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

  • Natural gas compressor station in Rippien, Sachsen, Germany, March 29, 2022, photo by Sylvio Dittrich/IMAGO/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Does Not Seem to Be After Ukraine's Gas Reserves

    There seems to be very little reason to believe that the true stakes of the war in Ukraine are the country's natural gas reserves, as some have speculated. Ukrainian gas fields appear too small to justify the costs of the invasion, too hard to keep, and almost impossible for Russia to exploit.

    Apr 11, 2022

  • Blog

    Employing Insurgency in Ukraine, U.S. Hospital Prices, Reaching the Middle Class: RAND Weekly Recap

    This week, we discuss the potential value of an insurgent campaign in Ukraine; addressing L.A.’s housing crisis; lessons from the 2017 battle for Raqqa; a look at U.S. hospital prices; Americans’ options for reaching the middle class; and how to help single mothers get out of poverty.

    Apr 8, 2022

  • A street in Moscow, Russia, April 26, 2020, photo by Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Tragic Failure to Reform Its Economy

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions will likely devastate Russia's economy. If the country had taken a more productive economic course over the past two decades, it might be looking toward a different future—one in which economic reforms had more tightly integrated Russia with the economically advanced countries, enhanced Russian influence and power, and built global trust.

    Apr 7, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Funding Technology-Related Business Initiatives in the Department of the Air Force

    This report—one in a series focused on transforming human resource management via information technology and business systems—explores challenges in the budgeting process and offers recommendations for better program advocacy.

    Apr 7, 2022

  • Ukrainian soldiers and press after clashes between the Ukrainian and Russian Army in Irpin, outside of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 2, 2022, photo by Raphael Lafargue/ABACAPRESS.COM/Reuters

    Commentary

    Could Insurgency Offer Ukraine a Decisive Edge?

    While insurgency rarely offers a path to early victory, a campaign of popular resistance that supports the continuing conventional battle could give overmatched Ukraine an edge in its fight against Russian occupiers.

    Apr 6, 2022

  • A local woman salutes Ukrainian service members in the Chernihiv region, Ukraine, April 2, 2022, photo by Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia, Ukraine, and the Misuse of History

    History as playbook has been used to paint the Ukraine conflict as the start of a larger battle for Europe. But even if it is Putin's intent to knock over one domino of a European country after another, the Russian Army—unlike the Soviet Army of old—simply does not have the capacity to do that.

    Apr 6, 2022

  • Screen shot of Kremlin-backed news channel Russia Today on UK television, February 22, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Sleep on Russian Information War Capabilities

    Ukraine looks to have Russia beat in countering Russian disinformation. But this is only part of the story. Instead of fixating on Russia's missteps, policymakers and analysts would benefit from studying Ukraine's sophisticated information campaign while bearing in mind that Russia retains significant information warfare capabilities and a willingness to use them.

    Apr 5, 2022

  • A man looks at a street monitor showing a news report about North Korea's missile launch, in Tokyo, Japan, November 29, 2017

    Journal Article

    Nuclear-Use Cases for Contemplating Crisis and Conflict on the Korean Peninsula

    The paper identifies possible cases/scenarios that would lead to first use of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

    Apr 5, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Gender Differences in Health Among U.S. Service Members: Unwanted Gender-Based Experiences as an Explanatory Factor

    This report examines how experiences of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and sexual assault among military service members relate to general health and symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.

    Apr 4, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Supporting the Royal Australian Navy's Campaign Plan for Robotics and Autonomous Systems: Emerging Missions and Technology Trends

    This report provides a high-level review of the current landscape and future trajectory of robotics, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence from the perspective of maritime missions and enabling technologies.

    Apr 4, 2022

  • Blog

    Helping Ukrainian Refugees, Truth Decay, Algorithmic Inequity: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to help Ukrainian refugees, the link between cognitive processes and Truth Decay, tracking wastewater to understand the spread of COVID-19, and more.

    Apr 1, 2022

  • Ukrainian servicemen stand by a destroyed bridge as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Irpin outside Kyiv, Ukraine, April 1, 2022, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Ukraine War's Three Clocks

    As the war in Ukraine creeps into its second month, perhaps the most common question is: How will it end? Ultimately, the answer comes down to three internal clocks—Ukraine's, which is counting down in years, Russia's, in months, and the United States and NATO's, which is stalled at the moment but could restart quite quickly.

    Apr 1, 2022

  • News Release

    News Release

    Efforts to Avoid Civilian Casualties in Raqqa, Syria, in 2017 Were Considerable but Insufficient

    U.S. strategic choices in the battle to liberate Raqqa, Syria, from ISIS in 2017 likely increased civilian harm despite considerable efforts to avoid civilian casualties by both U.S. and coalition forces.

    Mar 31, 2022

  • The destruction on Al-Qouatli street in Raqqa, Syria, photo by Abood Hamam

    Report

    Efforts to Avoid Civilian Casualties in Raqqa Were Considerable but Insufficient

    The 2017 battle to liberate Raqqa, Syria, from ISIS is a cautionary tale in 21st-century conflicts. U.S. strategic choices likely increased civilian harm despite considerable efforts to avoid civilian casualties by both U.S. and coalition forces. What lessons can be applied to future operations?

    Mar 31, 2022

  • At sea aboard USS Hue City, view of the guided missile cruiser USS Vicksburg and the guided missile destroyers USS Roosevelt, USS Carney, and USS The Sullivans during an exercise, December 2003, photo by U.S. Navy

    Report

    What Would a Strategy of Restraint Mean for U.S. Security Policy?

    If the United States adopted a grand strategy of restraint in the Asia-Pacific, how would its posture in the region change and how would it determine when to use force? What warfighting scenarios involving the defense of Japan could guide defense planning?

    Mar 31, 2022

  • Smoke rises after shelling near Kyiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    Even as War Rages, It's Not Too Soon for U.S. Policymakers to Look Over Horizon

    As Russia's war in Ukraine grinds on and the humanitarian disaster deepens, Washington may be tempted to focus exclusively on punishing Putin. But that approach might well backfire. Over the long term, the United States wants stability and peace in and around Ukraine and to ensure that Moscow pays a cost for its aggression without making it a global pariah.

    Mar 30, 2022

  • Locals walk in the demolished town center after Ukrainian forces expelled Russian troops in Trostyanets, Ukraine, March 30, 2022, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Art of Sitting on Bayonets

    Russian President Vladimir Putin might have assumed that once conquered, Ukraine would be easy to hold. But there has been no lightning success, no defecting Ukrainian soldiers. If he can't find collaborators, Putin's chances of achieving even reduced ambitions in Ukraine may be dim indeed.

    Mar 30, 2022

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping at the BRICS summit in Brasilia, Brazil, November 14, 2019, photo by Pavel Golovkin/Pool/Reuters

    Report

    Great Power Rivalry in a Changing International Order

    U.S. national security policy for the foreseeable future will be oriented around competition with China and Russia. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has intensified this rivalry and will likely have profound echo effects through the parallel U.S.-China rivalry and the international system.

    Mar 30, 2022

  • Officers of the Vietnamese Marine Guard monitor a Chinese coast guard vessel in the South China Sea, about 130 miles offshore of Vietnam, May 15, 2014, photo by Nguyen Minh/Reuters

    Research Brief

    How and Why China Uses Gray Zone Tactics

    China uses a variety of gray zone tactics—coercive actions that are shy of armed conflict but beyond normal diplomatic and economic activities—to advance its objectives, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. Which tactics should the United States prioritize countering?

    Mar 30, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Competition in the Gray Zone: Countering China's Coercion Against U.S. Allies and Partners in the Indo-Pacific

    This report examines how and why China uses gray zone tactics—coercive activities beyond normal diplomacy and trade but below the use of kinetic military force—against U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.

    Mar 30, 2022