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.

  • Destroyed buildings during sunset at the frontline in Raqqa, Syria, October 6, 2017

    Commentary

    Defeating the ISIS Nostalgia Narrative

    Apr 19, 2018

    It is crucial that the United States and its coalition partners take into consideration and preempt the ISIS nostalgia narratives that may seek to define the group's legacy and prepare a foundation for its resurgence throughout the Middle East and beyond. The legacy ISIS should be remembered for is one of misery and despair.

  • Abstract map of earth with futuristic, technological details

    Project

    Exploring the Future of Global Security

    Apr 24, 2018

    The Security 2040 initiative explores technologies and trends that are shaping the global security landscape. By focusing on lesser-known security risks, Security 2040 aims to help decisionmakers anticipate and respond to threats on the horizon.

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  • Report

    Defining Second Generation Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) for the Defense Enterprise

    This report describes the evolution of open source intelligence, defines open source information and the intelligence cycle, and parallels with other intelligence disciplines, along with methods used and challenges of using off-the-shelf technology.

    May 17, 2018

  • Palestinian demonstrators run for cover from Israeli fire and tear gas during a protest against the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the Gaza Strip, May 14, 2018

    Commentary

    Five Thoughts on Jerusalem, Gaza, and What's in Between

    Dozens of people have been killed and over 2,000 injured in protests in the Gaza Strip along the border with Israel. Continued clashes are expected until the fundamental problems of the strip are solved, including the governance vacuum, the Palestinian Authority-Hamas rift, and the conflict with Israel.

    May 15, 2018

  • Report

    Training Success for U.S. Air Force Special Operations and Combat Support Specialties: An Analysis of Recruiting, Screening, and Development Processes

    This report addresses challenges for implementing new approaches to Air Force high-demand, high-attrition specialty recruiting, screening, and development processes, and takes a holistic approach to identifying methods to fill gaps in processes.

    May 15, 2018

  • Dissertation

    Value of Information for Policy Analysis

    This dissertation considers the viability of applying Value of Information methods in complex systems for policy analysis, concluding that these methods can be applied, but that different methods are appropriate in different cases.

    May 15, 2018

  • Group photo of EU leaders on the launching of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) during a EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, December 14, 2017

    Commentary

    European Defense Cooperation: Headed in the Right Direction?

    In late December, all but three European Union nations agreed to activate Europe's latest, and perhaps most promising, effort to coordinate their defense investments. U.S. officials should let this effort run its course while encouraging and helping to lay the groundwork for continued collaboration.

    May 14, 2018

  • Report

    An Evaluation of the Department of Defense's Excess Property Program: Law Enforcement Agency Equipment Acquisition Policies, Findings, and Options

    The Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) program is efficiently run and effectively reuses excess Department of Defense property, but this is unlikely to resolve perceptions that the program contributes to the militarization of police.

    May 14, 2018

  • New Army recruits

    Report

    Who Joins the Army, and Why?

    The U.S. Army wants to improve its understanding of soldiers' motivations to enlist, and how the reality of Army life matches up with expectations. Interviews with soldiers ranked E-1 to E-4 offer a rich portrayal of life as a private.

    May 14, 2018

  • A Vietnamese floating guard station on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, April 12, 2010

    Commentary

    Deciphering Vietnam's Evolving Military Doctrine in the South China Sea

    Vietnam has sought to balance China's expanding presence in the South China Sea through diplomacy and military modernization. The Vietnam People's Army has acquired many useful weapons, but unfamiliarity with combat in the sea and air will test its evolving military doctrine.

    May 11, 2018

  • U.S. President Trump just before signing a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, May 8, 2018

    Commentary

    The Strategic Fallout of U.S. Withdrawal from the Iran Deal

    President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement. What will happen next? Friction between the United States and its European allies will likely increase, while Iran moves closer to China and Russia. Also, the resentment of a new generation of Iranians toward America is likely to grow.

    May 10, 2018

  • Vladimir Putin is sworn in as president during an inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2018

    Commentary

    How Russia's Blunders Abroad Have Galvanized Europe

    Russia overrates the efficacy of the military and underrates political and economic assets. Through this outdated prism the Kremlin sees Europe as America's weak sister. This miscalculation has led Russia repeatedly to err, as shown by decades of frustrated efforts to divide Europeans and split them from the U.S.

    May 10, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Sochi, Russia, November 20, 2017

    Commentary

    The Limits of Russian Strategy in the Middle East

    The greatest limitation of Russia's Middle East strategy is that it is not Russia, but the Middle Eastern states themselves that determine the depth of their relations with Moscow. Just as Russia seeks to engage in the Middle East for its own benefit, these states also seek to use Russia to their advantage.

    May 10, 2018

  • U.S. President Trump holds up a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement after signing it at the White House, May 8, 2018

    Commentary

    The U.S. Is Out of the Iran Deal. What Now?

    Abandoning the nuclear agreement with Iran isolates the United States, reneges on an American commitment, adds to the risk of a trade war with U.S. allies and a hot war with Iran, and diminishes the prospects of an agreement to eliminate the North Korean threat.

    May 9, 2018

  • Clockwise from top left: RAND's JOHNNIAC mainframe computer, the RAND Tablet, a mobile phone, and an autonomous vehicle

    Essay

    70 Years of Innovation at RAND

    Seventy years ago, a group of researchers established the independent RAND Corporation. From the first satellite design, to helping ensure GPS as a public good, to laying the groundwork for the internet, RAND has been making a difference ever since.

    May 9, 2018

  • A B-1B Lancer unleashes cluster munitions

    Commentary

    Cluster Munitions and Rearming for Great Power Competition

    The United States might need Cluster munitions, anti-personnel landmines, and tactical nuclear weapons to deter or defeat aggression. If policymakers choose to lift bans on these munitions, the ensuing policy restrictions might be tailored to address where these capabilities are necessary.

    May 9, 2018

  • News Release

    3D Printing Could Disrupt Labor Markets and National Security

    While advances in additive manufacturing offer potential breakthroughs in prosthetic arms, jet engine parts, and a host of other products, 3D printing, as it is known, may also disrupt traditional labor markets and exacerbate existing security threats from violent actors.

    May 9, 2018

  • U.S. Army Capt. Rodriguez, left, watches as an Afghan soldier signs for the transfer of 155 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles and 15 mine-resistant, ambush-protected recovery vehicles to Afghan security forces on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

    Testimony

    A Path Forward for U.S. Government Spending in Afghanistan

    For more than 16 years, U.S. assistance to Afghanistan has been enormous in scale and complexity. But how effective is U.S. spending when it comes to building a stable democracy in Afghanistan? How can the United States reduce its financial commitment while mitigating risks?

    May 9, 2018

  • 3D printer and printable drone, gun, and airplane turbine.

    Article

    Four Ways 3D Printing May Threaten Security

    3D printing has the potential to improve lives. But it could also bring new perils, such as disrupting weapons regulations and jeopardizing manufacturing jobs. While there's reason to be cautious about this technology, there's also danger in overreacting and overregulating what could be a new era of innovation.

    May 8, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech at the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 20, 2018

    Commentary

    Recalibrate, Rather Than Abandon, U.S. China Policy

    China does not necessarily seek to succeed the U.S. as the world’s superpower, especially if such a mantle would impose on it real and/or perceived obligations for steering global affairs. What is the verdict, then, on America’s China policy, and where should the two countries go from here?

    May 8, 2018

  • 3d printing in progress

    Report

    Additive Manufacturing in 2040: Powerful Enabler, Disruptive Threat

    If additive manufacturing — also called 3D printing — continues to develop along its current trends, it could profoundly alter the global economy, international security, and the organization of society.

    May 8, 2018

  • Report

    Force Presentation in U.S. Air Force History and Airpower Narratives

    USAF leaders are concerned that their force presentation construct is lacking. This report presents historical analysis and recommendations to inform USAF deliberations regarding future force presentation constructs.

    May 7, 2018