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.

  • Chinese marine surveillance ships cruising in the East China Sea, as the islands known as the Senkaku isles in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China are seen in the background, April 23, 2013, photo by Kyodo/Reuters

    Report

    The Health of U.S. and Partner Deterrence in the Gray Zone

    Apr 19, 2021

    Gray zone aggression, campaigns to achieve political objectives while remaining below the threshold of outright warfare, is on the rise. U.S. and allied deterrent postures are reasonably strong, though mixed, when it comes to China's aggression in the Senkaku Islands, Russia's in the Baltic states, and North Korea's in South Korea.

  • Staff Sgt. Sharonica White completes a deadlift repetition during the U.S. Army Japan 2020 Army Week's Army Combat Fitness Test Fitness Warrior Competition at Camp Zama, Japan, June 8, 2020, photo by Winifred Brown/U.S. Army

    Project

    What Do We Know About the Health and Well-Being of U.S. Service Members?

    Apr 28, 2021

    RAND experts have analyzed data from the Department of Defense's flagship survey for understanding the health, health behaviors, and well-being of service members. The results provide valuable insights across various health-related topics and about personnel by service branch.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Supporters of Donald Trump scale a wall as they storm the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021, photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    Commentary

    Domestic Violent Extremists Will Be Harder to Combat Than Homegrown Jihadists

    The beliefs driving today's domestic extremists are deeply rooted in American history and society. For this and several other reasons, shutting them down will prove far more difficult than combating homegrown jihadists.

    Feb 1, 2021

  • National Guardmen on U.S. Capitol security detail in Washington, DC, January 11, 2021, photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht/U.S. Air National Guard

    Commentary

    How to Root Out Extremism in the U.S. Military

    The military has a growing extremism problem because America does. Service members who embrace violent extremism are thankfully few; Americans citizens who do so are sadly far too many. As a nation we need to deal with both.

    Feb 1, 2021

  • A Vietnamese naval soldier stands guard at Thuyen Chai island in the Spratly archipelago January 17, 2013, photo by Quang Le/Reuters

    Commentary

    How U.S.-Vietnam Ties Might Go Off the Rails

    Although there are valid reasons to question the trajectory of U.S.-Vietnam relations in the coming years, the overwhelming momentum is positive and is likely to stay that way. Any frictions that arise will probably be handled diplomatically to avoid greater damage to the relationship. But of course, nothing is guaranteed.

    Feb 1, 2021

  • Blog

    Prescription Drug Prices, Transgender Troops, Space Diplomacy: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on America's high prescription drug prices, allowing transgender troops in the military, food insecurity in Black neighborhoods, and more.

    Jan 29, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    The Demand for Responsiveness in Past U.S. Military Operations

    The Department of Defense argues that it must maintain a high level of readiness across the joint force to remain highly responsive. The author conducts a historical analysis to identify the demand for responsiveness in past U.S. military operations.

    Jan 28, 2021

  • An MQ-9 Reaper sits on the flightline at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. June 19. Gen. John D.W. Corley, Air Combat Command commander, met with Army Gen. William S. Wallace, Army Training and Doctrine Command commanding general, June 30 to discuss a new concept of operations that would maximize the contributions unmanned aerial systems bring to the joint warfighter, photo by Lance Cheung/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Technology Innovation and the Future of Air Force Intelligence Analysis: Findings and Recommendations

    Getting the right intelligence to the right people at the right time is increasingly difficult as the amount of data grows and timelines shrink. How can tools and technologies help the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System evolve to meet the challenges of synthesizing data effectively and efficiently?

    Jan 27, 2021

  • A U.S. Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle with B company, 229th Aviation Regiment known as Flying Tigers prepares for takeoff at the Air Combat Element landing strip, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, Calif., Nov. 7, 2019, photo by Cpl. William Chockey/U.S. Marine CorpsA U.S. Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle with B company, 229th Aviation Regiment known as Flying Tigers prepares for takeoff at the Air Combat Element landing strip, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, Calif., Nov. 7, 2019, photo by Cpl. William Chockey/U.S. Marine Corps

    Report

    Technology Innovation and the Future of Air Force Intelligence Analysis: Technical Analysis

    What are the near-term fixes to existing intelligence challenges? And where could artificial intelligence and machine learning be integrated in the future? An in-depth analysis explores technologies that could help the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System become more effective, efficient, and agile.

    Jan 27, 2021

  • Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Ethan Clabaugh stands watch on the amphibious assault ship USS America in Okinawa, Japan, January 16, 2021, photo by MCSN Matthew Cavenaile/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Why Biden's Japan Agenda Matters

    Efforts to mend America's political wounds, combating COVID-19, and the continuing deterioration of U.S.-China relations may dominate the Biden agenda. But quick wins with Japan are possible and could be necessary to ensure that the alliance begins on a positive footing so it can tackle difficult challenges in the years ahead.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Future Threats and Some Considerations for the Next U.S. National Defense Strategy

    In this article, the authors offer a U.S. perspective on the evolution of threats from the recent past, and posit several considerations for the next National Defense Strategy.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    The Department of Defense's Posture for Artificial Intelligence: Assessment and Recommendations for Improvement

    In this report, RAND Corporation researchers assess the state of artificial intelligence relevant to the U.S. Department of Defense and provide recommendations for the future of the department's artificial intelligence posture.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • The U.S. Capitol behind security fencing in Washington, D.C., January 25, 2021, photo by Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Threats Against Lawmakers Could Distort the Political Landscape for Years

    The political environment is changing in a way that goes beyond immediate security concerns. The prevalence of threats and violence as a feature of American politics will ripple throughout the political system. Our politics could be distorted by the vicious atmosphere for years.

    Jan 25, 2021

  • Allied troops cross Neman River during NATO exercise Saber Strike in Kulautuva, Lithuania, June 13, 2018, photo by Andrius Sytas/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Great Wall

    China built a wall to protect against foreign invaders, but Russia is erecting a barrier that could weaken its position. Moscow's pressure on neighbors has spurred NATO to bolster its presence in Russia's immediate vicinity.

    Jan 25, 2021

  • Protesters destroy an American flag pulled down from the U.S. embassy in Cairo September 11, 2012, photo by Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

    Report

    Most Attacks on Western Diplomatic Facilities Culminate in Two Hours or Less

    There have been 33 successful seizures of Western diplomatic facilities since 1979. The majority of attacks culminated in two hours or less, and over 90 percent culminated in six hours or less. A review of these attacks can help in developing effective response capabilities.

    Jan 25, 2021

  • Blog

    Keeping COVID-19 Vaccines Moving, the Capitol Attack, Media Literacy: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on keeping COVID-19 vaccines moving to save more lives; why we need a national commission to investigate the U.S. Capitol attack; media literacy as a tool to counter “Truth Decay,” and more.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • European Council President Charles Michel, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Emmanuel Macron attend the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, October 15, 2020, photo by Yves Herman/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Welcoming a Stronger European Defense

    Washington has bristled at the notion of a Europe capable of strategic autonomy in the past. But the Biden administration might do better to take seriously the prospect of Europe as a (potentially great) power, and welcome it.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Interest in a U.S. Grand Strategy of Restraint May Be Growing, So Advocates Need to Provide More Details

    As the Biden Administration takes over, some U.S. policymakers have expressed interest in a new approach to America's role in the world: a realist grand strategy of restraint under which the U.S. would cooperate more with other powers, reduce its forward military presence and end or renegotiate some security commitments.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • Journal Article

    More "Boarding" Facilities Geolocated in Southern Xinjiang

    We identified 21 preschools that house Uyghur children in Qira County, Xinjiang using satellite imagery. These facilities are part of Beijing's efforts to assimilate Uyghurs by erasing their culture to a Communist Party ideal that has been compared to genocide.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • A world map puzzle with a piece on top, photo by Yuriy Panyukov/Adobe Stock

    Report

    A U.S. Grand Strategy of Restraint

    Some U.S. policymakers have expressed interest in a realist grand strategy of restraint. Under this approach, the United States would cooperate more with other powers, reduce its forward military presence, and end or renegotiate some security commitments. What are the policy implications of embarking down this path?

    Jan 21, 2021

  • A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter pilot flies alongside two Indonesian air force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter pilots over the Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado, Indonesia

    Report

    Regional Responses to U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific: Indonesia

    In this report, the author examines whether and how the United States can increase its cooperation with Indonesia in order to manage China's rise as a strategic competitor to the United States in the Indo-Pacific region.

    Jan 21, 2021

  • Supporters of President Donald Trump confront police in the U.S. Capitol near the entrance to the Senate, in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021, photo by Mike Theiler/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why We Need a January 6 Commission to Investigate the Attack on the Capitol

    The history of politically charged violence in and against the United States can be read in the reports of its national commissions. The takeover of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 demands such an inquiry.

    Jan 20, 2021