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Cost growth in the development and fielding of technologically advanced weapon systems has become a major economic burden for many nations and is expected to be an enduring and prevalent problem. RAND research has provided cost analyses and recommendations to help policymakers and military leaders develop improved cost-estimating tools and formulate policies that mitigate cost growth in military technology acquisition practices.

  • W01DN9 Chinese technicians monitor the precision, robotic welding of aviation and industrial materials at the Atlantic Welding Industry Park in Zigong, Sichuan Province, China, on November 20, 2017, photo by UPI/Alamy Stock Photo

    Research Brief

    Assessing China's Defense Industrial Base

    What are the systemic strengths and vulnerabilities of China's defense industrial base? A comparative systems analysis looks at six key categories: economics; governance and regulations; raw materials; manufacturing; workforce, labor, and skills; and research, development, and innovation.

    Feb 9, 2022

  • Australian sailors raise the colors aboard HMAS Darwin, photo by Royal Australian Navy photo by Cpl. Chris Dickson/Royal Australian Navy

    Report

    Supporting the Royal Australian Navy's Strategy for Robotics and Autonomous Systems

    The Royal Australian Navy has embarked on an ambitious plan to modernise its maritime capabilities to support Australia's defence strategy. What should the Navy consider when developing its robotics, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence strategy?

    Sep 14, 2021

Explore Military Technology

  • A precision-guided missile was fired during its first test-fire outside of the United States, near Tikrit, Iraq

    Report

    Comparing U.S. Army Systems with Foreign Counterparts

    To address possible capability gaps in its systems, the U.S. Army should examine options for countering long-range rockets, support research and development in robotics, consider approaches to lighten the loads for infantrymen, and examine the need for a new specialized manned reconnaissance aircraft.

    May 13, 2015

  • Brochure

    Brochure

    RAND Arroyo Center Annual Report 2014

    This annual report describes RAND Arroyo Center's research activities in FY 2014, highlights areas of research focus, and summarizes noteworthy studies.

    Mar 31, 2015

  • Technicians assemble a small satellite

    Report

    Past Problems and Future Challenges in the Acquisition of Military Space Systems

    As Department of Defense plans for the next-generation space systems in an increasingly challenging fiscal and security environment, it is important to apply lessons learned from past space acquisition, which had experienced many difficulties.

    Mar 30, 2015

  • Report

    Report

    Innovation Models: Enabling new defence solutions and enhanced benefits from science and technology

    The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a study of innovation models and make recommendations on changes the MOD could make to better harness and absorb innovation from external sources.

    Mar 4, 2015

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Innovation models for defence

    The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a study of innovation models and make recommendations on changes the MOD could make to better harness and absorb innovation from external sources.

    Mar 4, 2015

  • MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial attack vehicle in flight

    Multimedia

    The Use of Long-Range Armed Drones: Fact v. Myth

    In this March 2015 Congressional Briefing, a panel of RAND experts discuss the effect of armed drones on global warfare, whether U.S. policy on armed drones shapes the way other nations deploy them, and the sale of armed drones to allies.

    Mar 3, 2015

  • An MQ-9 Reaper sits on a ramp in Afghanistan

    Commentary

    Armed Drone Myth 3: Global Proliferation Demands Blanket Restrictions on Sales

    More than 70 countries have acquired drones of different classes and for different purposes. However, the number of countries actually developing “armed” drones is far smaller. And smaller still is the number of those countries developing long-range armed systems.

    Feb 19, 2015

  • Illustration of idea, solution, and money

    Commentary

    Managing Technology in an Unmanageable World

    The need for purposeful and focused R&D in the U.S. has never been greater, but technology is advancing so quickly that the structures available to manage it have not kept pace. A comprehensive examination of the technological landscape is needed to help the government take a more holistic approach to investing in and regulating technologies.

    Feb 19, 2015

  • An MQ-9 Reaper sits on the flightline at Creech Air Force Base, NV

    Commentary

    Armed Drone Myth 1: They Will Transform How War Is Waged Globally

    Long-range military drones are fundamentally misunderstood. Their champions wrongly contend they are revolutionizing warfare, while critics fear their spread would greatly increase the threat that China, terrorists, and others pose.

    Feb 17, 2015

  • An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle at Balad Air Base, Iraq

    Project

    Dispelling Myths About Armed Drones

    Armed drones have raised hopes among some for a transformational weapon to use against U.S. adversaries, and raised concerns among others about proliferation and misuse. However, drones are fundamentally misunderstood; many of the myths about them can be dispelled.

    Feb 16, 2015

  • People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo

    Commentary

    Decoding the Breach: The Truth About the CENTCOM Hack

    When ISIS hackers hijacked the Twitter account of U.S. Central Command on Jan. 12, they falsely claimed that they had hacked into U.S. military computers. While the incident was embarrassing, it was not concerning in operational military terms. It was, however, damaging to the counterinsurgency against ISIS.

    Feb 3, 2015

  • An exercise at the Joint Cyber Control Center

    Report

    The Other Quiet Professionals: Lessons for Future Cyber Forces from the Evolution of Special Forces

    Both special operations forces and cyber forces are small teams of highly skilled specialists, and both communities value skilled personnel above all else. What lessons can be drawn from a review of the commonalities, similarities, and differences between U.S. cyber forces and early U.S. special forces?

    Oct 3, 2014

  • Tinker Air Force Base Computing Center

    Report

    Cost Considerations in Cloud Computing

    Until the Department of Defense develops official guidance for cost analysis of cloud and data centers, examining cost drivers for several data management approaches can help guide DoD analysts.

    Oct 2, 2014

  • 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

  • Young woman texting in car

    Commentary

    What If Distracted Driving Was Safe?

    According to consumer research, the ability to consume media, write an email, or even sleep during transport is a key selling point for self-driving cars, which could be available in the near future. Autonomous vehicle technology could also produce a wide range of public benefits.

    Jul 1, 2014

  • Line handlers await the arrival of the Virginia class attack submarine USS Hartford

    Commentary

    How Do We Deal with a Flood of Data?

    Despite the battle-tested value of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems, the amount of data they generate has become overwhelming to Navy analysts. If the Navy does not change the way it processes information, it will reach an ISR “tipping point”—as soon as 2016.

    Jun 23, 2014

  • Customs and Border Protection officer Ballard inspects a motorist's passport at the San Ysidro border crossing between Mexico and the U.S. in San Ysidro, California

    Blog

    Saving Money by Using Advanced DoD Sensors on the U.S. Border

    There is no legal reason why a DoD sensor should be excluded from use in an interagency technology demonstration or in an actual counterdrug operation as long as a valid request for support is made by an appropriate law enforcement official and no personally identifiable or private information on U.S. citizens is collected.

    Jun 6, 2014

  • Report

    Report

    The Effectiveness of Remotely Piloted Aircraft in a Permissive Hunter-Killer Scenario

    This report analyzes the operational effectiveness of several new concepts for employing remotely piloted aircraft in a permissive hunter-killer mission.

    May 9, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    'Cloud' System Could Help Navy Analysts Consume Expanding Ocean of Data

    The Navy has a growing demand for intelligence to help Navy vessels avoid collisions, pinpoint targets, and perform other vital tasks. But the amount of data it may collect in the future is more than it can process today. Cloud strategies offer promising options.

    May 5, 2014

  • intelligence specialist monitors automatic identification systems aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush

    Report

    'Cloud' System Could Help Navy Analysts Consume Expanding Ocean of Data

    The Navy has a growing demand for intelligence to help Navy vessels avoid collisions, pinpoint targets, and perform other vital tasks. But the amount of data it may collect in the future is more than it can process today. “Cloud” strategies offer promising options.

    May 1, 2014