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.

  • Article

    The U.S.-China Rivalry in a New Medieval Age

    Trends like weakening governments and fragmenting societies suggest that the era of industrial superpowers is over and we've entered a new medieval age. The U.S.-China rivalry may have more in common with the fitful conflicts of the 14th century than with the cataclysmic world wars of the 20th.

    Mar 19, 2024

  • Report

    How Veterans Describe Their Support for Extremist Groups and Beliefs

    Interviews with U.S. veterans explore their endorsement of extremist beliefs, their experiences in the military and in transition to veteran status, and the path to their current political and ideological perspectives. Many reported a negative or traumatic life event while serving.

    Apr 9, 2024

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  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: September-October 2023

    Features explore the impact of four-day school weeks; the risk of people in the intelligence community experiencing trauma; and how insomnia affects societal health, well-being, and productivity.

    Sep 11, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    Battle of Gettysburg: The Impact of Alternative Technologies on Civil War History

    The authors of this Battlefield Futures Program report examine the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg and consider the potential outcomes that might have come to bear had the armies involved used alternative technologies.

    Sep 11, 2023

  • A neighbor and caretaker of a USS Arizona survivor salutes the wall of names at the USS Arizona Memorial at an interment ceremony on December 7, 2019, photo by PO1 Holly He/U.S. Marine Corps

    Report

    Veterans Don't Support Extremist Groups Any More Than the Public Does

    Radical groups find military members and veterans attractive potential recruits because of their skills and training. But the veteran community does not manifest higher support for extremist groups or beliefs than the general population.

    Sep 11, 2023

  • An F-15E Strike Eagle departs after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Southwest Asia, December 22, 2020, photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Airmen Out-Paced

    As it stands now, airmen are being asked to pick up the pieces when communications networks and chains of command break. Mission command could be the means to succeed in the future, but only after the USAF does the hard work now to make organizational changes and define a viable construct to guide their efforts.

    Sep 8, 2023

  • Illustration of a puppet master controlling social media symbols, image by rudall30/Getty Images

    Commentary

    U.S. Adversaries Can Use Generative AI for Social Media Manipulation

    Using generative artificial intelligence technology, U.S. adversaries can manufacture fake social media accounts that seem real. These accounts can be used to advance narratives that serve the interests of those governments and pose a direct challenge to democracies. U.S. government, technology, and policy communities should act fast to counter this threat.

    Sep 7, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    Impact of Individual Augmentation Policy on Navy Reserve Force Readiness

    The authors examine the evolution of individual augmentation—from a stopgap to standard practice—and the effects on the Navy Reserve in terms of readiness and deployment times, specifically relating to anti-terror operations and the 2019 pandemic.

    Sep 7, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    Creating Selective Overmatch: An Approach to Developing Cyberspace Options to Sustain U.S. Primacy Against Revisionist Powers

    The authors apply the concept of selective overmatch to reevaluate current U.S. cyber operations in light of competition and possible conflict with China and show how this framework can provide a roadmap for U.S. Cyber Command’s future operations.

    Sep 7, 2023

  • Abstract collage with faces of stressed or depressed people, image by Olena Panasovska/Adobe Stock

    Essay

    Trauma Takes a Toll in the U.S. Intelligence Community

    For people in the intelligence community, the risk of experiencing a variety of traumas is very real. Agencies should look more closely at their workforces to better understand the traumas their analysts face and what they can do to help.

    Sep 6, 2023

  • Depiction of a possible cislunar orbit, where the Air Force Research Laboratory's Oracle spacecraft collects observations of resident space objects near the moon and potentially beyond, image by U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Speaking in One Voice to Advance Space Acquisition

    Space acquisition is hard, and many challenges remain today for development of true unity of effort. But a new “clean sheet” is not the answer. Such an approach simply cannot take the place of doing the hard work required to realize enduring change.

    Sep 6, 2023

  • A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches into the air from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

    Report

    Leveraging Commercial Space Services: Opportunities and Risks for the Department of the Air Force

    RAND researchers evaluated two commercial space markets to understand opportunities, challenges, and risks that the Department of the Air Force could encounter when making decisions to invest in commercial space capabilities.

    Sep 6, 2023

  • A person at a laptop compter with digital profiles of people overlaying the image, photo by Galeanu Mihai/Getty Images

    Research Brief

    Insights on Implementing Technology-Enabled Human Resources Capabilities in the U.S. Air Force

    This brief describes three key steps to implement digital talent management systems in human resources.

    Sep 5, 2023

  • U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 7, and U.S. Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, conduct tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel training, part of exercise Northern Edge (NE), May 15, 2019 at Fort Greely, Alaska. Approximately 10,000 U.S. military personnel will participate in exercise NE 2019, a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces that prepares joint forces to respond to crises in the Indo-Pacific region., photo by Cpl. Rhita Daniel/U.S. Marine Corps

    Report

    The Strategic Value of Jointness in Major Power Competition and Conflict

    For more than 30 years, the U.S. Department of Defense has placed substantial emphasis on jointness. Understanding what aspects of jointness are most valuable—and why—can help DoD compete more effectively against its adversaries and maximize the United States' competitive military advantages.

    Sep 5, 2023

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    Commentary

    Potential Changes to Veterans' Benefits Under the Major Richard Star Act: Veterans' Issues in Focus

    The Major Richard Star Act would drop the “offset” that reduces retirement pay for some disabled veterans. If it is signed into law, what could change for veterans’ benefits, and how many veterans would see an increase in their compensation?

    Aug 31, 2023

  • A satellite viewed from above

    Report

    Improving Integration and Synchronization of Space Acquisition and Fielding

    The authors of this research explored ways the United States Space Force can facilitate the integration and synchronization of space acquisition and fielding to support the delivery of end-to-end space capabilities to outpace adversary threats.

    Aug 31, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    A Framework of Deterrence in Space Operations

    This report presents a framework on the nature and requirements of deterrence in space operations . Drawing on lessons from nuclear and cyber and selected national approaches to space deterrence, it presents three archetypes for space deterrence.

    Aug 31, 2023

  • (l-r) South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida walk to a joint press conference after their summit talks at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David near Washington, D.C., August 18, 2023, photo by Kyodo via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    A Trilateral Summit to Deal with Trilateral Threats

    The leaders of Japan, South Korea, and the United States held a trilateral summit in August, focused on countering military threats in East Asia. Not surprisingly, China and North Korea were upset by the summit, designed as it was to respond to their military build-ups.

    Aug 29, 2023

  • Footage released by Russia Ministry of Defense on March 9, 2022 allegedly shows convoy of Russia Armed Forces combat and logistic vehicles in an undisclosed area in Ukraine, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    China Ponders Russia's Logistical Challenges in the Ukraine War

    Any attempt by China to use military force to seize Taiwan would be an immense logistical undertaking requiring moving large quantities of troops and materiel across the Taiwan Strait. What then, are Chinese observers learning from the logistical realm of the war in Ukraine?

    Aug 28, 2023

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New START Treaty at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, April 8, 2010, photo by Jason Reed/Reuters

    Commentary

    Hard Times for U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control

    New START is slated to expire in February 2026 and cannot be extended. The next chapter in U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control, if there is to be one, may not be written until rulers in Moscow ease repression at home, pull troops out of Ukraine, and recognize the mutual benefits of reducing, rather than stoking, nuclear tensions.

    Aug 28, 2023

  • The ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defense staff brief the press on plans to deploy its standby force to the Republic of Niger, in Accra, Ghana, August 18, 2023, photo by Francis Kokoroko/Reuters

    Commentary

    ECOWAS: In Need of Help in Niger?

    Nigerian President Bola Tinubu recently sought the Nigerian national legislature's backing for a possible military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to turn back a coup that toppled the government of Niger. An ECOWAS intervention would have a better chance of succeeding if other nations joined the effort.

    Aug 25, 2023

  • The top of the U.S. Capitol Building with an American flag in front of it, photo by Perry Spring/Getty Images

    Brochure

    Saving the Government Money: Examples from RAND's FFRDCs

    RAND's defense-related federally funded research and development centers apply research capital they have developed over the years to help decisionmakers solve problems and often save money as well. This publication lists and briefly summarizes some RAND projects undertaken over the past several years that have helped save the government money or that have identified ways to do so.

    Aug 25, 2023