Military Tactics

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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.

  • Report

    How to Effectively Assess the Impact of Non-Lethal Weapons as Intermediate Force Capabilities

    The U.S Department of Defense needs to be able to assess the tactical, operational, and strategic impact of non-lethal weapons to inform how and when they should be used and their integration into overall DoD capabilities. How do non-lethal weapons contribute to overarching DoD goals?

    Jan 18, 2022

  • Essay

    Civilian Casualties: Lessons from the Battle for Raqqa

    The United States' emphasis on minimizing civilian harm in Raqqa, Syria, was quite clear and strong up and down the chain of command. But the way in which the U.S. military waged war in Raqqa too often undercut that commitment. The Pentagon asked RAND to find out what happened.

    Jul 1, 2022

Explore Military Tactics

  • Report

    Report

    Maritime Tactical Command and Control Analysis of Alternatives

    This report is about software systems that support situational awareness and command and control (C2) for the U.S. Navy. This report provides the results of an analysis of alternatives for the follow-on to the Global C2 system maritime (GCCS-M).

    Aug 29, 2016

  • Soldiers from U.S. Army Europe's Charlie Company show Ukrainian Marines and National Guard soldiers the proper procedures for clearing a room, September 16, 2014

    Commentary

    It's Getting Harder to Define Military Readiness. Here's What to Do About It.

    Focusing on one type of threat or the other — whether state or non-state in its general nature — is becoming a less tenable option as the United States considers how to assess and improve its military readiness.

    Jul 12, 2016

  • Report

    Report

    The Crisis Within: America's Military and the Struggle Between the Overseas and Guardian Paradigms

    The nation's understanding of both the common defense and organized violence has changed dramatically since 2001. This report is an attempt to start a conversation about how to better understand America's 21st-century military.

    Apr 27, 2016

  • Two THAAD interceptors and a Standard-Missile 3 Block IA missile being launched at a test site

    Commentary

    THAAD's Effect on South Korea's Neighbors

    It is hard to determine how China or Russia will respond to THAAD deployment in South Korea. THAAD deployment could change the dynamic and terms of the debate, leading to greater Chinese pressure on North Korea to curb its nuclear and missile threats.

    Apr 5, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Confessions of a Hybrid Warfare Skeptic

    The vocabulary of hybrid warfare and hybrid threat has been adopted fairly widely, including formal use in NATO discussions and across the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Special Operations Command.

    Mar 10, 2016

  • Naval officers from the Colombian, Brazilian, and U.S. Navy work together as a control group at U.S. Naval War College during the 2013 Inter-American War Game

    Commentary

    Gaming the System: Obstacles to Reinvigorating Defense Wargaming

    Reinvigorating wargaming in the defense community offers great potential value given the complex strategic situation that the U.S. faces today. DoD should educate sponsors and consumers about the appropriate use of wargames, set realistic expectations, and build the right amount of risk acceptance into its gaming enterprise.

    Feb 18, 2016

  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Legged Squad Support System can relieve troops of their 100-pound equipment load, take voice commands, and maneuver around obstacles, in addition to numerous other tasks in the field

    Commentary

    Should We Fear an AI Arms Race?

    Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and others signed a letter calling for a ban on the application of artificial intelligence to advanced weapons systems. AI weapons are not without risks, but the benefits are substantial and the risks can be mitigated with more moderate regulation than a ban.

    Feb 8, 2016

  • Members of the 183d Air Operations Group conduct simulated battle operations during exercise Virtual Flag, December 2015

    Commentary

    Getting the Most Out of Your Wargame

    Some famous historical wargames offer a compelling narrative of what wargames can be at their best and worst, but they cannot illustrate the full range of contemporary wargaming that leaders should strive to achieve. A better understanding of how wargames can be helpful — or backfire — is critical.

    Jan 26, 2016

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    The Role of Oil in ISIL Finances: Addendum

    Document submitted on January 6, 2016 as an addendum to testimony presented before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on December 10, 2015.

    Jan 6, 2016

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un addresses the fourth conference of artillery personnel of the KPA in Pyongyang, December 5, 2015

    Commentary

    Does North Korea Really Have an H-Bomb?

    Kim Jong Un has claimed that North Korea has an H-bomb. Whether this claim is accurate, or an exaggeration, remains to be seen. But it does highlight how the country's leadership culture requires Kim to periodically demonstrate his power.

    Dec 16, 2015

  • Barrels of fuel are displayed inside a damaged, non-functioning petrol station in Aleppo, Syria, January 13, 2015

    Testimony

    The Role of Oil in ISIL Finances

    Sales of oil and refined oil products are the most important single source of recurrent revenues for ISIL. Targeting ISIL's oil loading facilities and heavy trucks can weaken the group, but this alone will not lead to its demise.

    Dec 10, 2015

  • Passengers walk through an airport security check

    Journal Article

    Assessing the Effectiveness of Layered Security for Protecting the Aviation System Against Adaptive Adversaries

    This study examines the effectiveness of layered security for protecting the aviation system against adaptive adversaries.

    Nov 24, 2015

  • U.S. Army soldiers patrol through a palm grove looking for insurgents and weapons caches during an operation in the Diyala River Valley region of Iraq on Aug. 18, 2007, Photo by Sgt 1ST Class Robert C Brogan/U.S. Army

    Report

    A Preliminary Assessment of the Regionally Aligned Forces (RAF) Concept's Implications for Army Personnel Management

    RAND Arroyo Center explored how the U.S. Army might need to adapt its personnel management policies and practices to support the Regionally Aligned Forces concept.

    Nov 11, 2015

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, September 30, 2015

    Commentary

    What Is Putin Really Up to in Syria?

    Russia wants to be sure that it's not ignored if and when the West succeeds in implementing a broader, more effective solution to the Syria-Iraq-ISIL problem. This is a task far beyond Russia's capabilities, but one that America, the West, and regional powers may be able to accomplish.

    Oct 2, 2015

  • A billboard of Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen behind soldiers of the People's Liberation Army at a military base in Beijing, August 22, 2015

    Commentary

    Xi in Command: Downsizing and Reorganizing the People's Liberation Army

    Chinese President Xi Jinping recently announced that China would reduce the number of troops in its army by 300,000. But that is only a first step in a more ambitious reform and reorganization plan.

    Sep 14, 2015

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) Central Military Commission

    Commentary

    Why Kim Jong Un Fears South Korean Propaganda

    While the latest confrontation between North and South Korea appears to be ending peacefully, it provides insight into future North Korean provocations. Words as weapons can work when they are aimed at North Korea's internal politics and backed up by a strong South Korean response supported by the U.S.

    Aug 28, 2015

  • U.S. Army colonel leads an investigation team to meet with villagers in Tagab, Afghanistan, January 27, 2009

    Commentary

    An Update on Information Operations in Afghanistan

    As the United States looks to further reduce its military footprint in Afghanistan, the need for harmonized information operations doctrine that supports effective operations in the field — as well as the measures with which to gauge their effectiveness — is even greater.

    Aug 28, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Stop Putin's Next Invasion Before It Starts

    The U.S. should station forces in Eastern Europe to protect the Baltics from Russian aggression.

    Apr 21, 2015

  • Report

    Report

    Designing Unmanned Systems with Greater Autonomy: Using a Federated, Partially Open Systems Architecture Approach

    Many current unmanned systems (UxSs) employ different communication systems and have limited autonomy, which limit information sharing with warfighters and other UxSs. This report identifies ways to address these limitations.

    Sep 17, 2014

  • Palestinian fighters from the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades inside an underground tunnel in Gaza

    Commentary

    The Gaza Conflict: Tunnel Warfare's Latest Chapter

    Despite its long history as an effective combat tool, tunneling rarely garners much attention, perhaps because it is inherently clandestine, tedious, and dirty. However, as the conflict in Gaza indicates, tunneling remains effective, and will likely persist as long as conflict itself.

    Sep 5, 2014