Military Affairs

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.

  • Spc. Eva Perry is assigned to B Company, 782nd Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion (Cyber), Fort Gordon, Georgia and is the 2019 Soldier of the Year and the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade (Cyber) Best Warrior (Soldier), and Cpl. Kyle Tamraz is assigned to B Company, 781st MI Battalion (Cyber), Fort Meade, Maryland, and is the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and brigade's Best Warrior (NCO), photo by Steven P Stover (INSCOM)/U.S. Army

    Testimony

    Fostering Skills and Creating New Pipelines for Military Service

    The latest National Defense Authorization Act provides seven new authorities enabling the services to access, retain, and promote competitive officers. What are some considerations for using them to address compensation, performance data collection, and the civil-military divide?

    May 16, 2019

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy soldiers patrol in the Spratly Islands, February 9, 2016, photo by China Stringer Network/Reuters

    Commentary

    Vietnam Is the Chinese Military's Preferred Warm-Up Fight

    China's last major war experience gave it virtually zero lessons to apply to future armed conflict. At some point the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will need to test its new capabilities and the training it has honed over time. There are at least three reasons why Vietnam is likely in the PLA's crosshairs.

    May 15, 2019

  • Report

    Service Member Separation: Updating the DD Form 214

    This report offers suggestions for updating DD Form 214, which is used to characterize separating servicemembers' service, military history, and the reasons for separation, for electronic delivery.

    May 14, 2019

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) honor guards at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 28, 2019, photo by Parker Song/Reuters

    Commentary

    Getting to Know the Competition

    Americans are facing a new reality in global great power relations that will define the trajectory of U.S. foreign policy for the foreseeable future. Understanding China's threat perceptions, while remaining clear-eyed regarding differences in objectives, is essential to developing strategies to deter conflict.

    May 13, 2019

  • Report

    A Stated Preference Analysis of the Determinants of Unit and Soldier Operational Effectiveness

    The authors assess the relative importance of component status relative to a number of potential determinants of operational effectiveness, including but not limited to unit type, training level, experience in country, and associated costs and risk.

    May 13, 2019

  • Report

    Meeting the Language and Culture Training Needs of U.S. Department of Defense Personnel: An Evaluation of the Language Training Center Program

    RAND researchers evaluated the U.S. Department of Defense's (DoD's) Language Training Center Program, which partners with institutions of higher education to train DoD personnel in language, culture, and regional area studies.

    May 13, 2019

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq March 11, 2019, photo by Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters

    Commentary

    Can Anyone Save the Iran Nuclear Deal Now?

    Europe faces mounting pressure from both Tehran and Washington regarding the Iran nuclear deal. European countries could take steps to signal their commitment to upholding the deal, but doing so may alienate the United States.

    May 10, 2019

  • The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln conducts a replenishment-at-sea operation with other carrier group ships. The carrier group is now in the Red Sea earlier than planned at the direction of the White House, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Sherman/U.S. Navy photo

    Commentary

    U.S., Iran Must Both Tread Lightly with Tensions Running So High

    Tensions between the United States and Iran have increased, raising concerns that they may be headed for war. But conflict is not inevitable. The United States and Iran could seek to re-establish communications channels, as well as look for available off-ramps to de-escalate tensions and keep the slightest misstep from spiraling into an all-out conflict.

    May 9, 2019

  • Report

    OCEANS 17 Tabletop Exercise: Findings and Recommendations

    In December 2017, the RAND Corporation conducted a tabletop exercise on air operations across the boundaries between geographic combatant commands. This report describes the exercise's design, key insights from our analysis, and recommendations.

    May 9, 2019

  • Report

    A Throughput-Based Analysis of Army Active Component/Reserve Component Mix for Major Contingency Surge Operations

    This report examines how changing the way in which the Army executes mobilization and contingency planning can affect the ratio of reserve component to active component units deploying in the early weeks of a major crisis.

    May 8, 2019

  • Friend comforts uniformed United States Army soldier sitting on park bench, photo by debbiehelbing/Getty Images

    Testimony

    How to Reduce Suicide Among U.S. Veterans and Service Members

    The rate at which veterans and service members die by suicide is a national security problem that requires a comprehensive approach. Improved leadership and investments in solutions such as increasing access to high-quality care, better identifying at-risk individuals, and reducing access to lethal means can make a difference.

    May 8, 2019

  • U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Shannon Eubanks pulls herself out from the Arctic Ocean during ice rescue training Oct. 3, 2018, about 715 miles north of Barrow, Alaska, photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer NyxoL/U.S. Coast Guard

    Testimony

    Policy Options for Navigating Potential Arctic Scenarios

    The Arctic is vulnerable to incidents endangering safety, security, and environmental integrity. Regional cooperation and governance will influence demands on the maritime transportation system and the U.S. Coast Guard. By making the right investments, the U.S. can get in front of future Arctic problems.

    May 8, 2019

  • U.S. Army Soldiers conduct actions on an objective during a training scenario at the Asymmetric Warfare Training Center, Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, Feb. 23, 2018, photo by St. Randis Monroe/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Urban Legend: Is Combat in Cities Really Inevitable?

    Future combat will take place in dense urban areas and likely in megacities. These are the new “truths” that are taking hold in the U.S. military. But before going all-in on optimizing for urban operations, the U.S. military should take a deep breath and think carefully about future operations within the context of the National Defense Strategy.

    May 7, 2019

  • News Release

    U.S. Military Gaps in Funding and Personnel Need Addressing to Deter Global Aggression

    A significant gap exists between the stated strategic and defense policies of the United States and the resources and capabilities required to implement those policies successfully.

    May 7, 2019

  • An aerial view of The Pentagon in Washington, D.C., photo by Ivan Cholakov/Getty Images

    Report

    Gaps Exist Between U.S. Strategy and Military Capacity

    There will not be enough resources to close the technological, doctrinal, and budgetary gaps between stated U.S. aims and the military capabilities needed to achieve them. What changes to U.S. strategy and investments could help close these gaps, and which missions should be prioritized?

    May 7, 2019

  • Security personnel stand guard in front of St. Anthony's Shrine, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks across the island on Easter Sunday, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 29, 2019, photo by Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

    Commentary

    Sri Lanka's Easter Attacks: Dismantling Myths to Prevent the Next Attack

    On Easter Sunday, suicide bombers hit six locations across Sri Lanka, killing more than 250 people. Even before ISIS claimed responsibility, there was no obvious connection to the quarter-century of violence that afflicted the nation until 2009. It is worth dismantling a few myths that might prevent better preparation for future attacks.

    May 6, 2019

  • Members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces' airborne troops stand at attention during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base, Japan, October 23, 2016, photo by Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

    Commentary

    With Little Fanfare, Japan Just Changed the Way It Uses Its Military

    In early April, Japan deployed its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) abroad to join a multinational force not connected to the United Nations. This is the first time that SDF personnel will participate in overseas peacekeeping operations not under UN control. The difference may not seem important, but it is.

    May 3, 2019

  • Report

    Aligning Incentives in the Transportation Working Capital Fund: Cost Recovery While Retaining Readiness in Military Transportation

    Many of U.S. Transportation Command's peacetime movements are crucial preparation for wartime. But some customers think that costs are too high. This report analyzes cost recovery to better align customer peacetime decisions with the wartime mission.

    May 2, 2019

  • A bearded man appearing to be Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi speaks in a video released April 29, 2019, photo by Islamic State Group/Al Furqan Media Network/Reuters TV

    Commentary

    What the Baghdadi Video Means

    For the first time in five years, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of ISIS, appeared on video. Why did he suddenly feel the need to show his face and speak to his followers? The answer concerns how recent events intersect with ISIS's long-term needs.

    Apr 30, 2019

  • People walk in front of a monitor showing news of North Korea's fresh threat in Tokyo, Japan, August 10, 2017, photo by Toru Hanai/Reuters

    Tool

    DPRK Sanctions: Countering DPRK Proliferation Activities

    This tool provides an understanding of sanctions regimes currently in force against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    Apr 29, 2019