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

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a concert marking the eighth anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2022, photo by RIA Novosti Host Photo Agency/Alexander Vilf via Reuters

    Commentary

    Russian Cyberattacks May Be Coming. What Might Be an Optimal Strategy for Responding?

    Russia appears poised to make a first move against the United States and its allies in cyberspace. A savvy U.S. response that is deliberately measured and accompanied by the right message could end this fight after the first round.

    Apr 14, 2022

  • An illustration of the International Space Station over Earth, image by NASA

    Report

    Commercial Space Market Development and Trends

    The growing commercial space industry offers a range of capabilities and services, including emerging technologies. Opportunities for the U.S. Space Force and Department of Defense to leverage these capabilities for military purposes are expanding. What concerns should stakeholders address?

    Apr 14, 2022

  • Image representing the presence of a bug or malware in computer software, photo by Black_Kira/Getty Images

    Report

    The Effects of Technology on Strategic Deterrence

    Emerging technologies—especially those related to information aggression and manipulation, automation, hypersonic systems, and unmanned systems—hold dramatic implications for both the effectiveness and stability of deterrence. How might the United States prepare for the potential risks?

    Apr 14, 2022

  • Illustration of online extremists by Jessica Arana/RAND Corporation from Sean Rayford/Alamy; dem10/Getty Images; sestovic/Getty Images; Dilok Klaisataporn/Getty Images; Comstock/Getty Images

    Report

    How Extremism Operates Online

    Extremist groups use internet-based tools for financing, networking and coordination, recruitment and radicalization, inter- and intra-group knowledge transfer, and mobilization to action. How do internet users engage with these efforts? And can the internet be leveraged to counter extremism?

    Apr 12, 2022

  • Natural gas compressor station in Rippien, Sachsen, Germany, March 29, 2022, photo by Sylvio Dittrich/IMAGO/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Does Not Seem to Be After Ukraine's Gas Reserves

    There seems to be very little reason to believe that the true stakes of the war in Ukraine are the country's natural gas reserves, as some have speculated. Ukrainian gas fields appear too small to justify the costs of the invasion, too hard to keep, and almost impossible for Russia to exploit.

    Apr 11, 2022

  • A Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system drives during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2021, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'Escalation and Deescalation of Crises, Armed Conflicts, and Wars'

    The evolving crisis in Ukraine has generated much discussion about whether Moscow would escalate the conflict, whether in frustration at the slow progress of its military operations, or in response to actions of other states, even possibly resorting to nuclear weapons. But what do Russian sources suggest about escalation?

    Apr 11, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Employing Insurgency in Ukraine, U.S. Hospital Prices, Reaching the Middle Class: RAND Weekly Recap

    This week, we discuss the potential value of an insurgent campaign in Ukraine; addressing L.A.’s housing crisis; lessons from the 2017 battle for Raqqa; a look at U.S. hospital prices; Americans’ options for reaching the middle class; and how to help single mothers get out of poverty.

    Apr 8, 2022

  • A street in Moscow, Russia, April 26, 2020, photo by Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Tragic Failure to Reform Its Economy

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions will likely devastate Russia's economy. If the country had taken a more productive economic course over the past two decades, it might be looking toward a different future—one in which economic reforms had more tightly integrated Russia with the economically advanced countries, enhanced Russian influence and power, and built global trust.

    Apr 7, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Funding Technology-Related Business Initiatives in the Department of the Air Force

    This report—one in a series focused on transforming human resource management via information technology and business systems—explores challenges in the budgeting process and offers recommendations for better program advocacy.

    Apr 7, 2022

  • Ukrainian soldiers and press after clashes between the Ukrainian and Russian Army in Irpin, outside of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 2, 2022, photo by Raphael Lafargue/ABACAPRESS.COM/Reuters

    Commentary

    Could Insurgency Offer Ukraine a Decisive Edge?

    While insurgency rarely offers a path to early victory, a campaign of popular resistance that supports the continuing conventional battle could give overmatched Ukraine an edge in its fight against Russian occupiers.

    Apr 6, 2022

  • A local woman salutes Ukrainian service members in the Chernihiv region, Ukraine, April 2, 2022, photo by Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia, Ukraine, and the Misuse of History

    History as playbook has been used to paint the Ukraine conflict as the start of a larger battle for Europe. But even if it is Putin's intent to knock over one domino of a European country after another, the Russian Army—unlike the Soviet Army of old—simply does not have the capacity to do that.

    Apr 6, 2022

  • Fourth and fifth generation aircraft from eight countries participated in a partnership flight to kick-off Blue Flag 21, over Uvda Air Base, Israel, on Oct. 17, 2021. This biennial training event is essential to building and maintaining defensive interoperability and ensuring Israel’s and other nations’ qualitative edge. Large-force exercises, like Israel-led Blue Flag, allow partner nations to build trust and develop a common understanding of the security environment, photo by Israeli Air Force

    Report

    Security Cooperation in a Strategic Competition

    Neither China nor Russia has a formal doctrine or strategy for security cooperation. How can the United States enhance its security cooperation policies and activities to its competitive advantage?

    Apr 6, 2022

  • Screen shot of Kremlin-backed news channel Russia Today on UK television, February 22, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Sleep on Russian Information War Capabilities

    Ukraine looks to have Russia beat in countering Russian disinformation. But this is only part of the story. Instead of fixating on Russia's missteps, policymakers and analysts would benefit from studying Ukraine's sophisticated information campaign while bearing in mind that Russia retains significant information warfare capabilities and a willingness to use them.

    Apr 5, 2022

  • A man looks at a street monitor showing a news report about North Korea's missile launch, in Tokyo, Japan, November 29, 2017

    Journal Article

    Nuclear-Use Cases for Contemplating Crisis and Conflict on the Korean Peninsula

    The paper identifies possible cases/scenarios that would lead to first use of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

    Apr 5, 2022

  • The U.N. Security Council meeting room at the United Nations in New York City, March 11, 2022, photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is There a Future for Multilateralism?

    The rise in the use of informal arrangements and the proliferation in the use of regional arrangements have weakened multilateral institutions. Multilateralism's failure, if it happens, could raise significant challenges on how to address global public issues.

    Apr 4, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Gender Differences in Health Among U.S. Service Members: Unwanted Gender-Based Experiences as an Explanatory Factor

    This report examines how experiences of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and sexual assault among military service members relate to general health and symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.

    Apr 4, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Supporting the Royal Australian Navy's Campaign Plan for Robotics and Autonomous Systems: Emerging Missions and Technology Trends

    This report provides a high-level review of the current landscape and future trajectory of robotics, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence from the perspective of maritime missions and enabling technologies.

    Apr 4, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Helping Ukrainian Refugees, Truth Decay, Algorithmic Inequity: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to help Ukrainian refugees, the link between cognitive processes and Truth Decay, tracking wastewater to understand the spread of COVID-19, and more.

    Apr 1, 2022

  • Ukrainian servicemen stand by a destroyed bridge as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Irpin outside Kyiv, Ukraine, April 1, 2022, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Ukraine War's Three Clocks

    As the war in Ukraine creeps into its second month, perhaps the most common question is: How will it end? Ultimately, the answer comes down to three internal clocks—Ukraine's, which is counting down in years, Russia's, in months, and the United States and NATO's, which is stalled at the moment but could restart quite quickly.

    Apr 1, 2022

  • The destruction on Al-Qouatli street in Raqqa, Syria, photo by Abood Hamam

    Report

    Efforts to Avoid Civilian Casualties in Raqqa Were Considerable but Insufficient

    The 2017 battle to liberate Raqqa, Syria, from ISIS is a cautionary tale in 21st-century conflicts. U.S. strategic choices likely increased civilian harm despite considerable efforts to avoid civilian casualties by both U.S. and coalition forces. What lessons can be applied to future operations?

    Mar 31, 2022