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.

  • World map on abstract technology background

    Report

    New Challenges in Cross-Domain Deterrence

    Apr 12, 2018

    America's ability to deter aggression in the traditional air, land, and sea domains of warfare has been cast in doubt. And new requirements to deter future aggression in the domains of space and cyberspace have arisen. How can the United States and its allies meet these challenges?

  • Composite of Chinese flag and abstract globalization concept

    Report

    How China Seeks to Wage Modern Warfare

    Feb 1, 2018

    The People's Liberation Army's approach to training, organizing, and equipping for modern warfare over the past two decades has been influenced by systems thinking. It now characterizes modern warfare as a confrontation between opposing operational systems rather than merely opposing armies.

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  • U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walk at the Capella Hotel on the island of Sentosa, Singapore, June 12, 2018

    Commentary

    North Korean Actions Speak Louder Than Its Words

    Kim Jong Un has regularly promised to denuclearize, but he's been all talk. And this year, North Korea has probably built five to nine more nuclear weapons. There are steps that could make a difference if taken before the North Korean nuclear weapon threat grows any further.

    Oct 11, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia September 12, 2018

    Commentary

    Are We Truly Prepared for a War with Russia or China?

    The U.S. Department of Defense will likely need a strategy to overcome a war with either Russia or China. As threats from Moscow and Beijing grow, what can the United States do now to prepare for major conflict?

    Oct 9, 2018

  • Landing ships putting cargo ashore on Omaha Beach, mid-June, 1944

    Report

    What Shapes a Nation's Will to Fight?

    When considering threats from Russia and North Korea, it is natural to focus on military capabilities. But incorporating will to fight into the analysis of actual or potential conflicts will enhance strategic planning. A model that can be tailored and applied to various conflict scenarios can help U.S. leaders better understand and influence will to fight.

    Sep 20, 2018

  • Ferrying South Vietnamese rangers, U.S. helicopters swoop in on a landing zone on the fringe of a pineapple plantation in the Mekong Delta on August 21, 1967

    Report

    Assessing Will to Fight at the Military Unit Level

    Will to fight is vital to understanding war, but it is often ignored or misunderstood. A model of unit will to fight that can be applied to ground combat units of any scale can help U.S. military leaders better assess partner and adversary forces and incorporate will to fight in their planning.

    Sep 20, 2018

  • Chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali-Akbar Salehi makes a speech during a ceremony to receive locally-produced yellowcake, in Isfahan, Iran, December 5, 2010

    Commentary

    Can U.S. Pressure Lead to a New Iran Nuclear Deal?

    It could be a mistake for the United States to assume that more pressure will bring Iran closer to ending or reducing its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. When it comes to measures aimed at Iran's nuclear program, more pressure could worsen nuclear risks and further drive a wedge between the United States and its European allies.

    Sep 18, 2018

  • Detachment of Americans leave for the front, Le Havre, France, July 12, 1918

    Commentary

    How the U.S. Military Learned to Learn in World War I: Lessons from the American Expeditionary Forces

    The U.S. military generally believes it has little to learn from its allies. But during World War I, the more open the Americans were to their allies’ wisdom, the better they fought and the less they suffered.

    Aug 22, 2018

  • Report

    Restoring U.S. Power Projection Capabilities: Responding to the 2018 National Defense Strategy

    This Perspective can help to inform upcoming decisions to improve U.S. military abilities (which have been eroding vis-à-vis those of China and Russia) to deter aggression and intimidation, assure allies, and influence events in East Asia and Europe.

    Aug 16, 2018

  • Maj. Mike Stinchfield, left, and Maj. Greg. Pavlichko, demonstrate the virtual capabilities of the Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer concept at the Combined Arms Center - Training Innovation Facility on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

    Commentary

    The Military's Search for Innovation

    Militaries have historically sought ways to incorporate new weapons, armaments and methods of fighting into their operations. As the United States military continues to vigorously pursue innovation, history has provided important lessons which can help guide future innovation efforts.

    Aug 13, 2018

  • A simple radiation warning design on a concrete wall

    Commentary

    Is Nuclear Terrorism Distracting Attention from More Realistic Threats?

    A nuclear terrorist attack is currently not a realistic threat. It would require an unprecedented level of sophistication from terrorists. The majority of terrorist attacks are conducted with conventional explosives.

    Jul 27, 2018

  • Bridge stretching across the Vistula River during the joint NATO exercise Anakonda 2016, near Chelmno, Poland, June 7-17, 2016

    Commentary

    Exploring the Allied Decisions on Military Mobility in Europe

    Debates about defense expenditure and concerns over NATO unity overshadowed decisions on defense and deterrence in Europe made during the recent NATO summit and European Council meetings. Both events brought significant and tangible conclusions with potential impacts on defense, deterrence, and readiness in Europe.

    Jul 27, 2018

  • Flags of the world

    Commentary

    Attempts to Order Geopolitics Have a Sobering History

    Past efforts to introduce world order have resulted less from foresighted statecraft than from cataclysmic upheavals such as World War II. If the current international system erodes, what might have to happen for a new one to emerge?

    Jul 25, 2018

  • Soldiers walk to their fuel trucks after refueling a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at a forward area refueling point during a readiness training exercise at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, July 12, 2018.

    Commentary

    Reshaping U.S. Military Forces: Getting the Process Right

    War gaming and analysis show that American forces face serious operational challenges. What steps could be taken to ensure the United States can defeat aggression by its greatest adversaries?

    Jul 20, 2018

  • Navy ships guard while a sea mine is destroyed at the Irben Strait in the Baltic sea, near Riga, Latvia, May 20, 2009

    Commentary

    Small States Can Use Naval Mines and Unmanned Vehicles to Deter Maritime Aggression

    Small coastal nations face potential threats from larger, more powerful adversaries. Their coastlines represent vulnerabilities that a foe may seek to exploit. But these nations can hinder and deter potential aggressors by using less expensive systems, such as naval mines and unmanned vehicles.

    Jul 16, 2018

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018

    Multimedia

    What's Next for Korea?

    In this Call with the Experts, RAND's James Dobbins, Bruce Bennett, and Michael Mazarr discuss the historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

    Jul 10, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Exploring Europe's Capability Requirements for 2035 and Beyond: Insights from the 2018 Update of the Long-Term Strand of the Capability Development Plan

    In this report, RAND Europe describes and analyses the background and importance of the ongoing long-term revision of the Capability Development Plan - a strategic picture of European military capabilities regularly updated by the EDA.

    Jul 6, 2018

  • Report

    Comprehensive Deterrence Forum: Proceedings and Commissioned Papers

    On October 30, 2015, U.S. Army Special Operations Command facilitated a forum to explore the concept of comprehensive deterrence. Part I of this report delivers a summary of the forum proceedings, and Part II includes papers examining the concept.

    Jun 7, 2018

  • Members of Battle Group Poland stage their vehicles upon arriving at the city of Suwalki, Poland, during an exercise to enhance NATO throughout the Baltic region and Poland, June 17, 2017

    Report

    The Russian Challenge: Deterring Aggression in the Baltics

    The risk of Russian aggression in the Baltics can no longer be ignored. To successfully deter Moscow, the United States and its European allies should invest in NATO's ability to defend its eastern boundary.

    Jun 4, 2018

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) and North Korean official Kim Yong Chol (left) meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, May 26, 2018

    Commentary

    North Korea Is Not Like Libya

    The prospect of a U.S.-North Korea summit has led to analogies between the present case and that of Libya, which abandoned its longstanding quest to develop nuclear weapons in 2003. But a better precedent would be the 2015 deal that froze Iran's nuclear weapons program.

    Jun 1, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Dispute Control: China Recalibrates Use of Military Force to Support Security Policy's Expanding Focus

    This article reviews China's changing security policy and implications for its use of military force.

    May 30, 2018

  • Map of the Korean Peninsula and Japan

    Report

    The Korean Peninsula: Three Dangerous Scenarios

    An analysis of three potential security challenges on the Korean Peninsula points to rising threats that will pose significant demands on the U.S. Army. The United States needs to think in new ways about how it should deter North Korea and prepare for a possible conflict on the peninsula.

    May 30, 2018