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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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Russian servicemen involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, in Moscow, Russia, September 29, 2023, photo by Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters

    Commentary

    Rightsizing the Russia Threat

    A proper understanding of the threat Russia poses must begin with an accurate appraisal of Russian power. Putin might harbor fantasies of world conquest. But his military cannot even fully conquer any of the four Ukrainian provinces he claims to have annexed last year. Ultimately, those are the constraints that should bound the debate about the extent of the threat.

    Oct 3, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Trauma in the Intelligence Community, Climate Change, Cybersecurity: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the toll that trauma takes in the intelligence community, how climate change will affect the federal budget, why it may be time for a new cybersecurity standard, and more.

    Sep 29, 2023

  • A House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party hearing on the Biden Administration's China strategy, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., July 20, 2023, photo by Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Accelerating the Transition to a New U.S. Defense Strategy

    U.S. leaders have recognized the challenges with the default post–Cold War defense strategy and have set a course for a more feasible and sustainable approach. But reforms continue to be obstructed by problems of bureaucracy, programmatic limitations, regulations, and institutional culture.

    Sep 28, 2023

  • The U.N. Security Council convenes an emergency meeting in New York on March 31, 2023, to discuss Russia's plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, photo by Kyodo via Reuters

    Commentary

    How Much Is Enough for U.S. Nuclear Forces?

    Deterrence is difficult because it's about perceptions and resolve rather than just pure numbers. Potential adversaries need to perceive that the United States has enough nuclear weapons to deter them, and also that U.S. officials believe the United States has enough that Washington's resolve will not falter in the face of provocation or coercion.

    Sep 27, 2023

  • People walk in front of a monitor showing news of North Korea's fresh threat in Tokyo, Japan, August 10, 2017

    Commentary

    North Korea and China Aren't the Allies You Think They Are

    China and North Korea have a history of friction, despite being seen as allies. As Russia, China, and North Korea move toward a closer trilateral partnership, the United States and its allies need to recognize that there are seams in the relationships that can be used to undermine it.

    Sep 27, 2023

  • A soldier from the mine disposal unit prepares to search for landmines along a coast in Kinmen, Taiwan, May 18, 2009, photo by Pichi Chuang/Reuters

    Commentary

    Landmines in Ukraine: Lessons for China and Taiwan

    In shaping patterns of future warfare, militaries across the world will be seeking to absorb the key lessons of the Russia-Ukraine War. Chinese strategists are particularly attuned to the major role that landmines have played in the conflict.

    Sep 26, 2023

  • A Russian military convoy travel on a main road leads to the River Enguri, about 3 km from the western Georgian city of Zugdidi, August 19, 2008.

    Report

    Anticipating Flashpoints with Russia: Patterns and Drivers

    The authors combined quantitative and qualitative modes of analysis to better understand and anticipate flashpoints with Russia.

    Sep 25, 2023

  • The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), photo by U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Why Improve Ukraine's Deep-Strike Capability?

    Coordinated deep-strike capabilities—air-launched and ground-launched—will be most effective in degrading Russian forces and operations. Using air and ground launchers would force Russian commanders to devote substantial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to attempt to find these systems.

    Sep 19, 2023

  • Soldiers stand in formation as Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visits a military base in Chiayi, Taiwan, March 25, 2023, photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Strawman Defense Is Torching Taiwan's Military

    There are many reasons why the political future of Taiwan Strait relations is uncertain, but the military considerations for Taiwan are much more straightforward. Taiwan should invest in capabilities that are highly survivable and potent against a potential attack from mainland China.

    Sep 15, 2023

  • North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a meeting at the Vostochny Сosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, September 13, 2023, photo by Sputnik/Artem Geodakyan/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea, Russia and China: The Developing Trilateral Imperialist Partnership

    There are no easy ways for the United States and its allies to counter the developing Russia-China–North Korea partnership. But there are options to consider and steps to take. There are also fissures in their relationships to exploit.

    Sep 13, 2023

  • An F-15E Strike Eagle departs after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Southwest Asia, December 22, 2020, photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Airmen Out-Paced

    As it stands now, airmen are being asked to pick up the pieces when communications networks and chains of command break. Mission command could be the means to succeed in the future, but only after the USAF does the hard work now to make organizational changes and define a viable construct to guide their efforts.

    Sep 8, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    The Four-Day School Week, AI and Social Media Manipulation, School Safety: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the costs and benefits of a four-day school week, how artificial intelligence is bringing a new era of social media manipulation, the effects of placing police officers in schools, and more.

    Sep 8, 2023

  • U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 7, and U.S. Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, conduct tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel training, part of exercise Northern Edge (NE), May 15, 2019 at Fort Greely, Alaska. Approximately 10,000 U.S. military personnel will participate in exercise NE 2019, a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces that prepares joint forces to respond to crises in the Indo-Pacific region., photo by Cpl. Rhita Daniel/U.S. Marine Corps

    Report

    The Strategic Value of Jointness in Major Power Competition and Conflict

    For more than 30 years, the U.S. Department of Defense has placed substantial emphasis on jointness. Understanding what aspects of jointness are most valuable—and why—can help DoD compete more effectively against its adversaries and maximize the United States' competitive military advantages.

    Sep 5, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    The State of Public Education, the Opioid Crisis, Defending Taiwan: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the state of public education in America right now, a missing piece of the strategy for addressing the opioid crisis, emerging technology that could help defend Taiwan, and more.

    Sep 1, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    A Framework of Deterrence in Space Operations

    This report presents a framework on the nature and requirements of deterrence in space operations . Drawing on lessons from nuclear and cyber and selected national approaches to space deterrence, it presents three archetypes for space deterrence.

    Aug 31, 2023

  • (l-r) South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida walk to a joint press conference after their summit talks at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David near Washington, D.C., August 18, 2023, photo by Kyodo via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    A Trilateral Summit to Deal with Trilateral Threats

    The leaders of Japan, South Korea, and the United States held a trilateral summit in August, focused on countering military threats in East Asia. Not surprisingly, China and North Korea were upset by the summit, designed as it was to respond to their military build-ups.

    Aug 29, 2023

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New START Treaty at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, April 8, 2010, photo by Jason Reed/Reuters

    Commentary

    Hard Times for U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control

    New START is slated to expire in February 2026 and cannot be extended. The next chapter in U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control, if there is to be one, may not be written until rulers in Moscow ease repression at home, pull troops out of Ukraine, and recognize the mutual benefits of reducing, rather than stoking, nuclear tensions.

    Aug 28, 2023

  • The top of the U.S. Capitol Building with an American flag in front of it, photo by Perry Spring/Getty Images

    Brochure

    Saving the Government Money: Examples from RAND's FFRDCs

    RAND's defense-related federally funded research and development centers apply research capital they have developed over the years to help decisionmakers solve problems and often save money as well. This publication lists and briefly summarizes some RAND projects undertaken over the past several years that have helped save the government money or that have identified ways to do so.

    Aug 25, 2023

  • A colorful silhouette of an aircraft is superimposed on maps of Russia and Iran, images by Belterz/Getty Images, Kevin Smart/Getty Images, and KeithBinns/Getty Images

    Report

    Deterring Russia and Iran

    How can the United States effectively and efficiently deter Russia and Iran without crowding out investments in other military missions, including competition with China in the Indo-Pacific?

    Aug 17, 2023

  • A military sapper picks up unexploded parts of a cluster bomb left after Russia's invasion near the village of Motyzhyn, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 10, 2022, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Biden Was Justified to Send Cluster Munitions to Ukraine

    The U.S. decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine—and the ensuing controversy—are reflective of a broader and long-standing question: What means are moral in war? While much has been made of the dangers posed by unexploded ordnance from these weapons, there are strong arguments for providing them to Ukraine.

    Aug 14, 2023