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.

  • An M1075 palletized load system truck and an M915 line-haul tractor are equipped with add-on kits that transform the vehicles to be fully autonomous, photo by Bruce Huffman/U.S. Army

    Report

    How the Army Could Use Automated Driving Technology

    Feb 5, 2020

    Fully automated convoys are not yet feasible, but U.S. Army R&D communities have been testing automated truck concepts in which manned and unmanned vehicles perform cooperatively in convoy operations. What are potential benefits and risks in deploying this technology over the next five years?

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 19, 2019, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    Report

    What Provokes Putin's Russia?

    Jan 29, 2020

    Even with an understanding of what Russia considers to be redlines, predicting its reactions is challenging. An analysis of past instances of Russian escalation—and instances when redlines were crossed but Russia did not respond—offers guidance for U.S. and NATO deterrence efforts.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • World map in red pixels on a dark background, photo by Lidiia Moor/Getty Images

    Report

    Are States Using Cyber Operations to Coerce Others?

    Cyber operations have become another tool of statecraft. But have any cyber operations sponsored by Russia, China, Iran, or North Korea met the definition of cyber coercion? If so, how? And what should the United States do to respond?

    Sep 17, 2019

  • Commercial Book

    Leap of Faith: Hubris, Negligence, and America's Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy

    The dramatic insider account of why we invaded Iraq, the motivations that drove it, and the frustrations of those who tried and failed to stop it, leading to the most costly misadventure in US history.

    Sep 17, 2019

  • The Maute group stronghold with an ISIS flag in Marawi City, in southern Philippines, May 29, 2017, photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

    Commentary

    Southeast Asia Loves ISIS, but Is the Feeling Mutual?

    As the ISIS core in Iraq and Syria attempts to rebuild, Baghdadi and his lieutenants will have to make difficult decisions about where to allocate resources. Now that the caliphate is gone and ISIS must transform into an insurgency, the largely untested lands of Southeast Asia may yield rich rewards.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • An Israeli soldier stands guard under an Israeli national flag in the Jordan Valley near the Jewish settlement of Maale Efrayim, January 2, 2014, photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

    Commentary

    Israel’s War with Iran May Be Going Too Far

    Israel has a right to defend itself from Iranian threats to its country. American leaders should consider balancing support for Israel's efforts to counter Iran with firm redlines about activities negatively impacting American interests.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • People carry banners and Algerian national flags during a protest calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit, in Algiers, Algeria, March 22, 2019, photo by Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

    Commentary

    African Dictators Have Been Losing Power—Some to Democratic Governments. Militaries Can Tip the Scales Toward Democracy

    Africa's security forces most often make headlines when they commit atrocities, crack down on protesters, or seize power in coups. But Africa's troops can also contribute to democracy and peace when they lay down their arms or refuse orders to turn their guns against the people.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • Old Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) Fort Sam Houston, photo by Beth E. Lachman

    Report

    Improving Army Installation Facility and Land Use Deals and Partnerships

    This report assesses Army installation real estate and facility sharing deals and partnership approaches, such as large-scale leasing, and provides recommendations to improve installation use of these approaches to increase benefits and save costs.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • U.S. Marines hold military drills during Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations in Washington, D.C., July 4, 2019, photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    Commentary

    Americans Have Faith in the Military, but They Don't Understand It

    The U.S. military is a central element of America's power and history. It dominates discretionary spending and remains the country's most trusted institution. However, it is peripheral to the daily life of most citizens.

    Sep 13, 2019

  • Blog

    Hurricane Dorian, Al Qaeda, Veterans' Health: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap looks at Hurricane Dorian recovery, al Qaeda 18 years after 9/11, veterans' mental health care, and more.

    Sep 13, 2019

  • Riflemen compete in the Lithuanian Best Infantry Squad Competition at Rukla Training Area, Lithuania, August 24, 2017, photo by Lithuanian Land Forces

    Research Brief

    Why Understanding 'Will to Fight' Is Crucial

    Arguably, will to fight is the most important factor in war. The best technology in the world is useless without the force of will to use it and to keep using it even as casualties mount and unexpected calamities arise. Ignoring will to fight can contribute to tactical or even strategic defeat.

    Sep 13, 2019

  • Report

    Development of a Short Form Measure of Sexual Harassment Risk in the Military: Findings from the RAND Military Workplace Study

    RAND has developed a short version of a survey that investigates sexual harassment in the military. The original RAND survey contained up to 52 questions. This report discusses the accuracy of a five-question version of the longer survey.

    Sep 12, 2019

  • Artificial Intelligence, Graphical User Interface, photo by kontekbrothers/Getty Images

    Commentary

    A Code of Conduct for AI in Defense Should Be an Extension of Other Military Codes

    An AI code of conduct for defense should look a lot like all other defense codes of conduct. A global society that would create the Geneva Convention is a society that believes in a moral code for warfare. This same code could extend into its weaponized algorithms.

    Sep 11, 2019

  • U.S. Brig. Gen. Jonathan Ellis delivers the oath of enlistment to 10 Army and Navy recruits during a swear-in ceremony at the MEPS in Shreveport, Louisiana, Feb. 27, 2018, photo by Justin Oakes/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Manpower Alternatives to Enhance Total Force Capabilities: Could New Forms of Reserve Service Help Alleviate Military Shortfalls?

    Changes in employment stability, family structure, and economic pressures have created challenges for the U.S. military reserve component. Modifying assumptions about Reserve duty can improve recruitment, performance, development, and retention.

    Sep 11, 2019

  • Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Chief of the General Staff, First Deputy Minister Valery Gerasimov, before a meeting with Russian Defence Ministry leadership and defense industry heads photo courtesy of Office of the Russian President/ Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

    Commentary

    A New Russian Military Doctrine: What It Might Contain and Why It Matters

    The United States and its allies should anticipate the possibility of an updated Russian military doctrine as early as 2020. Evaluating this document closely is important for understanding Russian threat perceptions and the leadership's methods to address those threats.

    Sep 9, 2019

  • A mental health professional takes notes while talking with a soldier, photo by asiseeit/Getty Images

    Research Brief

    Quality Matters in Mental Health Care for Veterans

    High-quality mental health care is treatment that has been proven effective and is safe, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. Veterans who receive such care are much more likely to improve and recover. Ensuring that they get the care they need also helps their families.

    Sep 9, 2019

  • Blog

    Social Manipulation, Boko Haram, Citizen Scientists: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap looks at hostile social manipulation, stopping the next Boko Haram, a citizen-science success story, and more.

    Sep 6, 2019

  • Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front fighters carry weapons on the back of pick-up trucks in Arsal, eastern Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, December 1, 2015, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Al Qaeda Is Ready to Attack You Again

    As al Qaeda continues to evolve, one of the most pressing questions is to what extent the group is still focused on attacking the West. Does the absence of spectacular attacks attributed to al Qaeda since 9/11 represent a lack of capability or merely a shift in priorities?

    Sep 5, 2019

  • Report

    Force Planning Scenarios, 1945–2016: Their Origins and Use in Defense Strategic Planning

    This report presents a historical review of defense strategic planning, with a focus on the factors that have shaped defense planning scenarios and strategic analysis in the Department of Defense in an aim to improve scenario use in defense planning.

    Sep 5, 2019

  • Raphael S. Cohen discusses Russia’s economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties in an overview of a September 5th congressional briefing.

    Multimedia

    Extending Russia

    What policies could the United States adopt to stress Russia’s military, its economy, or the regime’s political standing at home and abroad? In this congressional briefing summary, former Ambassador James Dobbins, Raphael Cohen, and Howard Shatz discuss Russia’s economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties; nonviolent, cost-imposing options that the United States and its allies could pursue to stress Russia; and the costs, benefits, and implications of those options.

    Sep 5, 2019

  • Globe map on grunge texture, photo by caracterdesign/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Time to Return to the Basics of Statecraft

    After two decades of setbacks abroad, it's time to ask whether the decline in American influence is irreversible. Ultimately, neither China nor Russia is responsible for these difficulties. Washington's failures have been self-inflicted, the result of flawed policy rather than any decisive shift in the global balance of power.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • KC-46 refueling F-15E, photo by John D. Parker/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    The tanKer Aerial Refueling Model for Analysis (KARMA)

    This report describes the algorithms used in the tanKer Air Refueling Model for Analysis (KARMA) and explains how to use the model. KARMA simulates the extent to which a tanker force can aerially refuel combat aircraft in a denied environment.

    Sep 4, 2019