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.

  • Servicemen disembark from a Ka-29 helicopter during an exercise staged by the Baltic Fleet forces of the Russian Navy to train amphibious assault, at Khmelevka firing ground in Kaliningrad Region, Russia, April 4, 2019, photo by Vitaly Nevar/Reuters

    Report

    How Capable Are Russia's Armed Forces?

    Oct 29, 2019

    Since 2008, the Russian military has become more capable, not only of defending its territory but also of launching invasions against its neighbors. Russia's defense spending is now in decline, but NATO policymakers and defense planners should continue to monitor its military improvements.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron gives a news conference after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Paris, France, November 28, 2019, photo by Bertrand Guay/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is NATO Brain Dead?

    Dec 3, 2019

    French President Macron's remark about the brain death of NATO was provoked by President Trump's October 6 decision, since modified, to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria. Macron is right to wonder how Trump would respond to any threat to European security. But he is wrong to attribute this uncertainty to diminishing support for the alliance among all Americans.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Curcuit board with chip with image of missile, photo by guirong hao/Getty Images

    Commentary

    AI for Peace

    The United States should apply lessons from the 70-year history of governing nuclear technology by building a framework for governing AI military technology. An AI for Peace program should articulate the dangers of this new technology, principles to manage the dangers, and a structure to shape the incentives for other states.

    Dec 13, 2019

  • A fighter loyal to Libya's U.N.-backed government looks at a room burned during clashes with troops loyal to Khalifa Haftar in Tripoli, Libya, May 28, 2019, photo by Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

    Commentary

    Can Anything Stop the Flow of Advanced Weapons into Libya?

    Weapons proliferation has been a security concern for Libya and its neighbors since the revolution of 2011. If foreign arms transfers into Libya aren't reduced, the country's security situation will continue to deteriorate, giving militant groups a chance to increase their lethality and further destabilize the region.

    Dec 13, 2019

  • U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev have a few final words after a marathon meeting to conclude their mini-summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, October 12, 1986, photo by Denis Paquin/Reuters

    Commentary

    Return of Nuclear Doomsday

    Elder statesmen are again warning of nuclear dangers. But have they risen? Maybe, but they remain only faint echoes of Cold War era risks, creating an opportunity to deliberately and carefully take steps to avoid future risks.

    Dec 12, 2019

  • Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrives for a meeting among remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal at U.N. headquarters in New York City, September 25, 2019, photo by Yana Paskova/Reuters

    Commentary

    Understanding Iran's Nuclear Escalation Strategy

    Throughout 2019, Iran has gradually reduced its compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. What are its goals in doing this? Why has it adopted this strategy? And perhaps most importantly, how far does Iran intend to go?

    Dec 12, 2019

  • Report

    Air Force Capability Development Planning: Analytical Methods to Support Investment Decisions

    RAND Project AIR FORCE examines analytical methods for Air Force capability development planning under conditions of deep uncertainty.

    Dec 11, 2019

  • 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

    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.

    Dec 11, 2019

  • U.S. and CHina s chess kings

    Journal Article

    Minding the Gaps: US Military Strategy Toward China

    The U.S. national security community continues to consider the proper military response to China's ongoing military modernization efforts, but many aspects of the debate remain unresolved. If analysts writing on US military strategy toward China want to improve the public debate, these analytical gaps must be filled.

    Dec 11, 2019

  • Report

    Gaming Gray Zone Tactics: Design Considerations for a Structured Strategic Game

    The RAND Arroyo Center developed a strategic-level structured card game examining a gray zone competition between Russia and the West in the Balkans to better understand the nature of a gray zone competition with Russia.

    Dec 11, 2019

  • Brochure

    RAND Arroyo Center Annual Report 2018-2019

    This Annual Report illustrates the depth and breadth of the research conducted for the Army in fiscal year 2019.

    Dec 4, 2019

  • Report

    Army Fires Capabilities for 2025 and Beyond

    To assist the Army in its reorientation toward conventional combat operations, the authors of this report identify capability gaps in the field artillery and actions that the Army should consider taking from today to roughly 2030.

    Dec 3, 2019

  • Report

    Navigating Current and Emerging Army Recruiting Challenges: What Can Research Tell Us?

    The author draws on a large body of research on recruiting and examines tools and resources—including recruiters and recruiting management, eligibility criteria, and pay and bonuses—that can help the Army meet recruiting challenges.

    Dec 3, 2019

  • Australian flag waving in blue sky, photo by MicroStockHub/Getty Images

    Commentary

    B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber Is Handy, but It May Not Be the Perfect Fit

    Some in the Australian security community have called for significant changes to the Australian Defence Force structure in response to changing global strategic conditions. Before Australia considers any new long-range strike capabilities, an analysis of alternatives that examines both cost and capability is essential.

    Dec 2, 2019

  • Report

    Improving 21st Century Skills in the U.S. Air Force

    For a 21st century workforce, you need 21st century skills. The authors of this Perspective offer recommendations to the U.S. Air Force to use lessons learned in different sectors to develop a strategy for airmen to learn and use 21st century skills.

    Dec 2, 2019

  • Blog

    Artificial Intelligence Bias, Russia, Fentanyl: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on bias in algorithms, Russia's limits in the Middle East, understanding the fentanyl crisis, and more.

    Nov 29, 2019

  • Report

    Availability of Family Violence Services for Military Service Members and Their Families

    The authors examine resources available to military-affiliated victims and perpetrators of child abuse/neglect and domestic abuse, barriers to utilization, and challenges faced in addressing these issues, and recommend ways to improve services.

    Nov 25, 2019

  • Senegalese peacekeepers during a military operation in the Mopti region of Mali, July 5, 2019, photo by Gema Cortes/MINUSMA / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Commentary

    Mali Violence Shows Limits of Intervention

    Each year brings more violence to Mali and its neighbors. Mali and Burkina Faso are rapidly destabilizing; the situation in Niger is less dire, but that is hardly a commendation. Why is the violence in Mali getting worse given the significant efforts by the international community to stem it?

    Nov 22, 2019

  • Report

    Baselining Defense Acquisition

    In support of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) efforts to improve mission effectiveness and efficiency, this report identifies DoD government functions for procurement and acquisition, estimating their costs at between $29 billion and $38 billion.

    Nov 20, 2019

  • A rifleman with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment

    Report

    An Examination of the Methodology for Awarding Imminent Danger Pay and Hostile Fire Pay

    In this report, RAND researchers examine the Defense Department's methodology for awarding hostile fire pay and imminent danger pay and explore whether a different approach might be more effective.

    Nov 18, 2019

  • Blog

    Disinformation, Drug Policy, Artificial Intelligence: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on tools to fight disinformation online, the negative consequences of punishing pregnant women for drug use, how to ensure public trust in artificial intelligence, and more.

    Nov 15, 2019