Military Tactics

RAND has studied issues related to the successful deployment of military forces since 1948. In that time, its studies have addressed tactics varying from nuclear deterrence to terrorism and counterinsurgency.

  • Battalion of French soldiers of the RSMA marching during a monthly ceremony rewarding the young soldiers in Saint-Paul, LaRéunion, June 28 2017, photo by Gwengoat/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Grand Strategy Is Total: French Gen. Andre Beaufré on the Nuclear Age

    Gen. André Beaufre, the father of contemporary French strategic thought, epitomizes better than anyone the traits that make modern French military theory unusually rich. He is also a key for accessing a rich and distinctly different way of thinking about war with direct applications for today, whether one is pondering Afghanistan or how to deal with China.

    Oct 8, 2020

  • U.S. Marine Corps 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Amphibious Assault Vehicles rush Freshwater Beach during Talisman Sabre 2011 in Australia, on July 19, 2011, photo by Captain Staci Reidinger/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Two Vignettes: How Might Combat Operations Be Different Under the Information Joint Function?

    RAND researcher Christopher Paul employs storytelling to illustrate two distinct approaches to Joint Combat Operations. While both vignettes result in the expulsion of adversary forces and the restoration of territorial integrity, they take different approaches to kinetic and informational power.

    Oct 8, 2020

  • Chinese soldiers using desktop computers at a garrison of the PLA in Chongqing, China, November 14, 2013, photo by Gao Xiaowen/Reuters

    Report

    China's Evolving Military Strategy and Doctrine

    The People's Liberation Army has made impressive modernization progress over the past three decades, but it is unclear how its efforts will translate to battlefield performance. Chinese military theory, strategy, and operational concepts are key to understanding how the PLA might fight when needed.

    Sep 29, 2020

  • Human brain partially consists of circuit board, photo by Prostock-studio/AdobeStock

    Report

    Brain-Computer Interfaces: An Initial Assessment

    Brain-computer interfaces allow humans to communicate directly with machines. This technology may eventually be used to monitor a soldier's cognitive workload, control a drone swarm, or link with a prosthetic. But potential risks should be considered before the technology is widely deployed.

    Aug 27, 2020

  • Report

    Joint All-Domain Command and Control for Modern Warfare: An Analytic Framework for Identifying and Developing Artificial Intelligence Applications

    The authors examine and recommend opportunities for applying artificial intelligence and, more broadly, automation to deliberate planning for joint all-domain command and control for the U.S. Air Force.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • A U.S. military B1B Lancer on the tarmac of Andersen Air Force base, on the island of Guam, August 17, 2017, photo by Joseph Campbell/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan and Dynamic Force Employment

    In April, the United States ended a program that maintained a rotational bomber force to the U.S. territory of Guam. While the removal of a permanent bomber presence in the region has caused some in Japan to worry, U.S. commitment to Japan's defense shows no sign of changing nor does America's deterrent capability.

    Jun 23, 2020

  • The Hawaii National Guard hosting the 2018 Pacific Rim: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Response, Enterprise Wargame at its Joint Force Headquarters in Honolulu, HI, July 10, 2018, photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Jackson/U.S. Air National Guard

    Commentary

    How Can Wargaming Improve Government Response to Catastrophic Events?

    Wargames are abstracted models of national security challenges, where players' decisions and their consequences are adjudicated within a rules-based environment. Due to its inherent flexibility as a tool, wargaming can be applied to a wide range of issues. Yet, it is important to understand what wargaming can and cannot do.

    May 29, 2020

  • Afghanistan, Bazaar School, Combat Camera, Hutal, Kandahar Province, OEF, U.S. Army, Afghanistan, Bazaar School, Combat Camera, Hutal, Kandahar Province, OEF, U.S. Army

    Report

    Restraint and the Future of Warfare: The Changing Global Environment and Its Implications for the U.S. Air Force

    This volume of the Future of Warfare series examines trends in factors affecting the use of restraint in warfare that could affect U.S. national security, notably effectiveness of false accusations and public concern for civilian casualties.

    May 11, 2020

  • Yuna Wong standing behind a wargame, photo by Dori Walker/RAND Corporation

    Q&A

    The Serious Side of Gaming: Q&A with Yuna Wong

    Yuna Wong, codirector of RAND's Center for Gaming, didn't expect to make gaming a focus of her career. In this interview, she discusses what drew her to the field, what makes a good wargame, and her latest research on the dangers of putting too much trust in artificial intelligence.

    May 8, 2020

  • Artificial intelligence concept of eye with overlay of military helicopter and submarine, images by 4X-image/Getty Images; design by Jessica Arana/RAND Corporation

    Report

    Thinking Machines Will Change Future Warfare

    Until now, deterrence has been about humans trying to dissuade other humans from doing something. But what if the thinking is done by AI and autonomous systems? A wargame explored what happens to deterrence when decisions can be made at machine speeds and when states can put fewer human lives at risk.

    Jan 27, 2020

  • Brochure

    RAND Arroyo Center Annual Report 2018-2019

    This Annual Report illustrates the depth and breadth of the research conducted for the Army in fiscal year 2019.

    Dec 4, 2019

  • Raphael S. Cohen discusses Russia’s economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties in an overview of a September 5th congressional briefing.

    Multimedia

    Extending Russia

    What policies could the United States adopt to stress Russia’s military, its economy, or the regime’s political standing at home and abroad? In this congressional briefing summary, former Ambassador James Dobbins, Raphael Cohen, and Howard Shatz discuss Russia’s economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties; nonviolent, cost-imposing options that the United States and its allies could pursue to stress Russia; and the costs, benefits, and implications of those options.

    Sep 5, 2019

  • Report

    Distributed Operations in a Contested Environment: Implications for USAF Force Presentation

    This report's authors identify capabilities the Air Force needs to carry out distributed operations in a contested environment. They then assess whether the current force presentation model can provide such capabilities.

    Jul 17, 2019

  • A helicopter lands during the trident juncture exercise in the Netherlands

    Report

    NATO's Amphibious Forces: Command and Control of a Multibrigade Alliance Task Force

    At the request of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, RAND researchers facilitated three wargaming events exploring how to leverage and enhance the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)'s existing amphibious capacity by organizing extant national forces into a coherent multibrigade command and control (C2) structure.

    Jun 27, 2019

  • Report

    OCEANS 17 Tabletop Exercise: Findings and Recommendations

    In December 2017, the RAND Corporation conducted a tabletop exercise on air operations across the boundaries between geographic combatant commands. This report describes the exercise's design, key insights from our analysis, and recommendations.

    May 9, 2019

  • U.S. Army Soldiers conduct actions on an objective during a training scenario at the Asymmetric Warfare Training Center, Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, Feb. 23, 2018, photo by St. Randis Monroe/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Urban Legend: Is Combat in Cities Really Inevitable?

    Future combat will take place in dense urban areas and likely in megacities. These are the new “truths” that are taking hold in the U.S. military. But before going all-in on optimizing for urban operations, the U.S. military should take a deep breath and think carefully about future operations within the context of the National Defense Strategy.

    May 7, 2019

  • News Release

    Nonviolent Ways the United States Could Exploit Russian Vulnerabilities

    Russia's use of information warfare and its conventional military arsenal make it a formidable opponent, but the state also has significant weaknesses that could be exploited. A range of nonviolent measures could stress Russia's military, its economy, and the regime's political standing at home and abroad.

    Apr 24, 2019

  • Report

    Extending Russia: Competing from Advantageous Ground

    As the U.S. National Defense Strategy recognizes the United States is currently locked in a great-power competition with Russia. This report analyzes how the United States can compete to its own advantage and capitalize on Russia's weaknesses.

    Apr 24, 2019

  • Red Square in Moscow, Russia, photo by mnn/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    Ways the United States Could Overextend and Unbalance Russia

    Despite its vulnerabilities and anxieties, Russia remains a formidable opponent in a few key domains. What non-violent, cost-imposing measures could the United States pursue to stress Russia's economy, its military, and the regime's political standing at home and abroad?

    Apr 24, 2019

  • Testimony

    The Consolidation of Political Power in China Under Xi Jinping: Implications for the PLA and Domestic Security Forces: Addendum

    Document submitted April 11, 2019, as an addendum to testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on February 7, 2019.

    Apr 11, 2019