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.

  • Servicemen disembark from a Ka-29 helicopter during an exercise staged by the Baltic Fleet forces of the Russian Navy to train amphibious assault, at Khmelevka firing ground in Kaliningrad Region, Russia, April 4, 2019, photo by Vitaly Nevar/Reuters

    Report

    How Capable Are Russia's Armed Forces?

    Oct 29, 2019

    Since 2008, the Russian military has become more capable, not only of defending its territory but also of launching invasions against its neighbors. Russia's defense spending is now in decline, but NATO policymakers and defense planners should continue to monitor its military improvements.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron gives a news conference after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Paris, France, November 28, 2019, photo by Bertrand Guay/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is NATO Brain Dead?

    Dec 3, 2019

    French President Macron's remark about the brain death of NATO was provoked by President Trump's October 6 decision, since modified, to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria. Macron is right to wonder how Trump would respond to any threat to European security. But he is wrong to attribute this uncertainty to diminishing support for the alliance among all Americans.

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  • Report

    Africa's Role in Nation-Building: An Examination of African-Led Peace Operations

    What have the peacekeeping missions undertaken by African institutions in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Darfur, the Comoros, Somalia, and the Lake Chad Basin achieved?

    Jun 28, 2019

  • Research Brief

    How African Institutions Help Keep the Peace

    African-led missions are often the peacekeepers of last resort, taking on tasks rejected by others. Two of the six African operations examined helped set a relatively peaceful trajectory. Three of the missions contributed to improving security.

    Jun 28, 2019

  • A helicopter lands during the trident juncture exercise in the Netherlands

    Report

    NATO's Amphibious Forces: Command and Control of a Multibrigade Alliance Task Force

    RAND researchers facilitated three wargaming events to explore command and control of NATO's amphibious forces in major combat operations. The authors note results and implications for future force development.

    Jun 27, 2019

  • Fishing boats departing from Shenjiawan port in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province towards the East China Sea fishing grounds, September 17, 2012, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Report

    How the United States Can Compete in the Gray Zone

    America is entering a period of intensifying strategic competition with Russia and China. U.S. officials expect this to play out below the threshold of armed conflict, in the gray zone between peace and war. What policy options does the United States have to respond to gray zone threats?

    Jun 27, 2019

  • Report

    A U.S. Option Playbook for Contingency Planning to Reclaim Scarborough Shoal

    In this paper, the author proposes a graduated menu of response options for the United States to consider in the event that China undertakes irreversible actions to alter the status quo of Scarborough Shoal.

    Jun 27, 2019

  • Bomb blasts and artillery fire thundered across Baghdad as U.S. forces tightened their grip on the capital's fringes and brought up more troops, April 6, 2003, photo by Faleh Kheiber/Reuters

    Commentary

    Changing the Way America Goes to War

    America's vast power, and the weakness of most of its enemies, has allowed it to get away with a striking absence of deliberative judgment when deciding on war, as the Iraq case makes clear. But that free pass is coming to an end. It's time for the United States to rethink the way it decides on wars of choice.

    Jun 25, 2019

  • A portion of a city model glows red indicating a cyber threat to infrastructure at the DarkMatter booth during the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 26, 2017

    Commentary

    Fighting and Winning the Undeclared Cyber War

    Russia has executed deliberate intrusions into U.S. critical infrastructure since at least 2011. These systems have included government entities, commercial facilities, water resource plants, and aviation institutions. What actions or policies can the U.S. execute to improve security?

    Jun 24, 2019

  • A pilot flies an MQ-9 Reaper drone from Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, July 10, 2017, photo by SrA Chase Cannon/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Here's What an AI Code of Conduct for the Pentagon Might Look Like

    Advocates want a code of conduct for how artificial intelligence will be used and oversight to ensure it is being followed. DoD could identify areas where it might use AI in the foreseeable future and set rules and guidelines for business uses, non-lethal military uses, and lethal uses.

    Jun 24, 2019

  • Australia technology of internet of things IOT big data cloud computing, conceptual 3D render by immimagery/AdobeStock

    Report

    Designing a Capability Development Framework for Home Affairs

    Australia's Department of Home Affairs is seeking to establish an auditable, transparent and evidence-based approach to capability lifecycle management. The authors of this report describe a principles-based model to meet the department's needs.

    Jun 24, 2019

  • A composite image of a United States Coast Guard boat and a digital graph. Photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lisa Ferdinando, U.S. Coast Guard, MicroStockHub/GettyImages

    Report

    Development of Standardized and Best Practices for the USCG Boats Acquisition Program

    This report contains a review of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) boats acquisition program and the programs of similar organizations inside and outside the USCG, possible funding and structural strategies, and recommendations for USCG leadership.

    Jun 24, 2019

  • Blog

    Iran, School Discipline, North Korea: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the costs of U.S.–Iran confrontation, discipline reform in America's schools, why the North Korea problem is bigger than nukes, and more.

    Jun 21, 2019

  • The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2019, photo by Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Post-2020 U.S. Return to the Iran Nuclear Deal?

    Now that the United States is out of the Iran nuclear deal, signing back on will not be as simple or as practical as some may hope. Too much has happened since it was first inked in 2015. With the political landscape in Tehran and Washington still taking shape, those who want to return to some kind of deal should start planning.

    Jun 20, 2019

  • Testimony

    Anticipating Policy Options for Addressing U.S. Arctic Hurdles: Addendum

    Document submitted on June 19, 2019, as an addendum to testimony before the House Transportation and InfrastructureCommittee, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on May 8, 2019.

    Jun 20, 2019

  • NATO flag against a background of binary numbers, photo by robsonphoto/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Cyberspace as a Military Domain: Lessons for NATO

    In 2016, NATO identified cyberspace as a new operational domain. What steps has the alliance taken since then to bolster its cyber capabilities? And what are the greatest challenges that still lie ahead?

    Jun 20, 2019

  • Russian military vehicles are seen in eastern Ghouta near Douma, in Damascus, Syria, April 23, 2018, photo by Ali Hashisho/Reuters

    Research Brief

    The Outlook for Russia's Growing Military Power

    Russia's military forces have been improving since 2008, enabling operations in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and Syria. How will Russian capabilities continue to develop over the next 20 years? And what will this mean for U.S.-Russian competition and for the U.S. Army?

    Jun 18, 2019

  • Report

    The Future of the Russian Military: Russia's Ground Combat Capabilities and Implications for U.S.-Russia Competition

    Researchers analyze societal, political, economic, and demographic factors that undergird Russian military power. They also make projections about how Russian ground combat capabilities will evolve in the future and how the U.S. Army can respond.

    Jun 18, 2019

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervises a strike drill during a military drill in North Korea, May 4, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    One Year After Singapore: The North Korea Problem Is Bigger Than Nukes

    After two summits between the United States and North Korea, and little to show in the way of deliverables on dismantlement, hopes that a third summit may yield a denuclearization deal seem a bit unrealistic. Essentially, there has been no indication of intent on Kim's part to denuclearize. But the North Korea problem is much greater than nukes.

    Jun 17, 2019

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, June 14, 2019, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Costs of Confrontation with Iran Are Mounting

    Even if the United States and Iran avoid a direct military clash, recent escalation and the U.S. maximum pressure campaign are exacting long-term costs for U.S. interests and regional stability in ways that may be difficult if not impossible to reverse.

    Jun 17, 2019

  • Blog

    Hong Kong, Education Reform, Baghdad: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on lessons for state education reform, retaining women in the U.S. Coast Guard, recounting the Battle for Baghdad, and more.

    Jun 14, 2019

  • A U.S. Army medical helicopter flies over the Army's 3rd Infantry division's convoy on its push towards Baghdad, Iraq, April 3, 2003, photo by Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

    Report

    Lessons Learned from the Battle for Baghdad

    A review of the U.S. Army's efforts in the Iraq War, especially in Baghdad, offers insights and recommendations that could help leaders avoid the same mistakes in future conflicts. One important lesson is that DoD war plans need to include actions to ensure long-term stability.

    Jun 12, 2019