Low-intensity Conflict

  • Birds silhouetted over the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol at sunrise in Washington, D.C., November 8, 2016

    Commentary

    Political Warfare Is Back with a Vengeance

    The United States' principal adversaries are fighting and gaining ground by employing a host of tactics short of all-out war. This form of warfare, once called political warfare, is back with a vengeance, empowered by new tools and techniques.

    Apr 13, 2018

  • News Release

    RAND Study Examines Ways U.S. Can Better Counter Political Warfare

    The United States needs to improve the ways it combats adversaries adept at using political warfare tactics to achieve their goals and undermine U.S. interests and allies.

    Apr 5, 2018

  • Chess board made out of a world map

    Report

    Countering Modern Political Warfare

    Both state and nonstate actors—including Russia, Iran, and ISIS—practice political warfare in unique ways. How can the United States, along with its allies and partners, respond to or engage in this type of conflict to protect U.S. interests?

    Apr 5, 2018

  • Report

    Limited Intervention: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Limited Stabilization, Limited Strike, and Containment Operations

    The report analyzes the strategic effects of low-cost and small-footprint military options across a range of irregular warfare operations and in a range of operational environments.

    Feb 22, 2018

  • An AH-64 Apache attack helicopter takes off near soldiers participating in a training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, November 18, 2017

    Report

    How Does U.S. Military Presence Affect Conflict?

    A large U.S. regional troop presence may reduce the likelihood of interstate conflict. But it doesn't appear to reduce the risk of intrastate conflict. And there's an important trade-off: U.S. military presence may increase interstate militarized activities short of war.

    Feb 15, 2018

  • U.S. Army SOF take the hill while training in the elements at Panzer Kaserne, photo by Jason Johnston/U.S. Army

    Report

    Improving the Understanding of Special Operations

    An analysis of U.S. decisions related to the development or use of special operations forces can assist in future planning by the Army Special Operations Forces, the U.S. Army, and the joint special operations community.

    Feb 8, 2018

  • Research Brief

    Lessons from Israel's Wars in Gaza

    This brief summarizes a RAND report that explores lessons that the U.S. Army and the Joint force can draw from Israel's military operations in Gaza from 2009 to 2014 and how Israel adapted to hybrid adversaries in complex urban terrain.

    Oct 18, 2017

  • A woman walks near a residential area in the city of Homs destroyed in the fighting between the rebels of the Syrian National Army

    Tool

    Calculating the Economic Impacts of the Syrian Conflict: Operationalizing the World Bank's Damage and Needs Assessment

    RAND has collaborated with The World Bank to develop an online calculator that allows the user to calculate and forecast the costs of the Syrian war.

    Oct 18, 2017

  • Soldiers during Operation Desert defense

    Report

    The Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Ground Interventions: Identifying Trends, Characteristics, and Signposts

    This report uses an original data set of U.S. ground interventions to identify factors that determine where and when the United States is most likely to intervene militarily.

    Oct 12, 2017

  • Members of Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas patrol on the border with Egypt, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip October 8, 2017

    Commentary

    How Salafism's Rise Threatens Gaza

    The rise of hardline Salafism is a worrisome trend in Gaza, where Salafists could surpass Hamas as the most dangerous threat to other Palestinians and the state of Israel. Such a result could signal the sabotage of yet another chance for progress in one of the world's longest-running conflicts.

    Oct 11, 2017

  • Report

    A More Peaceful World? Regional Conflict Trends and U.S. Defense Planning

    This report analyzes trends in violent conflict and their implications for defense planning. It presents models estimating levels of conflict to 2040 under different scenarios and suggests early warning indicators of potential increases in conflict.

    Sep 12, 2017

  • A soldier engages a target during a convoy live fire exercise at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, on July 7, 2017

    Report

    What Are the Trends in Armed Conflicts? What Do They Mean for U.S. Defense Policy?

    Until the wars in Syria and Ukraine, armed conflict in the world had been decreasing for decades. Future projections show continued decline, but the U.S. military has an important role in deterring conflict, underpinning peacekeeping coalitions, and possibly in responding to proxy wars by other powers.

    Sep 12, 2017

  • Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service soldiers perform reloading drills with their M-4 rifles during refit training near Baghdad, Iraq, July 13, 2016

    Commentary

    Managing Chaos in an Era of Great Power Competition

    As Washington policymakers seek a new strategic course, U.S. national security strategy should not neglect the importance of competition short of armed conflict. A U.S. strategy that incorporates this perspective from the beginning could manage chaos at a reasonable cost.

    Sep 5, 2017

  • Israeli soldiers training for urban wafare

    Commentary

    Five Lessons from Israel's Wars in Gaza

    After a decade of operating against Hamas in Gaza, the Israel Defense Force has learned many lessons about urban warfare against hybrid adversaries. The last confrontation teaches five basic lessons that apply well beyond Gaza.

    Aug 3, 2017

  • An Israeli tank drives near the border as it returns to Israel from Gaza, August 3, 2014

    Report

    Lessons from Israel's Wars in Gaza

    The Israel Defense Force had to evolve to meet an adaptive and determined hybrid adversary during its wars in Gaza. The U.S. Army and the joint force can learn from the IDF's challenge of balancing intense international legal public scrutiny and the hard operational realities of urban warfare.

    Jul 26, 2017

  • A woman holds a placard with a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a celebration of the third anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea in Simferopol, March 16, 2017

    Report

    Lessons from Russia's Operations in Ukraine

    Russia's annexation of Crimea was a decisive use of military force toward political ends. But Russia benefited from favorable circumstances that make this hard to replicate. Moscow likely considers its campaign in Eastern Ukraine a strategic success but an unsuccessful operation.

    May 9, 2017

  • Estonian soldiers in a military parade celebrate Estonia's Independence Day near the Russian border in Narva, February 24, 2015

    Report

    The Potential for Russian Hybrid Warfare in the Baltics

    Russia would likely have trouble using nonviolent tactics to destabilize the Baltics. Covert violent action is also unlikely to succeed on its own. Thus, the Baltics' main vulnerability is Russia's local superiority in conventional forces.

    Feb 23, 2017

  • News Release

    Russia, China and Iran Use Measures Short of War to Further Strategic Ends Against the U.S.

    The United States will have to address the problems of foreign intervention and threats short of war if it is to prevent further erosion of its global influence by its competitors.

    May 31, 2016

  • Chess pieces in front of an American flag

    Report

    Russia, China, and Iran Use Measures Short of War to Further Strategic Ends Against the U.S.

    The United States will have to address the problems of foreign intervention and threats short of war if it is to prevent further erosion of its global influence by its competitors. Policymakers and the military services should consider ways to better identify, forestall, and counteract the use of measures short of war against U.S. and allied interests.

    May 31, 2016

  • Joint naval special warfare training at Stennis Space Center

    Report

    What Are the Advantages and Risks of Special Warfare?

    Special warfare provides policymakers with an additional option that can help secure U.S. interests and manage risks. It can stabilize a friendly state or destabilize a hostile regime by operating through and with local state or non-state partners, rather than through unilateral U.S. action.

    Feb 23, 2016