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.

  • A world map puzzle with a piece on top, photo by Yuriy Panyukov/Adobe Stock

    Report

    A U.S. Grand Strategy of Restraint

    Jan 21, 2021

    Some U.S. policymakers have expressed interest in a realist grand strategy of restraint. Under this approach, the United States would cooperate more with other powers, reduce its forward military presence, and end or renegotiate some security commitments. What are the policy implications of embarking down this path?

  • The USS John S. McCain conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force fast combat support ship JS Omi, November 28, 2020, photo by MC2 Markus Castaneda/U.S. Navy

    Report

    Japan's Ability and Willingness to Assist U.S. Forces in the East China Sea

    Dec 14, 2020

    Should a conventional high-end contingency erupt in the East China Sea between the United States and China, Japan could support the U.S. military. But that assistance would be limited, in terms of capabilities, existing legal restrictions, and political realities.

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    Multimedia

    The Need for Space Norms

    RAND senior political scientist Stephen Flanagan discusses the increasing level of space activity and the need for space norms to provide guidance for how nations should conduct space operations.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden walk on the Colonnade prior to their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2021, photo by Doug Mills/Pool via CNP/InStar

    Commentary

    'Joe-Yoshi' Spirit Buoys Japan-U.S. Alliance in Turbulent Seas

    President Biden and Prime Minister Suga appear to have established a warm, personal rapport while communicating a clear vision of the importance of working together to end the pandemic, combat climate change, preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific, and defend democracy.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchange documents during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • North Korea displays what appears to be its largest intercontinental ballistic missile during a parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Workers' Party, October 10, 2020, photo by KCNA

    Report

    Countering the Risks of North Korean Nuclear Weapons

    There is a growing gap between North Korea's nuclear weapon threat and South Korean and U.S. capabilities to defeat it. Because these capabilities will take years to develop, attention should be focused on where the threat could be in the mid to late 2020s and strategy options that could be employed to counter it.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi at a joint press conference in Tokyo, March 16, 2021, photo by Yomiuri Shimbun/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden Puts Japan at the Center of U.S. Policy in Asia

    Addressing the Chinese threat in the Indo-Pacific requires working with allies and partners. So far, Japan appears to be one of the priority relationships for the Biden administration.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft return after a long-range raid from Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Nov. 4, 2016, photo by Sergeant Major Michael Cato/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    The United States Considers Reinforcing Its 'Pacific Sanctuary'

    Soon after he took office, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a posture review to ensure that the U.S. global footprint is the right size to support U.S. strategy. Japan's continued importance to U.S. strategy and Tokyo's increased willingness to be more proactive in the security domain mean that Japan could see an uptick in U.S. military presence after this review is complete.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the Prime Minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, March 16, 2021, photo by Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Japan-U.S. Summit and Cooperation with South Korea

    The Biden administration's goal of renewed Japan–South Korea–U.S. trilateralism is laudable and promising, but substantial obstacles remain. The passage of time alone is not going to strengthen ties between South Korea and Japan. Washington may have to play a leading role if it wants to see relations between Seoul and Tokyo improve.

    Apr 6, 2021

  • The modern creative communication and internet network connect in smart city, photo by Blue Planet Studio/AdobeStock

    Multimedia

    U.S.-Japan Alliance Conference: Advancing Cooperation on Defense and Strategic Technology

    In its ongoing U.S.-Japan Alliance conference series, RAND hosted two virtual events in February 2021 to tackle important topics facing the United States and Japan.

    Mar 31, 2021

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (R) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne (L) participate in the inaugural Quad leaders meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in a virtual meeting in Sydney, Australia, March 13, 2021, photo by Dean Lewins/Reuters

    Commentary

    What to Expect When You're Expecting So Much from the Quad

    In March, the leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia met virtually for their first Quadrilateral Security Dialogue group meeting. What are the goals of the Quad? What tangibly can or will the Quad do and what does it look like in practice?

    Mar 31, 2021

  • Multimedia

    Multimedia

    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East Panel Discussion

    The start of a new U.S. administration offers an opportunity to rethink some of the fundamental premises underlying American policymaking in the Middle East.

    Mar 29, 2021

  • People walk at a street market in Sanaa, Yemen, February 5, 2021, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Commentary

    Congressional Options to Advance Peace in Yemen

    An enduring peace in Yemen will require addressing Yemen's most immediate needs while working to develop its economic, political, and security institutions. U.S. lawmakers have the tools to help shape this effort and could help end the conflict and bring stability to Yemen.

    Mar 29, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    The U.S.-Japan Alliance and Rapid Change on the Korean Peninsula: Proceedings from a Pair of Conferences

    Few areas of the world are more geostrategically important to the United States and Japan than the Korean Peninsula. These conference proceedings explore how changes on the Korean Peninsula are seen by observers in Japan and the United States.

    Mar 26, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a nationally televised address to the nation in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 11, 2021, photo by Chris Kleponis /Pool via CNP/Reuters

    Commentary

    Reevaluating U.S. Partnerships in the Middle East Under the Biden Administration

    U.S. partnerships in the Middle East are in particular need of modernization, and the Biden administration could seize the opportunity to reevaluate its relations with traditional partners. A good start could be to elevate regional stability as the United States' primary interest in the Middle East and to pursue this aim with tools that extend beyond military cooperation.

    Mar 17, 2021

  • Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, observes ship formation from the USS Nimitz in the South China Sea, February 9, 2021, photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Vietnam Must Be Pleased with the Biden Administration—for the Most Part

    After four years of steadily strengthening U.S.-Vietnam security relations under the Trump administration, the presidential transition to Joe Biden naturally carries some measure of uncertainty for Hanoi. Early signs from the Biden administration, however, are extremely positive for Vietnam.

    Mar 16, 2021

  • U.S. Marines check a barrel for contamination during a training exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, California, April 30, 2013, photo by Sgt. Keonaona C. Paulo/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Could the Bioweapons Treaty Be Another Tool for Addressing Pandemics?

    What might governments do to reduce the risk of future large-scale biological attacks or naturally occurring pandemics? Perhaps now is the right time to revisit the 46-year-old Biological Weapons Convention treaty and make it a better tool against future biological threats.

    Mar 12, 2021

  • A pro-government tribal fighter stands at his position in Marib, Yemen, October 2, 2020, photo by Ali Owidha/Reuters

    Commentary

    Pathways to Peace in Yemen: National Reconciliation or a 'Phased' Approach?

    Any pathway to an enduring peace in Yemen could take decades to recover from the economic, political, and social costs of this civil war. A phased approach could require patience from the Yemeni people and a robust and enduring commitment from the international community. But war has brought Yemen to this point, and there are few remaining options.

    Mar 5, 2021

  • A U.S. Air Force 34th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-35 Lighting II conducts an inflight refueling in the skies above the United Arab Emirates, May 8, 2020, photo by Tech. Sgt. Kat Justen/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    What the UAE Weapons Deal Says About the United States and Its Alliances

    Various U.S. administrations have long wanted U.S. allies to do more, but in many parts of the world the most logical partners are authoritarian states with different interests than those of the United States. The sale of military equipment to the United Arab Emirates provides just the latest example.

    Mar 1, 2021

  • Japan's Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi attend a video conference with Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Defence Minister Ben Wallace (on the screen) at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, February 3, 2021, hoto by Franck Robichon/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Strong Japan-U.K. Alliance Needed to Counter China

    With Brexit behind it, Britain faces a question about what role it should play in the world. Assuming it wants to remain a power that can shape—but not dominate—international relations, it makes sense to partner with like-minded states, such as Japan.

    Feb 24, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Traditional U.S. Approaches to Middle East Not Working: Reimagined Strategy Would Lean Less on Massive Arms Sales, More ...

    U.S. policies in the Middle East are built on outdated “legacy” aid packages, massive arms sales, and a disproportionate focus on the Iranian threat that fail to advance American interests—or help the region's people—and need to be rethought.

    Feb 23, 2021

  • A view from space of the Middle East, West Asia, and East Europe at night, photo by wael alreweie/Getty Images

    Report

    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East

    Long-standing U.S. policies in the Middle East that rely on defeating threats and keeping partners on “our side” have fallen short. What if the U.S. approach shifted from focusing on the threat of the day to a positive vision of a region supported by increased diplomatic and economic investments?

    Feb 23, 2021