Military Equipment

Cost growth in the development and fielding of technologically advanced military equipment has become a major economic burden for many nations and is expected to be an enduring and prevalent problem. RAND research has provided cost analyses and recommendations to help policymakers and military leaders develop improved cost-estimating tools and formulate policies that mitigate cost growth in weapon system acquisition practices.

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    The Department of Defense's Posture for Artificial Intelligence: Assessment and Recommendations for Improvement

    In this report, RAND Corporation researchers assess the state of artificial intelligence relevant to the U.S. Department of Defense and provide recommendations for the future of the department's artificial intelligence posture.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Analysis of Global Management of Air Force War Reserve Materiel to Support Operations in Contested and Degraded Environments

    In this report, RAND researchers evaluate management approaches and global prepositioning strategies for war reserve materiel, which may help mitigate some of the U.S. military's vulnerabilities when operating in a contested environment.

    Jan 14, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    An Experiment in Tactical Wargaming with Platforms Enabled by Artificial Intelligence

    RAND researchers explored the capabilities and limitations of future artificial intelligence and machine learning weapon systems in two wargame experiments that brought together operators and engineers.

    Dec 29, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin during an end-of-year videoconference with members of the Russian government at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, December 24, 2020, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Reuters

    Commentary

    Arms Control Held Hostage

    President-elect Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have wisely promised to extend the 2010 New START Treaty, which cuts long-range nuclear arms. The two leaders may also pursue a broader follow-on accord, but frigid U.S.-Russian relations could put this out of reach. Progress on arms control often comes when political winds are warmer.

    Dec 28, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    The Composition and Employment of Software Personnel in the U.S. Department of Defense: An Initial Analysis

    The authors identify and characterize a subset of the U.S. Department of Defense's (DoD's) software workforce, the types of software developed within DoD, and the variety of methods DoD programs use when employing that workforce to develop software.

    Dec 24, 2020

  • The USS John S. McCain conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force fast combat support ship JS Omi, November 28, 2020, photo by MC2 Markus Castaneda/U.S. Navy

    Report

    Japan's Ability and Willingness to Assist U.S. Forces in the East China Sea

    Should a conventional high-end contingency erupt in the East China Sea between the United States and China, Japan could support the U.S. military. But that assistance would be limited, in terms of capabilities, existing legal restrictions, and political realities.

    Dec 14, 2020

  • The Polar Star is one of two existing U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers capable of operating in heavy polar ice, photo by U.S. Coast Guard

    Report

    The United States Needs More Polar Icebreakers

    Icebreaking is important for maintaining polar presence amid increasing global interest in the Arctic and Antarctic. Only two U.S. cutters are capable of operating in heavy polar ice, and both have limited life spans. What should the Coast Guard consider as it builds new icebreakers?

    Dec 8, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Trends in U.S. Air Force Aircraft Mishap Rates (1950–2018)

    The authors describe trends in U.S. Air Force aircraft mishap rates and assess the impact of such factors as aircraft age on those rates over time.

    Nov 30, 2020

  • The Royal Australian Navy vessel Her Majesty's Australian Ship Adelaide (III) is escorted by a small boat upon arrival for a goodwill visit in Metro Manila, Philippines, October 10, 2017, photo by Romeo Ranoco/Reuters

    Testimony

    Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Capability

    During the past decade, Australia has used research to understand the cost, benefits, and challenges of national shipbuilding strategies and decisions. What recent developments should Australia's policymakers consider when planning naval ship programs?

    Nov 12, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    South Korea: Capable Now, Questions for the Future

    South Korea is a capable US military ally. It faces a substantial military threat from North Korea, especially North Korea's WMD. South Korea's demographics are shrinking its military, challenging South Korea's ability to defend itself in the future.

    Nov 3, 2020

  • Italian air force F-35 and Eurofighter Typhoons fly in formation over Italy during a training mission, courtesy photo, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

    Report

    European Contributions to NATO's Future Combat Airpower

    European air forces currently have limited capabilities for defending allies in high-intensity conflict. However, Europe's airpower is trending in the right direction, especially with the introduction of fifth-generation aircraft.

    Oct 22, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 13th Political Bureau meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released June 7, 2020 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea Has Agreed to Denuclearization. Trump Could Try to Make It Happen

    President Trump came into office determined to rein in the North Korean nuclear weapons program. But it has become quite clear that North Korea has no intention of giving it up. How might the United States bring North Korea into compliance with its denuclearization commitments?

    Sep 28, 2020

  • Tool

    Tool

    A Modeling Framework for Optimizing U.S. Air Force Fighter Pilot Access to Advanced Training Ranges

    This tool presents the technical details of an optimization model for the U.S. Air Force to analyze the potential effectiveness of different combinations of range upgrades and squadron restationing to improve access to advanced ranges.

    Sep 24, 2020

  • A nuclear-powered Type 094A Jin-class ballistic missile submarine of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy is seen during a military display in the South China Sea, April 12, 2018, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Journal Article

    Winning Friends and Influencing People: Naval Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics

    This report provides an overview of the PLAN's approach to naval diplomacy, focusing on its activity outside maritime East Asia, in what it calls the "far seas."

    Sep 11, 2020

  • Senior Airman Colby Cook, 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, inspects an F-35A Lightning II before takeoff at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 16, 2017. The F-35A is the Air Force's latest low observable fifth-generation fighter incorporating stealth technology, photo by Naoto Anazawa/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Evaluating Alternative Maintenance Manpower Force Structure Concepts for the F-35A

    The authors of this report evaluate the costs and benefits of maintenance manpower force structures in the U.S. Air Force that merge maintenance career fields in different ways, including alternatives that are being explored by the Air Force today.

    Sep 3, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a drill of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army, March 2, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Report

    How Does North Korean Leadership Make Decisions?

    With talks between the United States and North Korea at a standstill, U.S. policymakers must consider what the regime might do next and know what signs or decisions to look for. Will Kim open the DPRK economy? What if conventional deterrence fails on the Korean Peninsula? And what could lead to the use of nuclear weapons?

    Aug 20, 2020

  • The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., photo by lucky-photographer/Getty Images

    Blog

    Summer Reading List for Congress

    During the August recess Hill staff should have an opportunity to step back from the fast pace of votes and hearing preparation to examine priorities for the fall and beyond. This list of must-read research and commentary covers some policy issues they will likely be addressing after the break.

    Aug 18, 2020

  • Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jets perform during a demonstration flight at the MAKS-2019 air show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Russia, August 29, 2019, photo by Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Su-57 Heavy Fighter Bomber: Is It Really a Fifth-Generation Aircraft?

    Russia's Su-57 aircraft has been in development since 2002 and is considered a key part of Russia's arms export industry as a fifth-generation fighter. Despite continued Russian efforts to sell the aircraft, it is unlikely that a fully developed and full production–ready Su-57 will be available for sale before the late 2020s.

    Aug 17, 2020

  • A missile is seen launched during a military drill in North Korea, May 10, 2019, photo by Korean Central News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    In North Korea, The U.S. Could Take the Lead

    North Korea is hurting: its economy is stagnant and it is having trouble feeding even its elites because of the UN/U.S. sanctions designed to pressure North Korean toward denuclearization. A combined carrot and stick approach may help overcome some of North Korea's reluctance to negotiate the future of its nuclear weapons program.

    Aug 17, 2020

  • Members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces' airborne unit attend the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base in Asaka, north of Tokyo, Japan, October 14, 2018, photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

    Commentary

    Missing in Japan's Deterrence Debate

    Following its decision to cancel the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system, Japan is currently debating future deterrence capabilities. The debate over how Japan can defend itself is an important one, offering a major opportunity to shape the country's future defense posture.

    Aug 13, 2020