Friction in Space by Amending the 1967 Outer Space Treaty

    Space has the potential to be a domain in which current great-power competitions and frictions can be mediated. The international community might consider updating the existing space legal regime to ensure it meets current political, economic, social, and technical challenges.

    Aug 26, 2022

  • A Ukrainian army officer looks at a destroyed SS-24 missile silo near the town of Pervomaisk, Ukraine, October 30, 2001, photo by Gleb Garanich CVI/CLH//Reuters

    Commentary

    How Russia's Nuclear Double Cross of Ukraine Teaches Dangerous Lessons

    Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the West's support for Kyiv has been tempered by an ace up Vladimir Putin's sleeve: the potential use of nuclear weapons. But other countries are taking notice, which could imperil world stability even further.

    Aug 16, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden, alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, Swedish Ambassador to the U.S. Karin Olofsdotter and Finnish Ambassador to the U.S. Mikko Hautala, signs documents endorsing Finland's and Sweden's accession to NATO, at the White House, in Washington, D.C., August 9, 2022, photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

    Commentary

    Finnish and Swedish NATO Membership: Toward a Larger, Stronger, Smarter Alliance

    Finland and Sweden are poised to become full NATO members in the near future. The Nordic pair's entry into NATO means that alliance leaders and planners confront new challenges, and just as many opportunities.

    Aug 12, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Politicized Topics in School, the War in Ukraine, Post-Quantum Cryptography: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the intrusion of politicized topics in America's schools, where the war in Ukraine may be headed, post-quantum cryptography, and more.

    Aug 12, 2022

  • The round table at the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 30, 2022, photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

    Commentary

    A New Era? NATO's Prioritisation of Human Security in an Insecure World

    Human security and NATO's role and responsibility to protect civilians during conflict saw new prioritization in the alliance's 2022 Strategic Concept. While much progress has been made, more could be done to ensure the alliance can deliver on these commitments.

    Aug 10, 2022