Military Strategy


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.

  • Supply sergeants for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment's field artillery troop defend a hilltop as a 16th Sustainment Brigade logistics supply column passes by during exercise Saber Junction 15, photo by Capt. Henry Chan/U.S. Army Europe


    As Anti-Access and Area Denial Capabilities Grow, U.S. Needs New Strategy

    Oct 12, 2016

    A U.S. military strategy based primarily on an ability to deploy troops anywhere will face greater costs and risks in critical regions by 2025. Why? Other nations will get better at denying access. The United States should embrace a multipronged strategy to prevent aggression.

  • Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army march in a parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, September 3, 2015, photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters


    Understanding China's Strategy

    Dec 6, 2016

    Beijing's perceptions and assessments aren't static. They evolve as China's standing in the world increases and its interests grow. U.S. leaders should focus on understanding and managing competition with China on a global scale.

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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly in Moscow, Russia March 1, 2018


    Could Putin's Speech Signal the Erosion of Nuclear Nonproliferation?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has linked the development of new nuclear weapons capabilities to the United States' refusal to collaborate on arms control. Perhaps before Russia goes down this path, another attempt at dialogue would be beneficial as both nations have expressed a shared interest in limiting nuclear proliferation.

    Mar 7, 2018

  • Trade ministers and delegates from the remaining members of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) attend the TPP Ministerial Meeting during the APEC 2017 in Da Nang, Vietnam November 9, 2017


    The Danger of Might Without Power

    A more forceful U.S. posture in the Asia-Pacific would likely strengthen America's long-term position in the region. The effort should rehabilitate key bilateral alliances, especially with Tokyo and Seoul, and compete with or at least supplement the roster of economic initiatives that China is advancing across the region.

    Feb 28, 2018

  • U.S. Army soldiers load military vehicles onto trains at Camp Carroll in Chilgok, South Korea, during the annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle military exercises, March 6, 2012


    Joint Military Exercise Can Be a Bargaining Chip with North Korea

    Since 1976, the United States and South Korea have scheduled large-scale joint military exercises each year. Postponing the exercises this year has led to some signs that North Korea might be open to diplomacy. Delaying the exercises further could lead to direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

    Feb 23, 2018

  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in attend short track speed skating events in Pyeongchang, February 10, 2018


    At Olympics, U.S. and Korean Leaders Revive Familiar Roles

    The current spate of North-South Korean diplomacy could be short-lived, giving way to resumed tensions and mounting fears of war. It seems possible, however, that South Korean President Moon Jae-in will succeed in brokering direct talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

    Feb 22, 2018

  • Vietnamese military members march during an honor guard ceremony at the Ministry of Defense in Hanoi, Vietnam

    Journal Article

    Can Vietnam's Military Stand Up to China in the South China Sea?

    This article examines Vietnam's warfighting capabilities for defending its disputed claims with China in the South China Sea.

    Feb 22, 2018

  • Soldiers carry a PLA flag and Chinese national flags before the military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of China's PLA at Zhurihe military base in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, July 30, 2017


    Addressing PLA Rocket Force Modernization

    China's growing missile capabilities could pose serious challenges for the United States and its allies. To protect its regional security interests, the United States should continue to monitor the PLA's modernization and adapt its own deterrence capabilities.

    Feb 15, 2018

  • German troops cross the Neris River during the 2017 Iron Wolf exercise in Stasenai, Lithuania, June 20, 2017


    A 'Glass Half-Full': Next Steps for Enhancing Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank

    The United States and key allies have taken steps toward redressing the imbalance in military power between NATO and Russia in Northeastern Europe. But NATO's defense planners must be clear-eyed about what remains to be done.

    Feb 12, 2018

  • A Chinese military band conductor prepares to perform before the opening ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 5, 2007


    China Has Big Plans to Win the Next War It Fights

    The People's Liberation Army (PLA) views modern conflict as a confrontation between opposing systems. This systems-thinking has wide ranging implications for how the PLA conceptualizes warfare in the twenty-first century.

    Feb 12, 2018

  • North Korean cheerleaders await the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, Pyeongchang, South Korea, February 9, 2018


    Countering North Korea's Political Warfare

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has outmaneuvered South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the month leading up to the Olympics. This has dangerous consequences for South Korea's security, democracy, and its alliance with the United States.

    Feb 11, 2018

  • Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian soldiers stand in formation for the closing ceremony of exercise Silver Arrow in Adazi, Latvia, October 31, 2016


    Assessing the Imbalance of Military Power in Europe

    Since 2008 Russia has been expanding and refining its readiness for conventional warfare. These improvements have reduced the qualitative and technological gaps between Russia and NATO. What do recent trends imply for the balance of capabilities in NATO member states in the Baltic Sea region?

    Feb 5, 2018

  • Composite of Chinese flag and abstract globalization concept


    How China Seeks to Wage Modern Warfare

    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.

    Feb 1, 2018

  • Report

    Defense Planning in a Time of Conflict: A Comparative Analysis of the 2001–2014 Quadrennial Defense Reviews, and Implications for the Army

    This report presents a comparative historical analysis of the four Quadrennial Defense Reviews (QDRs) conducted after 1997 and identifies trends, implications, and recommendations for the Army and Defense Department to help improve future reviews.

    Jan 31, 2018

  • Report

    Defense Planning in a Time of Conflict: A Comparative Analysis of the 2001–2014 Quadrennial Defense Reviews, and Implications for the Army — Executive Summary

    This summary highlights findings from a comparative analysis of the four Quadrennial Defense Reviews conducted after 1997, identifying trends, implications, and recommendations for the Army and Defense Department to help improve future reviews.

    Jan 31, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the administration's National Security Strategy at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C, December 18, 2017


    Return of Tactical Nuclear Weapons Would Send a Dangerous Signal

    A change in the U.S. nuclear posture to include low-yield nuclear weapons could make nonproliferation goals harder to achieve. But it could also signal a new willingness to consider these weapons as part of a spectrum of warfighting capabilities, rather than as a necessary component of the U.S. deterrence posture.

    Jan 19, 2018

  • China's President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the "CPC in dialogue with world political parties" high-level meeting, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, December 1, 2017


    China's Endgame: The Path Towards Global Leadership

    The coming years are likely to see a deepening contest between the U.S. and China in the diplomatic, economic, cyber, and information domains, even as the risks of major war remain low. In its 19th CCP Congress report, Beijing articulated for the first time an ambition to contend for global leadership.

    Jan 5, 2018

  • French soldiers of the 13th engineering regiment inspect the perimeter of a touareg home near Tin Hama, Mali, October 20, 2017


    Meet France's War Philosophers

    Gen. Vincent Desportes and Col. Michel Goya draw on careers focused on the study and practice of war and share a grimmer and more Hobbesian vision than what one normally meets in French public debates. This makes them appealing guides to the dark world in which the French now find themselves.

    Jan 5, 2018

  • Brochure

    Saving the Government Money: Examples from RAND's FFRDCs

    RAND's federally funded research and development centers apply research capital they have developed over the years to help decisionmakers solve problems and often save money as well. This publication lists and briefly summarizes some RAND projects undertaken over the past several years that have helped save the government money or that have identified ways to do so.

    Dec 20, 2017

  • Staff Sgt. Auguste Archer, 35th Communications Squadron cyber security technician, uses a program to monitor hacker attempts across the world


    Invisible Doomsday Machines: The Challenge of Clandestine Capabilities and Deterrence

    As the United States increasingly contemplates acquiring clandestine capabilities for deterrence and warfighting, it should consider rethinking its approach to managing these programs. A unified management approach would go a great distance toward meeting the challenges of these capabilities.

    Dec 15, 2017

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech during the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 18, 2017


    Xi's Consolidation of Power at the 19th Party Congress: Implications for PLA Aerospace Forces

    Xi Jinping has emerged from the 19th Party Congress stronger than at least his past two predecessors. He solidified his grip on power and revealed significant changes to the Central Military Commission, which oversees the People's Liberation Army.

    Dec 11, 2017

  • Troops from the Malian Armed Forces and French soldiers conduct a joint patrol during the regional anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane in Inaloglog, Mali, October 17, 2017.


    Mali Is France's Afghanistan, but with a Difference

    At first glance the comparison between the French military operations in Mali and America’s involvement in Afghanistan is compelling, and in some important ways, accurate. It also presents some fundamental differences that give reason for optimism in France.

    Dec 1, 2017