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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  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili after delivering remarks at their Georgia Strategic Partnership meeting at the State Department in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2018

    Commentary

    Where Is Georgia Headed?

    Since its renewed independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Georgia has made steady progress toward full European and Euro-Atlantic integration, and stabilized relations with Russia. Continuing on this path is a key test of whether it is still possible for reforming former Soviet countries to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic community.

    May 23, 2018

  • Air Force Maj. Travis Tucker, right, explains an AC-130U Spooky gunship’s weapons systems to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein during a mission orientation flight at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Oct. 19, 2016

    Commentary

    Improving the Effectiveness of Air Force Squadron Commanders

    United States Air Force commanders around the world understand their responsibilities, but they believe that many unrecognized duties interfere with mission performance. They are generally prepared by professional education and career progression to fulfill their responsibilities, but they could use more instruction on how to command.

    May 23, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Blackouts as a Moderator of Young Adult Veteran Response to Personalized Normative Feedback for Heavy Drinking

    Online personalized normative feedback (PNF) interventions for alcohol use may be particularly effective for people who have recently experienced an alcohol-induced blackout.

    May 22, 2018

  • Research Brief

    Evaluation Finds Excess Property Program Is Efficient and Effective, but Perceptions About Militarized Police Persist

    The Law Enforcement Support Office program is efficient and effectively reuses excess Department of Defense property, but perceptions persist that the program contributes to the militarization of police.

    May 21, 2018

  • 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

  • A mine resistant, ambush protected vehicle was used to extract people day and night from flooded areas in Florence County, North Carolina

    Report

    DoD's Excess Property Program Works, but Perceptions About Militarized Police Persist

    The Department of Defense provides excess equipment—everything from desks to rifles to airplanes—at little or no cost to law enforcement agencies across America. This program is efficient and effective, but there are perceptions that it 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. soldiers watch an Afghan soldier sign for the transfer of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles to Afghan security forces on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, February 14, 2015

    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