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.

  • The U.S. Navy's guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence transits international waters of the South China Sea with ships from India, Japan, and the Philippines, May 5, 2019, photo by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

    Report

    The Thickening Web of Asian Security Cooperation

    Aug 29, 2019

    Key U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific have been strengthening their defense ties with regional actors over the past two decades. To what extent is this a response to the perceived threat of a rising, assertive China? And how will these new commitments affect the United States?

  • A U.S. soldier marches, followed by troops from various NATO countries, during a ceremony of the transfer of command in Herat, Afghanistan, May 31, 2005, photo by Ahmad Fahim/Reuters

    Testimony

    The U.S.-European Partnership Since World War II

    Mar 26, 2019

    The relationship between the United States and Europe has advanced U.S. and global security since the end of World War II. The partnership has benefited the United States several times, including during the post-Cold War period, the years after the September 11 attacks, and the current era of strategic competition with Russia and China.

Explore Security Cooperation

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-In (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019, photo by Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

    Commentary

    South Korea–Japan Tensions Complicate U.S. Efforts to Leverage Allies in Competition with China

    The rapid deterioration of ties between South Korea and Japan not only undercuts America's Indo-Pacific strategy, it also increases the risks to U.S. allies and partners in the region. Just how consequential is the growing South Korea–Japan tension for U.S. strategy and what is Washington doing to address the issue?

    Sep 17, 2019

  • An Israeli soldier stands guard under an Israeli national flag in the Jordan Valley near the Jewish settlement of Maale Efrayim, January 2, 2014, photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

    Commentary

    Israel’s War with Iran May Be Going Too Far

    Israel has a right to defend itself from Iranian threats to its country. American leaders should consider balancing support for Israel's efforts to counter Iran with firm redlines about activities negatively impacting American interests.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • People carry banners and Algerian national flags during a protest calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit, in Algiers, Algeria, March 22, 2019, photo by Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

    Commentary

    African Dictators Have Been Losing Power—Some to Democratic Governments. Militaries Can Tip the Scales Toward Democracy

    Africa's security forces most often make headlines when they commit atrocities, crack down on protesters, or seize power in coups. But Africa's troops can also contribute to democracy and peace when they lay down their arms or refuse orders to turn their guns against the people.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • Globe map on grunge texture, photo by caracterdesign/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Time to Return to the Basics of Statecraft

    After two decades of setbacks abroad, it's time to ask whether the decline in American influence is irreversible. Ultimately, neither China nor Russia is responsible for these difficulties. Washington's failures have been self-inflicted, the result of flawed policy rather than any decisive shift in the global balance of power.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • Soldiers represent their nation's flags during the opening ceremony of Saber Strike 2015 held in Pabrade, Lithuania, June 8, 2015, photo by Sgt. James Avery/U.S. Army

    Report

    How Willing Are NATO Members to Defend Their Baltic Allies?

    What factors would make NATO allies more or less likely to respond to a Russian attack? And what can be done to reduce their vulnerability to Russian influence and to increase alliance cohesion?

    Aug 29, 2019

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a working lunch at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Osaka, Japan, on Friday, June 28, 2019, photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan's Hormuz Dilemma

    Japan is a staunch U.S. ally in the Indo-Pacific. But any decision to support a coalition against Iran in the Middle East is likely to put Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a tough position.

    Aug 16, 2019

  • Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (L) and U.S. President Ronald Reagan begin their mini-summit talks in Reykjavik, October 11, 1986, photo by Mal Langsdon/Reuters

    Commentary

    Reagan's Cold War Lessons for Handling Russia

    Rising public protests in Russia may be putting the Kremlin on the defensive at home. But Moscow is playing offense abroad, challenging the West more than at any time since Ronald Reagan's presidency. Reagan's strategy to counter the Kremlin back then offers insights that could help guide U.S. policy today.

    Aug 9, 2019

  • Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a news conference in Tehran, Iran, August 5, 2019, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Iran's Cooperation with the Taliban Could Affect Talks on U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has acknowledged that his country has some level of cooperation with the Taliban. How did Iran's relationship with the Taliban come about? And how might it affect the future of U.S.-Taliban talks?

    Aug 9, 2019

  • Report

    Future collaboration opportunities for light and medium multirole helicopters in Europe

    RAND Europe examined the scope for collaboration between European states in light and medium multirole helicopters throughout their life-cycle (incl. maintenance, procurement, upgrade and R&D), in support of the European Defence Agency (EDA).

    Jul 19, 2019

  • Report

    Africa's Role in Nation-Building: An Examination of African-Led Peace Operations

    What have the peacekeeping missions undertaken by African institutions in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Darfur, the Comoros, Somalia, and the Lake Chad Basin achieved?

    Jun 28, 2019

  • Research Brief

    How African Institutions Help Keep the Peace

    African-led missions are often the peacekeepers of last resort, taking on tasks rejected by others. Two of the six African operations examined helped set a relatively peaceful trajectory. Three of the missions contributed to improving security.

    Jun 28, 2019

  • A helicopter lands during the trident juncture exercise in the Netherlands

    Report

    NATO's Amphibious Forces: Command and Control of a Multibrigade Alliance Task Force

    RAND researchers facilitated three wargaming events to explore command and control of NATO's amphibious forces in major combat operations. The authors note results and implications for future force development.

    Jun 27, 2019

  • Fishing boats departing from Shenjiawan port in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province towards the East China Sea fishing grounds, September 17, 2012, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Report

    How the United States Can Compete in the Gray Zone

    America is entering a period of intensifying strategic competition with Russia and China. U.S. officials expect this to play out below the threshold of armed conflict, in the gray zone between peace and war. What policy options does the United States have to respond to gray zone threats?

    Jun 27, 2019

  • Report

    A U.S. Option Playbook for Contingency Planning to Reclaim Scarborough Shoal

    In this paper, the author proposes a graduated menu of response options for the United States to consider in the event that China undertakes irreversible actions to alter the status quo of Scarborough Shoal.

    Jun 27, 2019

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervises a strike drill during a military drill in North Korea, May 4, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    One Year After Singapore: The North Korea Problem Is Bigger Than Nukes

    After two summits between the United States and North Korea, and little to show in the way of deliverables on dismantlement, hopes that a third summit may yield a denuclearization deal seem a bit unrealistic. Essentially, there has been no indication of intent on Kim's part to denuclearize. But the North Korea problem is much greater than nukes.

    Jun 17, 2019

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, June 14, 2019, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Costs of Confrontation with Iran Are Mounting

    Even if the United States and Iran avoid a direct military clash, recent escalation and the U.S. maximum pressure campaign are exacting long-term costs for U.S. interests and regional stability in ways that may be difficult if not impossible to reverse.

    Jun 17, 2019

  • Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader holding pictures of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Beirut, Lebanon, October 11, 2016, photo by Aziz Taher/Reuters

    Commentary

    Iran's Network of Fighters in the Middle East Aren't Always Loyal to Iran

    Iran's nonstate partners are emerging as central players in the escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran, and may be a driver of further escalation. But how involved is Iran with these proxy groups?

    May 21, 2019

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq March 11, 2019, photo by Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters

    Commentary

    Can Anyone Save the Iran Nuclear Deal Now?

    Europe faces mounting pressure from both Tehran and Washington regarding the Iran nuclear deal. European countries could take steps to signal their commitment to upholding the deal, but doing so may alienate the United States.

    May 10, 2019

  • Members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces' airborne troops stand at attention during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base, Japan, October 23, 2016, photo by Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

    Commentary

    With Little Fanfare, Japan Just Changed the Way It Uses Its Military

    In early April, Japan deployed its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) abroad to join a multinational force not connected to the United Nations. This is the first time that SDF personnel will participate in overseas peacekeeping operations not under UN control. The difference may not seem important, but it is.

    May 3, 2019