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 President Putin attends a conference of heads of security and intelligence agencies of the Commonwealth of Independent States member countries remotely in Moscow, Russia, September 29, 2022, photo by Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik via Reuters

    Commentary

    Nuclear Weapons and Putin's 'Holy War'

    Russia's nuclear saber-rattling has shifted the stakes of the war in Ukraine. But enabling Russia's blackmail doesn't prevent the catastrophic costs of nuclear escalation. It merely shifts those costs away from Russia and into the future, inviting other nuclear states to pull the same move for their conquests.

    Nov 2, 2022

  • Commanding General of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force awards U.S. Marines and Soldiers a challenge coin during an award ceremony in Okinawa, Japan, February 2019, photo by Joshua Sechser/U.S. Department of Defense

    Report

    How China Might React to Shifting U.S. Posture in the Indo-Pacific

    As the U.S. military weighs posture enhancements in the Indo-Pacific to counter China's military development and influence, understanding how China is likely to react to these changes is critical. A new framework offers key factors that U.S. policymakers and military planners should consider.

    Oct 25, 2022

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Report

    Report

    National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Resources: Financial Management Programming Evaluation

    The authors examined how the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has programmed its resources, focusing on the reasons for changes over time and the results of the changes.

    Jun 8, 2022

  • Social media network over a world map, composite image by denisismagilov and Piotr Krzeslak/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Map of Online Violent Extremist Rhetoric Can Inform Counter-Efforts

    An analysis of White identity terrorism and racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism discourse on social media finds that this content is largely created and fueled by users in the United States. A national strategy to counter these threats is needed.

    Jun 7, 2022

  • Illustration of network connections over Earth, image by Anton Balazh/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Russia's Information Warfare with the West

    Popular portrayals of the Russian disinformation machine imply an organized and well-resourced operation, but evidence suggests that it is neither. Nonetheless, Russian social media activity can be harmful to U.S. interests and is likely to evolve.

    Jun 7, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden holds a virtual meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss Russia's war with Ukraine from the White House in Washington D.C., April 11, 2022, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    Modi's Multipolar Moment Has Arrived

    Russia's war in Ukraine has benefited India as great powers are competing more vigorously for New Delhi's affection, particularly the United States and China. India has also prevented its Russia policy from spoiling partnerships with key European and Indo-Pacific partners. These trends, if sustained, will contribute to India's rise to great-power status and in turn, shift the global system toward even greater multipolarity.

    Jun 6, 2022

  • Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram from 2009 to 2021, speaks in an unknown location in Nigeria in this still image from a video obtained on January 15, 2018, handout from Sahara Reporters via Reuters

    Report

    How to Reduce Violent Nonstate Actors' Abilities to Adapt

    Violent nonstate actors—terrorist groups, drug trafficking organizations, and others—pose durable and direct threats to U.S. security interests. Why are they so capable of adapting to changes in their environments, and how might the Army detect and mitigate such adaptations before they occur?

    Jun 6, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on a screen partially obscured by decorations at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, June 4, 2021, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Return of 'Don’t Poke the Bear'

    Some argue that, in order to avoid antagonizing Russia, the West should call for Ukraine to back down and move toward a negotiated peace. But this strategy comes with its own set of consequences.

    Jun 3, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Programs for Care System Transitions in Mental Health: A Systematic Review

    The authors synthesize evidence from studies of interventions that facilitate transitions between health care systems, such as the transition from the Military Health System (MHS) to the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

    Jun 3, 2022

  • Multimedia

    The Growing Role of Europe in Asia: Connecting the Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific

    Key U.S. allies in Europe have been deepening defense cooperation with regional partners in the Indo-Pacific region. A November 2021 RAND Corporation event hosted experts to discuss the growing role of Europe in Asia.

    Jun 2, 2022

  • A Ukrainian service member walks in a trench near the front line in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine, May 29, 2022, photo by Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ukraine's Best Chance for Peace

    In late March, Ukrainian diplomats introduced an innovative framework for a deal that could provide a pathway out of the war. There are powerful obstacles to achieving an agreement based on the framework, but so far it is the most plausible pathway identified to a sustainable peace for Ukraine.

    Jun 1, 2022

  • Law enforcement officers stand near the site of a shooting at a gun store in Metairie, Louisiana, February 20, 2021, photo by Catherine Koppel/Reuters

    Tool

    Mass Attacks Defense Toolkit

    RAND researchers created this tool to advance efforts to prevent and reduce intentional, interpersonal firearm violence and public mass attacks in the United States.

    May 31, 2022

  • A collage of the COVID-19 virus, armed terror groups, and a biological response team

    Report

    Implications of the Pandemic for Terrorist Interest in Biological Weapons

    Some policymakers and analysts have expressed concern that weaknesses in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic will motivate terrorists to seek biological weapons. While the prospect of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda pursuing biological weapons is not zero, it is unlikely, given the difficulties involved and the availability of simpler alternatives.

    May 31, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Gun Policy, China and Taiwan, Russian Propaganda: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on reducing America's unacceptably high rates of gun violence, what would happen if China “quarantines” Taiwan, and Russia's “firehose of falsehood.”

    May 27, 2022

  • (l-r) Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese, U.S. President Joe Biden, Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida, and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi pose for photos at the entrance hall of the Prime Minister's Office in Tokyo, Japan, May 24, 2022, photo by Zhang Xiaoyu/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Invasion of Ukraine May Harden U.S. Indo-Pacific Allies

    The effects of Russia's war against Ukraine stretch worldwide as countries watch Ukraine's unfolding tragedy to glean possible lessons for their own security. Understanding how Australia and Japan are perceiving the conflict could be critical for allied strategy in the Indo-Pacific region.

    May 26, 2022

  • A Taliban leader Mullah Baradar Akhund hosted reception for a group of ambassadors to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on October 1, 2021, photo by EyePress via Reuters

    Report

    U.S. Policy Toward the Taliban: Engage, Isolate, or Oppose?

    With the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan and a growing humanitarian crisis, the United States faces several policy options. While isolation is the usual response to an unwelcome regime change, engagement offers the only prospect to advance U.S. interests in the country, mainly counterterrorism and humanitarian relief.

    May 26, 2022

  • Jessica Cecil listens as Mark Thompson speaks at the RAND Europe Council of Advisors meeting in London, UK, May 6, 2022, video still from RAND Europe Council of Advisors meeting

    Blog

    Combating Disinformation by Bolstering Truth and Trust

    For Jessica Cecil, founder and former head of the Trusted News Initiative, today feels a bit like the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire, in which agreed-upon facts endure in only a few isolated places of elite discussion and there is no common language of politics. She spoke about the need for governments, companies, news organizations, and relevant civil society groups to work together to combat disinformation at a meeting of RAND Europe's Council of Advisors.

    May 24, 2022

  • Mark Thompson discusses disinformation at the RAND Europe Council of Advisors meeting in London, UK, May 6, 2022, video still from RAND Europe Council of Advisors meeting

    Blog

    Russia Will Struggle to Sustain Its Disinformation Machine, Former New York Times/BBC Chief Tells RAND Europe

    As former head of the New York Times and the BBC, Mark Thompson has tackled disinformation on both sides of the Atlantic. One of his big takeaways: It's not as easy as you might think to sustain a successful disinformation campaign.

    May 24, 2022

  • A still from a powerful animated video created by RAND artists-in-residence Juan Delcan and Valentina Izaguirre, known as V+J, to show how Russian propaganda spreads—and how it can influence its audience by entertaining, confusing, and overwhelming them.

    Project

    Russia's Propaganda Model

    RAND artists-in-residence Juan Delcan and Valentina Izaguirre, known as V+J, created a powerful animated video to show how Russian propaganda spreads—and how it can influence its audience by entertaining, confusing, and overwhelming them.

    May 24, 2022

  • Doctor and patient meet in doctor's office, photo by Pornpak Khunatorn/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Addressing the Shortage of Behavioral Health Clinicians: Lessons from the Military Health System

    Access to behavioral health services is one of the top challenges for the U.S. health care system, due in part to a shortage of licensed mental health providers. One potential solution to expanding the behavioral health workforce can be found in the U.S. military.

    May 23, 2022

  • Production line at Eminent Luggage Corp. in Taiwan and a ship at Keelung , Taiwan, photos by Pichi Chuang/Reuters and pete/ CC by 2.0

    Report

    Implications of a Coercive Quarantine of Taiwan by China

    It's possible that China could enact a quarantine of Taiwan, preventing it from sending exports or receiving imports. Quarantine exploits Taiwan's economic vulnerability but also has consequences for the United States and other allies. How might they respond?

    May 23, 2022

  • South Korea's new President Kim Dae-jung waves on the grounds of the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, February 25, 1998, photo by Str Old/Reuters

    Commentary

    Three Principles for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security

    In his inaugural address in 1998, former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung defined three principles for Korean Peninsula peace and security. How might these principles be adjusted to manage today's changing North Korean threats and the Korean security environment?

    May 20, 2022