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RAND conducts a broad array of national security research for the U.S. Department of Defense and allied ministries of defense. Our federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) explore threat assessment, military acquisition, technology, recruitment and personnel management, counterinsurgency, intelligence, and readiness. RAND is a world leader in terrorism research. Studies address such topics as terrorism financing and strategies to undermine violent extremism.

  • A map depicting Russian influence over Europe

    Report

    How to Counter Russia's Hostile Measures in Europe

    Jan 28, 2019

    Russia has a range of tools and methods short of conventional war that it can use to achieve its goals in Europe. There is no way to predict what Russia will do, but it's possible to analyze its motives and opportunities, the means it might employ, and how the United States should respond.

  • Police officials stand on the sidewalk as cars drive on the road in front of the Pulse night club, following a shooting in Orlando, Florida, June 21, 2016

    Report

    Trends in the Draw of Americans to Foreign Terrorist Organizations from 9/11 to Today

    Dec 18, 2018

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been more successful than its predecessor organization, al Qaeda, in drawing Americans to its cause. Americans drawn to ISIL are more likely to be younger, less educated, Caucasian/white or African American/black, and to have been born in the United States.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Christine Wormuth and Kimberly Kagan at the 2018 Roberta Wohlstetter Forum on National Security

    Report

    Roberta Wohlstetter Forum on National Security

    In October 2018, RAND hosted a forum on national security that honored the legacy of Roberta Wohlstetter, a military analyst who worked at RAND from its creation in 1948 until 1965. In the forum, panelists discussed events, capabilities, technologies, and methodologies that demand new concepts for national security and defense.

    Mar 19, 2019

  • A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet comes in for a landing at a U.S. Air Force base in Osan, south of Seoul, South Korea, April 3, 2013, photo by Lee Jae Won/Reuters

    Commentary

    'Cost Plus 50' Explained

    The Trump administration may be considering requiring host nations to subsidize the entire cost of the U.S. military presence and pay an additional 50 percent of that amount. This type of transactional foreign policy increases the risk that countries will rethink their agreements to host U.S. forces, and that could reduce the U.S. military's ability to operate globally.

    Mar 15, 2019

  • Members of al Qaeda's Nusra Front walk along a street in the northwestern city of Ariha, after a coalition of insurgent groups seized the area in Idlib province, May 29, 2015, photo by Abed Kontar/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Terrorist Groups Learn: Implications for al Qaeda

    With the Islamic State losing the last of its territory, the global jihadist movement is now entering a new phase. The question on the minds of many is whether al Qaeda will be able to capitalize upon the moment and reclaim the dominant position as the most capable Sunni jihadist terrorist organization.

    Mar 14, 2019

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends wreath laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam March 2, 2019, photo by Jorge Silva/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    After the Hanoi Summit

    The best-case scenario for future U.S.-North Korea relations is that President Trump and Kim Jong-un remain committed to diplomacy. In the worst case, both countries' frustrations could spiral out of control.

    Mar 13, 2019

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un bids farewell before boarding his train to depart for North Korea at Dong Dang railway station in Vietnam, March 2, 2019, photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

    Commentary

    Where Do U.S.-North Korea Relations Go in the Aftermath of the Hanoi Summit?

    If Kim Jong-un is sincere about denuclearization, it is time for him to match his words with actions. If North Korea's nuclearization continues, the U.S. government may eventually face some pressure to take military action to stop it.

    Mar 13, 2019

  • Members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard support Exercise Cyber Shield 17 at Camp Williams, Utah, May 2, 2017, photo by Col. Wayde Minami/U.S. Air National Guard

    Commentary

    Is It Time to Abandon the Term Information Operations?

    Operations in the information environment will be a critical part of future joint force operations and should be baked in to those operations as a fully valued tool in commanders' combined arms toolboxes. Reaching that goal will require greater acceptance and understanding of information across the joint force, new structures for information forces, and the evolution of how operations in the information environment are handled within the staff.

    Mar 13, 2019

  • Report

    The Neurological Effects of Repeated Exposure to Military Occupational Blast: Implications for Prevention and Health: Proceedings, Findings, and Expert Recommendations from the Seventh Department of Defense State-of-the-Science Meeting

    The Seventh Department of Defense State-of-the-Science Meeting examined the risk posed to military personnel by low-level blast exposure, the current evidence base, and potentially promising approaches to prevent and detect blast injuries.

    Mar 13, 2019

  • Report

    Developing a National Recruiting Difficulty Index

    The U.S. Army recognizes that the recruiting environment has a significant impact on its ability to recruit. This report presents a forecasting model that measures recruiting difficulty to forecast a difficult or easy recruiting environment.

    Mar 13, 2019

  • North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and Vietnam's President Nguyen Phu Trong review an honor guard during a welcome ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 1, 2019, photo by Luong Thai Linh/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Hidden Components of the North Korean Military Challenge

    In an era of global competition in which U.S. military resources are stretched thin, the United States should consider looking for opportunities to scale back potential overcommitment. The current inter-Korean dialogue presents such an opportunity.

    Mar 12, 2019

  • Navy Chief Petty Officer Omar Aleman briefs new recruits, photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Camilo Fernan/U.S. Department of Defense

    Testimony

    Military Compensation to Support Retention, Performance, and Talent Management

    Military compensation is a critical strategic human resource tool. It helps attract and retain personnel with the necessary skills and qualifications to meet service requirements. The compensation system has performed well over time, but there are elements that could potentially be improved.

    Mar 12, 2019

  • Soldiers assigned to the 101st Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade load onto a helicopter to head out and execute missions across Afghanistan, Jan. 15, 2019, photo by 1st Lt. Verniccia Ford/U.S. Department of Defense

    Commentary

    Trump's Latest Move on Afghanistan Is a Repeat of Obama's

    So far, both Presidents Obama and Trump have chosen “not to lose” in Afghanistan. As time goes on and the American public's patience grows shorter, this choice becomes more difficult.

    Mar 11, 2019

  • Report

    The Relationship Between Disability Evaluation and Accession Medical Standards

    If accession medical policies are changed, does the probability of medical discharge change? If so, how does the change in the probability of medical discharge alter postservice costs to the department? This report answers these questions.

    Mar 11, 2019

  • U.S. Army and Chinese PLA military personnel attend a disaster management exchange near Nanjing, China, November 17, 2018, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Commentary

    Managing U.S. Military-to-Military Relations with China, a Strategic Competitor in an Era of Renewed Great Power Competition

    The United States National Security Strategy describes a return of great power rivalry with China as the leading challenger, and the National Defense Strategy prioritizes strategic competition. What are the implications for U.S.-China military-to-military relations?

    Mar 8, 2019

  • A hand watering a young plant, photo by RomoloTavani/Getty Images

    Content

    Molly and Mike Landi: Leaving a Legacy

    Molly and Mike Landi's history with RAND dates back more than 40 years. They met when she was a librarian in the Washington office, and he was an up-and-coming researcher and new program director. Their $1 million bequest to RAND will endow a special fund for national security research.

    Mar 8, 2019

  • President Ronald Reagan presents Roberta Wohlstetter with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House, November 7, 1985

    Blog

    Roberta Wohlstetter: A Military Analyst Ahead of Her Time

    RAND researcher Roberta Wohlstetter is known for her theory about why the attack on Pearl Harbor took the United States by surprise. Her book was later used as a lens for analyzing the Cuban Missile Crisis and the 2001 terrorist attacks.

    Mar 7, 2019

  • Soldiers in military gear are silhouetted against the setting sun.

    Multimedia

    Strategic Rethink: America's Security Deficit

    The global security landscape is shifting dramatically. How can the United States protect itself in today's tumultuous world? This video provides an overview of findings from the second volume in RAND's Strategic Rethink series, which recommends a suite of options that could help policymakers ensure that resources remain aligned with strategic demands.

    Mar 7, 2019

  • Kathryn Bouskill, a social scientist at RAND, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

    Essay

    What the Speed of Life Means for Security and Society

    Dozens of technologies with the power to transform human life, from 3D printing to cognitive implants, could become as ordinary as a cellphone by 2040. Society will have to adapt, on the fly, in ways it never has. The speed of life itself could pose a security challenge.

    Mar 6, 2019

  • U.S. Army recruits wait for further in-processing after receiving their initial haircuts during basic combat training at Fort Jackson, S.C., January 16, 2008, photo by SrA Micky M. Bazaldua/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Life as an Army Private: Six Soldiers Tell Their Stories

    In their own words, six junior soldiers describe why they joined the U.S. Army, their joys and frustrations, and what they hope the future brings. These stories offer lessons for policymakers, Army leaders and recruiters, and anyone considering a career in the Army.

    Mar 6, 2019

  • Man in handcuffs sits at a table with scales of justice, photo by djedzura/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Leaving ISIS Detainees in the Desert Doesn't Serve U.S. Interests

    Every United States administration since Richard Nixon has viewed terrorism as a global threat requiring international cooperation. The disposition of nationals who joined jihadist groups is another aspect of terrorism where the United States could exercise diplomacy and law to reduce a global threat.

    Mar 5, 2019

  • Report

    A Survey System to Assess Abuse and Misconduct Toward Air Force Students in Occupational Specialty Training

    This report provides recommendations for how the Air Force's survey system for monitoring abuse and misconduct in Basic Military Training can best be adapted for use in technical training and flying training environments.

    Mar 5, 2019