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.

  • A Delta IV rocket successfully launches the Global Positioning System IIF-5 satellite from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, February 20, 2014, photo by Ben Cooper/United Launch Alliance

    Research Brief

    What Will the Future of Warfare Look Like?

    May 11, 2020

    Poor predictions about wars stem from failing to think holistically about the factors that drive changes in the global environment and their implications for warfare. Geopolitical, economic, military, space, nuclear, cyber, and other trends will shape the contours of conflict through 2030.

  • Representatives of 28 countries tour the Grafenwoehr training facilities and a live-fire demonstration of the XM1296 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle-Dragoon, in Grafenwoehr, Germany, September 2018, photo by Markus Rauchenberger/U.S. Army

    Research Brief

    Reimagining Conventional Arms Control

    Apr 29, 2020

    For much of the past 30 years, conventional arms control (CAC) has played a historic role in ensuring the security of Europe. But today, the CAC regime is outdated and mostly irrelevant. New approaches to CAC are needed to address the challenges posed by the current security environment.

Explore Global Security

  • Syrian Democratic Forces and U.S. troops are seen during a patrol near Turkish border in Hasakah, Syria, November 4, 2018

    Commentary

    America's Absence Could Be Syria's New Nightmare

    President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria reverses his administration's recent policy of retaining them as long as Iranian troops stay. U.S. withdrawal would give Bashar al-Assad, Iran, and Russia freer rein to subdue opposition forces. And Assad could feel emboldened to act with greater impunity and brutality.

    Jan 10, 2019

  • A soldier stands guard near a poster of Syria's President Bashar al Assad and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Rastan, Syria, June 6, 2018

    Commentary

    Confusion Over the U.S. Withdrawal from Syria

    Washington's strategy in Syria has been to impose costs on the Syrian government by diplomatic ostracism and economic sanctions. This punitive approach is morally satisfying and politically expedient, but as a practical matter it just helps perpetuate the conflict and sustain Assad's dependency on Iran.

    Jan 9, 2019

  • Popular Mobilisation Forces fighters ride in a tank near the Iraqi-Syrian border in al-Qaim, Iraq, November 26, 2018

    Commentary

    Withdrawing from Syria Leaves a Vacuum That Iran Will Fill

    President Trump's decision to withdraw American troops from Syria may be unintentionally signaling that the United States is unwilling to compete in critical geopolitical hotspots. Such a message could embolden powerful states—including Iran—to expand their presence.

    Jan 8, 2019

  • Journal Article

    Crossing Interagency Lines: Enhancing Navy-Coast Guard Cooperation to Combat Gray Zone Conflicts of East Asia

    Using the region of East Asia as a case study, paper proposes that greater coordination and interoperability between navies and coast guards should be pursued among States in the region as one prescription to address gray zone challenges.

    Jan 8, 2019

  • Blog

    Data Breaches, Marijuana, Turkey: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on consumer reactions to data breaches, understanding teen marijuana use after legalization, why the United States can't rely on Turkey to defeat ISIS, and more.

    Jan 4, 2019

  • A Turkish-backed Syrian rebel rides on a truck with a mounted weapon at Manbij countryside, Syria, December 28, 2018

    Commentary

    The United States Can't Rely on Turkey to Defeat ISIS

    Relying on Turkey to shoulder the burden of countering the Islamic State will provide the terrorist group with an opportunity to revive itself at a critical stage in the fight. Turkey's main focus is on the Kurds and Erdogan's opposition. Eradicating the Islamic State is a secondary priority that has often been ignored.

    Jan 2, 2019

  • U.S. Soldiers surveil the area during a combined joint patrol in Manbij, Syria, November 1, 2018

    Commentary

    Trump's Syria Withdrawal: Right Idea, Wrong Way, Wrong Time

    President Trump's desire to withdraw from Syria is consistent with his and his predecessor's national strategies, but the manner in which the decision has been taken is highly counterproductive. Unless modified it could have disastrous consequences, says James Dobbins.

    Dec 26, 2018

  • Collage of 2018 most popular research images

    Blog

    The Most Popular RAND Research of 2018

    RAND serves as an objective source of facts that help inform the world's most pressing policy debates. When decisions are based on the best evidence, that's when public policy can have a positive impact on people's lives. We're highlighting the 10 research projects that RAND.org readers found most engaging this year.

    Dec 21, 2018

  • A train launched to operate on the Standard Gauge Railway line constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation and financed by Chinese government arrives at the Nairobi Terminus on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, May 31, 2017

    Commentary

    The Good and Bad of the Trump Administration's New Africa Strategy

    The Trump administration's Africa strategy combines a turn away from counterterrorism as a priority, emphasis on trade, and working to help Africans solve their own problems, all of which could be opportunities for a more positive relationship. The implied prioritization of great power competition, however, suggests the real risk of a return to Cold War-era approach.

    Dec 20, 2018

  • A 3D rendering of a chess board on a globe

    Report

    What Does the Emerging Era of International Competition Look Like?

    There is a general expectation of a new era of strategic competition, characterized by growing rivalry in the political, economic, and military spheres. But there is no consensus on what that means or what forms it could take. Theory and history can shed light on the coming era.

    Dec 19, 2018

  • NATO Chiefs of Defense meet during the NATO Military Committee Conference at Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, September 28, 2018

    Commentary

    NATO Needs a European Level of Ambition

    As NATO finalizes its new political guidance designed to shape future military forces, it has the chance to both strengthen Europe’s commitment to burden-sharing and relieve American concern about the creation of a new European Army. Building an enhanced European capacity within NATO entails some risk, but the benefits may outweigh concerns.

    Dec 10, 2018

  • A Russian cargo ship beneath a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea, Crimea, November 25, 2018

    Commentary

    No Russian Let-Up on Ukraine

    Moscow's seizure of Crimea and war in eastern Ukraine have led the West to sanction Russians and expand aid to Ukraine, and NATO to shift land and air forces eastward. Expanded Russian coercion may draw more NATO naval power closer to Russia's shores and lead to tougher sanctions.

    Dec 7, 2018

  • Report

    Building Partner-Nation Capacity Through the Defense Education Enhancement Program

    This document reviews the Defense Education Enhancement Program (DEEP) by defining the program, its functions, and why it is valuable to participating nations.

    Dec 4, 2018

  • A U.S. soldier takes part in a defense exercise with British and Lithuanian soldiers in Mikyciai, Lithuania, June 17, 2017

    Report

    Rethinking the U.S. Approach to Force Planning

    The force planning standard used since the end of the Cold War is ill-suited for today. Force planning should focus on modernizing the capabilities and posture of U.S. forces to better enable them to deter and defeat aggression by China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Salafist-jihadi groups.

    Nov 28, 2018

  • Senators Marco Rubio (left) and Jim Risch speak at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, June 13, 2017

    Commentary

    Congress Can Save Arms Control

    The Trump administration is seeking agreements with North Korea and Iran to eliminate their nuclear arms potential. Success may hinge on cooperation between the White House and Congress.

    Nov 27, 2018

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leads the testing of a newly developed tactical weapon in this undated photo released on November 16, 2018

    Commentary

    Why North Korea Sanctions Relief Is Inappropriate at This Time

    In early 2018, Kim Jong Un signaled that he was ready to negotiate abandoning North Korea's nuclear weapons with the United States. But since then, Pyongyang hasn't taken steps to denuclearize. The DPRK's actions speak louder than its words.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • Senior military officials watch a parade at the main Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 9, 2018

    Commentary

    How America Can Test North Korea's True Intentions

    While North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has suggested he may be prepared to abandon his nuclear ambitions, there has been no proof that he is serious. The United States could take steps to discover Kim's true intentions.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • Aerial view of the horizon and sea ice at the ice floe edge at midnight, Baffin Island, Canada

    Testimony

    Climate, Geopolitics, and Change in the Arctic

    Climate change is increasing worldwide interest in the Arctic, where the physical impacts of the change are being felt sooner and more intensely than in other regions. But climate is just one of many key factors that will influence the Arctic's geopolitical future.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • Russian nuclear ice breaker heading to the North pole through pack ice, aerial shot from helicopter

    Testimony

    Russia’s and China’s Evolving Roles in the Arctic

    Two changes have altered the geopolitical environment in the Arctic over the past five to ten years. Russia continues to increase its assertiveness in the region. And non-Arctic states, including China, have begun to play a larger role. What new challenges and opportunities do these developments pose to Canada and other Arctic states?

    Nov 26, 2018

  • L-R Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe, Chinese Communist Party Office of Foreign Affairs Director Yang Jiechi, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hold a joint news conference at the U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., November 9, 2018

    Commentary

    U.S.-China Relations See Potential Thaw, but Risk of Military Crisis Remains

    Deep disagreements between China and the United States on an array of issues, exacerbated by political incentives to avoid compromise, raise a persistent risk of military crisis. Stepping up official communication, building mechanisms to manage crises, and dialing back antagonistic behavior could help cut the risk of miscalculation and help stabilize ties.

    Nov 20, 2018