Global Security

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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

  • An I-Kiribati girl watches as the Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS Millinocket arrives in Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati, June 2, 2015, photo by Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Kulp/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    America's Strategy in Oceania: Time for a Better Approach

    China has moved in earnest to engage with Oceania, while the United States is vying to get a toehold in the region. To develop an effective strategy for engaging there, Washington could seek guidance from key allies to better understand their experience, lessons, and efforts already underway.

    Jul 19, 2021

  • Aerial of Thule Air Base, Greenland, photo by JoAnne Castagna, Public Affairs/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Commentary

    Mind the GIUK Gap

    For decades, NATO forces have used nearby bases to keep tabs on Russian submarines, surface ships, and aircraft transiting the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom Gap. Strong independence movements in Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Scotland could soon jeopardize this position.

    Jul 15, 2021

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un take a walk in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this picture released by KCNA on June 21, 2019, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Can China Be a Real Partner in Bringing North Korea to the Nuclear Negotiating Table?

    The United States remains committed to the goal of denuclearization of North Korea. China is more interested in maintaining a delicate geopolitical balance to counter U.S. influence in the region and in expanding its own reach. Thus, prospects for productive U.S.-China cooperation on the North Korean nuclear threat seem faint at best.

    Jul 14, 2021

  • Image of a HAR2 Bell Griffin helicopter, seen here at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on 4 July 2021 assisting with efforts to tackle wildfires across Cyprus, photo by Cpl Phil Dye/UK Ministry of Defence Crown Copyright

    Multimedia

    Understanding the Value of Defence

    RAND Europe Defence, Security and Infrastructure director Ruth Harris and Research Leader James Black examine the ‘value proposition’ of UK defence in this audio conversation. They explore how the value it brings to the nation can be better articulated across government, to partners and to the wider public.

    Jul 13, 2021

  • Report

    Understanding the Value of Defence: Towards a Defence Value Proposition for the UK

    The UK Ministry of Defence asked RAND to develop a 'Defence Value Proposition' to provide a better understanding of why defence exists and how the value it brings to the nation can be better articulated to government, partners and the wider public.

    Jul 13, 2021

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects a long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 in an undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, May 15, 2017, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korean Nuclear Weapons Pose an Existential Threat to China

    Despite the current border closures between their two countries, China and North Korea remain resolutely pledged to a “blood-alliance.” But this partnership has vastly different implications depending on which side of the border you consider.

    Jul 13, 2021

  • Blog

    Equity in Research, North Korean Instability, Traffic Stops: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how RAND applies an equity lens to research, instability in North Korea, what police think about traffic stops, and more.

    Jul 9, 2021

  • A soldier loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad's forces is seen in Quneitra, Syria, July 22, 2018

    Commentary

    The Power and Limits of Threat: The Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act at One Year

    A powerful new U.S. sanctions law on Syria came into effect one year ago, with great notice and speculation regarding its potential effects. Now, one year later, it is apparent that the act's power lies not in who the United States has sanctioned but in who the United States could sanction.

    Jul 8, 2021

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping waves at an event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the CCP, in Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, China, July 1, 2021, photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Xi Jinping's Communist Party Valedictory Speech Can Tell Us About His Conception of China and Its Role in the World

    In a recent speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping laid out a vision of his country's future. Xi's remarks were full of imagery of righteous struggle against foreign oppressors. What can this tell us about where he sees China's relationship with the world heading?

    Jul 7, 2021

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld pauses during a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., March 29, 2005, photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

    Commentary

    Donald Rumsfeld: Anti–Nation-Builder

    As Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly resisted U.S. military participation in nation-building–type operations. Even as the United States terminates the last of those nation-building missions, that in Afghanistan, it is worth reflecting on these experiences.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, June 2, 2021, photo by U.S. Embassy Bangkok

    Commentary

    Biden's Troubled Southeast Asia Policy Needs a Reboot

    Nearly six months into Joe Biden's presidency, it is now possible to begin assessing the effectiveness of some of his administration's policies. When it comes to Southeast Asia, the Biden administration has thus far fallen short, but the future looks relatively bright with certain caveats.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • Earth partially covered by Chinese Yuan, image by Stephen Finn/Adobe Stock

    Report

    China's Drive for Power and Influence Around the World

    An analysis of China's ability to use various mechanisms of influence to shape the policies and behavior of 20 countries finds that China's economic power is the foundation for its influence. This analysis offers lessons for the United States that can inform its response.

    Jun 30, 2021

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during the 3rd Plenary Meeting of 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea, in an image released June 17, 2021, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Trying to Manage North Korean Instability Risks

    The regime in North Korea usually makes extreme efforts to prevent outsiders and even its own people from seeing instabilities there. But Kim Jong-un appears to be taking some risks trying to solidify his grip in the wake of events undermining his control.

    Jun 30, 2021

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers demonstrate their capabilities to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen in China, July 12, 2011, photo by MC1 Chad J. McNeeley/Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

    Commentary

    The Signal and the Noise: Understanding China's Military Threats

    Although China's capabilities and communication channels have changed, its fundamental approach to military deterrence signaling as a form of political coercion has not. As Australia-China relations enter a new, more confrontational era, Canberra is likely to be an increasingly frequent target of Chinese deterrence signaling.

    Jun 29, 2021

  • A journalist sits next to a screen showing Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering a speech via video for the opening ceremony of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), at a media centre in Beijing, China September 4, 2020, photo by Tingshu Wang/Reuters

    Report

    How to Manage the Changing U.S.-China Relationship

    The complexity of the strategic competition between the United States and China, two countries that remain key trading partners and occasionally cooperate against shared threats, suggests the need for a sophisticated and careful strategy to navigate potential perils and protect U.S. interests.

    Jun 22, 2021

  • Blog

    Stress Among U.S. Teachers, Russia's Global Interests, Investing in Equity: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on job-related stress among U.S. public school teachers, Russia's global interests, promoting social equity through infrastructure investments, and more.

    Jun 18, 2021

  • A U.S. Army reenlistment ceremony held at Baghdad's Cross Sabers

    Report

    Securing Gains in Fragile States: Using U.S. Leverage in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond

    This report evaluates U.S. options for stabilizing conflict-affected states by incentivizing governance reforms through military and development assistance in the context of U.S. military interventions.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • The colors are retired during a ceremony marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq in Baghdad on December 15, 2011, photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/U.S. Department of Defense

    Report

    Using U.S. Leverage to Limit Instability in Fragile States

    The United States can effectively support governance reforms in postconflict states by seizing on opportunities when partner interests align with U.S. interests. And it can use its leverage, including conditions on military and economic assistance, when interests do not align.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry conducts underway operations in the Taiwan Strait, April 10, 2020, photo by Ensign Samuel Hardgrove/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Can the United States Avoid Getting Trapped in a War Over Taiwan?

    Neither abandonment nor a more unconditional U.S. commitment to defend Taiwan from invasion by China makes sense. Between the stark choices of fleeing and fighting, what options does the United States have to bolster its position?

    Jun 14, 2021

  • Russian Mi-28N helicopters fly in formation at the Dubrovichi range near Ryazan, Russia, August 2, 2015, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Content

    Where Russia Markets and Sells Advanced Conventional Weapons

    Russia uses arms exports to further relations with other countries, influence their political and military leaders, and further its broader foreign and defense policy goals. A series of maps show the extent of its marketing, negotiating, and sales of key weapons systems.

    Jun 11, 2021