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.

  • Representatives of 28 countries tour the Grafenwoehr training facilities and a live-fire demonstration of the XM1296 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle-Dragoon, in Grafenwoehr, Germany, September 2018, photo by Markus Rauchenberger/U.S. Army

    Research Brief

    Reimagining Conventional Arms Control

    Apr 29, 2020

    For much of the past 30 years, conventional arms control (CAC) has played a historic role in ensuring the security of Europe. But today, the CAC regime is outdated and mostly irrelevant. New approaches to CAC are needed to address the challenges posed by the current security environment.

  • A Norwegian Army Leopard 2A4 main battle tank during the NATO exercise Trident Juncture in Norway, 2018, photo by Ole-Sverre Haugli/Norwegian Armed Forces

    Report

    Enhancing Security on NATO's Northern Flank: Options for Norway

    Mar 25, 2020

    Norway supports deterrence, crisis management, and security in the High North—which includes the Scandinavian territories and northern Russia. What regional insights can other NATO allies provide to help Norway in its security role?

Explore Military Strategy

  • An Indian Army convoy moves along a highway leading to Ladakh, at Gagangeer in Kashmir's Ganderbal district, June 18, 2020, photo by Danish Ismail/Reuters

    Commentary

    Chinese Border Aggression Against India Likely Unrelated to Pandemic

    Some argue that Beijing's aggression at the China-India border is part of an attempt to exploit the pandemic. But it may simply be a continuation of China's threatening behavior in the Indo-Pacific, which began before COVID-19 started to spread.

    Jul 6, 2020

  • A radio telescope in front of a field of stars

    Report

    Opportunities for Including the Information Environment in U.S. Marine Corps Wargames

    An examination of requirements, principles from military theory, current doctrine, and wargaming practices points to solutions and changes to game mechanics to better incorporate the information environment into wargames.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin gestures during the joint press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018, photo by Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari/Reuters

    Commentary

    Take the Bird in the Hand. Strike a Nuclear Weapons Deal with Russia

    By extending New START, the Trump administration would preserve verifiable constraints on Russia's nuclear arsenal, buy time to negotiate a more comprehensive agreement, and pave the way for arms talks about intermediate-range missiles.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • Report

    A Changing Climate: Exploring the Implications of Climate Change for UK Defence and Security

    This study explores the effects of climate change on UK defence and security and proposes a conceptual framework to support the UK Ministry of Defence in assessing and adapting climate change-related risks.

    Jun 16, 2020

  • Signal cables are laid out at a test location on Yucca Flat, the principal underground nuclear weapons testing area at the Nevada Test Site, in the 1990s, photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Field Office

    Commentary

    Nuclear Testing Not Needed Now

    Trump administration officials are reported to have recently discussed conducting a nuclear test, breaking a moratorium the United States has observed since 1992. Such a move is not necessary to ensure the continued reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and could increase threats to U.S. and allied security by giving a green light to other countries to conduct nuclear tests of their own.

    Jun 11, 2020

  • The Hawaii National Guard hosting the 2018 Pacific Rim: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Response, Enterprise Wargame at its Joint Force Headquarters in Honolulu, HI, July 10, 2018, photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Jackson/U.S. Air National Guard

    Commentary

    How Can Wargaming Improve Government Response to Catastrophic Events?

    Wargames are abstracted models of national security challenges, where players' decisions and their consequences are adjudicated within a rules-based environment. Due to its inherent flexibility as a tool, wargaming can be applied to a wide range of issues. Yet, it is important to understand what wargaming can and cannot do.

    May 29, 2020

  • Digital world map, photo by dem10/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Why the United States Will Need a New Foreign Policy in 2020

    Even before the pandemic, the United States faced a growing strategic predicament: U.S. challenges are mounting, and America's international commitments increasingly outstrip its means to fulfill them.

    May 26, 2020

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: May-June 2020

    Feature stories explore how military and local governments can work together to prepare their communities for climate change, and the unmet needs of civilians who return from war zones and other hot spots throughout the world.

    May 22, 2020

  • China's aircraft carrier Liaoning takes part in a Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy military drill in the western Pacific Ocean, April 18, 2018, photo by China Stringer Network/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Aggression Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Little to Do with COVID-19

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to monopolize the attention of leaders around the world, some international observers of China have concluded that Beijing is attempting to exploit the crisis for geopolitical gain. The reality is that China has been engaging in the same types of pressure tactics for years and will likely continue once the pandemic passes.

    May 20, 2020

  • Kim Jong Un attends the completion of a fertilizer plant with his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, in a region north of Pyongyang, May 2, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea Post–Kim Jong Un Reappearance: Expect Business as Usual in the Hermit Kingdom

    Kim Jong Un's return, while it leaves much to be desired in the way of explanation, should send one message to the international audience: North Korea's fate rests still in the hands of Kim Jong Un. And judging by appearances in recent days, Kim does not appear to intend to change the course of his strategy to reduce tensions with the United States.

    May 19, 2020

  • Air National Guard, Utah Air National Guard, 151st ARW, 191st ARS, KC-135, Air refueling, C-17

    Report

    Geopolitical Trends and the Future of Warfare: The Changing Global Environment and Its Implications for the U.S. Air Force

    This volume of the Future of Warfare series explains six trends—U.S. polarization, China's rise, Asia's realignment, a revanchist Russia, upheaval in Europe, and turmoil in the Islamic world—that will drive conflict between now and 2030.

    May 11, 2020

  • Report

    Operating Low-Cost, Reusable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Contested Environments: Preliminary Evaluation of Operational Concepts

    The authors of this report summarize early thinking and analysis about how the U.S. Air Force might employ a force of "attritable"—low-cost and reusable—unmanned aerial vehicles in a demanding conventional warfighting scenario.

    May 11, 2020

  • Yuna Wong standing behind a wargame, photo by Dori Walker/RAND Corporation

    Q&A

    The Serious Side of Gaming: Q&A with Yuna Wong

    Yuna Wong, codirector of RAND's Center for Gaming, didn't expect to make gaming a focus of her career. In this interview, she discusses what drew her to the field, what makes a good wargame, and her latest research on the dangers of putting too much trust in artificial intelligence.

    May 8, 2020

  • A woman walks past a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Shanghai, China March 12, 2020, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Be Fooled by China's Mask Diplomacy

    China has provided coronavirus-related aid to hundreds of countries. This appears to be an effort to make the world forget its role in the COVID-19 crisis—and to take advantage of its neighbors' current distraction.

    May 5, 2020

  • North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un sits in his vehicle after arriving at a railway station in Dong Dang, Vietnam, at the border with China, February 26, 2019, photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea After Kim Jong Un: 'How' Matters More Than 'Who'

    With rumors swirling that Kim Jong Un has suffered a health crisis, some are already asking who might succeed him as leader of North Korea. But who is not the most important question. What will matter more is what the new regime does to establish its legitimacy and how the United States and its allies respond.

    Apr 28, 2020

  • The U.S. Army hosted a Russian Vienna Document inspection team to observe exercise Saber Guardian at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, 2017, photo by U.S. Army

    Report

    Conventional Arms Control in Europe Needs a New Approach

    Conventional arms control (CAC) was a crucial element of the negotiations that ended the Cold War peacefully. Today, however, the CAC regime is outdated and largely irrelevant. What new CAC measures could lower the risk of conflict in Europe?

    Apr 27, 2020

  • Half the cover of the 2018 National Defense Strategy

    Brochure

    Supporting the National Defense Strategy

    This document describes RAND's contributions to shaping the 2018 National Defense Strategy and ongoing contributions to Defense Department efforts to create the forces, posture, and operating concepts needed to achieve the goals of the strategy.

    Apr 27, 2020

  • First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin CB ADC Speaks to guests as HMS Prince of Wales arrives in Portsmouth, photo by LPhot Ben Corbett/Royal Navy Imagery Database

    Report

    The Utility of Military Force and Public Understanding in Today's Britain

    This study challenges the traditional relationships between the UK's military, government and people. It examines the relevance of the construct for the 21st Century and what this evolving relationship means for the nature of the utility of force.

    Apr 16, 2020

  • Soldiers from the Norwegian Army prepare their tank during a military drill in Setermoen, Norway, October 30, 2019, photo by Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Norway's Allies View Its Defense Challenges and Opportunities

    Norway's Ministry of Defence will shortly publish its next Long Term Plan, which outlines how the Armed Forces, in tandem with other elements of government and society, can best address the threats to Norway. Other countries can learn from how Norway chooses to tackle emerging challenges, and can benefit from its lessons learned.

    Apr 16, 2020