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.

  • An activist outside the Dutch embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, holds a banner that says not to listen to Russian propaganda, February 5, 2016, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Report

    How to Counter Russia's Gray Zone Tactics

    Dec 11, 2019

    Russia uses gray zone tactics—ambiguous actions that target domestic or international public opinion—across Europe. Wargames found that vulnerability to these tactics varies. And they can be countered by hardening Western societies against Russian propaganda and attempts to undermine democracy.

  • A French soldier uses a sniffer dog to check for explosives during an area control operation in the Gourma region during the Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 29, 2019, photo by Benoit Tessier/Reuters

    Commentary

    Abandoning West Africa Carries Risks for U.S.

    Jan 3, 2020

    News that the U.S. Department of Defense is contemplating a major drawdown in West Africa comes as the region is in crisis. For Americans, the Sahel crisis raises a fundamental question: Beyond basic humanitarian concern, if the Sahel falls apart, why should Americans care?

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Report

    General and Flag Officer Costs: Annual Cost Estimates for General and Flag Officers and Supporting Personnel

    Researchers estimate average annual total costs of typical general and flag officers (G/FOs) as well as the annual total costs of specific G/FO positions in support of the Secretary of Defense's congressional reporting requirement.

    Jan 23, 2020

  • People in New York City react after hearing of the death of Osama bin Laden, photo by Sgt. Randall A. Clinton/U.S. Marine Corps Photo

    Commentary

    The Politics of Man-Hunting and the Illusion of Victory

    Captures and strikes are important accomplishments and the countless nameless professionals who carry them out deserve the credit for executing them. But leaders are charged with something larger and should be judged by a higher standard: namely, seeing beyond the illusion and producing actual strategic victories.

    Jan 22, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Military Build-Up in the South China Sea

    This book explores the very latest developments in the South China Sea maritime dispute.

    Jan 22, 2020

  • Two digital faces facing each other, photo by wildpixel/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Artificial Intelligence and the Manufacturing of Reality

    Humans carry flaws in deciding what is or is not real. The internet and other technologies have made it easier to weaponize and exploit these flaws. And artificial intelligence will likely be used to exploit these weaknesses at an unprecedented scale, speed, and level of effectiveness.

    Jan 20, 2020

  • A demonstrator holds a picture of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a protest in Tehran, Iran, January 3, 2020, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/West Asia News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Iran Claws Back Its Regional Influence

    Last year, Iran faced protests at home as well as in Iraq and Lebanon, where thousands rallied against Tehran's regional hegemony. But with its recent machinations and the fallout over the killing of Soleimani, Iran has succeeded in changing the regional conversation.

    Jan 17, 2020

  • Gulbahar Jelilova, an ethnic Uighur activist from Kazakhstan, poses for a photograph in Istanbul, Turkey, November 16, 2018, photo by Murad Sezer/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Washington Could Make Beijing Listen on Xinjiang

    In autonomous Xinjiang, at least one million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities have been incarcerated by the Chinese government. What can the United States and its allies do to help defuse this humanitarian crisis?

    Jan 17, 2020

  • China Coast Guard ship seen from an Indonesian Naval ship during a patrol at Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone sea north of the Natuna Islands, Indonesia, January 11, 2020, photo by M Risyal Hidayat/Antara Foto Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Is China Pressing Indonesia Again Over Its Maritime Claims?

    China sparked a major maritime confrontation with Indonesia near the South China Sea in December when dozens of Chinese fishing vessels, along with a coast guard escort, entered waters off the Natuna Islands. What drove Beijing to stake out its sovereignty claims against Indonesia at this particular time? And what can Indonesia and other regional neighbors expect of Chinese behavior going forward?

    Jan 16, 2020

  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the attempted coup at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, July 15, 2018, photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

    Report

    Turkey's Nationalist Course and How It Affects U.S.-Turkish Relations

    America's longstanding partnership with Turkey, a powerful NATO ally, has become strained in recent years. Their interests are not as aligned as they once were, and tensions between Turkey and Europe have exacerbated these strains. What can be done to sustain the U.S.-Turkish relationship?

    Jan 14, 2020

  • Report

    Relationships between the economy and national security: Analysis and considerations for economic security policy in the Netherlands

    This study examines the relationship between the economy and national security in the Netherlands, with a focus on the characteristics and performance of the Dutch economy and the consequences of this for its national security.

    Jan 14, 2020

  • Report

    New Metrics and Visualizations to Help the Army Reduce Customer Wait Time

    To help Army managers manage customer wait time, the authors developed several metrics and visualizations, including the rifle chart and a count of old orders, that use data available in the Army's logistics enterprise system.

    Jan 13, 2020

  • Jonathan Wong, Sangeeta Ahluwalia, Hardika Dayalani, and Robert Bozick of the RAND Corporation.

    Blog

    Ink Tank: At RAND, Tattoos Sometimes Reflect the Research

    Three RAND experts and one Pardee RAND student explain how their tattoos reflect their research on the problems Marines face, end-of-life care, migration-related issues, and the changing needs of the labor force.

    Jan 10, 2020

  • Blog

    Iran, Mental Health and Jail, Russia: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Iran and Iraq following the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, supporting those experiencing mental illness in jails, Russia's hostile measures, and more.

    Jan 10, 2020

  • An Iranian mourner holds a picture of late General Qassem Soleimani as people gather to mourn him in Tehran, Iran, January 4, 2020, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Will Iran Respond to Soleimani's Killing—and Where Will the Escalation End?

    Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani's death will reverberate in the Middle East region for a long time. The United States must know its end game and be able to respond to this changing landscape of its own making, without stumbling into another full-fledged conflict that the Trump administration itself, Congress, and the American people have said they do not want.

    Jan 7, 2020

  • Map depicting Russia's gray zone aggression, images by Harvepino and Serdarbayraktar/Getty Images. Design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    Report

    Understanding Russia's Hostile Measures and How to Counter Them

    Russia has used hostile measures to sow disorder, weaken democratic institutions, and undermine NATO cohesion. But it also has a long track record of strategic shortfalls and even ineptitude. Exploring opportunities to deter, prevent, and counter Russia's behavior is critical in both the gray zone and conventional war.

    Jan 7, 2020

  • Hezbollah supporters attend a funeral ceremony rally to mourn Iran's Qassem Soleimani, in the suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, January 5, 2020, photo by Aziz Taher/Reuters

    Commentary

    All-Out U.S.-Iran War Is Unlikely. But Low-Level War Expected to Continue

    Iranian retaliation for Soleimani's killing and counter-retaliation by the United States seem likely. But Tehran and Washington have good reasons to inflict limited pain without engaging in a full-scale war.

    Jan 6, 2020

  • Following the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, members of Iraq's parliament voted to expel American soldiers from Iraq, January 5, 2020, photo by Iraqi Parliament Media Office/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    Iraq's Vote to Expel U.S. Troops Is Iran's True Victory

    If American soldiers are ejected from Iraq, the consequences may be far-reaching and damaging to U.S. strategic interests. What options remain to reset the relationship between Washington and Baghdad?

    Jan 6, 2020

  • U.S. Army soldiers man a defensive position at Forward Operating Base Union III in Baghdad, Iraq, December 31, 2019, photo by Maj. Charlie Dietz/Task Force-Iraq Public Affairs Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    Can Iraq Evict U.S. Forces?

    The Iraqi parliament voted to expel U.S. troops from Iraq. This vote was nonbinding, and the Iraqi caretaker government cannot pass laws, but it does indicate that a majority in parliament wants U.S. forces to leave.

    Jan 6, 2020

  • Members of Iraqi security forces in front of U.S. Embassy during a protest, in Baghdad, Iraq, January 1, 2020, photo by Khalid Al Mousily/Reuters

    Commentary

    Baghdad Siege Wasn't Benghazi, and Never Will Be

    Given the heightened tension between the United States and Iran and the ongoing instability in Iraq, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad may very well be attacked again. If such an attack were to be successful, it would be more akin to the fall of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon than the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

    Jan 6, 2020

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: January-February 2020

    Feature stories spotlight research on America's fentanyl crisis and new approaches to clinical guideline development. The Commentary column features terrorism expert Colin Clarke on the threat of white supremacists in the United States.

    Jan 6, 2020

  • Electric power lines behind a network illustration, photo by kosssmosss/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Options for Deterring Attacks Against the Power Grid

    The U.S. military relies on electric power to accomplish critical missions. And most of the electricity consumed by installations in the continental United States comes from the commercial grid. How can the Defense Department protect the power grid from physical and cyber attacks?

    Jan 6, 2020