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.

  • Commentary

    Help Ukraine Win—or Risk Kicking Off a U.S. Losing Streak

    Continued assistance to Ukraine is critical if the United States is to retain its position as the world's indispensable nation and the many benefits Americans enjoy as a result. Failing to support Ukraine now might kick off an American losing streak that could take decades to overcome.

    Mar 18, 2024

  • Article

    The U.S.–China Rivalry in a New Medieval Age

    Trends like weakening governments and fragmenting societies suggest that the era of industrial superpowers is over and we've entered a new medieval age. The U.S.-China rivalry may have more in common with the fitful conflicts of the 14th century than with the cataclysmic world wars of the 20th.

    Mar 19, 2024

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  • Multimedia

    Multimedia

    Book Discussion with National Security Correspondent Michael Gordon

    The RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy hosted a book discussion featuring Michael Gordon, a national security correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. Gordon and a panel of Middle East experts discussed his new book, "Degrade and Destroy."

    Sep 13, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021, photo by Denis Balibouse/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Wisdom of U.S. Restraint on Russia

    The United States has been gradually increasing assistance to Ukraine without provoking a wider war. Although this approach has frustrated Ukrainian leaders and many observers, it reflects the best traditions of Cold War–era crisis diplomacy—pursuing U.S. interests while avoiding a direct clash with a rival, always with an eye on the long term.

    Sep 12, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Veterans Health Care, Media Literacy, Sleep Retreats: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the challenges of VA community care, the importance of improving middle schoolers' media literacy skills, tips to improve sleep, and more.

    Sep 9, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Back to School, Vaccinating Kids, Space Security: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the well-being of America's educators, the effort to vaccinate kids and teens, security in outer space, and more.

    Sep 2, 2022

  • A Japan Ground Self Defense Force soldier (left) and a U.S. Army soldier (right) salute the Japanese and U.S. flags during the opening ceremony of Rising Thunder 2021 at Yakima Training Center, Washington, December 1, 2021, photo by Spc. Dean Johnson/U.S. Army

    Report

    Economic Benefits of U.S. Alliances and Military Engagement

    Decisions about alliances and forward military presence should be based on a range of factors beyond potential economic benefits. But there is evidence that military engagement has historically helped the U.S. economy by promoting international commerce.

    Sep 1, 2022

  • Barry Pavel, photo by RAND Corporation

    Announcement

    Barry Pavel Named Vice President and Director of the RAND National Security Research Division

    Veteran national security leader and defense strategist Barry Pavel has joined the RAND Corporation as vice president and director of the RAND National Security Research Division, which operates the National Defense Research Institute (NDRI), a federally funded research and development center.

    Aug 31, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden, alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, Swedish Ambassador to the U.S. Karin Olofsdotter and Finnish Ambassador to the U.S. Mikko Hautala, signs documents endorsing Finland's and Sweden's accession to NATO, at the White House, in Washington, D.C., August 9, 2022, photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

    Commentary

    Finnish and Swedish NATO Membership: Toward a Larger, Stronger, Smarter Alliance

    Finland and Sweden are poised to become full NATO members in the near future. The Nordic pair's entry into NATO means that alliance leaders and planners confront new challenges, and just as many opportunities.

    Aug 12, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Politicized Topics in School, the War in Ukraine, Post-Quantum Cryptography: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the intrusion of politicized topics in America's schools, where the war in Ukraine may be headed, post-quantum cryptography, and more.

    Aug 12, 2022

  • The round table at the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 30, 2022, photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

    Commentary

    A New Era? NATO's Prioritisation of Human Security in an Insecure World

    Human security and NATO's role and responsibility to protect civilians during conflict saw new prioritization in the alliance's 2022 Strategic Concept. While much progress has been made, more could be done to ensure the alliance can deliver on these commitments.

    Aug 10, 2022

  • A Ukrainian service member looks on outside the city of Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine, as Russia's attack continues, June 19, 2022, photo by Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Case for Cautious Optimism in Ukraine

    While the outcome of the war in Ukraine is by no means clear, the balance of materiel, manpower, and willpower all seem to make the case for cautious optimism. Although Ukraine is unlikely to throw Russia back to its borders any time soon, the war will likely trend in Ukraine's favor in the coming months. But only if the West does not blink first.

    Aug 9, 2022

  • A rescuer carries a land mine on the premises of a brick plant Trostianets, Sumy Region, northeastern Ukraine, June 17, 2022, photo by Pavlo_Bagmut/NurPhoto via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Is the Virtue in the Weapon or the Cause?

    The Biden administration's recent announcement of its intention to adhere to the provisions of the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel landmines has real consequences. This decision is the latest in the long controversy over the use of anti-personnel landmines and, more broadly, what means are moral in war.

    Aug 5, 2022

  • A U.S. marine loads a rubber ball cannister into a launcher

    Research Brief

    Evaluating the Use of Non-Lethal Weapons in Operational Environments

    This brief summarizes a RAND-developed methodology to evaluate the impact of non-lethal weapons in a way that better informs Department of Defense decisions about their development, integration into military forces, and use in diverse contexts.

    Aug 5, 2022

  • A naval mine is detonated by a mine-disposal team, sending up a tremendous plume of water

    Journal Article

    Emerging Trends in Naval Mining Capabilities

    Although mines using decades-old technology remain menacing, several broad technological trends are likely to enhance the threat from naval mines in the next few decades.

    Aug 5, 2022

  • The International Space Station, November 25, 2009, photo by NASA

    Commentary

    Russia's Withdrawal from the ISS: Another Sign of Its Space Decline?

    Russia's threatened exit from the International Space Station could simply be more bluster from Moscow at a time of heightened tension between Russia and the West over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But it also appears to be another signal that Russia's profile in space is in decline, a trend that is likely to continue and that the United States could be preparing for now.

    Aug 4, 2022

  • U.S. and South Korean sailors conduct anti-mine drills

    Journal Article

    The Imperative to Defend Minefields

    Minefields can impede an adversary fleet's ability to sortie from port. But once laid, they must be defended to prevent sweeping operations.

    Aug 3, 2022

  • A Ukrainian serviceman lights a candle at the spot where a child was killed by a Russian cruise missile strike in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, July 15, 2022, photo by Maxym Marusenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Might Russia Turn to Terror Bombing Civilians in Ukraine?

    Recent Russian missile attacks against civilian targets in cities far away from the front lines have killed scores of Ukrainians, leading to widespread outrage. These events raise the question of whether the war in Ukraine is entering a new phase in which terror attacks might become common.

    Jul 29, 2022

  • U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov in a Ukraine Defence Contact group meeting in Brussels, Belgium, June 15, 2022, photo by Yves Herman/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Potential Pathways to Russian Escalation Against NATO

    A Russia-NATO war is far from an inevitable outcome of the current conflict in Ukraine. U.S. and allied policymakers should be concerned with specific pathways and potential triggers, but they need not operate under the assumption that every action will entail acute escalation risks.

    Jul 26, 2022

  • A destroyed Russian tank by the roadside near Huliaipole, Zaporizhzhia Region, southeastern Ukraine, June 29, 2022, photo by Dmytro Smolyenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Lessons the United States Learned, and That Russia Did Not

    As dissimilar as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may be to the war in Ukraine, those conflicts taught the United States a few important lessons, often the hard way. As a result, the U.S. military probably would have avoided the problems that beset the Russians in Ukraine—not in spite of the global war on terrorism, but because of it.

    Jul 25, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Adaptive Engagement for Undergoverned Spaces: Concepts, Challenges, and Prospects for New Approaches

    This report is a compendium of expert insights regarding opportunities for investing in science and technology to increase U.S. ability to engage in long-term competition in undergoverned spaces.

    Jul 13, 2022

  • Russian weapons captured by Ukrainian forces seen in front of St. Michael's Monastery in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 31, 2022, photo by Ulf Mauder/Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP

    Q&A

    Russia's Ambitions and the War in Ukraine: Q&A with Dara Massicot

    Dara Massicot is a senior policy researcher at RAND who specializes in Russian military strategy. In this interview, she discusses Russia's war in Ukraine, its incorrect assumptions about Ukraine's will to fight, and how hard it's going to be for Russia to restore its military capabilities.

    Jun 29, 2022