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.

  • The game box cover for Hedgemony, design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    Tool

    Hedgemony: A Game of Strategic Choices

    Sep 22, 2020

    In this tabletop military strategy game, players represent the United States, its allies, and its key competitors. They must use “hedging” strategies and decide how to best manage their resources and forces.

  • Chinese flag, yuan, and soldiers, image design by Katherine Wu/RAND Corporation; photos by Dmytro and Mike/Adobe Stock

    Report

    China's Grand Strategy

    Jul 24, 2020

    China aims to be well governed, socially stable, economically prosperous, technologically advanced, and militarily powerful by 2050. Will it succeed? And how might its progress affect U.S.-China relations over the next three decades?

Explore Military Strategy

  • Army Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, the U.S. Army, Pacific deputy commanding general, stands with his foreign counterparts during the opening ceremony of Exercise Cobra Gold 2020 at Camp Akathotsarot in Phitsanulok Province, Thailand, Feb. 25, 2020, photo by Army Pfc. Lawrence Broadnax/U.S. Dept. of Defense

    Testimony

    The Role of Allies and Partners in U.S. Military Strategy and Operations

    America's time as the world's sole superpower is ending, and the country faces significant challenges. The United States needs to strengthen its network of partnerships to prepare for a new era of great-power competition.

    Sep 23, 2020

  • News Release

    New Game, the First Offered by RAND to Public, Challenges Players to Design Defense Strategies for Uncertain World

    The RAND Corporation has released a boxed version of Hedgemony: A Game of Strategic Choices that researchers originally developed to help the Pentagon craft its capstone guidance document, the 2018 National Defense Strategy. It is the first wargame offered by RAND to the public and carries a $250 price tag.

    Sep 22, 2020

  • A blue die sits atop a rule sheet for Hedgemony during a demonstration of gameplay.

    Multimedia

    Hedgemony: A Game of Strategic Choices

    Hedgemony is a tabletop game designed to challenge players to outline a strategy and then make tough choices as they try to develop, manage, posture, and employ their forces in alignment with their strategies.

    Sep 22, 2020

  • Dissertation

    Loosening the Okinawan Knot: A Mixed-Methods Study of Okinawan Public Perceptions of the U.S. Military

    Provides a detailed and reliable understanding of the nature of the Okinawan public's perceptions, policy preferences, and cultural attitudes regarding the problems and benefits associated with the U.S. military in Okinawa.

    Sep 21, 2020

  • Blog

    Wildfires, America's Wealth Gap, Screening for COVID-19 at Work: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the growing risk of wildfires, how Americans' incomes have grown (or not), workplace screenings for COVID-19 symptoms, and more.

    Sep 18, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Moscow's Calibrated Coercion in Ukraine and Russian Strategic Culture

    This paper analyzes Russia's use of force in Ukraine since the end of major combat operations in February 2015.

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Strategic Sderzhivanie: Understanding Contemporary Russian Approaches to "Deterrence"

    This paper argues that viewing Russia's actions through the lens of the concept "sderzhivanie" can help Western analysts and decision-makers better understand the drivers of Moscow's behavior.

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Two USAF A-10 Thunderbolt IIs release countermeasure flares over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, July 23, 2020, photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Parsons/U.S. Air Force

    Q&A

    The Future of Warfare: Q&A with Raphael Cohen

    What will the next decade of warfare look like? Raphael Cohen led a project to answer that question for the U.S. Air Force. The team considered not just technological or force changes, but also how global politics, economics, and the environment will shift and evolve between now and 2030.

    Sep 8, 2020

  • Report

    The Future of Warfare Boxed Set

    This series of reports examines the key geopolitical, economic, environmental, geographic, legal, informational, and military trends that will shape the contours of conflict between now and 2030.

    Aug 26, 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

  • 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

  • An amphibious landing demonstration, part of Rim of the Pacific exercise at Pyramid Rock Beach, on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, July 29, 2018, photo by Sgt. Aaron Patterson/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Why Militaries Should Play Games with Each Other

    With rising rates of COVID-19 and vulnerable populations at risk, Hawaii's people are understandably nervous about the upcoming Rim of the Pacific exercise scheduled for August. But COVID-19 cannot be a blanket check on international engagement by the U.S. military. With the effects of COVID-19 expected to last for decades, the forward thinking found in games may be exactly what is needed.

    Aug 14, 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

  • The U.N. Security Council's five permanent members (P5) attend a Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons conference in Beijing, China, January 30, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Negotiating with Great Powers on Nuclear Arms

    New START, the U.S.-Russia arms control treaty, expires in February 2021. Washington insists that any follow-on accord must include China. But overcoming Beijing's reticence to engage in nuclear talks will likely take deft diplomacy, time, and patience.

    Aug 3, 2020

  • Naval War College President Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, left, views the wargaming hub at the college's Naval Postgraduate School program in Monterey, CA, January 29, 2020, photo by Javier Chagoya/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Wargaming the Department of Defense for Strategic Advantage

    Defense acquisition, personnel, and management systems have long been seen as areas in need of reform, as costs and man-hours continue to increase over the years. Gaming new policies that govern these areas can offer early insights into potential stumbling blocks and provide leaders valuable feedback on decisions before major costs are incurred.

    Aug 3, 2020

  • A U.S. Marine with the 3rd Marine Division moves game pieces during a game of Memoir 44’ on Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 10, 2019

    Commentary

    What Strategic Decisions on the Horizon for the Department of Defense Can Best Be Shaped Through Wargaming?

    The U.S. Marine Corps is not alone in its avid use of wargaming to shape its decisions of the future. The other services are conducting similar efforts with equal rigor and zeal. And as the national deficit grows and budgetary constraints mount, the Department of Defense will most likely increasingly leverage all its analytical tools, including wargaming.

    Aug 3, 2020

  • Big data concept, global communication networks of planet earth. Data storage system. 3D illustration of Artificial Intelligence. Elements of this image are furnished by NASA, photo by NASA/Siarhei/AdobeStock

    Report

    Whose Story Wins: Rise of the Noosphere, Noopolitik, and Information-Age Statecraft

    Noopolitik, which favors the use of "soft power," is a new concept for adapting U.S. grand strategy to the information age. What are some new ways to fight back? And how might the future of noopolitik depend on what happens to the global commons?

    Jul 27, 2020

  • News Release

    China 2050: How the U.S. Should Prepare for an Ascendant China

    The United States should prepare for a triumphant or ascending People's Republic of China—scenarios that not only align with current PRC national development trends but also represent the most challenging future scenarios for the U.S. military.

    Jul 24, 2020