Military Strategy

Featured

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.

  • The USS <em>Bonhomme Richard</em>, left, and USS <em>Green Bay</em> docked at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, March 5, 2015, photo by Lt. David Levy/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    A Taiwan Contingency and Japan's Counterstrike Debate

    Jul 23, 2021

    The United States and Japan could be drawn into a conflict in the event of Chinese aggression against Taiwan whether they like it or not. Allied defense planning could consider how Japan might further reinforce deterrence and if necessary improve its ability to contribute to the common defense.

  • Soldiers participate in training at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, June 5, 2021, photo by Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh/U.S. Army

    Research Brief

    Should the U.S. Military Be Less Predictable?

    Aug 11, 2021

    The United States might strengthen deterrence by becoming more operationally unpredictable. Several approaches could work to increase adversary uncertainty about how U.S. forces would fight, but there are risks and costs.

Explore Military Strategy

  • A New Vision for the Middle East

    Multimedia

    A New Vision for the Middle East

    Dalia Dassa Kaye and Linda Robinson discuss their study, Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East, which explores fundamental questions, such as whether and how the United States should engage the region.

    Apr 13, 2021

  • Call with the Experts: The North Korean Nuclear Threat

    Multimedia

    The North Korean Nuclear Threat

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, Jeffrey Hiday, director of Media Relations at RAND, is joined by Bruce Bennett, RAND adjunct international/defense researcher, Bruce Bechtol, professor of political science at Angelo State University, and Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow with the Heritage Foundation, for a discussion about the North Korean nuclear threat.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • North Korea displays what appears to be its largest intercontinental ballistic missile during a parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Workers' Party, October 10, 2020, photo by KCNA

    Report

    Countering the Risks of North Korean Nuclear Weapons

    There is a growing gap between North Korea's nuclear weapon threat and South Korean and U.S. capabilities to defeat it. Because these capabilities will take years to develop, attention should be focused on where the threat could be in the mid to late 2020s and strategy options that could be employed to counter it.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • Blog

    Trust in the CDC, Teaching Students with Disabilities, Russian Mercenaries: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses declining trust in the CDC, insights from educators about teaching students with disabilities, Russian mercenaries, and more.

    Apr 9, 2021

  • Blog

    Understanding Violent Extremism, 'Blockships,' VMT Fee: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on firsthand accounts of violent extremism, lessons from the recent blockage in the Suez Canal, and if a federal Vehicle Miles Travel fee could replace the gas tax.

    Apr 2, 2021

  • The Sodium Guidestar at the Air Force Research Laboratory's Starfire Optical Range resides on a 6,240 foot hilltop at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, photo by U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Third Offset Fostered Real Intellectual Change Within DoD

    In 2014, U.S. defense leaders began promoting the Third Offset, a strategy centered on the potential of technology to offset Chinese and Russian advances. Its core principles were adopted by the 2018 National Defense Strategy. DoD started to look at security problems in a new light and develop closer ties with Silicon Valley.

    Mar 31, 2021

  • Stranded ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, after it ran aground, in the Suez Canal, March 28, 2021, photo by Suez Canal Authority/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Suez Grounding Was an Accident. The Next Blocked Chokepoint Might Not Be

    The recent spectacle of a hulking container ship wedged into the Suez Canal is a reminder of how vulnerable maritime transportation is to blocked chokepoints. The fragility of maritime lifelines may encourage the use of this tactic in future conflict.

    Mar 30, 2021

  • Multimedia

    Multimedia

    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East Panel Discussion

    The start of a new U.S. administration offers an opportunity to rethink some of the fundamental premises underlying American policymaking in the Middle East.

    Mar 29, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    The U.S.-Japan Alliance and Rapid Change on the Korean Peninsula: Proceedings from a Pair of Conferences

    Few areas of the world are more geostrategically important to the United States and Japan than the Korean Peninsula. These conference proceedings explore how changes on the Korean Peninsula are seen by observers in Japan and the United States.

    Mar 26, 2021

  • Finger hovering over an illuminated button with a radiation warning sign, photo by davidhills/Getty Images

    Multimedia

    RAND Remote: A Disarming Mission, A RAND Conversation with William Perry and Tom Collina

    In this RAND Remote conversation, former Secretary of Defense William Perry and Tom Collina, director of policy at Ploughshares Fund, discuss nuclear executive authority and topics covered in their book, The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump.

    Mar 25, 2021

  • The guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) transit the South China Sea, February 9, 2021, photo by MC3 Cheyenne Geletka/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Biden's China Reset Is Already on the Ropes

    The prospects of a U.S.-China reset are rapidly fading, and both sides bear some measure of responsibility. Beijing has refused to change its own assertive behavior. And all signs thus far point to a Biden administration that plans to take an exceptionally hard line against China.

    Mar 15, 2021

  • U.S. soldiers and airmen enter an Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at an Afghan National Army combat outpost in Afghanistan on June 23, 2015, photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Getting Out of Forever Wars: What Are Biden's Options in Afghanistan?

    U.S. counterterrorism strategy has long been driven by the assumption that security at home depends on fighting terrorists abroad. How will that square with the president's pledge to end forever wars? Is it possible to get out of warfighting without shutting down vital counterterrorist operations?

    Mar 12, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Commentary: Securing the Least Bad Outcome: The Options Facing Biden on Afghanistan

    President Biden must decide whether to withdraw the remaining 2,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan to meet a May 1 deadline. The consequences of the decision will decide the fate of Afghanistan and signal the U.S.' broader strategic intentions.

    Mar 12, 2021

  • Russian trucks on the road heading to Deir al-Zor in Kabakeb near Deir al-Zor, Syria, September 21, 2017, photo by Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russian Mercenaries in Great-Power Competition: Strategic Supermen or Weak Link?

    The weaknesses within Russian mercenary forces and within the Russian state in relation to press-ganged youths, conscripts, and casualties may offer opportunities for exploitation in great-power competition. These broader weaknesses in Russian national will to fight could be examined to identify more ways to prevent Russia from aggressively undermining Western democracy.

    Mar 9, 2021

  • A U.S. Air Force 34th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-35 Lighting II conducts an inflight refueling in the skies above the United Arab Emirates, May 8, 2020, photo by Tech. Sgt. Kat Justen/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    What the UAE Weapons Deal Says About the United States and Its Alliances

    Various U.S. administrations have long wanted U.S. allies to do more, but in many parts of the world the most logical partners are authoritarian states with different interests than those of the United States. The sale of military equipment to the United Arab Emirates provides just the latest example.

    Mar 1, 2021

  • Japan's Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi attend a video conference with Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Defence Minister Ben Wallace (on the screen) at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, February 3, 2021, hoto by Franck Robichon/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Strong Japan-U.K. Alliance Needed to Counter China

    With Brexit behind it, Britain faces a question about what role it should play in the world. Assuming it wants to remain a power that can shape—but not dominate—international relations, it makes sense to partner with like-minded states, such as Japan.

    Feb 24, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Traditional U.S. Approaches to Middle East Not Working: Reimagined Strategy Would Lean Less on Massive Arms Sales, More ...

    U.S. policies in the Middle East are built on outdated “legacy” aid packages, massive arms sales, and a disproportionate focus on the Iranian threat that fail to advance American interests—or help the region's people—and need to be rethought.

    Feb 23, 2021

  • A view from space of the Middle East, West Asia, and East Europe at night, photo by wael alreweie/Getty Images

    Report

    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East

    Long-standing U.S. policies in the Middle East that rely on defeating threats and keeping partners on “our side” have fallen short. What if the U.S. approach shifted from focusing on the threat of the day to a positive vision of a region supported by increased diplomatic and economic investments?

    Feb 23, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East: Sustainable Partnerships, Strategic Investments (Executive Summary)

    In this summary, researchers assess the advantages and trade-offs of a reimagined Middle East strategy where strategic goals link to a broader understanding of stability that prioritizes reduced conflict, better governance, and greater development.

    Feb 23, 2021

  • Members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces' infantry unit march during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base, Japan, October 23, 2016, photo by Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japanese Public Needs to Know SDF to Appreciate It

    Although Japan does not call the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) a military, externally it is widely respected as a modern armed force fielding advanced defense capabilities. Given the threats facing Japan, it may benefit the Japanese public to better understand the value of the SDF as an armed force and the military cooperation that takes place with the United States.

    Feb 19, 2021