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.

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  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Disinformation Amid the Israel-Hamas War, U.S. Gun Policy, Cannabis: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how the information war may play out between Israel and Hamas, what the evidence says (and doesn't say) about U.S. gun policy, supply models for recreational cannabis, and more.

    Nov 3, 2023

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S. Armed Forces Capabilities in Arctic Region Pose National Security Risks, Need Strengthening

    The United States needs to strengthen its ability to protect its Arctic interests as the region becomes a more active security environment. Key areas for improvement include communications, infrastructure, training, equipment, tactics and the ability to scale presence.

    Nov 1, 2023

  • U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Willow drifts by an iceberg, August 23, 2011, photo by PO3 Luke Clayton/U.S. Coast Guard

    Report

    Arctic Capabilities of the U.S. Armed Forces

    The United States has considerable interests in the Arctic and is one of just eight countries with territory in the region. How do U.S. armed forces' capabilities differ from those of other countries operating there, including Russia, China, and allies?

    Nov 1, 2023

  • Still from a video posted by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation claiming to show the Black Sea Fleet's Admiral Essen frigate engaging a TB2 Bayraktar drone over the Black Sea, near the west coast of the Crimean peninsula, April 12, 2022, photo by Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Black Sea and the Changing Face of Naval Warfare

    Uncrewed surface vessel and uncrewed underwater vessel technologies will continue to mature and be employed for an ever-wider range of missions. Today's struggles in the Black Sea may herald a changing face of naval warfare, in which large warships are increasingly vulnerable even to nations that lack substantial navies.

    Oct 31, 2023

  • Two Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15s fly alongside a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, Kadena Air Base, during air refueling training July 30, 2009, photo ny Tech. Sgt. Angelique Perez/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Japan's Play for Today: Too Much? Just Right? Or Never Enough?

    Japan is pushing ahead on a broad array of initiatives meant to strengthen the Self-Defense Forces' deterrent power across multiple domains. But there are bound to be limits in manpower, resources, capacity, or capabilities that will place limits on what the end point of Japan's buildup ultimately looks like.

    Oct 31, 2023

  • A U.S. Marine loads a non-lethal mortar round

    Journal Article

    How to Assess the Impact of Non-Lethal Weapons

    A RAND team used a structure called a "logic model" to assess the tactical, operational, and strategic impact of non-lethal weapons. This article characterizes what these systems and operations are intended to achieve and how they do so.

    Oct 30, 2023

  • American and Chinese flags with a digital overlay, images by Anson_iStock and Norcoon/Getty Images

    Report

    U.S.-China Competition for Digital Infrastructure

    Digital infrastructure (DI) appears significant for future military operations and long-term strategic competition. How might global DI evolve by 2050? And what could the military implications be for the United States and China?

    Oct 30, 2023

  • The South Korean and American flags fly next to each other in Yongin, South Korea, August 23, 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar/U.S. Army

    Report

    South Korea Needs Greater Nuclear Assurance

    With growing nuclear threats from North Korea and China, there has been considerable interest in South Korea in developing its own nuclear weapons. But doing so could become a major disaster. The United States should bring greater strategic clarity to its nuclear umbrella commitment to South Korea.

    Oct 29, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Israel-Hamas War, AI and Gene Editing, Social Media Regulation: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the Israel-Hamas war, the convergence of machine learning and gene editing, regulating social media while protecting free speech, and more.

    Oct 27, 2023

  • Map of East Asia with China filled with the flag of China and Taiwan filled with the blue background and white sun from the flag of Taiwan, image by Olga Dubrovina/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Lessons from the Chinese Conquest of Taiwan

    As Chinese political and military leaders envision conquering Taiwan, their predecessors' earlier seizure of the island is likely to inform their thoughts. Deriving lessons from the prior conquest of Taiwan can contribute to anticipation of possible threats and effective responses to them.

    Oct 26, 2023

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held the Fifth Enlarged Plenary Meeting of the Eighth Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang, North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 11, 2022, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    What North Korea Is Learning from the Hamas-Israel War

    South Korea and the United States should rein in North Korean nuclear weapon production and prepare to respond to escalated North Korean coercion. While Kim Jong-un probably won't resort to a Hamas-style attack, he certainly shares Hamas' goal of cultivating U.S. reluctance to get involved militarily in the region.

    Oct 24, 2023

  • Israel's newest F-16I fighter jets take off for an airstrike mission in the Gaza Strip on October 16, 2023, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Four Questions the U.S. Military Should Be Asking About Operation Swords of Iron

    The war in Gaza, much like previous Israeli wars, will likely yield a host of lessons for American military planners. It's not too early to identify the right questions to be asking as the conflict unfolds.

    Oct 23, 2023

  • An Israeli soldier looks out from a tank as an artillery unit gathers near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, October 12, 2023, photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Inevitable, Ongoing Failure of Israel's Gaza Strategy

    The Hamas attack represented a spectacular failure of Israel's “mowing the grass” strategy in the Gaza Strip. If there's to be any hope of preventing the next war and the one after that, Israel will need to rebuild Gaza into something better than it was.

    Oct 19, 2023

  • An Atlas V rocket carrying a Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite launches from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, August 4, 2022, photo by Joshua Conti/U.S. Space Force

    Commentary

    Encouraging Consistency in National Security Transparency

    The United States remains the leader in space in both national security and commercial capabilities. Greater transparency about existing on-orbit systems that are already detected by many is an important next step that could bolster U.S. credibility while also aiding deterrence.

    Oct 16, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Israel-Hamas War, Overdose Deaths, Striking Health Care Workers: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on historical context for the Israel-Hamas war, the link between education and fatal overdoses, why U.S. health care workers are striking, and more.

    Oct 13, 2023

  • Kim Jong-un attends the ninth session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly and calls for exponentially increasing the production of nuclear weapons at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 28, 2023, photo by KCNA/Pool/Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Nuclear Weapons in the North Korean World View

    As Kim Jong-un's actions become more threatening, the risks of a catastrophic accidental nuclear war become more likely. The United States needs to make North Korean denuclearization a long-term objective but focus in the immediate future on limiting the size and danger of the North Korean nuclear weapon force.

    Oct 11, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Nuclear Deterrence, Russia and Iran, Deepfakes: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how much is “enough” for U.S. nuclear forces, the budding Russia-Iran partnership, the challenge of detecting deepfakes, and more.

    Oct 6, 2023

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, October 3, 2023, photo by Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik via Reuters

    Report

    What If Russia Crossed the Nuclear Threshold in Ukraine?

    The dynamic between Ukrainian momentum and Russia's desperation has raised concerns that the Kremlin might resort to nuclear escalation to turn the tide of the war. How could the United States expand its options to respond to potentially produce better outcomes?

    Oct 5, 2023

  • Saber Strike 17, a U.S. Army Europe-led multinational combined forces annual exercise at the Bemowo Piskie Training Area in northern Poland, June 16, 2017, photo by Charles Rosemond/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Alliance Assignments: Defense Priorities for Key NATO States

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine has galvanized NATO governments to address longstanding shortcomings in defense preparations. NATO is once again committed to collectively defending all allied territory and airspace. But current allied defense capabilities and posture are not adequate to do so.

    Oct 4, 2023

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte, inspect F-16 fighter jets in Eindhoven, Netherlands, August 20, 2023, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    F-16s Are No Magic Bullet for Ukraine, but They Are a Game Changer with the Right Munitions

    Will F-16s win the war for Ukraine? No. Only ground victories and unacceptable Russian losses will force Putin to negotiate. However, a long-term commitment to supporting a well-equipped, sizable F-16 force will improve the likelihood of Ukrainian success even if an F-16 never shoots a Russian fighter.

    Oct 3, 2023