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.

  • A hearing to examine U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Cyber Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for fiscal year 2022 and the Future Years Defense Program, on Capitol Hill, March 25, 2021, photo by Andrew Harnik/Pool/Sipa USA

    Report

    How Does Defense Spending Affect Economic Growth?

    May 7, 2021

    Prioritizing defense spending over infrastructure investment might undermine economic growth. Given that the size and health of the U.S. economy are ultimately the basis for the nation's military power, policymakers should consider that the economic effects of defense spending have consequences for long-term security.

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III during a virtual meeting at the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C., May 5, 2021, photo by Chad McNeeley/U.S. Department of Defense

    Commentary

    It's Time to Drop 'Competition' in the National Defense Strategy

    May 18, 2021

    What should the U.S. Defense Department do during peacetime if the United States is not competing with China and Russia? Simply put, it should prepare to win the next war, while defeating any military aggression below the threshold of conflict.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • A man in a subway tunnel wearing gloves and a hoodie, looking at a mobile phone. Photo by Lorado / Getty Images

    Report

    Exiting Extremism: What Binds People to Extremist Groups and How Organizations Help Them Leave

    This one-hour webinar explores the forces that pull individuals to extremist groups, the binds that keep them connected, and why leaving can be so challenging.

    Jun 21, 2021

  • U.S. and French soldiers at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, March 2017, photo by U.S. Army

    Report

    Could France Support a U.S.-Led War in Eastern Europe?

    France has a greater range of capabilities than most other European militaries. It has remained strongly committed to NATO and bilateral defense cooperation with the United States. What capabilities might France bring to a high-intensity conventional war against Russia?

    Jun 16, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting via video link from the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 21, 2020, photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Engine Troubles: Is Putin's Behavior Catching Up with Him?

    Actions taken to curb Russian malign activities around the globe appear to be affecting Russia's marine and aerospace engine sector. Efforts to arrest Russia's bad behavior might gain momentum if more countries followed the lead of Norway, which chose supporting sanctions over short-term economic gain.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Securing Gains in Fragile States: Using U.S. Leverage in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond

    This report evaluates U.S. options for stabilizing conflict-affected states by incentivizing governance reforms through military and development assistance in the context of U.S. military interventions.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • The colors are retired during a ceremony marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq in Baghdad on December 15, 2011, photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/U.S. Department of Defense

    Report

    Using U.S. Leverage to Limit Instability in Fragile States

    The United States can effectively support governance reforms in postconflict states by seizing on opportunities when partner interests align with U.S. interests. And it can use its leverage, including conditions on military and economic assistance, when interests do not align.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • A convoy of U.S. military vehicles

    Report

    Measuring Strategic Readiness: Identifying Metrics for Core Dimensions

    The authors explore a more expansive approach to readiness assessments that goes beyond the narrow lens of operational readiness and considers a broader set of dimensions that could affect readiness outcomes.

    Jun 14, 2021

  • Blog

    China's Ambitions, Origins of the Coronavirus, Income Inequality: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on China’s quest for global primacy, understanding the coronavirus origin story, how parents feel about sending their children back to school, and more.

    Jun 11, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Assessing the Value of Intelligence Collected by U.S. Air Force Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Platforms

    This report presents an approach to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assessments that seeks to articulate the costs and benefits of U.S. Air Force airborne ISR in specific operational contexts.

    Jun 11, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference, held online in a video conference mode, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia December 17, 2020, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters

    Blog

    Summit a Chance to Clarify U.S.-Russia Relations

    RAND experts discuss possible topics of conversation and potential takeaways from the upcoming summit between the United States and Russia. The summit will be a chance to rebuild and review the countries' fraught relationship.

    Jun 10, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Bomber Strike Packages with Chinese Characteristics

    This book chapter traces the development of China's bomber strike packages and assesses how these flights support operational training for Chinese air force wartime missions.

    Jun 10, 2021

  • Indonesia's President Joko Widodo speaks to China's President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit, in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019, photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    Indonesia Is Quietly Warming Up to China

    Improving China-Indonesia relations could have profound geostrategic significance for the United States. Washington may want to focus on assistance that would benefit Indonesia itself, not just the United States in its competition with China.

    Jun 7, 2021

  • China outlined in red on a NASA image of Earth, photo by NASA and RomoloTavani/Getty Images

    Report

    China's Quest for Global Primacy

    U.S.-China relations have entered a new phase characterized by sharpening competition. Beijing's international and defense strategies aim to outcompete the United States and establish primacy in the Asia-Pacific region and leadership of the world order. What does this mean for U.S. policy?

    Jun 7, 2021

  • President Joe Biden participates in a restricted bilateral meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2021, photo by Adam Schultz/Official White House Photo

    Commentary

    The Biden-Moon Meetings: Much Ado About Something?

    The May summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in elicited a wide range of opinion about its value. With diplomacy-first progressives in power simultaneously in both nations for the first time in two decades, even subtle gains may be significant.

    Jun 4, 2021

  • Blog

    Sexual Assault in the Military, School Security, Mental Health Care: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the risk of sexual assault to sexual minorities in the U.S. military, making treatment more accessible to people struggling with opioid addiction, countering Russian propaganda, and more.

    Jun 4, 2021

  • Soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in flooded Staines-Upon-Thames, photo by Cpl Richard Cave LBPPA/Crown Copyright CC BY-NC 2.0

    Multimedia

    Expert Insights: Crisis Response in a Changing Climate

    In this audio conversation, Senior Analyst Lucia Retter is joined by Lieutenant General Richard Nugee, the non-executive director for climate change and sustainability for UK Defence, to discuss a study on the implications of climate change for UK defence logistics in crisis response situations.

    Jun 4, 2021

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Joe Biden hold a joint news conference at the White House, in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S.-ROK Summit: Assessing Moon's Vaccine and Peace Promises

    U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held their first in-person summit in Washington in May. But beyond the formalities, how fruitful was this first sit-down, face-to-face, no-mask meeting for Moon?

    Jun 3, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Accelerating the Australian Army's Contest of Ideas

    In this report, the authors analyse Australian Army publications from the period 2014–2020 to understand how a contest of ideas aligns with a proposed innovation flow model to support the evolution of Army's intellectual edge.

    Jun 2, 2021

  • A formation of U.S. Army soldiers with III Corps and Fort Hood honor the American flag as they lower it during the Retreat ceremony, March 27, 2014, photo by U.S. Army

    Report

    The Risk of Sexual Assault to Sexual Minorities in the U.S. Military

    Service members who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, or who did not indicate that they identify as heterosexual, represented only 12 percent of the active component population in 2018. But they accounted for about 43 percent of all sexually assaulted service members that year.

    Jun 1, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Korolev at the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017, photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/Reuters

    Report

    Countering Russian and Other State-Sponsored Propaganda

    Since the Russian propaganda campaign that targeted the 2016 U.S. presidential election, researchers have penned a trove of reports that offer recommendations for countering such efforts. To help policymakers and others, RAND experts produced a compendium that divides these recommendations into various categories.

    Jun 1, 2021

  • Soldiers assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment place American flags at headstones ahead of Memorial Day in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, May 21, 2020, photo by Elizabeth Fraser/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    A Memorial Day Like No Other

    Although Memorial Day is and should be dedicated to our fallen military personnel and veterans, this year, especially, we are reminded that service to the country comes in many forms.

    May 27, 2021