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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

    Jul 26, 2022

    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.

  • 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

    Jan 27, 2022

    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.

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  • Blog

    Keeping Russians Informed, No-Fly Zone Policy, Telehealth: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to ensure Russians have access to accurate news about the war in Ukraine, strategic considerations for keeping a no-fly zone option on the table, treating pain conditions among U.S. service members, and more.

    Mar 18, 2022

  • NATO foreign ministers gather for a meeting following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 4, 2022, photo by Olivier Douliery/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    After Russia's Ukraine Invasion, Seven Assumptions the U.S. and NATO Allies Should Drop

    Given the realizations wrought by the recent invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its NATO allies might reconsider several assumptions and arguments that have limited conventional military deterrence in Europe. Making sure we are ready to defend and thus deter a larger war that must never be fought is critically important.

    Mar 18, 2022

  • Taiwanese soldiers walk down a street in this undated photo posted to Twitter on March 11, 2022 by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, photo courtesy of the Office of the President of Taiwan

    Commentary

    What the Invasion of Ukraine Might Teach Us About a Potential Taiwan Crisis

    Chinese leaders are learning from the conflict in Ukraine, not just by observing Russia's actions, but also the West's response. By also learning from the conflict, the United States, Taiwan, and other like-minded partners can help ensure that Beijing comes away from the current crisis with a greater appreciation of the risks that attacking Taiwan would entail.

    Mar 17, 2022

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a news conference for foreign media in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 12, 2022, photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    What Is Continuity of Government, and Why Does It Matter for Ukraine?

    As Ukraine continues to resist Russian occupation, future-focused planning could help it win a longer-term struggle to protect its legitimate government and deny Russia the political consolidation it seeks. Ensuring the continuity of Ukraine's democratically elected government could be a means of preserving national sovereignty moving forward.

    Mar 17, 2022

  • Residents flee from the town of Irpin, Ukraine, after heavy shelling by Russia destroyed the only escape route used by locals, March 6, 2022, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Content

    Russia's War in Ukraine: Insights from RAND

    A vast body of previously published RAND research—as well as real-time insights from RAND experts—sheds light on important issues related to Russia's attack against Ukraine. These include Russia's strategy and military capabilities, the Ukrainian resistance, and how to address the refugee crisis.

    Mar 16, 2022

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine delivers a virtual address to Congress in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 16, 2022, photo by Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Sipa USA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Why It Could Be a Strategic Mistake to Rule Out a No-Fly Zone Policy

    The United States has been willing to entertain many forms of support to Ukraine, but senior administration and congressional leaders have categorically ruled out declaring a no-fly zone over the country. While American policymakers are rightfully hesitant to implement a no-fly zone policy, it could be a strategic mistake to say so in public.

    Mar 16, 2022

  • An empty airport terminal at Sheremetyevo International Airport after Aeroflot suspended most international flights in order to keep leased aircraft from being detained due to sanctions, in Moscow, Russia, March 8, 2022, photo by Artyom Geodakyan/Reuters

    Commentary

    Where Is Business in Russia?

    Businesses in Russia have little hope of making a full recovery and operating normally in the global economy unless the West lifts its extraordinary sanctions. Political and civic engagement may be essential to protect their value and the interests of shareholders and employees.

    Mar 16, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Identifying Opportunities to Recruit More Individuals Above the Age of 21 into the U.S. Army

    Older recruits, as a group, score higher on Army qualification tests and are more likely to reenlist and to be promoted. RAND researchers examined the potential for recruiting individuals older than 21 and derived actionable recommendations.

    Mar 16, 2022

  • U.S. Air Force Maj. Lucky Lusterio performs a thoracic spine mobility test on Staff Sgt. Shaniqua Anderson at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, September 21, 2017, photo by Michelle Gigante/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Quality and Safety of Pain Care in the Military Health System

    Pain is the leading cause of disability among active-duty service members. Given its potential impact on well-being and force readiness, providing high-quality treatment is a strategic priority. An assessment of outpatient care for acute and chronic pain, including opioid prescribing, can help the MHS continue to improve care.

    Mar 16, 2022

  • An application that helps Lithuanians to call Russians to discuss the war in Ukraine in an effort to help end the war, in Vilnius, Lithuania, March 9, 2022, photo by Janis Laizans/Reuters

    Commentary

    Keeping Russians Informed About Ukraine Could Help End This War

    Russia has taken increasingly aggressive actions to restrict access of information about the war in Ukraine. Ensuring that the Russian people know the truth about what their government is doing in Ukraine could bring this war to an end soon rather than later.

    Mar 14, 2022

  • Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans’ Hospital, photo by South Texas VA Health Care System

    Multimedia

    A Conversation with VA Secretary McDonough on the Department's Recommendations to the Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission

    In advance of the release of a nationwide study to inform investments in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care, Secretary Denis R. McDonough discussed VA's current infrastructure, the study methods, and VA's recommendations.

    Mar 14, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    U.S. Air Force Enlisted Classification and Reclassification: Potential Improvements Using Machine Learning and Optimization Models

    The authors review options for improving processes for classifying and reclassifying enlisted active-duty, non–prior service airmen for initial skills training in the United States Air Force.

    Mar 14, 2022

  • Private security company owner Wang Haichun takes part in a training session with his employees in Hangzhou, China, March 6, 2018, photo by Tu meifei/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Security Contractors Have Avoided the Fate of Russia's Military Contractors, So Far

    China's approach to private security contractors is much more limited in scope and effects than Russia's use of private military contractors. But indicators suggest that Chinese planners see benefits in expanding and maturing China's use of private contractors, which creates the potential for dangerous results for China and the rest of the world.

    Mar 11, 2022

  • Image grab from footage released by Russia Ministry of Defense on March 10, 2022 shows Russian soldiers from airborne units advance in an undisclosed location in Ukraine, photo by EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    How Russia's War in Ukraine Could Escalate

    Russia's attack on Ukraine has raised concerns in many Western capitals of an even-worse outcome: escalation to a broader war with NATO allies which could involve nuclear weapons. While such a war is far from inevitable, the possibility of the current conflict spiraling beyond the immediate theater of hostilities is real. Understanding how that could happen is essential to minimizing the risk that it does.

    Mar 11, 2022

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: March-April 2022

    The cover story describes a yearlong study of a group of military veterans experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Other features examine the global digital skills gap and the magnitude and sources of disagreement among gun policy experts.

    Mar 10, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Cyber Mission Thread Analysis: A Prototype Framework for Assessing Impact to Missions from Cyber Attacks to Weapon Systems

    A decision to mitigate or accept a risk from a cyber attack to a weapon system depends on the operational mission impact. This proposed method for assessing mission impact is at once comprehensive and simple enough to scale across the U.S. Air Force.

    Mar 10, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Cyber Mission Thread Analysis: An Implementation Guide for Process Planning and Execution

    Cyber mission thread analysis, which identifies mission-critical systems in a cyber threat environment, requires a disciplined, well-planned process for its execution. This report provides a proposed guide for its planning and implementation.

    Mar 10, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    It's Getting Harder to Do: Countering Terrorist Use of the Internet

    Terrorists continue to use the Internet to plan, train, recruit, and execute terrorist attacks. This book chapter examines how terrorist Internet use has changed over time and new social media platforms make terrorism investigations harder to do.

    Mar 9, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia September 29, 2021, photo by Vladimir Smirnov/Sputnik via Reuters

    Commentary

    Is Putin Irrational? What Nuclear Strategic Theory Says About Deterrence of Potentially Irrational Opponents

    Increasingly isolated and desperate, Putin might try to suddenly escalate the Ukraine conflict rather than back down in the face of international opposition. The United States and its allies must account for the possibility that even in the face of credible deterrent threats Putin might double down and lash out.

    Mar 8, 2022

  • U.S. soldiers observe from a rooftop position in Mosul, Iraq

    Multimedia

    Press Briefing on U.S. Department of Defense Civilian Casualty Policies and Procedures

    Researchers from the RAND Corporation brief the press on an independent RAND assessment of U.S. Department of Defense standards, processes, procedures, and policies relating to civilian casualties resulting from U.S. military operations.

    Mar 8, 2022