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.

  • Q&A

    What Went Wrong in Yemen: Q&A with Alexandra Stark

    Peace talks in Yemen have stalled and the Houthis, who control much of the country, are now attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea in a show of support for Gaza. How did things go so wrong? And how might the United States play a more effective role throughout the region?

    May 8, 2024

  • Report

    Can National Dynamism Be Renewed?

    America's competitive position is threatened both from within and outside. Can great powers that begin to stagnate or even decline recapture energy and competitive advantage? History offers lessons for what the United States can do to renew its standing.

    Apr 30, 2024

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  • 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

  • Illustration of map of China and Taiwan with their flags as patterns on the countries, with shadow of China over Taiwan, photo by Rich Townsend/Getty Images

    Commentary

    These Technologies Could Defeat China's Missile Barrage and Defend Taiwan

    Earlier this year, a group of experts from RAND and the Special Competitive Studies Project launched a new wargame effort around China's invasion of Taiwan. But unlike most D.C.-based wargames, this effort heavily involved members of the commercial technology sector, to understand what near-term capabilities might be brought to bear on a Taiwan scenario.

    Aug 24, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Military Academy Students Can Now Retain Parental Rights: Department of Defense Options for Managing the Change

    As of 2023, DoD allows enrolled cadets and midshipmen to retain parental rights. This brief explores potential DoD policy changes that could help cadet and midshipman parents care for their children, succeed in school, and become exemplary officers.

    Aug 22, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    Accounting for Climate Resilience in Infrastructure Investment Decisionmaking: A Data-Driven Approach for Department of the Air Force Project Prioritization

    A new approach allows comparison of infrastructure projects based on their ability to improve installation resilience to climate-related hazards, supporting the Department of the Air Force’s climate resilience investment decisionmaking.

    Aug 22, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    Ensuring Parental Rights of Military Service Academy Cadets and Midshipmen: Policy and Cost Implications

    This report characterizes legal, policy, practice, and cost implications of U.S. Department of Defense options to comply with a new congressional requirement allowing service academy cadets and midshipmen who become parents to retain parental rights.

    Aug 22, 2023

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India (r) meets Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, June 1, 2023, photo by ANI/Reuters

    Commentary

    India Is Pushing Back Against China in South Asia

    The jostling between India and China for influence in South Asia will likely prove crucial to the fate of U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy. The good news, at least for now, is that New Delhi has been mostly successful in pushing back against Beijing's rising influence across the region.

    Aug 21, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    Creating Readiness Metrics for the Army Civilian Workforce: A Way Ahead for Integrating Readiness into Civilian Workforce Planning

    The authors develop a definition of and model for measuring civilian workforce readiness to inform Army policies and practices using qualitative methods, with which they identify potential data sources for readiness metrics.

    Aug 21, 2023

  • USA map composed of stick figures in red and blue, image by bamlou/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Toward a New Paradigm in U.S. Foreign Policy: Harnessing the Power of American Society in Pursuit of U.S. National Security Objectives

    In this Perspective, the authors call for a new “whole of America” paradigm for U.S. foreign policy that leverages the nation’s governments, businesses, civil society, and academic institutions to defend core U.S. principles of democracy and freedom.

    Aug 17, 2023

  • A colorful silhouette of an aircraft is superimposed on maps of Russia and Iran, images by Belterz/Getty Images, Kevin Smart/Getty Images, and KeithBinns/Getty Images

    Report

    Deterring Russia and Iran

    How can the United States effectively and efficiently deter Russia and Iran without crowding out investments in other military missions, including competition with China in the Indo-Pacific?

    Aug 17, 2023

  • Google sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, July 6, 2023, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Commentary

    Rethinking Who's Winning the U.S.-China Tech Competition

    The competition between the U.S. and China is a multi-dimensional contest involving technological, economic, military, and political elements. To accurately assess a nation's standing, the focus should shift from measures (raw numerical data) to metrics, which offer meaningful interpretations of these numbers.

    Aug 16, 2023

  • (l-r) U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the president’s fiscal year 2024 budget request on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 16, 2023, photo by Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

    Commentary

    Defense Budgeting and the Dilemma of Lost Time

    Since 2011, Congress has routinely struggled to pass a budget on time. Instead, Congress leverages continuing resolutions to fund the government and prevent shutdowns. This flawed process that relies on temporary fixes is hampering Pentagon planning and could pose long-term risks to U.S. military readiness and competitiveness.

    Aug 16, 2023

  • illustration of virus spreading out in a network, photo by http://www.fotogestoeber.de/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Embracing the Messiness of Public-Private Collaboration in the Fight Against Botnets

    Botnets are networks of computers infected with malware that an attacker controls and uses to fulfill malicious cyber activities. Decisionmakers could incorporate a complex adaptive systems perspective to assess if their organization and immediate network, as well as the overall ecosystem, are adaptable and resilient enough to respond to botnet activities.

    Aug 16, 2023

  • Closeup digital rendering of a human eye, photo by Vertigo3d/Getty Images

    Commentary

    A Model for Regulating AI

    While AI will bring many benefits, it is also potentially dangerous. We would do well to establish a model of oversight that focuses on the three parts of the AI supply chain: hardware, the training of each model, and rigorous review before each model is released.

    Aug 16, 2023

  • India and America waving flags on blue sky. 3d illustration, photo by Rawf8 / Adobe Stock

    Report

    Conference Proceedings on Indian and U.S. Security Cooperation: Defense Production, Indo-Pacific Region, and Afghanistan

    A two-day conference explored Indian and U.S. views on security across the Indo-Pacific, informed by six papers discussing bilateral security cooperation, Russian arms sales to India, and the challenges posed by China to regional security.

    Aug 16, 2023

  • Russian servicemen march during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade, Moscow, May 7, 2014, photo by Artur Bainozarov/Reuters

    Report

    Russian Military Personnel Policies and Reforms 1991–2021

    In the initial post-Soviet years, the personnel system of the Russian Armed Forces experienced pervasive challenges because of budget limitations and collapse of prestige. Reforms in recruitment, retention, and proficiency made some progress but multiple problems remain.

    Aug 15, 2023