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.

  • Russian soldiers man a checkpoint near the Georgian village of Kekhvi in breakaway South Ossetia, August 21, 2008, photo by Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

    Report

    What Drives U.S. Adversaries to Use Military Forces Abroad?

    Sep 27, 2021

    Where, how, and how often have China, Russia, and Iran intervened militarily since 1946? A review of their behavior and that of other U.S. adversaries identifies why they initiated military interventions and why they might do so in the future.

  • Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers conduct a sunrise run during annual training at Fort Stewart, Georgia, January 11, 2017, photo by Capt. William Carraway/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Supporting the Mental Health Needs of National Guard and Reserve Members

    Sep 22, 2021

    Over one million U.S. military service members are members of the National Guard or reserves. These troops are being tested like never before, but they do not receive the same physical and mental health care coverage provided to their active-duty counterparts. It may be time to explore policy solutions to ensure that these service members have access to high-quality mental health care.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • U.S. Army paratroopers move to an assembly area at Normandy Drop Zone, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, February 1, 2019, photo by Sgt. Taylor Hoganson/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Military Must Better Understand Sexual Assaults to Combat Them

    Sexual minorities in the U.S. military represent about 12 percent of the active-duty population. But they account for an estimated 43 percent of those who are sexually assaulted. This raises critical questions for the Pentagon as it tries to reduce the 20,000 sexual assaults in the ranks each year.

    Jun 22, 2021

  • North Carolina Air National Guard Airman Staff Sgt. Jay Benton transports equipment with a fork-lift at a warehouse in western North Carolina, June 18, 2020, photo by Sgt. Marcel Pugh/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Military and Defense-Related Supply Chains

    After the Cold War, U.S. logistics planners moved away from a focus on effectiveness to a focus on efficiency in the sense that little is left idle for significant periods and that commodities are delivered at minimum cost. The ability of the system to support the joint force in the event of major conflict is at best untested and could be problematic.

    Jun 22, 2021

  • A Russian Mi-8 military helicopter is seen through a window while flying during a rehearsal for the Navy Day parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia, July 21, 2019, photo by Anton Vaganov/Reuters

    Report

    How Would NATO Compete with Russia?

    Western threat perceptions of Russia have risen sharply in recent years, bolstered by its acts of military aggression, political interference, and efforts to expand its global influence. What would be the strengths, weaknesses, and risks for the United States, NATO, and Russia in a large-scale war?

    Jun 22, 2021

  • Blog

    Stress Among U.S. Teachers, Russia's Global Interests, Investing in Equity: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on job-related stress among U.S. public school teachers, Russia's global interests, promoting social equity through infrastructure investments, and more.

    Jun 18, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Risk of Sexual Assault in Army Varies Widely Across Bases, Units, and Occupational Specialties

    Risk of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the U.S. Army varies widely—particularly for female soldiers—across different Army bases, commands, and career fields.

    Jun 18, 2021

  • A man in a subway tunnel wearing gloves and a hoodie, looking at a mobile phone. Photo by Lorado / Getty Images

    Multimedia

    Exiting Extremism: What Binds People to Extremist Groups and How Organizations Help Them Leave

    What leads people to join violent extremist groups? How and why do they exit these groups and stop believing in radical ideologies? This one-hour webinar explores the forces that pull individuals to extremist groups, the binds that keep them connected, and why leaving can be so difficult.

    Jun 18, 2021

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Army: Where Cases are Highest and Why

    This research summarizes estimates of sexual assault risk and sexual harassment risk across U.S. Army installations and command, showing variation in these risks across groups of soldiers.

    Jun 18, 2021

  • Junior enlisted troops after the III Corps and Fort Hood command team discussed Operation People First and listened to their concerns, December 10, 2020, photo by Blair Dupre/Fort Hood Public Affairs

    Report

    Risk of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Army Varies

    Sexual assault risk is higher for Army women at Fort Hood, Fort Bliss, and several other bases than it is for the average woman in the Army. And bases with high sexual assault risk also have high sexual harassment risk. What organizational characteristics are associated with increased risk?

    Jun 18, 2021

  • Sailors conduct flight operations on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan , in the South China Sea, June 14, 2021, photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Quinton Lee/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Defeat Is Possible

    If the United States is to have a reasonable hope of winning a war, it needs to think about what it would be like to lose. An essential first step could be to start taking the prospect of protracted near-peer conflict seriously.

    Jun 17, 2021

  • U.S. and French soldiers at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, March 2017, photo by U.S. Army

    Report

    Could France Support a U.S.-Led War in Eastern Europe?

    France has a greater range of capabilities than most other European militaries. It has remained strongly committed to NATO and bilateral defense cooperation with the United States. What capabilities might France bring to a hypothetical high-intensity conventional war against Russia?

    Jun 16, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting via video link from the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 21, 2020, photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Engine Troubles: Is Putin's Behavior Catching Up with Him?

    Actions taken to curb Russian malign activities around the globe appear to be affecting Russia's marine and aerospace engine sector. Efforts to arrest Russia's bad behavior might gain momentum if more countries followed the lead of Norway, which chose supporting sanctions over short-term economic gain.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • A U.S. Army reenlistment ceremony held at Baghdad's Cross Sabers

    Report

    Securing Gains in Fragile States: Using U.S. Leverage in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond

    This report evaluates U.S. options for stabilizing conflict-affected states by incentivizing governance reforms through military and development assistance in the context of U.S. military interventions.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • The colors are retired during a ceremony marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq in Baghdad on December 15, 2011, photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/U.S. Department of Defense

    Report

    Using U.S. Leverage to Limit Instability in Fragile States

    The United States can effectively support governance reforms in postconflict states by seizing on opportunities when partner interests align with U.S. interests. And it can use its leverage, including conditions on military and economic assistance, when interests do not align.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • A convoy of U.S. military vehicles

    Report

    Measuring Strategic Readiness

    The U.S. Department of Defense asked RAND to provide a method and specific metrics to enable the defense community to more fully answer questions about the nation's readiness to execute the National Defense Strategy. A new report examines the what metrics are needed to assess the nation's ability to respond to conflicts.

    Jun 14, 2021

  • Blog

    China's Ambitions, Origins of the Coronavirus, Income Inequality: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on China’s quest for global primacy, understanding the coronavirus origin story, how parents feel about sending their children back to school, and more.

    Jun 11, 2021

  • Russian Mi-28N helicopters fly in formation at the Dubrovichi range near Ryazan, Russia, August 2, 2015, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Content

    Where Russia Markets and Sells Advanced Conventional Weapons

    Russia uses arms exports to further relations with other countries, influence their political and military leaders, and further its broader foreign and defense policy goals. A series of maps show the extent of its marketing, negotiating, and sales of key weapons systems.

    Jun 11, 2021

  • Unmanned military drone on patrol air territory, gaining heights to determine goals, photo by aapsky/ Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Report

    Assessing the Value of Intelligence Collected by U.S. Air Force Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Platforms

    Commanders, planners, and operators across the U.S. Air Force's intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) enterprise face difficult decisions about how to best meet ISR needs. How can the U.S. Air Force better assess the value of airborne ISR?

    Jun 11, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference, held online in a video conference mode, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia December 17, 2020, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters

    Blog

    Summit a Chance to Clarify U.S.-Russia Relations

    RAND experts discuss possible topics of conversation and potential takeaways from the upcoming summit between the United States and Russia. The summit will be a chance to rebuild and review the countries' fraught relationship.

    Jun 10, 2021

  • Call with the Experts: The North Korean Nuclear Threat

    Multimedia

    RAND Experts Discuss the Biden-Putin Summit

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, Jeffrey Hiday, director of Media Relations at RAND, is joined by RAND experts Samuel Charap, Todd Helmus, Dara Massicot, and William Courtney. Together they discuss the June 16th summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. This call was recorded on June 10, 2021.

    Jun 10, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Bomber Strike Packages with Chinese Characteristics

    This book chapter traces the development of China's bomber strike packages and assesses how these flights support operational training for Chinese air force wartime missions.

    Jun 10, 2021