Military Transformation

RAND research on military transformation—the adjustment of a nation's military to achieve a specified objective—analyzes four major issues: force structure, modernization, readiness, and sustainability. RAND provides decisionmakers with recommendations on all aspects of planning and strategy to maximize the effectiveness, continuity, and innovation of a nation's force as it adapts to technological, cultural, and other significant changes.

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech during the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 18, 2017

    Commentary

    Xi's Consolidation of Power at the 19th Party Congress: Implications for PLA Aerospace Forces

    Xi Jinping has emerged from the 19th Party Congress stronger than at least his past two predecessors. He solidified his grip on power and revealed significant changes to the Central Military Commission, which oversees the People's Liberation Army.

    Dec 11, 2017

  • U.S. Army soldiers leave a Black Hawk helicopter during a Suwalki gap defence exercise in Mikyciai, Lithuania, June 17, 2017

    Report

    Rethinking the U.S. Approach to Force Planning

    The force planning standard used since the end of the Cold War is ill-suited for today's strategic circumstances. Force planning today should focus on modernizing the capabilities and posture of U.S. forces to better enable them to deter and defeat aggression by China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Salafist-jihadi groups worldwide.

    Dec 7, 2017

  • Report

    The Chinese Air Force's First Steps Toward Becoming an Expeditionary Air Force

    This is one of four reports based on RAND Project AIR FORCE Strategy and Doctrine Program research that assesses notable developments and implications of China's emerging aerospace expeditionary and power-projection capabilities.

    Nov 10, 2017

  • Report

    Review of Army Total Force Policy Implementation

    This report reviews the implementation of the Army's Total Force Policy. The Army has made progress in integrating the Regular Army, Army National Guard, and U.S. Army Reserve, but budget constraints have limited implementation.

    Oct 24, 2017

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 18, 2017

    Commentary

    What Does the 19th Party Congress Mean for the PLA?

    The People's Liberation Army has a lot at stake in China's Communist Party Congress. In addition to changes in military leadership, reports issued at a Party Congress invariably contain directives to the military that can add impetus to ongoing initiatives.

    Oct 18, 2017

  • A Chinese military plane H-6 bomber flies over the Pacific October 27, 2013

    Commentary

    Chinese Bomber Flights Around Taiwan: For What Purpose?

    Recent bomber flights near Taiwan represent the most concerted training regimen yet aimed at improving Chinese airpower. China seeks to enhance the PLA Air Force's capabilities and signal Beijing's will to defend its territorial claims against the U.S. and its regional allies and partners, especially Taiwan and Japan.

    Sep 13, 2017

  • A Chinese naval ship departs after a visit in Davao city, southern Philippines, May 2, 2017

    Q&A

    Enhancing China's Status as a Great Power

    China is investing heavily in its military modernization program as it aims to extend its power in the region as well as globally. How will China's growing ability to project power affect U.S. regional goals?

    Aug 1, 2017

  • Report

    Evaluating the Army's Ability to Regenerate: History and Future Options

    This analysis modeled the Army's ability to increase ("regenerate") its active component end strength over five years -- starting from end strengths of 450,000 and 420,000 -- to provide the number of deployable troops available in 2010.

    May 3, 2017

  • Research Brief

    Assessing the Army's Ability to Regenerate Its Active Component End Strength

    This analysis modeled the Army's ability to increase ("regenerate") its active component end strength over five years -- starting from end strengths of 450,000 and 420,000 -- to provide the number of deployable troops available in 2010.

    May 3, 2017

  • People's Liberation Army soldiers march outside the Great Hall of the People ahead of the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, China, March 5, 2017

    Testimony

    Chinese Contingency Planning for Regional Hotspots

    The Chinese People's Liberation Army has modernized significantly over the past two decades—bringing in world-class inventory and new technology. But the major issue facing the PLA remains its ability to adequately train and prepare staffs for a range of scenarios.

    Apr 13, 2017

  • Taiwanese soldiers salute from tanks during a military exercise in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan, July 4, 2015

    Report

    Transforming Taiwan's Reserve Force

    As the political-military challenge from China grows, Taiwan's reserve force may need to play a more prominent role in Taipei's approach to deterring Chinese aggression. Changing its reserve force size, structure, roles, missions, equipment, and training could help Taiwan offset PLA advantages.

    Feb 22, 2017

  • The Pentagon, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, taken from an airplane in January 2008

    Commentary

    Approaching Future Offsets

    Grand strategy, acquisitions, and technological considerations may shape the debate about the future of the U.S. military for some time to come. Only where all three elements align are future offsets likely to succeed.

    Dec 21, 2016

  • Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army march in a parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, September 3, 2015

    Report

    Understanding China's Strategy

    Beijing's perceptions and assessments aren't static. They evolve as China's standing in the world increases and its interests grow. U.S. leaders should focus on understanding and managing competition with China on a global scale.

    Dec 6, 2016

  • Soldiers look at a portable lifting system by Stertil-Koni at the Marine West Military Expo at Camp Pendleton, California, February 1, 2012

    Commentary

    DIUx: Capturing Technological Innovation

    The Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) aims to find new sources of advanced technology to give America an edge over potential foes. DIUx is evidence of another form of innovation: organizing in new ways to capture new ideas.

    Nov 23, 2016

  • A PLAAF B-6K strategic bomber at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, October 25, 2016.

    Commentary

    China's PLAAF Pilot Training Program Undergoes Major Overhaul

    China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has made great strides in recent years to transform its pilot training program. PLAAF leaders understand many of the institutional and cultural weaknesses that impede effectiveness and are taking measures to address them.

    Oct 27, 2016

  • Pilots of China's J-10 fighter jet from a PLAAF Aerobatics Team prepare before a media demonstration at the Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, November 24, 2015

    Commentary

    China's Air Force Is Fixing Its Shortcomings

    The prevailing view among Western observers is that Chinese fighter pilots lack the tactical mindset to engage and prevail in a dynamic, unscripted combat environment. But the PLAAF appears to have undertaken major reform in how it trains its pilots.

    Oct 14, 2016

  • News Release

    U.S. Military Facing Challenges as Other Nations Improve Abilities to Deny Access to Territory

    A United States military strategy based primarily on an ability to deploy troops anywhere it feels necessary will face heightened costs and risks in critical regions by 2025, owing to other nations' improved abilities to deny the U.S. access.

    Oct 12, 2016

  • Supply sergeants for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment's field artillery troop defend a hilltop as a 16th Sustainment Brigade logistics supply column passes by during exercise Saber Junction 15

    Report

    As Anti-Access and Area Denial Capabilities Grow, U.S. Needs New Strategy

    A U.S. military strategy based primarily on an ability to deploy troops anywhere will face greater costs and risks in critical regions by 2025. Why? Other nations will get better at denying access. The United States should embrace a multipronged strategy to prevent aggression.

    Oct 12, 2016

  • Russian servicemen on Russian T-90A main battle tanks before a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade, with the Moscow International Business Center also known as Moskva-City in the background, May 5, 2016

    Commentary

    Russia's Determination to Revise the Post-Cold War Order

    As long as political will for military measures to contain and deter Russian aggression remains limited, sustaining sanctions against Russia remains the only option to deal with a nation that is determined to revise the post-Cold War political and economic settlement in Europe in its favor.

    Sep 30, 2016

  • Commentary

    PLA Reforms and Their Ramifications

    The newest round of reforms to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is expected to improve the military's efficiency, warfighting capability, and political loyalty, but entrenched interests within the PLA could lead to reluctance within the military to adjust to new realities.

    Sep 23, 2016