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.

  • Lt. Col. Scott Morley, commander of the Phoenix Recruiting Battalion, administers the oath of enlistment to 40 future soldiers, August 26, 2018, at Chase Field, photo by Mike Scheck/U.S. Army

    Essay

    Army Enlistment Waivers in the Age of Legal Marijuana

    Oct 27, 2021

    Army recruits with a history of marijuana use can ask for a waiver like those who have diabetes or insomnia. They are just as likely as others to complete their first term and make sergeant, and are less likely to leave the Army for health or performance reasons.

  • Paramilitary soldiers walk past the Pakistan Parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, April 10, 2015, photo by Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

    Commentary

    Negotiating with TTP—A Different Perspective

    Oct 27, 2021

    America's withdrawal and the Taliban's swift return to power in Afghanistan could be a primary force in shaping the trajectory of the continuing armed struggle with Pakistan's Taliban. It may be time for Islamabad to consider whether to renew efforts aimed at reaching a political settlement.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Joe Biden shakes hands with Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, March 10, 2011, photo by Alexander Natruskin/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Biden-Putin Summit: Do the Risks Outweigh the Potential Rewards?

    President Biden has proposed that the United States and Russia hold a summit in the coming months. If that happens, major gains may be out of reach at first. Some progress might be possible, but the risks may be greater than at most previous summits.

    Apr 27, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga arrive for a news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2021, photo by Tom Brenner/Reuters

    Commentary

    Suga-Biden Summit: Rekindling Confidence in the U.S.-Japan Alliance

    The April summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga signaled a deepening in the U.S.-Japan alliance. It highlighted important new areas of cooperation and a concrete agenda for U.S.-Japan relations.

    Apr 26, 2021

  • Soldiers in 3rd Platoon, Combat Company, 1-32 Infantry, return from a patrol near the villages of Tsapre and Aybat, Afghanistan, April 1, 2007, photo by Army Spc. Jon H. Arguello/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    To Lose a War

    The result of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will be a blow to American credibility and a weakening of deterrence and the value of American reassurance elsewhere. It will also result in an increased terrorist threat emanating from the Afghan region, and the distinct possibility of a necessary return there one day under worse conditions.

    Apr 26, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Talent Management for U.S. Department of Defense Knowledge Workers: What Does RAND Corporation Research Tell Us?

    A synthesis of results from RAND Corporation research on the U.S. Department of Defense's talent management of knowledge workers features areas for improvement and ways for the department to proactively approach talent management.

    Apr 26, 2021

  • Blog

    Summer Learning, America's Middle Class, Waking Up After the Pandemic: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to make summer learning count, U.S. deterrence in the ‘gray zone,’ why so many Americans are stuck outside the middle class, and more.

    Apr 23, 2021

  • Cyber warfare operators monitor cyber attacks at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, MD, December 2, 2017, photo by J.M. Eddins Jr./U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    How the Military Might Expand Its Cyber Skills

    The U.S. military will need to improve its software fluency if it wants to be dominant on the battlefields of the future. Ensuring that future leaders in the military develop cyber skills and the ability to interface with technical experts may be increasingly important.

    Apr 22, 2021

  • Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden walk on the Colonnade prior to their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2021, photo by Doug Mills/Pool via CNP/InStar

    Commentary

    'Joe-Yoshi' Spirit Buoys Japan-U.S. Alliance in Turbulent Seas

    President Biden and Prime Minister Suga appear to have established a warm, personal rapport while communicating a clear vision of the importance of working together to end the pandemic, combat climate change, preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific, and defend democracy.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • Time-lapse of Starry Night Sky

    Multimedia

    The Need for Space Norms

    RAND senior political scientist Stephen Flanagan discusses the increasing level of space activity and the need for space norms to provide guidance for how nations should conduct space operations.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • The SolarWinds logo is seen outside its headquarters in Austin, Texas, December 18, 2020, photo by Sergio Flores/Reuters

    Commentary

    Unconventional Supply Network Operations: A New Frontier in Global Competition

    The technological advances of recent decades that have made supply networks drastically more efficient, valuable, and essential to every element of our daily lives have also created a highly interdependent, largely unsecured portfolio of potential attack surfaces.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchange documents during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • A U.S. Army sergeant, part of a Female Engagement Team in Afghanistan, gathering information from women so that blankets and winter clothing can be distributed to the women and their families, photo by Spc. Kristina Truluck/U.S. Army

    Multimedia

    The Future of the Special Operations Forces

    An overview of testimony by Linda Robinson presented before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations on March 26, 2021.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • Lt. Brendan Shields, assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), is pinned to the rank of lieutenant by Chief Warrant Officer Tony Cochran during a promotion ceremony on Ford's fo c'sle, photo by Chuck Little / Alamy Stock Photo

    Report

    Reducing Rework in Officer Appointment Processes

    Appointment scrolls are required for initial appointment of officers and for reappointment in a different grade, military service, or component. But the appointment and promotion scrolling process takes time. What improvements could increase the efficiency of these processes?

    Apr 19, 2021

  • South Korean soldiers coordinate fires during a joint artillery exercise with U.S. soldiers near the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea, May 10, 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson/U.S. Army

    Report

    The State of Deterrence in Korea and the Taiwan Strait

    The United States and South Korea have a robust military presence on the Korean Peninsula that, at a minimum, would make any effort by North Korea to reunify the nations by force extremely costly. In contrast, the state of U.S. deterrence with regard to Chinese aggression against Taiwan is mixed.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • Chinese marine surveillance ships cruising in the East China Sea, as the islands known as the Senkaku isles in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China are seen in the background, April 23, 2013, photo by Kyodo/Reuters

    Report

    The Health of U.S. and Partner Deterrence in the Gray Zone

    Gray zone aggression, campaigns to achieve political objectives while remaining below the threshold of outright warfare, is on the rise. U.S. and allied deterrent postures are reasonably strong, though mixed, when it comes to China's aggression in the Senkaku Islands, Russia's in the Baltic states, and North Korea's in South Korea.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • Blog

    COVID-19 Demographic Trends, Vaccinating 'High-Contact' People, the Iran Threat Network: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how the pandemic is shaping demographic trends, targeting vaccines to "high-contact" people, the Iran Threat Network, and more.

    Apr 16, 2021

  • European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora and Iranian Deputy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria April 6, 2021

    Commentary

    The Biden Administration Will Find It Difficult to Contain Israel and Iran's Escalating Tensions

    Iran is blaming Israel for a blackout at one of its nuclear research facilities. This attack is likely to complicate nuclear diplomacy and further erode trust between Tehran and Washington. Also, it may only incentivize Iran to advance its nuclear program.

    Apr 14, 2021

  • Houthi fighters during a gathering of Houthi loyalists on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, July 8, 2020, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Report

    Understanding the Iran Threat Network

    The Iran Threat Network is a formidable force of tens of thousands of fighters from non-Iranian, nonstate proxy and partner groups. How does this network factor into Tehran's political and military strategy?

    Apr 14, 2021

  • A New Vision for the Middle East

    Multimedia

    A New Vision for the Middle East

    Dalia Dassa Kaye and Linda Robinson discuss their study, Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East, which explores fundamental questions, such as whether and how the United States should engage the region.

    Apr 13, 2021

  • Social networking service, streaming video, communication network, photo by metamorworks/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Intelligence Community's Deadly Bias Toward Classified Sources

    Even when relevant data is publicly available, U.S. intelligence analysts are not including it in their analytic products during their routine course of business. This willful ignorance of publicly available information is hurting U.S. national security.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft return after a long-range raid from Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Nov. 4, 2016, photo by Sergeant Major Michael Cato/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    The United States Considers Reinforcing Its 'Pacific Sanctuary'

    Soon after he took office, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a posture review to ensure that the U.S. global footprint is the right size to support U.S. strategy. Japan's continued importance to U.S. strategy and Tokyo's increased willingness to be more proactive in the security domain mean that Japan could see an uptick in U.S. military presence after this review is complete.

    Apr 12, 2021