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.

  • 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.

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  • Blog

    Reducing Hospital Prices, Vaccinating the Most Active, Myanmar: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on regulating hospital prices to cut spending, a COVID-19 vaccine strategy that prioritizes “active” people, what the Capitol attack means for security clearances, and more.

    Feb 19, 2021

  • Multimedia

    Multimedia

    West Coast Aerospace Forum 2020: Aerospace Vision for the Future

    The 6th annual West Coast Aerospace Forum in December 2020 featured discussions between some of the Department of the Air Force‘s most senior and experienced leaders and top civilian national security experts.

    Feb 19, 2021

  • Chinese and Taiwanese flags are displayed around souvenir shops, ahead of the 60th anniversary of Second Taiwan Straits Crisis against China, in Kinmen, Taiwan, August 19, 2018, photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Testimony

    Factors Shaping China's Use of Force Calculations Against Taiwan

    Taiwan remains the People's Liberation Army's main strategic direction despite a growing recognition that the PLA must also support China's international interests and presence. Does China see itself as capable of confronting the United States and its allies in a conflict over Taiwan? And what are some U.S. policy considerations?

    Feb 18, 2021

  • Red and blue profiles with thinking gears in their heads, illustration by JakeOlimb/Getty Images

    Report

    How to Avoid Aggression or Escalation in a Crisis

    Anticipating how an opponent may be reasoning, and then seeking ways to alter that thinking can inform an effective influence strategy. Deterring adversaries by threat of punishment alone is often ineffective. A better approach might involve a mix of several measures, such as being able to thwart aggression, reassurances to reduce the adversary's fears, and relationship-building.

    Feb 16, 2021

  • Intricate real life-like models in a wargame at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, August 23, 2017, photo by Frances Seybold/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Wargames as an Educational Tool

    The benefits of games for military education are well documented. But harnessing the potential of games to foster innovation may require a commitment to sustain gaming over the years needed to explore a problem space and develop and stress-test new ideas.

    Feb 8, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Future Threats and Some Considerations for the Next U.S. National Defense Strategy

    In this article, the authors offer a U.S. perspective on the evolution of threats from the recent past, and posit several considerations for the next National Defense Strategy.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • Blog

    Keeping COVID-19 Vaccines Moving, the Capitol Attack, Media Literacy: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on keeping COVID-19 vaccines moving to save more lives; why we need a national commission to investigate the U.S. Capitol attack; media literacy as a tool to counter “Truth Decay,” and more.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Interest in a U.S. Grand Strategy of Restraint May Be Growing, So Advocates Need to Provide More Details

    As the Biden Administration takes over, some U.S. policymakers have expressed interest in a new approach to America's role in the world: a realist grand strategy of restraint under which the U.S. would cooperate more with other powers, reduce its forward military presence and end or renegotiate some security commitments.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • A world map puzzle with a piece on top, photo by Yuriy Panyukov/Adobe Stock

    Report

    A U.S. Grand Strategy of Restraint

    Some U.S. policymakers have expressed interest in a realist grand strategy of restraint. Under this approach, the United States would cooperate more with other powers, reduce its forward military presence, and end or renegotiate some security commitments. What are the policy implications of embarking down this path?

    Jan 21, 2021

  • Elements of 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, convoy to the Hohenfels Training Area for Combined Resolve XIII in Germany, January 18, 2020, photo by Sgt. Megan Zander/U.S. Army National Guard

    Commentary

    Why Overseas Military Bases Continue to Make Sense for the United States

    Voices on the left and right have proposed downsizing America's overseas military footprint. While the merits of basing in a particular location should be open to debate, the underlying twin logics of deterrence and reassurance behind permanently stationing American forces overseas remain operationally, economically, and strategically as sound as ever.

    Jan 14, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin during an end-of-year videoconference with members of the Russian government at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, December 24, 2020, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Reuters

    Commentary

    Arms Control Held Hostage

    President-elect Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have wisely promised to extend the 2010 New START Treaty, which cuts long-range nuclear arms. The two leaders may also pursue a broader follow-on accord, but frigid U.S.-Russian relations could put this out of reach. Progress on arms control often comes when political winds are warmer.

    Dec 28, 2020

  • Puzzle pieces representing the flags of Japan, France, Germany, the UK, and NATO, images by numax3d, railwayfx/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Japan-Europe Security Ties in the Age of Strategic Competition

    Some of America's strongest allies are its European partners and Japan. In an age of growing strategic competition, how are these allies cooperating with one another? And how might these partnerships affect the United States?

    Dec 21, 2020

  • Otto von Bismarck and Napoleon III after the Battle of Sedan in 1870, Painting by Wilhelm Camphausen/Public Domain

    Commentary

    Thinking in (Napoleonic) Times: Historical Warnings for an Era of Great-Power Competition

    Over the last several years, great-power competition has become a major topic of discussion, prompting policymakers, scholars, and pundits alike to look to the past for lessons to explain the emerging contest between the United States and China. Considering how a variety of historical powers have faced rising challengers can aid our understanding of the challenges ahead.

    Dec 18, 2020

  • PLA Qiandaohu, a Chinese navy ship, steams in close formation as one of 42 ships and submarines from 15 international partner nations during Rim of the Pacific 2014, photo by Shannon E. Renfroe/U.S. Navy

    Report

    Command and Control in U.S. Naval Competition with China

    The navies of the United States and China will likely face challenges as they shift to new missions unless they adapt their existing concepts of command and control. Their willingness to adapt could prove to be decisive in maritime rivalry, and perhaps in the overall balance of strategic competition between the two nations.

    Dec 17, 2020

  • The Harry S. Truman Building, headquarters of the U.S. Department of State, in Washington, D.C., photo by AgnosticPreachersKid / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Commentary

    Women and Statecraft History

    RAND policy researcher and historian Stephanie Young remembers her key mentors and the impact they had, whether by asking important questions, encouraging academic pursuits, and modeling female excellence.

    Dec 16, 2020

  • Pakistan's mountain range known for historical nuclear tests seen from London Road, photo by commoner28th/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Women and Statecraft History

    RAND associate policy researcher and historian Michelle Grisé discusses her training as a historian and how she uses it to inform current policy debates and decisionmaking.

    Dec 16, 2020

  • U.S. Marines play a game of Memoir '44, a war-themed strategy board game based on historical World War II battles, on Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan, December 10, 2019, photo by Cpl. Timothy Hernandez/U.S. Marines

    Commentary

    Establishing a Wargaming Insurgency at the University

    When properly employed, wargaming can serve as a potent experiential learning tool. If educational wargaming is to evolve and endure, a global wargaming insurgency may be required. This will likely demand additional time, effort, and energy, but if successful, the dividends could be remarkable.

    Dec 16, 2020

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Multiple Dilemmas for the Joint Force: Joint All-Domain Command and Control

    The authors examine potential command and control impediments to multidomain operations and propose alternative models for joint all-domain command and control.

    Dec 3, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Multiple Dilemmas: Challenges and Options for All-Domain Command and Control

    The authors examine potential command-and-control impediments to multidomain operations and propose alternative models for joint all-domain command and control.

    Dec 3, 2020

  • A person playing Hedgemony, a tabletop military strategy game developed by RAND, photo by Evan Banks/RAND Corporation

    Blog

    Now You Can Play RAND Games at Home

    RAND is famous for its Pentagon wargames. Now the public can play defense analyst, too. In RAND's new game, Hedgemony, players create a military strategy to allocate troops and resources and hedge against the unknown.

    Nov 10, 2020