Department of Defense

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  • Computer simulation of military aircraft and missiles, photo by Devrimb/Getty Images

    Report

    How Well Is DoD Positioned for AI?

    Dec 17, 2019

    The U.S. Department of Defense has articulated an ambitious vision and strategy for artificial intelligence. But if it wants to get the maximum benefit from AI-enhanced systems, then it will need to improve its posture along multiple dimensions.

  • An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington D.C., June 15, 2005, photo by Jason Reed/Reuters

    Commentary

    Defense Budget Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Apr 7, 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a dramatic toll on the U.S. economy. This could have significant medium-term implications for the U.S. defense budget. The U.S. Department of Defense will need to find efficiencies that are of at least the same magnitude as the recent sequestration.

Explore United States Department of Defense

  • Blog

    Preparing for a COVID-19 Election, Hurricane Response, North Korea: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on preparing for a COVID-19 election, how the pandemic is affecting artists, North Korea's deadly artillery, and more.

    Aug 7, 2020

  • A U.S. Marine with the 3rd Marine Division moves game pieces during a game of Memoir 44’ on Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 10, 2019

    Commentary

    What Strategic Decisions on the Horizon for the Department of Defense Can Best Be Shaped Through Wargaming?

    The U.S. Marine Corps is not alone in its avid use of wargaming to shape its decisions of the future. The other services are conducting similar efforts with equal rigor and zeal. And as the national deficit grows and budgetary constraints mount, the Department of Defense will most likely increasingly leverage all its analytical tools, including wargaming.

    Aug 3, 2020

  • Naval War College President Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, left, visits the NWC Monterey program, in Monterey, CA, January 29, 2020, photo by Javier Chagoya/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Wargaming the Department of Defense for Strategic Advantage

    Defense acquisition, personnel, and management systems have long been seen as areas in need of reform, as costs and man-hours continue to increase over the years. Gaming new policies that govern these areas can offer early insights into potential stumbling blocks and provide leaders valuable feedback on decisions before major costs are incurred.

    Aug 3, 2020

  • 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 begining of the war between Bosnian Moslem and Serbs, photo by Peter Andrews/Reuters

    Report

    Why America Fails in Irregular Warfare

    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.

    Jul 29, 2020

  • Mature Black women working on a computer at home, photo by Goodboy Picture Company/Getty Images

    Commentary

    National Security and Workplace Flexibility Aren't Incompatible After All

    For years, the U.S. Defense Department dismissed workplace flexibility as being incompatible with national security. But during the pandemic, flexibility became a matter of survival for all employers, including Defense. The question now is whether it will keep recent adaptations or go back to its rigid ways.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • Detroit police line up next to an armored vehicle following a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Detroit, Michigan, June 1, 2020, photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    Commentary

    How to Reform Military Gear Transfers to Police

    Police officers equipped like soldiers have appeared on the streets of American cities amid recent protests over George Floyd's killing. How should lawmakers reform a program that makes use of excess equipment and is popular with police departments, but that also raises substantial concerns about the militarization of policing?

    Jul 13, 2020

  • China's flag superimposed over a computer chip, illustration by IvancoVlad/Getty Images

    Report

    What If China Becomes the World Leader in AI Innovation?

    Artificial intelligence technologies may become critical force multipliers in future armed conflicts. China has prioritized AI to enhance its national competitiveness and security. If its plan is successful, China will achieve a substantial military advantage over the United States and its allies by 2030.

    Jul 8, 2020

  • An Airman with the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron prepares for a close air support exercise during Southern Strike 2020 at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, MS, February 3, 2020, photo by Staff Sgt. Izabella Workman/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare' by Christian Brose

    As the Pentagon and commercial technologists continue to explore the potential of commercial technologies for the military and work towards greater adoption, they may wish to focus not only on lowering bureaucratic barriers but also on managing expectations about what technologies will be most beneficial and how they will be used.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • Report

    Benchmarking Data Use and Analytics in Large, Complex Private-Sector Organizations: Implications for Department of Defense Acquisition

    This report examines how the private sector addresses data governance and analytics to inform how the Department of Defense can develop and apply advanced analytics to acquisition challenges.

    Jun 4, 2020

  • Senior Airman Luis Perfino and Senior Airman Dane Haugbom, 940th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, walk a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot through a preflight inspection Jan. 17, 2019, at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., photo by Senior Airman Tristan D. Viglianco/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Strengthening Total Force Culture and Facilitating Cross-Component Integration in the U.S. Military

    While all U.S. military services have strived to achieve greater total force integration and a stronger total force culture across their active and reserve components, significant impediments limit the achievement of these objectives. What policies can foster cross-component integration?

    May 28, 2020

  • Report

    Building a Broader Evidence Base for Defense Acquisition Policymaking

    This report summarizes the case for a broader evidence base for defense acquisition policymaking. It also describes a prototype policy game focused on Middle-Tier Acquisition that researchers developed to enrich the available evidence base.

    May 19, 2020

  • Woman walking through airport with luggage and an image of bombed Syrian city superimposed on the background, photos by Drazen_/Getty Images and fly_and_dive/Adobe Stock

    Essay

    Civilians Returning from War Zones Need More Support

    Deployed civilians often work alongside the military in combat zones or other high-stress, high-risk areas. But when they return, their experience is much different. They come home to support that is often incomplete and insufficient, and sometimes entirely nonexistent.

    May 18, 2020

  • The Pentago, in Arlington, VA, photo by Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Be Wary of Proposals for Less Defense Budget Transparency

    The Pentagon has asked Congress to end the requirement that it make public an unclassified version of the Future Years Defense Program—the department's budget plans for at least the next five years. Although some information needs to be classified, the value of transparency for public debate and oversight in a democracy outweighs the marginal intelligence gains to U.S. adversaries.

    Apr 29, 2020

  • Half the cover of the 2018 National Defense Strategy

    Brochure

    Supporting the National Defense Strategy

    This document describes RAND's contributions to shaping the 2018 National Defense Strategy and ongoing contributions to Defense Department efforts to create the forces, posture, and operating concepts needed to achieve the goals of the strategy.

    Apr 27, 2020

  • Dissertation

    Building Better Games for National Security Policy Analysis: Towards a Social Scientific Approach

    Proposes an approach to game design grounded in logics of inquiry from the social sciences.

    Apr 7, 2020

  • Soldiers at Camp Funston, Kansas, are quarantined while recovering from the Spanish flu in 1918, photo by National Guard Bureau

    Commentary

    Pandemics and the U.S. Military: Lessons from 1918

    Military leaders today face a more benign security environment than their predecessors did during the 1918 Spanish flu. The U.S. military is engaged in operations abroad, but it's not fighting a great-power war. The Pentagon has every reason to focus on stemming the COVID-19 pandemic even if it has to absorb some downgrade in readiness.

    Apr 1, 2020

  • U.S. Airmen take off in an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 30, 2018, photo by Alejandro Pena/U.S. AIr Force

    Commentary

    Force Planning in the New Era of Strategic Competition

    If the United States means to take a return to strategic competition seriously, then force planning must evolve beyond the post–Cold War approach. A new framework would let users test their intuition and identify areas of advantage while avoiding the risk of persisting in competitions that impose onerous costs.

    Mar 28, 2020

  • News Release

    New Space Force Will Need Resources, Clear Definition of Warfighting Mission

    To meet the goals of the U.S. Space Force most space activities in the Department of Defense should be moved into the new service. Moreover, it will be critical that the Space Force clearly define and clarify its space warfighting mission.

    Mar 13, 2020

  • A military camouflage uniform bearing a U.S. Space Force nametape and U.S. Space Command shoulder patch, January 17, 2020, photo by U.S. Space Force/Handout via Reuters

    Research Brief

    How to Build an Effective, Efficient, and Independent Space Force

    To increase its likelihood of developing into a successful organization, the new U.S. Space Force should define and clarify its space warfighting missions. And most space activities in the Department of Defense should be moved into the new service.

    Mar 13, 2020