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.

  • PLA Qiandaohu, a Chinese navy ship, steams in close formation as one of 42 ships and submarines from 15 international partner nations during Rim of the Pacific 2014, photo by Shannon E. Renfroe/U.S. Navy

    Report

    Command and Control in U.S. Naval Competition with China

    Dec 17, 2020

    The navies of the United States and China will likely face challenges as they shift to new missions unless they adapt their existing concepts of command and control. Their willingness to adapt could prove to be decisive in maritime rivalry, and perhaps in the overall balance of strategic competition between the two nations.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin during an end-of-year videoconference with members of the Russian government at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, December 24, 2020, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Reuters

    Commentary

    Arms Control Held Hostage

    Dec 28, 2020

    President-elect Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have wisely promised to extend the 2010 New START Treaty, which cuts long-range nuclear arms. The two leaders may also pursue a broader follow-on accord, but frigid U.S.-Russian relations could put this out of reach. Progress on arms control often comes when political winds are warmer.

Explore Military Strategy

  • Elements of 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, convoy to the Hohenfels Training Area for Combined Resolve XIII in Germany, January 18, 2020, photo by Sgt. Megan Zander/U.S. Army National Guard

    Commentary

    Why Overseas Military Bases Continue to Make Sense for the United States

    Voices on the left and right have proposed downsizing America's overseas military footprint. While the merits of basing in a particular location should be open to debate, the underlying twin logics of deterrence and reassurance behind permanently stationing American forces overseas remain operationally, economically, and strategically as sound as ever.

    Jan 14, 2021

  • Puzzle pieces representing the flags of Japan, France, Germany, the UK, and NATO, images by numax3d, railwayfx/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Allies Growing Closer: Japan-Europe Security Ties in the Age of Strategic Competition

    Some of America's strongest allies are its European partners and Japan. In an age of growing strategic competition, how are these allies cooperating with one another? And how might these partnerships affect the United States?

    Dec 21, 2020

  • Otto von Bismarck and Napoleon III after the Battle of Sedan in 1870, Painting by Wilhelm Camphausen/Public Domain

    Commentary

    Thinking in (Napoleonic) Times: Historical Warnings for an Era of Great-Power Competition

    Over the last several years, great-power competition has become a major topic of discussion, prompting policymakers, scholars, and pundits alike to look to the past for lessons to explain the emerging contest between the United States and China. Considering how a variety of historical powers have faced rising challengers can aid our understanding of the challenges ahead.

    Dec 18, 2020

  • The Harry S. Truman Building, headquarters of the U.S. Department of State, in Washington, D.C., photo by AgnosticPreachersKid / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Commentary

    Women and Statecraft History

    RAND policy researcher and historian Stephanie Young remembers her key mentors and the impact they had, whether by asking important questions, encouraging academic pursuits, and modeling female excellence.

    Dec 16, 2020

  • Pakistan's mountain range known for historical nuclear tests seen from London Road, photo by commoner28th/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Women and Statecraft History

    RAND associate policy researcher and historian Michelle Grisé discusses her training as a historian and how she uses it to inform current policy debates and decisionmaking.

    Dec 16, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Multiple Dilemmas: Challenges and Options for All-Domain Command and Control

    The authors examine potential command-and-control impediments to multidomain operations and propose alternative models for joint all-domain command and control.

    Dec 3, 2020

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Multiple Dilemmas for the Joint Force: Joint All-Domain Command and Control

    The authors examine potential command and control impediments to multidomain operations and propose alternative models for joint all-domain command and control.

    Dec 3, 2020

  • A person playing Hedgemony, a tabletop military strategy game developed by RAND, photo by Evan Banks/RAND Corporation

    Blog

    Now You Can Play RAND Games at Home

    RAND is famous for its Pentagon wargames. Now the public can play defense analyst, too. In RAND's new game, Hedgemony, players create a military strategy to allocate troops and resources and hedge against the unknown.

    Nov 10, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    South Korea: Capable Now, Questions for the Future

    South Korea is a capable US military ally. It faces a substantial military threat from North Korea, especially North Korea's WMD. South Korea's demographics are shrinking its military, challenging South Korea's ability to defend itself in the future.

    Nov 3, 2020

  • Russian submarine with map overlay of Black Sea, photos by LA(Phot) Guy Pool/Wikimedia Commons and kdow/Getty Images

    Report

    Understanding Russian Black Sea Power Dynamics

    Russian investment since 2014 has profoundly shifted the military balance in the Black Sea. NATO has taken some steps to assert its presence but the United States and regional allies may have limited options to expand existing defense and deterrence measures.

    Oct 13, 2020

  • U.S. and Canadian personnel using a virtual training platform in Fort Meade, MD, June, 2020, photo by U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jon Dasbach/U.S. Cyber Command

    Commentary

    The United States Can Achieve AI Dominance with Its Allies

    Close collaborators in any AI alliance must be able to usefully contribute to the work and be trustworthy enough to share in cutting-edge technical advancements. While achieving this close collaboration with allies may be difficult, it will be essential if the United States hopes to achieve the data dominance needed to succeed in future combat.

    Oct 9, 2020

  • Christine Wormuth

    Multimedia

    What Role Should Allies and Partners Play in U.S. Military Strategy and Operations?

    An overview of testimony by Christine Wormuth presented before the House Armed Services Committee on September 23, 2020.

    Oct 9, 2020

  • Battalion of French soldiers of the RSMA marching during a monthly ceremony rewarding the young soldiers in Saint-Paul, LaRéunion, June 28 2017, photo by Gwengoat/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Grand Strategy Is Total: French Gen. Andre Beaufré on the Nuclear Age

    Gen. André Beaufre, the father of contemporary French strategic thought, epitomizes better than anyone the traits that make modern French military theory unusually rich. He is also a key for accessing a rich and distinctly different way of thinking about war with direct applications for today, whether one is pondering Afghanistan or how to deal with China.

    Oct 8, 2020

  • U.S. Marine Corps 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Amphibious Assault Vehicles rush Freshwater Beach during Talisman Sabre 2011 in Australia, on July 19, 2011, photo by Captain Staci Reidinger/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Two Vignettes: How Might Combat Operations Be Different Under the Information Joint Function?

    RAND researcher Christopher Paul employs storytelling to illustrate two distinct approaches to Joint Combat Operations. While both vignettes result in the expulsion of adversary forces and the restoration of territorial integrity, they take different approaches to kinetic and informational power.

    Oct 8, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 13th Political Bureau meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released June 7, 2020 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea Has Agreed to Denuclearization. Trump Could Try to Make It Happen

    President Trump came into office determined to rein in the North Korean nuclear weapons program. But it has become quite clear that North Korea has no intention of giving it up. How might the United States bring North Korea into compliance with its denuclearization commitments?

    Sep 28, 2020

  • 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

    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