Global Security Environment

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Global security includes military and diplomatic measures that nations and international organizations such as the United Nations and NATO take to ensure mutual safety and security. RAND provides analyses that help policymakers understand political, military, and economic trends around the world; the sources of potential regional conflict; and emerging threats to the global security environment.

  • Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram from 2009 to 2021, speaks in an unknown location in Nigeria in this still image from a video obtained on January 15, 2018, handout from Sahara Reporters via Reuters

    Report

    How to Reduce Violent Nonstate Actors' Abilities to Adapt

    Jun 6, 2022

    Violent nonstate actors—terrorist groups, drug trafficking organizations, and others—pose durable and direct threats to U.S. security interests. Why are they so capable of adapting to changes in their environments, and how might the Army detect and mitigate such adaptations before they occur?

  • 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

    Apr 6, 2022

    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?

Explore Global Security

  • 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

  • A suspected missile is fired, in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 22, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Multimedia

    North Korean Sanctions Evasion

    The United Nations imposed increasingly restrictive sanctions on North Korea after each of the six nuclear weapons tests that it conducted between 2009 and 2016. In this film, experts discuss the threats posed by North Korean proliferation and the importance of enforcing sanctions.

    Aug 15, 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

  • 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

  • China's PLA released footage on August 8, 2022, showing training exercises conducted by the Navy's 2nd Type 075 amphibious assault ship, the Guangxi, photo by EyePress via Reuters

    Report

    Hypothetical Scenarios of U.S.-China Conflict

    The prospect of China overtaking the United States to attain global primacy appears unlikely, but it is not impossible. An analysis of two conflict scenarios—one low-intensity and one high-intensity—illuminates how a U.S.-China war of power transition might unfold.

    Aug 10, 2022

  • Blog

    Our New CEO, Algorithmic Bias, Equity in the Workplace: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on what RAND’s new president and CEO envisions for the future, addressing bias in health care algorithms, creating equitable change in the workplace, and more.

    Aug 5, 2022

  • The International Space Station, November 25, 2009, photo by NASA

    Commentary

    Russia's Withdrawal from the ISS, Another Sign of Its Space Decline?

    Russia's threatened exit from the International Space Station could simply be more bluster from Moscow at a time of heightened tension between Russia and the West over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But it also appears to be another signal that Russia's profile in space is in decline, a trend that is likely to continue and that the United States could be preparing for now.

    Aug 4, 2022

  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Kiribati's President Taneti Maamau shake hands during a signing ceremony in Beijing, China, January 6, 2020, photo by Mark Schiefelbein/Pool/Reuters

    Testimony

    China's Gambit in the Pacific

    The geostrategic dynamics between China, the Pacific Island countries, and the United States and its allies and partners have evolved over the years. What are China's strategic goals for the region? And how could the United States improve its profile as China continues to try to enhance its own?

    Aug 3, 2022

  • Ukrainian troops using advanced U.S. M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to attack Russian targets near Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, July 4,2022, photo by Armed Forces of Ukraine/Cover Im via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Could U.S. Weapons Assistance to Ukraine Lead to Russian Escalation?

    The United States and its allies should certainly continue providing Ukraine with the matériel it needs, but they should also—in close consultation with Kyiv—begin opening channels of communication with Russia. An eventual cease-fire should be the goal, even as the path to it remains uncertain.

    Aug 1, 2022

  • A suited man's hand reaching for the receiver of a red phone, photo by urbancow/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Another 'Hotline' with China Isn't the Answer

    While well-intentioned, another U.S.-PRC hotline would give false hope that the two countries would resolve disputes more rapidly during a crisis. The United States is better off changing its expectations, understanding how the PRC views crisis communications, and shifting the focus to the internal, inter-agency process by which U.S. policymakers would coordinate in a crisis with Beijing.

    Jul 27, 2022

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, before a meeting in Beijing, China, April 25, 2019, photo by Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Military Aid Is Probably Less Than You Think

    The first comprehensive assessment of Chinese military aid shows that China's $560 million total during 2013–2018 pales in comparison to the U.S. total of over $35 billion in the same period. This should offer advantages in the intensifying U.S.-China strategic competition.

    Jul 26, 2022

  • U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris virtually addresses the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Suva, Fiji, July 13, 2022, photo by Ben McKay/AAPIMAGE via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    China's Pacific Push Is Backfiring

    Beijing has had only limited success in spreading its influence in the Pacific, with the notable exceptions of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati. To be sure, other victories should be expected to follow. The overall picture, however, is far more challenging for China.

    Jul 26, 2022

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    The Sources of Societal Competitiveness: How Nations Actually Succeed in Long-Term Rivalries

    Seven characteristics are consistently associated with national dynamism and competitive position. This brief summarizes the relationship between a nation's social condition and its global standing and applies the lessons to the United States today.

    Jul 18, 2022

  • Hanging lightbulb with connecting dots in foreground, many hanging lightbulbs out of focus in background, photo by onurdongel/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Embracing Intrinsic Cultural Advantages in Innovation

    The United States has long enjoyed the benefits of novel technology, but it could lose ground soon as other countries advance. Could it be time for the United States to embrace the advantages in innovation that it holds relative to near-peers like China?

    Jul 15, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Adaptive Engagement for Undergoverned Spaces: Concepts, Challenges, and Prospects for New Approaches

    This report is a compendium of expert insights regarding opportunities for investing in science and technology to increase U.S. ability to engage in long-term competition in undergoverned spaces.

    Jul 13, 2022

  • A soldier sits atop a U.S. tank at the Yuma proving ground with orange clouds of dust behind them.

    Tool

    Forecasting Demand for U.S. Ground Forces: An Interactive Tool

    This interactive tool uses a dynamic forecasting model to project future demand for U.S. ground forces. The resulting forecasts can help inform U.S. military decisions regarding future force planning, posture, and investments.

    Jul 6, 2022

  • Soldiers from 1st Cavalry Division crouch in front of tanks during an exercise

    Report

    Forecasting Demand for U.S. Ground Forces: Assessing Future Trends in Armed Conflict and U.S. Military Interventions

    This report identifies potential future demands for U.S. ground forces under different scenarios, including size, location, and capabilities, to inform Army decisions regarding future force planning, posture, and investments.

    Jul 6, 2022

  • South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden arrive for a state dinner at the National Museum of Korea, in Seoul, South Korea, May 21, 2022, photo by Lee Jin-man/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Yoon Suk-yeol Is Biden's Perfect South Korea Partner

    Yoon Suk-yeol, South Korea's conservative new president, has shown that he is in lockstep with U.S. President Joe Biden on foreign policy. During Biden's Indo-Pacific trip in May, their conversations in the security domain suggest Yoon's overlapping tenure with Biden heralds a golden era in the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

    Jul 5, 2022

  • Blog

    Overturning Roe, a New Mental Health Hotline, Russia: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how repealing Roe v. Wade could affect women in the military, whether America is prepared to launch a new emergency mental health hotline, Russia's war in Ukraine, and more.

    Jul 1, 2022

  • Residents of Raqqa gather in the morning to drink tea after they had been allowed back to inspect their homes, photo by Aboud Hamam

    Essay

    Civilian Casualties: Lessons from the Battle for Raqqa

    The United States' emphasis on minimizing civilian harm in Raqqa, Syria, was quite clear and strong up and down the chain of command. But the way in which the U.S. military waged war in Raqqa too often undercut that commitment. The Pentagon asked RAND to find out what happened.

    Jul 1, 2022