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.

  • 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

    Report

    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

    Report

    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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  • 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

    Commentary

    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.

    Commentary

    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

  • Report

    Strategic Planning and the U.S. Air Force: Characteristics of Success

    The U.S. Air Force has embarked on a new round of strategic planning under the auspices of its 2015 Strategic Master Plan. This report represents a general survey of the state of the art in strategy and planning.

    Nov 10, 2017

  • Spanish Army soldiers run during the Silver Arrow 2017, the multinational military drills involving eleven NATO member countries in Adazi, Latvia October 29, 2017

    Commentary

    Deterring the Unthinkable: NATO's Role Along the Eastern Flank

    As NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels to set the stage for the 2018 NATO summit, key issues will include defense burden-sharing and NATO’s role to the south in counterterrorism and refugee management. But strengthening deterrence to the East must remain the top priority for the alliance.

    Nov 7, 2017

  • People walk at the Grand Bazaar, a day after the presidential election, in central Tehran, Iran, May 20, 2017

    Commentary

    Killing Iran's Economy Won't Help the U.S.

    Iran's economy is likely to be damaged by any new U.S. sanctions, with foreign investment having already slowed in response to President Trump's rhetoric. The biggest losers will not be the Iranian regime but the Iranian people, whose striving the U.S. has long hoped would bring about a less antagonistic Iran.

    Oct 31, 2017

  • Soldiers patrol volatile Korengal Valley in Afghanistan's Kunar province

    Commentary

    Military Power Cannot Close the Defense Strategy Gap

    As defense debates heat up this season, most of the noise will be around how to use defense investments. But it’s time to consider the radical notion that the best answer to strategic insolvency isn’t budgetary. It’s not even military. It is geopolitical and diplomatic.

    Oct 30, 2017

  • U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General, Gen. Robert Brown (left), and Philippines Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Glorioso, salute at an honor cordon convened on historic Palm Circle, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, to honor Glorioso's arrival February 1, 2017

    Commentary

    General Robert Brown on the U.S. Army's Role in Asia

    Gen. Robert B. Brown, Commanding General of U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), offers his perspective of key defense and security issues facing USARPAC in the Indo-Pacific region today. He discusses what the Army's role would be in any potential application of U.S. military power, as well as its peacetime role in strengthening U.S. alliances.

    Oct 25, 2017

  • An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria, January 15, 2016

    Commentary

    Why the Iran Nuclear Deal Benefits the U.S.

    The Iran deal has stretched the time needed to produce a nuclear weapon from three to at least 12 months and has established the strongest inspections system ever negotiated. Walking away from the agreement now will only isolate the U.S. and provide Iran an easy excuse to join North Korea on the road toward nuclear weapons.

    Oct 23, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Is China Pursuing Counter-Intervention?

    The term "counter-invention" has become burdened with conflated meanings and thus controversial in describing aspects of Chinese national and military strategy.

    Oct 11, 2017

  • U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagles arrive at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, where USAF will assume control of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from the Polish air force on August 30, 2017

    Report

    How Might Russia Respond to U.S. and NATO Posture Changes?

    The escalation in tensions between Russia and NATO since 2014 has led to numerous proposals to enhance U.S. and NATO posture on the Alliance's eastern flank. Assessing Russia's possible reactions is vital to any analysis of which posture and capability enhancements the U.S. and NATO should pursue.

    Oct 10, 2017

  • Wargaming at the Naval Postgraduate School

    Commentary

    Adding Shots on Target: Wargaming Beyond the Game

    Figuring out what the future may look like—and what concepts and technology we should invest in now to prepare—is hard. How can the wargaming community build a cycle of research to help understand what these paths might be?

    Oct 9, 2017

  • Two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers deployed to Andersen Air Base, Guam, fly over the Republic of Korea Sept. 21, 2016

    Commentary

    The Rorschach Test of New Nuclear Powers: Analogies for North Korean Command and Control

    Is Pyongyang more like modern Islamabad or Soviet Moscow? The answer must draw on the expertise of scholars of civil-military relations as well as nuclear strategy. Even then analogy is only a starting point—North Korea may be more or less like previous cases, but will certainly be unique.

    Oct 6, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Total Defense: How the Baltic States Are Integrating Citizenry Into Their National Security Strategies

    The Baltic states' thinking about national defense increasingly encompasses civil society, starting from the leveraging of civilian infrastructure to the participation of civilians in national defense..

    Oct 6, 2017

  • A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer is joined by Republic of Korea air force F-15s, during a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017

    Commentary

    On North Korea, Past Foreign Policy Fiascoes Show U.S. What Not to Do

    Foreign policy disasters are often the sum of two basic errors: embracing exaggerated claims about the need to act, and inventing a conceptual magic wand to wish away potential consequences. Both are apparent in U.S. policy toward North Korea's nuclear aspirations.

    Oct 5, 2017

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani delivers remarks at a news conference during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, September 20, 2017

    Commentary

    Decertifying the Iran Nuclear Deal Would Not Increase U.S. Leverage

    The Iran nuclear agreement is not perfect, but it is working. Iran is no longer on the brink of being able to produce a nuclear weapon as it was two years ago. The suggestion that decertifying would increase U.S. leverage to renegotiate and strengthen the agreement is unrealistic.

    Oct 5, 2017

  • An F/A-18 Super Hornet lands on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea, September 30, 2017

    Report

    Risk of U.S.-China Conflict Should Not Be Ignored or Exaggerated

    Armed conflict between the United States and China isn't likely. But the possibility is real enough to warrant prudent policies and effective deterrence. America should continue to support China's neighbors while drawing Beijing into cooperative security endeavors.

    Oct 2, 2017

  • Report

    Objectives of the United States Military Posture

    Discussion of U.S. military posture and its objectives in a period of possible parity between the Soviet Union and the United States in the possession of hardened missiles.

    Sep 29, 2017

  • Report

    On Dealing with Castro's Cuba:: Part I

    This 1965 RAND Corporation document examined the arguments for a rapprochement with Castro in 1964.

    Sep 29, 2017

  • Connections drawn over a world map

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'The Chessboard and the Web,' by Anne-Marie Slaughter

    Few quests in international relations scholarship are as imperative and vexing as that of rethinking power — how it is defined, who wields which types, and what strategies different actors pursue to accumulate it. Slaughter's new book is a significant contribution to that end.

    Sep 22, 2017

  • A French soldier in a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III en route to Mali to fight off extremists that have taken control of much of Northern Mali, January 20, 2013

    Commentary

    What a 1963 Novel Tells Us About the French Army, Mission Command, and the Romance of the Indochina War

    The novel La 317e Section (The 317th Platoon) informs and reflects an operating style rooted in the French Army's collective memory of the colonial wars. Colonial operations tended to be low-budget, small-footprint missions that placed junior officers in positions of considerable authority and responsibility. Service promised quick glory but was also more dangerous.

    Sep 20, 2017