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.

  • Commentary

    Force Planning in the New Era of Strategic Competition

    If the United States means to take a return to strategic competition seriously, force planning must evolve beyond the post–Cold War approach of designing forces and capabilities. A new framework would enable users to test their intuition and identify areas of advantage while avoiding the risk of persisting ...

    Mar 28, 2020

  • A Marine fires a Javelin during Operation Lava Viper at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, May 27, 2015, photo by Cpl. Ricky Gomez/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Indications of Institutional Inertia: The FY2021 USMC Budget

    There is a precipice at Camp Pendleton that looms large in the minds of Marines. The Grim Reaper is a 700 foot tall series of hills that recruits must summit to graduate from boot camp. As the Marine Corps attempts to transform itself from a second land army and counterinsurgency force to operate within contested maritime spaces, the recently released FY2021 budget request suggests that it will need to climb its own Grim Reaper to get there.

    Mar 26, 2020

  • Report

    Measuring Cybersecurity and Cyber Resiliency

    This report presents a framework for the development of metrics -- and a method for scoring them -- that indicates how well a U.S. Air Force mission or system is expected to perform in a cyber-contested environment.

    Mar 26, 2020

  • A Norwergian Army Leopard 2A4 main battle tank during the NATO exercise Trident Juncture in Norway, 2018, photo by Ole-Sverre Haugli/Norwegian Armed Forces

    Report

    Enhancing Security on NATO's Northern Flank: Options for Norway

    Norway supports deterrence, crisis management, and security in the High North—which includes the Scandinavian territories and northern Russia. What regional insights can other NATO allies provide to help Norway in its security role?

    Mar 25, 2020

  • Report

    Optimizing the Contributions of Air Force Civilian STEM Workforce

    RAND researchers reviewed existing academic and professional literature to gain insights into how organizations such as the Air Force should manage, support, and organize their civilian STEM workforce to best leverage talent and maximize performance.

    Mar 23, 2020

  • Report

    Neurological Effects of Repeated Exposure to Military Occupational Levels of Blast: A Review of Scientific Literature

    There is increasing concern over the common, repetitive forms of blast to which military members are exposed during service, and how those exposures could affect the central nervous system. The authors of this report review the relevant literature.

    Mar 18, 2020

  • MINUSMA Peacekeepers, during Operation Military 'FRELANA' to protect civilians and their property in Gao, Mali, July 11-12, 2017, photo by Harandane Dicko/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Commentary

    Why the UK May Be Sending Troops to Mali

    The UK government's decision to deploy an additional 250 soldiers to join the United Nations mission in Mali might be in Britain's security interests. Such deployments display the UK's commitment to international security and may well form a critical part of its post-BREXIT diplomacy.

    Mar 16, 2020

  • Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the leader of the Taliban delegation, and Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan, shake hands after signing an agreement at a ceremony between members of Afghanistan's Taliban and the U.S. in Doha, Qatar, February 29, 2020, photo by Ibrahem Alomari/Reuters

    Commentary

    Peace Hasn't Broken Out in Afghanistan

    The United States and the Taliban signed a preliminary peace deal in February, aimed at ending nearly 19 years of war in Afghanistan and calling for the United States to gradually withdraw its troops. But talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government called for in the agreement and scheduled to begin on March 10 did not happen. What happens now?

    Mar 16, 2020

  • A magnifying glass on a digital human hacker image, photo by monsitj/Getty Images

    Report

    Detecting Malign or Subversive Information Efforts over Social Media

    The United States has a capability gap in detecting malign or subversive information campaigns in time to respond before they influence large audiences. A novel method can now detect these efforts.

    Mar 16, 2020

  • News Release

    New Space Force Will Need Resources, Clear Definition of Warfighting Mission

    To meet the goals of the U.S. Space Force most space activities in the Department of Defense should be moved into the new service. Moreover, it will be critical that the Space Force clearly define and clarify its space warfighting mission.

    Mar 13, 2020

  • light in space

    Report

    A Separate Space: Creating a Military Service for Space

    As the United States creates the Space Force as a service within the Department of the Air Force, RAND assessed which units to bring into the Space Force, analyzed career field sustainability and drew lessons from other defense organizations.

    Mar 13, 2020

  • A military camouflage uniform bearing a U.S. Space Force nametape and U.S. Space Command shoulder patch, January 17, 2020, photo by U.S. Space Force/Handout via Reuters

    Research Brief

    How to Build an Effective, Efficient, and Independent Space Force

    To increase its likelihood of developing into a successful organization, the new U.S. Space Force should define and clarify its space warfighting missions. And most space activities in the Department of Defense should be moved into the new service.

    Mar 13, 2020

  • Report

    Countering Violent Extremism in Nigeria: Using a Text-Message Survey to Assess Radio Programs

    The authors present the results of a text message–based randomized controlled trial designed to assess the impact of a countering violent extremism (CVE)–themed radio program broadcast in northern Nigeria in 2018–2019.

    Mar 12, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Health System and Beneficiary Costs Associated With Intensive End-of-Life Medical Services

    The objective of this paper is to quantify expected beneficiary and health system costs incurred in association with receipt of intensive medical services in the last month of life.

    Mar 11, 2020

  • Aviation mechanic works on a Sea Hawk helicopter

    Report

    Naval Aviation Maintenance System: Analysis of Alternatives

    This report presents the results of an analysis of alternatives for fielding the Naval Aviation Maintenance System, which is intended to help modernize the U.S. Navy's afloat and ashore maintenance capabilities.

    Mar 9, 2020

  • Engineer Anu Narayanan at the RAND office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 21, 2020, photo by Jim Mendenhall/Pro Photography Network

    Q&A

    Thinking Outside the Grid: Q&A with Anu Narayanan

    Anu Narayanan, an engineer at RAND, is a specialist in what-ifs. Her research focuses on critical infrastructure and national security. In this interview, she discusses her latest work that explores what would happen if a cyberattacker tried to take down the power grid.

    Mar 5, 2020

  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and members of the NATO, U.S., and Afghanistan delegations take a group photo at the U.S.-Afghanistan Joint Declaration Announcement at the Dilkusha Mansion Garden, Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 29, 2020, photo by Staff Sgt. Brandy Nicole Mejia/U.S. Army Photo

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'The Costs of Conversation: Obstacles to Peace Talks in Wartime' by Oriana Skylar Mastro

    Why do warring parties wait so long to start peace negotiations? How can we get to that stage more quickly and definitively? Oriana Skylar Mastro explores the tension between the imperative to fight and the imperative to negotiate in her book, The Costs of Conversation: Obstacles to Peace Talks in Wartime.

    Mar 2, 2020

  • Blog

    Russian Subversion, Truth Decay, Supervised Drug Consumption Sites: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on responding to Russian subversion, how the media can help fight Truth Decay, the first supervised drug consumption site in the United States, artificial intelligence, and more.

    Feb 28, 2020

  • U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bilateral meeting with President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte alongside the ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines, November 13, 2017, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    If U.S. Forces Have to Leave the Philippines, Then What?

    If the United States were to lose access to bases in the Philippines, the effects would ripple outward. Maintaining alliances in the Indo-Pacific in all their manifestations is critical—and the details matter.

    Feb 28, 2020

  • U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army base in Logar province, Afghanistan, August 7, 2018, photo by Omar Sobhani/Reuters

    Commentary

    The First Step on a Long Path to Peace in Afghanistan

    It has taken 10 years to reach the brink of a first substantial step in toward peace in Afghanistan, and much could still go wrong. Can the Taliban and the Afghan government come together to jointly govern the country?

    Feb 27, 2020