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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  • HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Portsmouth after her maiden operational deployment in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, December 9, 2021, p

    Commentary

    Ready for Take-Off? The Next Generation of UK Maritime Air Power

    The recent deployment of a Carrier Strike Group represents a marked shift in the United Kingdom's ambitions and capabilities for power projection in both the maritime and air domains. The United Kingdom is hoping to work closely with NATO Allies to enhance the Alliance's collective ability to deploy maritime airpower as part of a flexible posture that can deter and respond to threats both close to home and far afield.

    Dec 10, 2021

  • Armoured vehicles are deployed to carry out a shore defense operation as part of the HanKuang military exercise in Taipei, Taiwan, September 16, 2021, photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Reuters

    Commentary

    Preventing China from Taking Taiwan

    The single most challenging high-end threat to a key American national security interest today is probably a Chinese invasion attempt against Taiwan. The United States could try to make that scenario unthinkable for Beijing by ensuring that China cannot dominate the western Pacific region.

    Dec 9, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, speaks virtually with Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the White House in Washington, D.C., November 15, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    Avoiding a New Surge of Regime Change

    As competition with China in the developing world heats up, the United States need not repeat the sad legacy of the Cold War with a surge of new efforts at covert regime change and harassment. Instead, America could maximize the systemic advantages it has long enjoyed, meet reformist leaders and movements in the developing world on their own terms, and trust the long-term appeal of American norms and values.

    Dec 8, 2021

  • Ukrainian Marines take part in multinational Sea Breeze 2021 military exercises involving more than 30 countries near Kherson, Ukraine, July 2, 2021, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    If Russia Invaded Ukraine

    The United States and NATO worry that Russia may be planning an invasion of Ukraine. A renewed crisis could spur the United States and its NATO allies to go beyond, perhaps well beyond, their responses to Russia's 2014 assault.

    Dec 8, 2021

  • The Second Battalion of the 99th Brigade of the Republic of China Marine Corps at the Presidential Palace in Taipei, Taiwan, July 6, 2020, photo by Wang Yu Ching/ CC BY 2.0

    Commentary

    The Counterintuitive Sensibility of Taiwan's New Defense Strategy

    As the United States prepares to deter China from attacking Taiwan and defend it from an attack, are the Taiwanese themselves doing everything they can to defend their territory?

    Dec 6, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden speaks virtually with Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the White House, November 15, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Report

    A Guide to Extreme Competition with China

    The U.S.-China competitive dynamic is at a critical crossroads. What realistic, actionable policy options should U.S. policymakers consider in developing effective strategies for this competition?

    Dec 1, 2021

  • Composite image for the U.S. Capitol dome with clouds in the sky and U.S. currency superimposed on the sky, photo by Douglas Rissing/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Nuclear Strategists Know How Dangerous the Debt Fight Is

    Nuclear-war strategists' work offers a warning for Congress: The more times a game is played, the more treacherous it becomes, because when both sides believe catastrophe will always be averted in the end, each behaves more rashly. In the debt-ceiling dispute, the United States could end up defaulting precisely because each side keeps waiting for the other to blink.

    Nov 29, 2021

  • Army personnel from the U.S. and China participate in expert academic dialogue during the U.S.-China Disaster Management Exchange, in Kunming, China, November 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Behlin/U.S. Army

    Report

    Stabilizing Great-Power Rivalries

    The international system is headed for a renewed era of intense competition among major powers. And there are serious grounds for concern about U.S. rivalries with Russia and China. To ensure stability—and avoid war—the policy response should be nuanced and go beyond bolstering military capabilities.

    Nov 29, 2021

  • Taiwan Air Force during annual exercises designed to prove the military's capabilities to repel a Chinese attack in Chang-Hua, Taiwan, May 28, 2019, photo by Aventurier Patrick/ABACA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Taiwan Is Safe Until at Least 2027, but with One Big Caveat

    Although Chinese President Xi Jinping clearly seeks to bring Taiwan to heel, and by force if necessary, he also continues to promote “peaceful reunification” as Beijing's preferred means. Xi likely would have toughened up his language by now if he thought war was a real possibility.

    Nov 10, 2021

  • U.S. Coast Guard conducting a training exercise at Cape Disappointment, Washington, February 9, 2018, photo by Tom Collins/CC BY-ND 2.0

    Commentary

    Analytical Gaming Could Help the U.S. Coast Guard Address Key Challenges

    By gradually expanding its gaming efforts, the U.S. Coast Guard might improve both the quality of its decisions and the strength of its relationships, making the service ever more capable as it navigates the challenges of the 21st century.

    Nov 8, 2021

  • Abstract background of spheres and wire-frame landscape, photo by gremlin/Getty Images

    Report

    Graph Theoretic Algorithms for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Program

    The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent is a complete replacement for an aging intercontinental ballistic missile system that is currently under development. What are quantitative methods that can be used to make the unified certification process for nuclear systems more rigorous and efficient?

    Nov 8, 2021

  • Blog

    North Korea, Sexual Violence in the U.S. Military, America's Labor Shortage: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on dealing with a nuclear North Korea, preventing sexual violence in the military, supporting immigrant children in U.S. schools, and more.

    Nov 5, 2021

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a Report on Enlarged Meeting of the 2nd Political Bureau of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this image released July 5, 2021, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Report

    A Realistic Approach for Dealing with North Korea's Nuclear Weapons

    Pursuing the unachievable goal of convincing North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons can only complicate the real challenge of managing a nuclear-armed North Korea. The United States and its allies should instead focus on deterrence and a series of negotiated agreements to control further development.

    Nov 3, 2021

  • U.S. and UK military leaders tour Main Operating Base Price, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, April 7, 2013, photo by Sgt. Tammy K. Hineline/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Reconsidering U.S. Decisionmaking Within NATO After the Fall of Kabul

    With NATO, the United States often tries to have it all: U.S. leadership of the alliance and increased allied burden-sharing. But the recent experience in Afghanistan shows how the form U.S. leadership takes can frustrate allies. Prioritizing allied preferences would help to preserve alliance unity and maybe even strengthen burden-sharing.

    Oct 25, 2021

  • Blog

    Nuclear Deterrence, COVID-19 and Infant Deaths, Criminal Justice Reform: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why the United States doesn’t need more nuclear weapons, increased infant deaths during the pandemic, preventing veteran suicide, and more.

    Oct 22, 2021

  • A new submarine-launched ballistic missile is seen during a test in this undated photo released on October 19, 2021, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Reducing the Role of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Could Make North Korea Happy

    The threats emanating from North Korea pose a useful case study for the potential implications of reducing the role of U.S. nuclear weapons. Additional U.S. nuclear deterrence declaratory strategy, backed up by appropriate nuclear weapon capabilities and planning, may be needed.

    Oct 20, 2021

  • Military vehicles carrying DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missiles in a military parade in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, October 1, 2019, photo by Jason Lee/Reuters

    Commentary

    The U.S. Doesn't Need More Nuclear Weapons to Counter China's New Missile Silos

    There's little reason for the United States to worry much about whatever the Chinese military is building in hundreds of new missile silos in China. America and its allies have ways to counter any threats these silo fields pose.

    Oct 18, 2021

  • Kim Jong-un speaks to officials at the Defence Development Exhibition, in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released on October 12, 2021, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea's 'Business as Usual' Missile Provocations

    North Korea has revved up its cycle of missile provocations, its go-to method of securing leverage against the United States and South Korea in the on-again off-again nuclear negotiations. How will the United States and South Korea choose to respond?

    Oct 14, 2021

  • U.S. Gen. Charles Flynn (left) speaks with RAND researchers Jennifer Moroney, Michael Mazarr, and Jennifer Kavanagh at an event at RAND's Washington Office, October 7, 2021, photo by RAND Corporation

    Blog

    Gen. Charles Flynn Says Army Has Crucial Role in the Pacific Theater

    What is the U.S. Army's role in an oceanic theater that spans half the globe, where China increasingly asserts itself for strategic advantage? Gen. Charles A. Flynn, head of the U.S. Army Pacific, discussed this and other topics at a recent event at RAND.

    Oct 13, 2021

  • Blog

    Four-Day School Weeks, Domestic Terrorism, North Korea: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the trade-offs of a four-day school week, how to counter domestic violent extremism, racial disparities in who is convicted of more-serious speeding charges, and more.

    Oct 8, 2021