Military Affairs

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Military affairs comprise a range of topics from military personnel and veterans to equipment and facilities—as well as the methods, doctrines, organizational concepts, and technologies that support the military's strategic or tactical goals. RAND provides objective policy recommendations in all of these areas and more.

  • U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov in a Ukraine Defence Contact group meeting in Brussels, Belgium, June 15, 2022, photo by Yves Herman/Pool/Reuters

    Report

    Potential Pathways to Russian Escalation Against NATO

    A Russia-NATO war is far from an inevitable outcome of the current conflict in Ukraine. U.S. and allied policymakers should be concerned with specific pathways and potential triggers, but they need not operate under the assumption that every action will entail acute escalation risks.

    Jul 26, 2022

  • An armoured vehicle of the Syrian Democratic Forces is seen along a road at the frontline in Raqqa, Syria, October 8, 2017, photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

    Report

    Pentagon Processes on Civilian Casualties Inconsistent, in Need of Reform

    The Department of Defense has committed to civilian-harm policies and processes, but inconsistencies remain. The Pentagon is not adequately organized or resourced to sufficiently assess, reduce, and respond to civilian-harm incidents. Reform will require institutional, not just operational, changes.

    Jan 27, 2022

Explore Military Affairs

  • Three drones are set up at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, August 10, 2020, photo by Spc. Khalil Jenkins/U.S. Army

    Report

    A New Era of Major-Power Competition

    While there is a general consensus that the United States is now in a new era of strategic competition with China and Russia, there is not yet a clear understanding of what that means or what forms it could take. How can the United States best position itself to succeed?

    Nov 30, 2022

  • An 8-ship joint-coalition formation flies over Guam during exercise Cope North 21, near Andersen Air Force Base, February 9, 2021, photo by SrA Duncan Bevan/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Managing Escalation While Competing Effectively in the Indo-Pacific

    In response to China's expanding military activity in the Indo-Pacific, the United States has increased its activity in the region over the past decade. How can America continue to safeguard its interests while limiting potential risks of escalation with China?

    Nov 30, 2022

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    Report

    USCG Project Evergreen V: Compilation of Activities and Summary of Results

    This report summarizes the findings of Evergreen V, the most recent iteration of an ongoing U.S. Coast Guard initiative aimed at identifying emerging challenges and future trends so that senior leaders can plan for the long term.

    Nov 30, 2022

  • U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer readies himself for the tie-down evolution in deck landing qualification exercises.

    Research Brief

    Activities and Results from U.S. Coast Guard Project Evergreen V

    This brief summarizes the findings of U.S. Coast Guard Project Evergreen V, part of a long-term strategic planning effort to identify emerging challenges and future trends that might alter demand for missions and the ability to perform them.

    Nov 30, 2022

  • Ukrainian Army soldiers launch a drone near Bakhmut, Ukraine, November 25, 2022, photo by Leah Millis/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ukraine's Lessons for the Future of Hybrid Warfare

    A new decision-analysis approach is necessary to capture the use of disinformation in the context of hybrid warfare. Multiple tools must be integrated to help generate a robust policy response to modern hybrid threats.

    Nov 28, 2022

  • Senior Airman Allyssa Helma prepares to marshal an F-15C Eagle onto the flightline for Red Flag-Alaska at Kadena Air Base, Japan, April 15, 2022, photo by Airman 1st Class Sebastian Romawac/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    As F-15s Leave Okinawa, an Opportunity to Change Indo-Pacific Air Tactics with Unmanned Options

    As it considers its future force mix and posture in the Indo-Pacific region and elsewhere, the U.S. Air Force has options that go beyond traditional platforms. Among them are rapidly maturing concepts for generating and sustaining high-tempo operations in forward areas with autonomous, runway-independent air vehicles.

    Nov 28, 2022

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    Report

    Department of Defense Acquisition Workforce Analyses: Update Through Fiscal Year 2021

    RAND researchers present a descriptive overview of the state of the defense acquisition workforce (AW), describe changes to the AW over time, and identify opportunities for the collection of new data that could support decisionmaking.

    Nov 28, 2022

  • UH-1Y Venoms from USS Essex lands on HMS Queen Elizabeth, photo by LPhot Unaisi Luke/UK MOD OGL (Open Government License).

    Report

    Realising the promise of the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy in R&D and exports

    This Perspective provides a brief overview of the core principles of the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS), before reflecting on two aspects underpinning the Strategy's assumptions: research and development (R&D) and exports.

    Nov 28, 2022

  • Quantum computer, Photo by Bartek Wroblewski/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Science and technology as a tool of power: An appraisal

    This Perspective examines the UK Government's ambition to use science and technology (S&T) as a tool of power and an integral part of the national security strategy. It also reflects on critical enablers, including conceptual and practical levers.

    Nov 28, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Taiwan, Putin's Holy War, Mining the Moon: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why China likely won't attack Taiwan anytime soon, Vladimir Putin's “holy war” in Ukraine, why it's time to make rules for space-mining, and more.

    Nov 25, 2022

  • People gather around remains of a military plane at the site where it crashed into a residential building in the city of Irkutsk, Russia, October 23, 2022, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russian Aircraft Keep Crashing. Could Sanctions Be the Cause?

    At least six fixed-wing Russian aircraft have crashed over Russian-controlled airspace since September. Sanctions placed on Russia by the West could well be affecting Russia's ability to manufacture and maintain parts needed to keep aircraft safe.

    Nov 22, 2022

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Kherson, Ukraine, November 14, 2022, photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters

    Commentary

    What's the Harm in Talking to Russia? A Lot, Actually

    Despite the way it is commonly portrayed, diplomacy is not intrinsically and always good, nor is it cost-free. In the Ukraine conflict, the problems with a push for diplomacy are especially apparent. The likely benefits of negotiations are minimal, and the prospective costs could be significant.

    Nov 22, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Russian Military Strategy: Organizing Operations for the Initial Period of War

    The authors of this report identify and examine several factors to assess the orientation of Russian military strategy, including the balance of power, Russian diplomacy with China, views on future war, and trends in force readiness and mobilization.

    Nov 22, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Dementia Rates, Deepfakes, Migrant Students: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the decline of dementia rates among Americans, the dangers of deepfakes, data privacy after the reversal of Roe v. Wade, and more.

    Nov 18, 2022

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    Report

    Educating for Evolving Operational Domains: Cyber and Information Education in the Department of Defense and the Role of the College of Information and Cyberspace

    This report examines how Department of Defense educational institutions are addressing cyberspace and information education, the potential demand for this education, and how the College of Information and Cyberspace can contribute.

    Nov 17, 2022

  • U.S. Naval Forces and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces conduct a bilateral mine warfare exercise off the coast of southwestern Japan, January 28, 2021, U.S. Navy photo

    Commentary

    The Drifting Menace

    The drifting mine threat is not going away: they are simple, effective weapons that are easily made and deployed even by actors with limited naval capabilities. A holistic approach to tactics, enforcement, and technology development could help counter the threat and maintain future freedom of the seas.

    Nov 16, 2022

  • An Orthodox priest conducts a service for Russian reservists during a ceremony of their departure for military bases, in Sevastopol, Crimea, September 27, 2022, photo by Alexey Pavlishak/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Russia's War in Ukraine Has Impacted Its Christian Image

    Over the past decade, the Russian government has taken pains to present itself as a bastion of Christianity and traditional values. Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, however, there have been noticeable cracks in the receptivity to this messaging strategy.

    Nov 16, 2022

  • A Seahawk medium displacement unmanned surface vessel participates in U.S. Pacific Fleet's Unmanned Systems Integrated Battle Problem in the Pacific Ocean, April 21, 2021, photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon Renfroe/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    The Age of Uncrewed Surface Vessels

    A new age of naval warfare has been inaugurated in the Black Sea, defined by an emerging weapon. Uncrewed surface vessels could become a centerpiece of naval warfare in the coming decades, one that navies may ignore at their peril.

    Nov 15, 2022

  • Mining facilities at the MP Materials rare earth mine in Mountain Pass, California, January 30, 2020, photo by Steve Marcus/Reuters

    Commentary

    Emerging Domestic Battery Supply Chain Should Be Wary of China's Information Ops

    China has a huge stake in producing lithium-ion batteries, and is not above waging disinformation campaigns against U.S. firms involved in the battery supply chain. Extraction sector companies could work with cybersecurity experts and the U.S. intelligence community to educate their executives and local governments about any foreign disinformation risks.

    Nov 15, 2022

  • Taiwan Navy Marines conducted a scenario-based drill near Penghu, Taiwan, October 24, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Xi Likely Won't Be Attacking Taiwan Anytime Soon

    Rather than start a war, Xi Jinping is more likely to intensify China's use of coercive measures against Taiwan, including diplomatic, economic, and military pressure coupled with cyber and psychological operations. If coercion fails, Beijing might turn to force as a last resort, but this still seems unlikely given the many complicating factors.

    Nov 15, 2022