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.

  • A map depicting Russian influence over Europe

    Report

    How to Counter Russia's Hostile Measures in Europe

    Jan 28, 2019

    Russia has a range of tools and methods short of conventional war that it can use to achieve its goals in Europe. There is no way to predict what Russia will do, but it's possible to analyze its motives and opportunities, the means it might employ, and how the United States should respond.

  • Police officials stand on the sidewalk as cars drive on the road in front of the Pulse night club, following a shooting in Orlando, Florida, June 21, 2016

    Report

    Trends in the Draw of Americans to Foreign Terrorist Organizations from 9/11 to Today

    Dec 18, 2018

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been more successful than its predecessor organization, al Qaeda, in drawing Americans to its cause. Americans drawn to ISIL are more likely to be younger, less educated, Caucasian/white or African American/black, and to have been born in the United States.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) run across a street in Raqqa, Syria, July 3, 2017

    Commentary

    The Power of Affiliates: Which ISIS Franchise Could Become the Most Capable?

    With ISIS's caliphate in ruins, one of its affiliates could grow to become even deadlier and more capable than the core organization was during its peak. And with franchise groups and affiliates across the globe, there's no shortage of contenders to supplant ISIS as the world's most dangerous terrorist group.

    Oct 9, 2018

  • The Izumo warship moored at the harbor of the Japan United Marine shipyard in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, March 25, 2015

    Commentary

    Does Japan Need an Aircraft Carrier?

    Japan has not possessed an aircraft carrier in more than 70 years. But that may soon change as the Japanese government is debating retrofitting a class of destroyers to turn them into aircraft carriers. Considering both operational needs and resources limitations, does an aircraft carrier for Japan make sense?

    Oct 5, 2018

  • Ukrainian army landing craft Yurii Olefirenko in the Black Sea during military drills in the Kherson Region, Ukraine, September 29, 2018

    Commentary

    Russia's Neighbors Want Alternatives

    The longer Russia delays in improving relations with its neighbors, the more likely they will pursue alternative options. It is also likely that tensions will persist between those neighbors and Russia—and in Russia's relationship with the West. Efforts to ease that tension should be high on the list of Western priorities with Russia.

    Oct 4, 2018

  • Cybersecurity locks illustration superimposed over a photo of Tokyo at night

    Report

    Preparing for Cybersecurity Threats to the 2020 Olympics

    The Olympic Games are an attractive target for hackers. An examination of Japan's cybersecurity threat landscape and lessons from past events can help planners reduce cybersecurity risks in advance of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

    Oct 4, 2018

  • U.S. Army Forces Command's Command Sgt. Maj. speaks to soldiers at Ft. Campbell, May 22, 2018

    Report

    How Do Senior Enlisted Leaders Influence Junior Soldiers?

    The primary mission of U.S. Army noncommissioned officers is to lead and mentor soldiers. But research has placed little emphasis on how to value their experience. Knowing how NCOs influence soldiers can help the Army maintain or improve leadership quality and soldier performance and reduce personnel costs.

    Oct 4, 2018

  • U.S. Air Force Airman Brittany Harris, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency Management Flight EM operations apprentice, and Senior Airman Isaiah Flemings, 18th Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, enter a staged scene of a hazardous materials incident during a training exercise August 3, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan

    Commentary

    Achieving the Trump Administration's National Biodefense Strategy

    The Trump administration recently published its National Biodefense Strategy, which says that managing the risk of biological threats is in the “vital interest” of the United States, however they might present. The document provides a solid foundation, but more may be required to fully realize its goals and objectives.

    Oct 2, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Adaptation by Intelligent Adversaries to Defensive Measures: Framing Adaptation Options and Demonstrating Assessment of Attacker Preferences Using Proxy Intelligence Data

    Addressing adaptation by adversaries and its implications for security planning requires understanding the ways attackers can respond to new defensive measures. This paper demonstrates an analysis of such preferences using open source data.

    Oct 2, 2018

  • Report

    An Approach to Life-Cycle Management of Shipboard Equipment

    The authors analyze trends in the life-cycle management of common shipboard equipment on U.S. Navy surface ships and recommend steps to improve the readiness of this equipment, increase its efficiency, and reduce sustainment costs.

    Oct 1, 2018

  • Soldiers set off for a foot patrol after disembarking from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in Afghanistan, September 4, 2018

    Commentary

    The Risks of Permanent War

    Why is America in Afghanistan? What interests justify its sacrifices? How will the war end? If the United States finds it hard to answer such questions after nearly two decades, the coming years are unlikely to provide clarity. If a campaign has no end, it can have no objective. If it has no objective, it cannot be won.

    Sep 28, 2018

  • A 2016 Amphibious Landing Exercise between the U.S. Marine Corps and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force

    Report

    U.S.-Japan Alliance Conference: Meeting the Challenge of Amphibious Operations

    In March 2018, the RAND Corporation convened a conference to examine the establishment of an Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade within the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.

    Sep 27, 2018

  • A student walks along a damaged street in the town of Kafr Batna, in eastern Ghouta, Syria, September 5, 2018

    Commentary

    Why We Should Measure the Economic Impact of Terrorism in the Middle East

    Though physical impacts of terrorism in the Middle East should be the main focus of counterterrorism efforts, financial impacts should not be ignored. Officials could help mitigate devastating economic effects by identifying and protecting essential regional revenue streams like tourism and oil.

    Sep 24, 2018

  • Data over open hands

    Report

    How the Intelligence Community Could Better Fulfill Its Mission

    Conflict with a near-peer competitor—Russia or China—or war with North Korea or Iran would be a game changer, requiring more resources than the U.S. Intelligence Community currently has. But there are meaningful changes that intelligence leaders could make to better meet future demands.

    Sep 24, 2018

  • Report

    Support for DoD Supervisors in Addressing Poor Employee Performance: A Holistic Approach

    In this report, authors identify ways to address poor Department of Defense employee performance by developing, supporting, and professionalizing supervisors in conjunction with assessing and reporting key performance-related outcomes.

    Sep 24, 2018

  • An Armed Services Blood Program blood drive at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, May 28, 2014

    Report

    How to Protect the Joint Blood Supply Chain

    Ensuring that blood remains available and safe for the Joint military community requires sophisticated logistical support and a dependable supply chain. Some future operating environments could present challenges to the blood supply chain. What can be done to make it more resilient?

    Sep 24, 2018

  • U.S. service members at a crossroads at dusk in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, December 2009

    Report

    Sexual Assault and Harassment in the Military: Estimates for Installation- and Command-Level Risk

    This report examines differences in sexual assault risk estimates across U.S. military installations and commands based on 2014 data. These differences may help identify characteristics of installations that can be modified to reduce sexual assault risk.

    Sep 21, 2018

  • Report

    Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Military: Annex to Volume 5. Tabular Results from the 2014 RAND Military Workplace Study for Installation- and Command-Level Risk of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment

    This Annex to Volume 5 presents survey estimates of how risk of sexual assault and sexual harassment varies across military installations and major commands using data from the 2014 RAND Military Workplace Study.

    Sep 21, 2018

  • Ferrying South Vietnamese rangers, U.S. helicopters swoop in on a landing zone on the fringe of a pineapple plantation in the Mekong Delta on August 21, 1967

    Report

    Assessing Will to Fight at the Military Unit Level

    Will to fight is vital to understanding war, but it is often ignored or misunderstood. A model of unit will to fight that can be applied to ground combat units of any scale can help U.S. military leaders better assess partner and adversary forces and incorporate will to fight in their planning.

    Sep 20, 2018

  • Landing ships putting cargo ashore on Omaha Beach, mid-June, 1944

    Report

    What Shapes a Nation's Will to Fight?

    When considering threats from Russia and North Korea, it is natural to focus on military capabilities. But incorporating will to fight into the analysis of actual or potential conflicts will enhance strategic planning. A model that can be tailored and applied to various conflict scenarios can help U.S. leaders better understand and influence will to fight.

    Sep 20, 2018

  • Report

    Homeland Security National Risk Characterization: Risk Assessment Methodology

    Presents a risk assessment methodology that can be used to identify the greatest risks to homeland security and support prioritization of U.S. Department of Homeland Security mission elements as part of DHS planning processes.

    Sep 19, 2018

  • Chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali-Akbar Salehi makes a speech during a ceremony to receive locally-produced yellowcake, in Isfahan, Iran, December 5, 2010

    Commentary

    Can U.S. Pressure Lead to a New Iran Nuclear Deal?

    It could be a mistake for the United States to assume that more pressure will bring Iran closer to ending or reducing its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. When it comes to measures aimed at Iran's nuclear program, more pressure could worsen nuclear risks and further drive a wedge between the United States and its European allies.

    Sep 18, 2018