Homeland Security and Public Safety

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RAND conducts analyses and makes recommendations to strengthen the U.S. Department of Homeland Security across its full set of missions to prevent terrorism and enhance security, secure and manage America's borders, enforce and administer immigration laws, safeguard and secure cyberspace, and strengthen preparedness and resilience. In the area of public safety, RAND research addresses drug policy, crime, prison reform, and prisoner reentry, and other topics.

  • A shadow of a hand holding a gun, photo by ugurhan/Getty Images

    Commentary

    'Stand Your Ground' Laws May Be Causing More Harm Than Good

    Sep 12, 2019

    Americans have debated whether “stand your ground” laws or gun-free zones make us safer or less safe for decades. These are debates about factual matters that are, in principle, knowable. Without research on these and other topics, bad laws will inadvertently be passed or retained.

  • Report

    Synthetic Opioids: An Unprecedented Crisis

    Aug 29, 2019

    The rise of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids is unlike any drug crisis in U.S. history. Limiting policy responses to existing approaches will likely be insufficient and may condemn many people to early deaths.

Explore Homeland Security and Public Safety

  • A man walks among debris at the Mudd neighborhood, devastated after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, September 6, 2019, photo by Marco Bello/Reuters

    Commentary

    Hurricane Recovery in the Bahamas: Turning Good Intentions into Good Decisions

    Recovery in the Bahamas will have to be a balancing act. Plans will need to allow for transition toward long-term strategic goals for the nation, but also be mindful of not perpetuating inequities.

    Sep 6, 2019

  • A policeman talks to a distressed person on the street, photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

    Report

    How Law Enforcement Can Fight the Opioid Crisis

    Law enforcement has a unique role in addressing the opioid crisis because it interacts with those affected by it on a day-to-day basis. Promising efforts include connecting people with opioid use disorder to treatment, collaborating to achieve community buy-in, and protecting officers on the front lines.

    Sep 6, 2019

  • Farm workers pick tomatoes in the countryside near the town of Foggia, southern Italy, September 24, 2009, photo by Tony Gentile/Reuters

    Commentary

    Saving Farmworkers from Slavery-Like Conditions, Field by Field

    Those at the bottom of the European agricultural supply chain are vulnerable to abuse. The same was true in the tomato fields of Florida until recently. The solution developed there may offer a roadmap for doing right by workers in Europe.

    Sep 5, 2019

  • Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front fighters carry weapons on the back of pick-up trucks in Arsal, eastern Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, December 1, 2015, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Al Qaeda Is Ready to Attack You Again

    As al Qaeda continues to evolve, one of the most pressing questions is to what extent the group is still focused on attacking the West. Does the absence of spectacular attacks attributed to al Qaeda since 9/11 represent a lack of capability or merely a shift in priorities?

    Sep 5, 2019

  • News Release

    Hostile Social Manipulation by Russia and China a Growing but Poorly Understood Threat

    With the role of information warfare in global strategic competition becoming much more apparent, a new RAND Corporation report delves into better defining and understanding the challenge facing the United States by focusing on the hostile social manipulation activities of the two leading users of such techniques: Russia and China.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • Hospital worker feeling overwhelmed, photo by Dean Mitchell/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Is Training for NHS Staff to Manage Workplace Violence Effective?

    Going to work should not mean being subjected to physical or verbal assault, but this is the reality faced by thousands of frontline NHS staff. De-escalation training may help staff manage patient violence and aggression, but there is not enough research about what works in specific healthcare contexts.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • Illustration of a network, security information, and AI technology, image by issaronow/Adobe Stock

    Report

    'Hostile Social Manipulation' Is a Growing Threat to the United States

    Hostile social manipulation includes social media campaigns, sophisticated forgeries, cyberbullying, and spreading rumors and conspiracy theories to cause damage to a state. As these techniques are used by Russia and China, the United States should invest more resources to understand and counter them.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • Journal Article

    Cybersecurity: A State-of-The-Art Review

    This study examines the current state-of-the-art in the field of cybersecurity, reporting on the methods and analysis undertaken to assess this area. It also provides research questions for the NCTV to consider for their research agenda.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • Mozambique on a map with a green pin, photo by Mark Rubens/Adobe Stock

    Commentary

    Counterproductive Counterinsurgency: Is Mozambique Creating the Next Boko Haram?

    Despite recent claims of ties to the Islamic State, the threat in Mozambique from the Islamist insurgent group al-Sunnah wa Jamaah appears to be domestic, with scarce evidence of direct ties to international extremist groups. But if the Mozambique government continues to respond in a heavy-handed manner, the threat is likely to grow, with potentially devastating effects for the country and region.

    Sep 3, 2019

  • Commentary

    Tackle Fentanyl like a Poisoning Outbreak, Not a Drug Epidemic

    America's fentanyl problem is far deadlier than past crises with other illegal drugs. New ideas, be they public policies, technologies or law enforcement strategies, are desperately needed. Continuing to treat fentanyl just like previous drug epidemics will likely be insufficient and may condemn thousands more to early deaths.

    Sep 3, 2019

  • Kimberly Curry Hall summarizes research on improving female retention in the Coast Guard.

    Multimedia

    Improving Gender Diversity in the U.S. Coast Guard

    For active-duty women, many complex factors influence the decision to stay in or separate from the Coast Guard. In this video, RAND's Kimberly Curry Hall summarizes research on these factors and makes recommendations for improving female retention in the Coast Guard.

    Sep 1, 2019

  • Opioids Uncharted

    Project

    Opioids Uncharted: Mapping America's Opioid Crisis

    A RAND initiative to map the underexplored consequences of America's opioid crisis—and discover big-picture solutions.

    Aug 29, 2019

  • News Release

    U.S. Deaths Involving Synthetic Opioids Are Unprecedented; Policymakers Must Pursue Innovative Strategies to Reverse ...

    The U.S. overdose crisis worsened dramatically with the arrival of synthetic opioids like fentanyl—now responsible for tens of thousands of deaths annually—and the problem requires innovative new strategies because the epidemic is unlike others that have struck the nation.

    Aug 29, 2019

  • A man walks through floodwaters to survey damage from Hurricane Sandy in the New Dorp Beach neighborhood of Staten Island, New York, November 1, 2012, photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    Essay

    How Citizen Scientists Are Protecting Their Communities

    After Superstorm Sandy, residents of Sunset Park, Brooklyn cleaned up debris, pumped out basements, and teamed up with researchers to find out what was in the floodwater. They established safety protocols to help local businesses prevent their chemicals from escaping and wrote a guide to help other communities.

    Aug 29, 2019

  • 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

    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?

    Aug 29, 2019

  • Prisoners gather around a computer following a graduation ceremony from a computer coding program at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California April 20, 2015

    Report

    Higher Education Programs in Prison Reduce Recidivism

    Evidence shows that correctional education programs are effective—and cost-effective—at improving employment outcomes for participants and at helping to keep them from returning to prison. But given limited budgets, how can the long-term funding of these programs be sustained?

    Aug 28, 2019

  • CCTV cameras, photo by pixinoo/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Contours of China's Evolving Counterterrorism Strategy

    In discussing terrorism, China often uses language that seems lifted directly out of U.S.-style war on terror rhetoric. But no one should be fooled. Beijing's sole strategy for counterterrorism is widespread surveillance and repression, completely out of proportion to the level of threat it faces. It is using the threat of terrorism to mute international criticism of these practices and to export them abroad.

    Aug 27, 2019

  • Flowers and candles at a memorial five days after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, August 8, 2019, photo by Callaghan O'Hare/Reuters

    Commentary

    No Need to Wait for Congress to Address Mass Shootings

    After three mass shootings in the span of a week left 53 wounded and 34 dead, pressure is mounting on Congress to respond with legislation to restrict access to guns and ammunition. But there is no need to wait for new laws. There are steps that can be taken immediately that evidence suggests could help prevent attacks or reduce the death toll from them.

    Aug 23, 2019

  • A young boy waves a black flag inscribed with Islamic verses at a rally of Tunisian Salafi Islamists in the central town of Kairouan, May 20, 2012, photo by Anis Mili/Reuters

    Report

    What Will Drive the Next Generation of Salafi-Jihadis?

    Continued economic stagnation and a high youth unemployment rate, exacerbated by the Muslim youth bulge, could lead to failed expectations and spur radicalization among disenchanted Gen Z Muslims. And this cohort's familiarity with the internet could foreshadow an adaptive, tech-savvy terrorist threat.

    Aug 22, 2019