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 Vladimir Putin attends the summit of leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Astana, Kazakhstan October 14, 2022, photo by Turar Kazangapov/Reuters

    Report

    Responding to a Russian Attack on NATO During the Ukraine War

    The Ukraine war has created a unique set of circumstances that make a limited Russian attack against a NATO target plausible. If such an attack were to occur, how might the United States and NATO respond?

    Dec 20, 2022

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un conducts a ground test of a high-thrust, solid-fuel engine at the Sohae Satellite Launch Station in Cholsan in North Pyongan Province, North Korea, December 15, 2922, photo by KCNA/Pool/Latin America News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    Standing Up to Kim Jong-un's Divide-and-Conquer Strategy

    Kim Jong-un is frightened by even the current modest flow of information into the North. He may be prepared to reduce his provocations if those threats lead to the further spread of outside information in the North. At the very least, the ROK and the United States could try such efforts.

    Jan 6, 2023

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • 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

  • European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 10, 2019, photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

    Commentary

    Rethinking the EU's Role in European Collective Defence

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine is forcing European nations to quickly re-evaluate how best to maintain their collective security. This makes the concept of European strategic autonomy—the EU's increased ability to operate independently and with partners of choice on defence and security matters—more relevant than ever.

    May 20, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Extremism Online, Russia's Military, Preventing Police Killings: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the internet's role in stoking extremism and hate, how Russia has failed its military personnel, a research roadmap to help prevent police killings in the United States, and more.

    May 20, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Assessing the Association Between Airmen Participation in Force Support Squadron Programs and Unit Cohesion: An Evaluation of the UNITE Initiative

    The UNITE Initiative aims to promote readiness and resilience in the Air Force through events that focus on unit cohesion. The authors describe the results of their evaluation of UNITE and the program's association with unit cohesion.

    May 20, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Assessing the Association Between Airmen Participation in Force Support Squadron Programs and Unit Cohesion: Executive Summary

    This executive summary encapsulates the findings in Assessing the Association Between Airmen Participation in Force Support Squadron Programs and Unit Cohesion: An Evaluation of the UNITE Initiative (RR-A554-1) 2022.

    May 20, 2022