National Security and Terrorism

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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.

  • Article

    The U.S.–China Rivalry in a New Medieval Age

    Trends like weakening governments and fragmenting societies suggest that the era of industrial superpowers is over and we've entered a new medieval age. The U.S.-China rivalry may have more in common with the fitful conflicts of the 14th century than with the cataclysmic world wars of the 20th.

    Mar 19, 2024

  • Report

    How Veterans Describe Their Support for Extremist Groups and Beliefs

    Interviews with U.S. veterans explore their endorsement of extremist beliefs, their experiences in the military and in transition to veteran status, and the path to their current political and ideological perspectives. Many reported a negative or traumatic life event while serving.

    Apr 9, 2024

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • U.S. Army soldiers watch garbage burn in a burn-pit at Forward Operating Base Azzizulah in Maiwand District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, February 4, 2013, photo by Andrew Burton/Reuters

    Commentary

    Supporting Veterans Exposed to Military Environmental Hazards

    The 2022 PACT Act streamlined benefits and health care eligibility for veterans affected by military toxic exposures. Programs like the World Trade Center Health Program could serve as a template to improve PACT Act implementation and decisionmaking, and engagement with veterans.

    Apr 23, 2024

  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addresses a joint meeting of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., April 11, 2024, photo by Michael A. McCoy/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan's Remarkable Call for American Leadership

    In early April, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida appeared before the U.S. Congress and told the United States to act like a global power. But Kishida's speech contained no censure or accusations. Just a plea from one of America's closest allies to members of Congress to come back and be the champion of the international order that it knows America can be.

    Apr 22, 2024

  • (l-r) Flags of NATO, Sweden, and Finland at an event in Espoo, Finland, March 26, 2024, photo by STT-Lehtikuva/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Sweden, Finland, and NATO's First-Class Airpower Upgrade

    After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, Finland and Sweden—both longtime neutral states—decided to join NATO. What do these new alliance members bring to the air fight, and how does this impact NATO strategy in the Baltics?

    Apr 19, 2024

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Written Evidence Submitted by RAND Europe: DGZ0008 Defence in the Grey Zone

    This report discusses the ways in which Defence contributes to confronting grey zone activities conducted by the UK's adversaries, and the ways in which it can collaborate across government, in society, and internationally to achieve HMG's aims.

    Apr 19, 2024

  • Report

    Report

    U.S. Space Force Personnel Role Distinctions: Differentiating Between Officer, Enlisted, and Civilian

    As the U.S. Space Force defines its identity and culture, it must decide how to use its officer, enlisted, and civilian forces to meet its mission requirements. This report discusses the current state and future directions for the workforce.

    Apr 18, 2024

  • Report

    Report

    Management of U.S. Air Force Aircraft Contractor Logistics Support Arrangements: Summary of Findings and Recommendations

    This report summarizes analysis of cost data for Air Force contractor logistics support arrangements, product support business case analyses, and findings from government and Inspector General reports.

    Apr 17, 2024

  • U.S. Coast Guard boats patrol open seas in the Fifth Fleet area of operations, February 1, 2018, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin J. Steinberg/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Persistent Gray Zone Aggression in the South China Sea Calls for Increased Coordination in Rule of Law

    By not providing consistent leadership on priority issues, and by allowing China to assert hegemony, the United States is losing its strategic influence in the Indo-Pacific. Establishing a Combined Maritime Forces focused on law enforcement as a soft power approach would provide a cohesive structure, improved partnerships, and a clear way to push back against Chinese gray-zone tactics and overt aggression.

    Apr 16, 2024

  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (R) and U.S. President Joe Biden shake hands at an arrival ceremony ahead of their summit meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2024, photo by Kyodo via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Japan's Alliance with the U.S. Has Just Gone Global

    The most profound aspect of the recent U.S.-Japan summit was the underlying message: the U.S.-Japan alliance is now global. This is an alliance now focused on the public goods of global peace, stability, and prosperity, committed to jointly building a free and open international order.

    Apr 16, 2024

  • Report

    Report

    The Employment Effects of the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship for Military Spouses: An Analysis of the 2011 Cohort

    Researchers evaluated the Department of Defense’s Office of Military Community and Family Policy’s My Career Advancement Account Scholarship program and found that it increased spouse employment over a seven-year window since the program began.

    Apr 16, 2024

  • Undated file image of Russia Black Sea flagship Moskva , which sank on April 15, 2022 , photo by Russia Ministry of Defense/EyePress News via Reuters

    Commentary

    Can Studying Combat in the Black Sea Improve the Chinese Navy?

    Chinese military strategists have been watching the Ukraine War closely, and events in the Black Sea with special attention. Why would China be interested in uncovering the secrets of Ukraine's success against a much larger fleet?

    Apr 15, 2024

  • Taiwan map on a green digital background with yellow swirls and 1s and 0s, photo by Kreativorks/Getty Image

    Commentary

    How Would China Weaponize Disinformation Against Taiwan in a Cross-Strait Conflict?

    What might China's future disinformation operations against Taiwan focus on and how can Taipei and its partners combat them? China would likely have at least five discrete audiences for disinformation operations in mind, with specific lines of effort and goals for each.

    Apr 15, 2024

  • Smoke rises after what the Iranian media said was an Israeli strike on a building close to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, April 1, 2024, photo by Firas Makdesi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Russia Doesn't Want War Between Israel and Iran

    Moscow stands to lose a great deal if the Israel-Hamas conflict escalates into a wider war. While Russia would prefer the West distracted, a direct Israel-Iran conflict would expose Russia's vulnerabilities in the Middle East.

    Apr 12, 2024

  • U.S. Space Force Col. Phillip Verroco explains the layout of the Combined Space Operations Center's operations floor to members of a delegation of French officers at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, April 15, 2022, photo by Tech. Sgt Luke Kitterman/U.S. Space Force

    Commentary

    The Path to Thoughtful Allied Space Power: Progress on a Steep Road

    The road to thoughtful allied space power is steep and requires commitment to make progress. By being forthright about the prospects for cooperation, the United States will enable allies and partners to make choices about their own investments and operations that will strengthen future coalition capabilities.

    Apr 12, 2024

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin lights a candle in memory of the victims of the Crocus City Hall attack at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, March 24, 2024, photo by Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik via Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Disinformation Campaign About the Moscow Terror Attack May Be Working

    As far-fetched as it may seem to those in the West, the Kremlin's claim that the recent terrorist attack on a Moscow concert hall was orchestrated by Ukraine and Western powers may be convincing to many Russians. For the U.S. to address and combat these claims, it is important to understand how they are framed amid broadly propagated themes, and how these could influence their potential appeal to large swaths of the Russian public.

    Apr 11, 2024

  • M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks of the 3rd Armored Division move out on a mission during Operation Desert Storm, February 15, 1991, photo by PHC D. W. HOLMES II/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Assemble the Bodyguard of Lies: Strengthening U.S. Military Deception Capabilities

    Few aspects of warfare are as valuable as efforts to deceive adversaries. The U.S. military inevitably will face rivals who use deception to their advantage, so it should once again hone its own subterfuge skills—from the lowest levels, to gain a tactical edge, to the highest, to achieve strategic surprise.

    Apr 11, 2024

  • Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks to the media after the release of the Defence Strategic Review in Canberra, Australia, April 24, 2023, photo by Lukas Coch/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Will Australia's Approach to Net Assessment Be?

    Australia's 2023 Defence Strategic Review is very clear: Australia must change the way it plans for and acquires defense capabilities. Doing so will require a net assessment to examine the various factors that may contribute to or detract from the country's military capabilities.

    Apr 11, 2024

  • Report

    Report

    Understanding and Improving Civilian Employer Experiences with Guard and Reserve Duty

    In this report, researchers update and extend an earlier study to document the views of employers of reserve component members and reevaluate Department of Defense policy, federal legislation, and state legislation.

    Apr 11, 2024

  • Report

    Report

    Gauging What Employers Think: Lessons Learned from Fielding the 2022 Department of Defense National Survey of Employers

    In this companion report, the authors describe lessons learned from developing and administering the 2022 Department of Defense National Survey of Employers, describe the implications of the lessons, and make recommendations to inform future efforts.

    Apr 11, 2024

  • U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and his wife Kishida Yuko at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2024. photo by Annabelle Gordon/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    America's Best Friend in Asia

    Many describe NATO as the United States' indispensable alliance—and it remains a top priority. But with a growing slate of traditional and nontraditional security issues, many of which center on China, the United States' new go-to ally is Japan.

    Apr 10, 2024

  • A worker builds a trench as part of a system of new fortification lines near the Russian border in Chernihiv region, Ukraine, March 28, 2024, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    Putin's Cordon Sanitaire in Ukraine

    Moscow is signaling a renewed Russian lunge into northern Ukraine to create a buffer zone and seize Kharkiv. Any Russian escalation in northern Ukraine deserves to be met with the full force of Ukraine's own arms and those from the West.

    Apr 10, 2024