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

    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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  • Flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California, August 18, 2019, photo by Scott Howe/U.S. Department of Defense

    Report

    Challenges of Deploying Ground-Based Intermediate-Range Missiles on Allied Lands

    The United States has been hoping to develop and deploy ground-based intermediate-range missiles to the Indo-Pacific. But what is the likelihood of its treaty allies in the region—Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand—hosting these systems? Are there alternatives to permanent basing?

    Apr 28, 2022

  • Ukrainian service members walk on the front line near Kyiv as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, Ukraine, March 30, 2022, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    Time for a U.N. Peace Enforcement Operation in Northern Ukraine?

    Now that the Russian military in Ukraine has retreated north, a de facto cease-fire is in place in Kyiv and central Ukraine. This could present an opportunity for the United Nations to call for a formal cease-fire in reclaimed territory and issue a recommendation to willing states to move into Ukraine with a peacekeeping force.

    Apr 27, 2022

  • The U.S. Capitol at sunset on the eve of the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the building, in Washington, January 5, 2022, photo by Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

    Testimony

    Extremist Use of Online Spaces

    Extremist content can be found in all corners of the internet. How do the characteristics of online spaces contribute to individual radicalization? And how may the internet have helped foster conditions that contributed to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol?

    Apr 27, 2022

  • Ukrainian national flags fly over graves of fallen soldiers at a cemetery in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 24, 2022, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Geostrategic Consequences of Russia's War Against Ukraine

    After two months of fighting in Ukraine, some longer-term geostrategic consequences are coming into focus. Russia may emerge as a massive loser. Perhaps not since the collapse of the USSR has European security been so challenged. But Ukraine and its Western partners are showing that aggression in Europe may not pay.

    Apr 26, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Enhancing the Mission Command Training of Army Functional and Multifunctional Brigade Headquarters for Large-Scale Combat Operations

    The authors examine the effectiveness of mission command training conducted by different types of functional and multifunctional brigade headquarters in preparation for large-scale combat operations.

    Apr 26, 2022

  • Representatives from the United States, Canada, Lithuania, NATO, and Ukraine discuss the noncommissioned officer development-training course at the Office of Defensive Cooperation in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 24, 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Adriana M. Diaz-Brown/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    The Value of Institutional Capacity Building Through Professional Military Education

    Security cooperation rarely makes headlines. But it enhances the security of the United States and its allies and partners in an effective and cost-effective way, and may deserve more attention and support.

    Apr 25, 2022

  • A U.S. Marine participates in nonlethal riot control training at the Baghdad Embassy Compound in Iraq, August 14, 2020, photo by Cpl. Thomas Spencer/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Effective Use of Nonlethal Weapons Could Require Combating Disinformation

    The temporary and reversible effects of nonlethal weapons reduce the potential for collateral damage while mitigating the risk of inadvertent escalation in peacetime and gray-zone situations. But public perceptions can have powerful effects on how these systems are employed and the impact of their use.

    Apr 22, 2022

  • Blog

    Responding to Russian Cyberattacks, Rebuilding Ukraine, Climate Change: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how the U.S. could respond to Russian cyberattacks, what it will take to rebuild Ukraine after the war, why U.S. employers still have the power over workers, and more.

    Apr 22, 2022

  • Multimedia

    Current Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Policy in the Middle East

    The RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy (CMEPP) hosted a roundtable conversation featuring former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Ambassador (ret.) Ryan Crocker, Former Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman, Esq., and CMEPP Director Linda Robinson. These panelists explored the challenges and opportunities for U.S. policy in the Middle East 20 years after 9/11.

    Apr 22, 2022

  • Photorealistic 3d illustration of a satellite orbiting the Earth, photo by imaginima/Getty Images

    Commentary

    U.S. Decision on ASAT Testing a Positive Step Towards Space Sustainability

    The United States recently committed not to conduct destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing. This sets an important example others might follow and takes an important first step towards a binding, international ban.

    Apr 21, 2022

  • Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, the victim of a cyberattack that crippled its electronic database for days, in Los Angeles, California, February 16, 2016, photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Commentary

    Preparing for a Cyberattack Starts at the Local Level

    The ongoing Russian war in Ukraine has highlighted the need for federal, state, and local level emergency managers to prepare to respond to a cyberattack with widespread impacts that significantly disrupt critical infrastructure.

    Apr 18, 2022

  • Building cranes and power lines connecting high-tension electricity pylons next to a construction site in Kyiv, Ukraine, July 10, 2020, photo by Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Rebuilding Ukraine

    By leveraging better investment conditions and reforms and broad international support, Ukraine could carry out a well-executed reconstruction program once the fighting ends. It might repair much of the war damage and help Ukraine move into the ranks of faster-growing European economies.

    Apr 18, 2022

  • Two hands holding a heart made out of flowers in the colors of Ukraine'a flag, photo by Maryna Petrenko-Shvets/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Reopening Old Wounds: Two Stories, One Lesson

    The shocking events unfolding in Ukraine have reopened old wounds for two RAND researchers. Their personal stories stand as testaments that the traumas inflicted by Russia's war on Ukraine will echo for decades to come.

    Apr 16, 2022

  • Blog

    Russian Mercenaries, Online Extremism, the Commercial Space Market: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russia's use of mercenaries, understanding how extremist movements operate online, trends in the commercial space market, and more.

    Apr 15, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a concert marking the eighth anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2022, photo by RIA Novosti Host Photo Agency/Alexander Vilf via Reuters

    Commentary

    Russian Cyberattacks May Be Coming. What Might Be an Optimal Strategy for Responding?

    Russia appears poised to make a first move against the United States and its allies in cyberspace. A savvy U.S. response that is deliberately measured and accompanied by the right message could end this fight after the first round.

    Apr 14, 2022

  • Image representing the presence of a bug or malware in computer software, photo by Black_Kira/Getty Images

    Report

    The Effects of Technology on Strategic Deterrence

    Emerging technologies—especially those related to information aggression and manipulation, automation, hypersonic systems, and unmanned systems—hold dramatic implications for both the effectiveness and stability of deterrence. How might the United States prepare for the potential risks?

    Apr 14, 2022

  • Illustration of online extremists by Jessica Arana/RAND Corporation from Sean Rayford/Alamy; dem10/Getty Images; sestovic/Getty Images; Dilok Klaisataporn/Getty Images; Comstock/Getty Images

    Report

    How Extremism Operates Online

    Extremist groups use internet-based tools for financing, networking and coordination, recruitment and radicalization, inter- and intra-group knowledge transfer, and mobilization to action. How do internet users engage with these efforts? And can the internet be leveraged to counter extremism?

    Apr 12, 2022

  • A Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system drives during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2021, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'Escalation and Deescalation of Crises, Armed Conflicts, and Wars'

    The evolving crisis in Ukraine has generated much discussion about whether Moscow would escalate the conflict, whether in frustration at the slow progress of its military operations, or in response to actions of other states, even possibly resorting to nuclear weapons. But what do Russian sources suggest about escalation?

    Apr 11, 2022

  • 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