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.

Explore Military Strategy

  • Americans gather to read headlines about the German invasion of Poland that triggered World War II, September 1, 1939, photo by Everett Collection/Alamy

    Research Brief

    The Aftermath of a Great Power War

    A review of historical great power wars shows that prewar predictions about who would fight, how long the war would last, and how the world would look afterward were often wrong. It's important to understand what the outcomes of different conflicts could look like and how to better prepare for them.

    May 9, 2023

  • French family outside their home destroyed by shelling at La Bassee in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, 1918, photo by Dave Bagnall Collection/Alamy Stock Photo

    Q&A

    Alternative Futures Following a Great Power War: Miranda Priebe and Bryan Frederick in Conversation

    Though not a great power war, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has caused many to wonder what a true great power war in Europe or the Indo-Pacific would look like, and especially what kind of world would emerge afterwards. Two RAND researchers discuss how their recent report sheds light on this issue.

    May 9, 2023

  • RAND's 75th anniversary logo over a global network, image by RAND Corporation and spainter_vfx/Adobe Stock

    Blog

    RAND Turns 75: A Look Through the Decades At World-Changing Research

    From anticipating the Space Age in the 1940s to studying gun policy and COVID-19 responses in the 2020s, RAND is celebrating 75 years of research that has made a difference.

    May 8, 2023

  • A still image taken from video shows a flying object approaching the dome of the Kremlin Senate building in Moscow, Russia, May 2, 2023, photo by Ostorozhno Novosti

    Commentary

    What the Drone Strikes on the Kremlin Reveal About the War in Ukraine

    False flag, special op, or fizzled attack—it may not be possible to get to the bottom of who launched drones at the Kremlin and why any time soon. But the incident and reactions it has elicited from the war's major players reveal just how important weaponized, long-range drones have become in this conflict.

    May 4, 2023

  • Two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft fly over Iraq and Syria, July 17, 2021, pTwo U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft fly over Iraq and Syria, July 17, 2021

    Commentary

    Why Does Ukraine Want Western Jets?

    Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Ukraine has requested Western fighter jets. Why does it want them? Of what use could they be? And what are some of their limitations?

    May 3, 2023

  • A Coast Guard unmanned aircraft system hovers during training in Astoria, Oregon, February 24, 2023, photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Diolanda Caballero/U.S. Coast Guard

    Commentary

    Coast Guard Leans Forward in New UxS Strategy but Faces Significant Challenges

    The rise of unmanned systems creates a challenging landscape for the U.S. Coast Guard as it endeavors to conduct its diverse missions in the future. To address emerging technologies and prepare for forthcoming threats, the service recently released a strategic plan.

    May 3, 2023

  • A screen grab from an undated video shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspecting what are said to be nuclear warheads at an undisclosed location, photo by KRT via Reuters

    Commentary

    How Kim's Fears Shape North Korea's Nuclear Agenda

    North Korea has ramped up the frequency and intensity of its provocations, continuing its nuclear weapon–buildup while threatening attacks against South Korea and the United States. Why is Kim Jong-un making such excessive investments in North Korea's nuclear and weapons programs and showing off its capabilities?

    Apr 19, 2023

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Russian interior ministry board in Moscow, Russia, March 20, 2023, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Nikolskyi/Kremlin via Reuters

    Commentary

    Stalled in Ukraine, Kremlin Increasingly Turns to Political Theater

    Stymied in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has amped up the political theater to achieve his objectives. How do we interpret Putin's statements? While no nuclear threat should be ignored, Putin's pronouncements remain in the realm of propaganda.

    Apr 17, 2023

  • Service members of pro-Russian troops ride an armoured vehicle in the town of Popasna in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine, June 2, 2022, photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

    Journal Article

    How the Ukraine War Accelerates the Defense Strategy

    This piece explores the implications of the Defense Department's support for Ukraine on the National Defense Strategy, and support for Taiwan in particular.

    Apr 11, 2023

  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin testifies with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the president's proposed 2024 Budget, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., March 28, 2023, photo by Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Maximizing the Potential of American Irregular Warfare in Strategic Competition

    It is time that the United States develop the concepts and associated doctrine, commands, field operating agencies, and personnel to maximize the potential of American irregular warfare in strategic competition.

    Apr 3, 2023

  • U.S. Army soldiers leave their base to patrol the area in Zormat, Afghanistan, October 4, 2004, photo by Reuters Photographer/Reuters

    Commentary

    America's Dangerous Short War Fixation

    Americans have long been fixated on the idea of the short, decisive war. And the United States' adversaries bank on Washington's strategic impatience. If the United States' objective is to win, the only thing worse than fighting a long war may be thinking it's possible to avoid one.

    Mar 31, 2023

  • U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division stand security at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 15, 2021, photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/U.S. Marines via Reuters

    Commentary

    Why U.S. Military Interventions Fail and What to Do About It

    There will always be situations in which military intervention is the best or only option for the United States. But policymakers must also recognize that in many cases, the best response to a crisis or potential threat is to take no military action at all and rely instead on diplomacy or sanctions—or simply learn to live with an elevated threat.

    Mar 30, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Norway's Next Long-Term Defence Plan: An Allied Perspective

    As Norway contemplates the priorities for its next Long-Term Defence Plan (LTP), it finds itself in a Europe, a NATO, and a global environment that have all changed markedly since the last iteration of the Plan was released in 2020.

    Mar 28, 2023

  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden walk through the colonnade of the White House in Washington, D.C., January 13, 2023, photo by Mandel Ngan/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan's New Security Policies: A Long Road to Full Implementation

    The historic ambition contained within Japan's new defense strategies is notable. But the reality is that an extraordinary alignment of political, economic, fiscal, and other stars will be necessary for Japan's government to fully implement their stated ambitions over the next five to ten years.

    Mar 27, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    20 Years After the Iraq War, China-Russia Ties, Correctional Education: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on reflecting on the Iraq War, the pandemic and prison education, North Korea’s latest threats, and more.

    Mar 24, 2023

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (2nd L), Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (L), and Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov (2nd R) watch the Zapad-2017 war games held by Russian and Belarussian servicemen, in the Leningrad region, Russia, September 18, 2017, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters

    Report

    Understanding the Russian General Staff

    The Russian General Staff is unlike any single organization in the U.S. military or government. Understanding its role and capacity to influence national security decisionmaking is important. Two case studies—Russia's 2014 war in Ukraine and 2015 intervention in Syria—observe the responsibilities and authorities of the General Staff in practice.

    Mar 22, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Opioids in America, Silicon Valley Bank, Semiconductors: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on addressing America's illicit opioids problem, Silicon Valley Bank’s demise, Taiwan’s semiconductor dominance, and more.

    Mar 17, 2023

  • An Australian Army S70A-9 Black Hawk helicopter prepares to land on the flight deck of the Royal Australian Navy dock landing ship HMAS Choules in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, July 14, 2013,,photo by ABIS Cassie McBride/Australian Defense Force

    Commentary

    Is Australia's Defense Strategy Based on a Mistaken Assumption?

    The concept of “impactful projection” has become a topic of heightened interest in the Australian strategic discourse, as pundits wait on further information from the Defense Strategic Review. But is the concept underpinned by a fundamentally mistaken assumption?

    Mar 10, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    Proxy Warfare in Strategic Competition: Overarching Findings and Recommendations

    This report synthesizes the findings and recommendations from two companion reports on intrastate proxy wars: civil wars in which at least one local warring party receives material support from an external state.

    Mar 9, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    Proxy Warfare in Strategic Competition: Military Implications

    The authors examine the military implications of intrastate proxy wars (civil wars in which at least one local warring party receives material support from an external state) via a literature review and four case studies.

    Mar 9, 2023