Military Strategy

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RAND research on military strategy has ranged from issues related to the tactics that lead to success in armed engagements, to work that describes how the size and deployment of one nation's military affects its political relationships with others.

  • Army personnel from the U.S. and China participate in expert academic dialogue during the U.S.-China Disaster Management Exchange, in Kunming, China, November 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Behlin/U.S. Army

    Report

    Stabilizing Great-Power Rivalries

    Nov 29, 2021

    The international system is headed for a renewed era of intense competition among major powers. And there are serious grounds for concern about U.S. rivalries with Russia and China. To ensure stability—and avoid war—the policy response should be nuanced and go beyond bolstering military capabilities.

  • 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

    Mar 18, 2022

    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.

Explore Military Strategy

  • Russian weapons captured by Ukrainian forces seen in front of St. Michael's Monastery in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 31, 2022, photo by Ulf Mauder/Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP

    Q&A

    Russia's Ambitions and the War in Ukraine: Q&A with Dara Massicot

    Dara Massicot is a senior policy researcher at RAND who specializes in Russian military strategy. In this interview, she discusses Russia's war in Ukraine, its incorrect assumptions about Ukraine's will to fight, and how hard it's going to be for Russia to restore its military capabilities.

    Jun 29, 2022

  • Military aid from the United States is unloaded from a plane at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, February 13, 2022, photo by Serhiy Takhmazov/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Better Way to Use the Arsenal of Democracy?

    At what point can the United States and other countries no longer afford the massive transfer of weapons to the Ukrainians, lest they jeopardize the readiness of their own militaries? When does the arsenal of democracy shift to the arsenal for self? These are questions that are starting to be raised as the demand for weapons becomes clear in what is now a protracted war in Ukraine.

    Jun 28, 2022

  • The M-SHORAD system integrates guns, missiles, rockets, and sensors onto a Stryker A1 vehicle. It is designed to defend maneuvering forces against unmanned aircraft systems, rotary-wing, and residual fixed-wing threats, photo by Cpt. Jordan Allen/U.S. Army

    Report

    Determining the Military Capabilities Most Needed to Counter China and Russia

    U.S. decisionmakers face difficult choices when investing scarce military resources into capabilities that can effectively thwart Russian and Chinese aggression. What is the blueprint for success?

    Jun 22, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Human Security and the 2022 NATO Strategic Concept: Knowledge, Insights and Lessons Learned.

    These conference proceedings document the perspectives of human security experts brought together to provide recommendations on the importance of human security within the new Strategic Concept and the future of NATO.

    Jun 15, 2022

  • U.S. Marines take part in a class about riot control techniques at Marine Corps Base Camp, Pendleton, CA, Feb. 22, 2022, photo by Cpl. Benjamin Aulick/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Revealing the Impact of Non-Lethal Weapons

    Non-lethal weapons can be useful to U.S. military forces in a variety of contexts, but the Pentagon faces a challenge in ensuring their appropriate use and evaluating the potential effects of their deployment.

    Jun 15, 2022

  • Brochure

    Brochure

    RAND Arroyo Center Annual Report 2021

    This Annual Report illustrates the depth, breadth, and responsiveness of the studies that RAND Arroyo Center conducted for the Army in 2021.

    Jun 10, 2022

  • South Korea's new President Kim Dae-jung waves on the grounds of the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, February 25, 1998, photo by Str Old/Reuters

    Commentary

    Three Principles for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security

    In his inaugural address in 1998, former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung defined three principles for Korean Peninsula peace and security. How might these principles be adjusted to manage today's changing North Korean threats and the Korean security environment?

    May 20, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Supporting a Royal Australian Navy Modelling and Simulation Strategy: A Strategy-to-Task Framework

    The authors provide an evidence base for an expanded Modelling and Simulation Strategy for the Royal Australian Navy so that it can better position itself to operate in a high-end warfighting environment.

    May 18, 2022

  • Local resident Olga is seen in her destroyed flat in Borodyanka, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 5, 2022.

    Multimedia

    What Does Putin Want in Ukraine?

    RAND senior political scientists Samuel Charap and Stephen J. Flanagan discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin's strategic goals in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

    May 3, 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

    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Smoke rises after shelling near Kyiv, Ukraine, March 24, 2022, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Destroyed Grozny and Aleppo—Is Kyiv Next?

    Russia used a brutal approach in Grozny and Aleppo, and may use a similar approach against Ukraine's cities. But it could be less effective or riskier in Ukraine. Ukraine's determination to resist is strong, and the West is supplying an impressive array of advanced weaponry and intelligence support.

    Mar 28, 2022