Military Doctrine


Military doctrine is the fundamental set of principles that guides military forces as they pursue national security objectives. RAND examines these principles, which can range from the policies and procedures put in place by a particular military branch to the tactics and techniques taught to new members during training.

  • Report

    Human Aspects of Air Force Operations

    The special operations community has focused on leveraging human-focused capabilities, but the conventional Air Force has yet to fully embrace human aspects of military operations. Is there a need for a joint warfighting domain focused on human aspects of military operations?

    Nov 30, 2020

  • Commentary

    Trying to Forestall the Next Civilian Casualty Horror

    After civilians are injured or killed, the U.S. Defense Department isn't doing enough to learn from its own failures. The Pentagon needs to devote resources and senior leader attention to an issue that has historically lacked both. Civilian protection should become the singular priority for a critical mass of people across the organization.

    Feb 3, 2022

Explore Military Doctrine

  • Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby briefs reporters on airstrikes on ISIL targets in Syria, Sept. 25, 2014


    An Inconvenient War

    Congress has not addressed President Obama's plans to take other military steps against ISIS. Some members of Congress do not want to vote on the use of military force until after the upcoming elections. Among these are some who fear their vote could cost them votes.

    Sep 25, 2014

  • Brochure


    Challenges in U.S. National Security Policy: A Festschrift Honoring Edward L. (Ted) Warner

    Among Ted Warner's many notable accomplishments, perhaps the most important has been the opportunity to mentor a substantial number of exceptionally talented men and women on various aspects of U.S. and Russian defense and arms control policy.

    May 13, 2014

  • Report


    Shaking the Heavens and Splitting the Earth: Chinese translation (traditional characters)

    This monograph (translated into traditional Chinese characters) analyzes published Chinese and Western sources about current and future capabilities and employment concepts of the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and provides recommendations about actions that should be taken in response.

    May 6, 2014

  • A Russian serviceman stands on duty near a map of the Crimea region near the city of Kerch March 4, 2014. President Vladimir Putin ordered troops involved in a military exercise in western Russia back to base on Tuesday in an announcement that appeared intended to ease East-West tension over fears of war in Ukraine.


    Ukraine and the Death of Territorial Integrity

    Russia's increasingly brazen violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity threatens to undermine the widely accepted principle that international borders are not subject to further revision, a principle that has contributed to a global decline in interstate war in recent decades.

    Mar 4, 2014

  • A autonomous vehicle maneuvers over concrete blocks during a demonstration.


    War Robots Will Lessen Killing — Not Increase It

    Could armed autonomous robots embark on a campaign of indiscriminate killing? John Matsumura says there is a convincing base of evidence that robots are more likely to prevent slaughter than engage in it.

    Oct 18, 2013

  • binary cyber wave graphic


    Redefining Information Warfare Boundaries for an Army in a Wireless World

    The U.S. Army is studying ways to apply its cyber power and is reconsidering doctrinally defined areas related to cyberspace operations. Clarifying the overlap between network and information operations and other areas could inform Army doctrine.

    Jan 16, 2013

  • One of a flight of F-5A Freedom Fighter,armed with 500-pound bombs,refuels from a KC-135 tanker somewhere over Vietnam in February 1966.


    U.S. Global Defense Posture, 1783–2011

    Debates over the U.S. global defense posture are not new. As policymakers today evaluate the U.S. forward military presence, it is important that they understand how and why the U.S. global posture has changed in the past. This historical overview has important implications for current policy and future efforts to develop an American military strategy, in particular the scope, size, and type of military presence overseas.

    Jan 14, 2013

  • Report


    Adapting the Army's Training and Leader Development Programs for Future Challenges

    Examines the adequacy of overall Army Training and Leader Development (ALTD) management processes, identifies areas for improvement, and develops directions that the Army could take to improve its ATLD management process.

    Jan 10, 2013

  • Commercial Book

    Commercial Book

    China's Search for Security

    Despite its impressive size and population, economic vitality, and drive to upgrade its military capabilities, China remains a vulnerable nation surrounded by powerful rivals and potential foes. The key to understanding China's foreign policy is to grasp these geostrategic challenges, which persist even as the country comes to dominate its neighbors.

    Dec 14, 2012

  • Report


    "Over Not Through": The Search for a Strong, Unified Culture for America's Airmen

    This paper explores Airmen's culture and outlines five cultural narratives that are tied to major moments in the Air Force's history. It argues that a single Air Force narrative is essential to serve the nation best.

    Oct 29, 2012

  • Iranian protest-rally against Ahmadinejad September 26, 2012 in NYC


    How Would Iran Fight Back?

    Iranian leaders are well aware that they cannot defeat the U.S. military in a face-to-face conflict. But as Hezbollah's 2006 war with Israel demonstrated, battlefield losses (or draws) can be turned into psychological victories, writes Alireza Nader.

    Oct 1, 2012

  • News Release

    News Release

    Looming Strategic Choices for U.S. Overseas Military Presence

    Since World War II, the United States has relied on a global network of military bases and forces to protect its interests and those of its allies. But the international environment has changed greatly and economic concerns have risen, leading some to debate just what America's role should now be in the world.

    Sep 12, 2012

  • Report


    Looming Strategic Choices for U.S. Overseas Military Presence

    Since World War II, the United States has relied on a global network of military bases and forces to protect its interests and those of its allies. But the international environment has changed greatly and economic concerns have risen, leading some to debate just what America's role should now be in the world.

    Sep 11, 2012

  • Report


    Making Improvements to The Army Distributed Learning Program

    Assesses the performance of The Army Distributed Learning Program (TADLP) and looks at ways to strengthen the Army's interactive multimedia instruction (IMI) program by improving both the quality of the product and the efficiency of the process.

    Mar 28, 2012

  • Report


    A Review of the Army's Modular Force Structure

    In 2003, the U.S. Army moved from a division-based to a brigade-centric modular force structure. Congress requested a study of the process and outcomes of the initiative to assess the impact on the Army's capabilities in a range of operations.

    Mar 16, 2012

  • Report


    Assessing Freedom of Movement for Counterinsurgency Campaigns

    This report examines how a military staff might assess freedom of movement as a strategic and tactical indicator in counterinsurgency, and specifically in Afghanistan.

    Jan 12, 2012

  • Report


    RAND Project AIR FORCE Annual Report 2011

    This annual report describes selected RAND Project AIR FORCE research during 2011 in the areas of strategy and doctrine; force modernization and employment; manpower, personnel, and training; and resource management.

    Dec 22, 2011

  • Report


    Reshaping the Army's Active and Reserve Components

    Assesses how Army active and reserve forces are used, to analyze policy options that would improve utilization of reserve forces.

    Dec 15, 2011

  • Army Sgt. Brian McCown teaches Army Pfc. Frankie Busby the responsibilities of an electronic warfare noncommissioned officer at Camp Taji, Iraq, June 9, 2011, photo by Spc. William A. Joeckel/U.S. Army


    History Shows Danger of Arbitrary Defense Cuts

    As America embarks on a tough strategic journey in the aftermath of Iraq, and contends with an ailing economy, it is wise to be mindful of the difference between hope and fact, writes Paula G. Thornhill.

    Nov 23, 2011

  • Report


    Security Force Assistance in Afghanistan

    Security force assistance (SFA) is a central pillar of the counterinsurgency campaign being waged by U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. An analysis of SFA efforts documents U.S. and international approaches to building the Afghan National Security Forces from 2001 to 2009 and provides recommendations and their implications for the U.S Army.

    Sep 7, 2011