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.

  • Supporters of Donald Trump scale a wall as they storm the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021, photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    Commentary

    Domestic Violent Extremists Will Be Harder to Combat Than Homegrown Jihadists

    Feb 1, 2021

    The beliefs driving today's domestic extremists are deeply rooted in American history and society. For this and several other reasons, shutting them down will prove far more difficult than combating homegrown jihadists.

  • Two Air Force F-22 Raptors fly over Syria, February 2, 2018, while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, photo by Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott/Air National Guard

    Report

    Airpower Was Indispensable to Defeating ISIS

    Feb 5, 2021

    Some argue that airpower could have been applied more vigorously in Operation Inherent Resolve to have more quickly defeated ISIS. Airpower was essential, but ground forces led by Iraqi and Syrian partners were needed to destroy the Islamic State as a territorial entity.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Police clear the U.S. Capitol Building with tear gas as supporters of then-President Donald Trump gather outside, in Washington, January 6, 2021, photo by Stephanie Keith/Reuters

    Testimony

    Addressing the Threat of Domestic Violent Extremism

    The attack on the Capitol was an unprecedented assault on America’s political system. How might a national commission to review the events of January 6 offer a road to national recovery? And what can be done to address broader threats from violent domestic extremists?

    Feb 4, 2021

  • An Indian fighter plane flies over a mountain range in Leh, in the Ladakh region, India, September 15, 2020, photo by Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

    Commentary

    Stabilizing China-India Relations in 2021: Is This Possible?

    China-India relations seem to be at their lowest point in decades. The Ladakh confrontation is fraught with the risk of escalation. But both countries have much to gain from a compromise. Leadership on both sides could help by focusing on the long-term gains in a spirit of give-and-take.

    Feb 2, 2021

  • Security fencing surrounds the U.S. Capitol days after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building, in Washington, January 11, 2021, photo by Erin Scott/Reuters

    Commentary

    What the Capitol Siege Means for the Future of Security Clearances

    Some people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 had or have a national security clearance and thus trusted access to classified information. And some might apply for a security clearance in the future. If they are not identified and prosecuted, then they won't have a criminal record that could be detected in a background check.

    Feb 2, 2021

  • National Guardmen on U.S. Capitol security detail in Washington, DC, January 11, 2021, photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht/U.S. Air National Guard

    Commentary

    How to Root Out Extremism in the U.S. Military

    The military has a growing extremism problem because America does. Service members who embrace violent extremism are thankfully few; Americans citizens who do so are sadly far too many. As a nation we need to deal with both.

    Feb 1, 2021

  • A Vietnamese naval soldier stands guard at Thuyen Chai island in the Spratly archipelago January 17, 2013, photo by Quang Le/Reuters

    Commentary

    How U.S.-Vietnam Ties Might Go Off the Rails

    Although there are valid reasons to question the trajectory of U.S.-Vietnam relations in the coming years, the overwhelming momentum is positive and is likely to stay that way. Any frictions that arise will probably be handled diplomatically to avoid greater damage to the relationship. But of course, nothing is guaranteed.

    Feb 1, 2021

  • Blog

    Prescription Drug Prices, Transgender Troops, Space Diplomacy: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on America's high prescription drug prices, allowing transgender troops in the military, food insecurity in Black neighborhoods, and more.

    Jan 29, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    The Demand for Responsiveness in Past U.S. Military Operations

    The Department of Defense argues that it must maintain a high level of readiness across the joint force to remain highly responsive. The author conducts a historical analysis to identify the demand for responsiveness in past U.S. military operations.

    Jan 28, 2021

  • An MQ-9 Reaper sits on the flightline at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. June 19. Gen. John D.W. Corley, Air Combat Command commander, met with Army Gen. William S. Wallace, Army Training and Doctrine Command commanding general, June 30 to discuss a new concept of operations that would maximize the contributions unmanned aerial systems bring to the joint warfighter, photo by Lance Cheung/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Technology Innovation and the Future of Air Force Intelligence Analysis: Volume 1, Findings and Recommendations

    There is growing demand for the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System to analyze sensor data. The authors assessed how new tools and technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, can help meet these demands.

    Jan 27, 2021

  • A U.S. Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle with B company, 229th Aviation Regiment known as Flying Tigers prepares for takeoff at the Air Combat Element landing strip, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, Calif., Nov. 7, 2019, photo by Cpl. William Chockey/U.S. Marine CorpsA U.S. Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle with B company, 229th Aviation Regiment known as Flying Tigers prepares for takeoff at the Air Combat Element landing strip, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, Calif., Nov. 7, 2019, photo by Cpl. William Chockey/U.S. Marine Corps

    Report

    Technology Innovation and the Future of Air Force Intelligence Analysis: Volume 2, Technical Analysis and Supporting Material

    The authors recommend tools, technologies, and processes to address the growing demand for Air Force Distributed Common Ground System support as it relates to intelligence squadrons within the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing.

    Jan 27, 2021

  • Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Ethan Clabaugh stands watch on the amphibious assault ship USS America in Okinawa, Japan, January 16, 2021, photo by MCSN Matthew Cavenaile/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Why Biden's Japan Agenda Matters

    Efforts to mend America's political wounds, combating COVID-19, and the continuing deterioration of U.S.-China relations may dominate the Biden agenda. But quick wins with Japan are possible and could be necessary to ensure that the alliance begins on a positive footing so it can tackle difficult challenges in the years ahead.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Future Threats and Some Considerations for the Next U.S. National Defense Strategy

    In this article, the authors offer a U.S. perspective on the evolution of threats from the recent past, and posit several considerations for the next National Defense Strategy.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    The Department of Defense's Posture for Artificial Intelligence: Assessment and Recommendations for Improvement

    In this report, RAND Corporation researchers assess the state of artificial intelligence relevant to the U.S. Department of Defense and provide recommendations for the future of the department's artificial intelligence posture.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • The U.S. Capitol behind security fencing in Washington, D.C., January 25, 2021, photo by Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Threats Against Lawmakers Could Distort the Political Landscape for Years

    The political environment is changing in a way that goes beyond immediate security concerns. The prevalence of threats and violence as a feature of American politics will ripple throughout the political system. Our politics could be distorted by the vicious atmosphere for years.

    Jan 25, 2021

  • Allied troops cross Neman River during NATO exercise Saber Strike in Kulautuva, Lithuania, June 13, 2018, photo by Andrius Sytas/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Great Wall

    China built a wall to protect against foreign invaders, but Russia is erecting a barrier that could weaken its position. Moscow's pressure on neighbors has spurred NATO to bolster its presence in Russia's immediate vicinity.

    Jan 25, 2021

  • Protesters destroy an American flag pulled down from the U.S. embassy in Cairo September 11, 2012, photo by Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

    Report

    Most Attacks on Western Diplomatic Facilities Culminate in Two Hours or Less

    There have been 33 successful seizures of Western diplomatic facilities since 1979. The majority of attacks culminated in two hours or less, and over 90 percent culminated in six hours or less. A review of these attacks can help in developing effective response capabilities.

    Jan 25, 2021

  • Blog

    Keeping COVID-19 Vaccines Moving, the Capitol Attack, Media Literacy: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on keeping COVID-19 vaccines moving to save more lives; why we need a national commission to investigate the U.S. Capitol attack; media literacy as a tool to counter “Truth Decay,” and more.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • European Council President Charles Michel, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Emmanuel Macron attend the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, October 15, 2020, photo by Yves Herman/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Welcoming a Stronger European Defense

    Washington has bristled at the notion of a Europe capable of strategic autonomy in the past. But the Biden administration might do better to take seriously the prospect of Europe as a (potentially great) power, and welcome it.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Interest in a U.S. Grand Strategy of Restraint May Be Growing, So Advocates Need to Provide More Details

    As the Biden Administration takes over, some U.S. policymakers have expressed interest in a new approach to America's role in the world: a realist grand strategy of restraint under which the U.S. would cooperate more with other powers, reduce its forward military presence and end or renegotiate some security commitments.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • Journal Article

    More "Boarding" Facilities Geolocated in Southern Xinjiang

    We identified 21 preschools that house Uyghur children in Qira County, Xinjiang using satellite imagery. These facilities are part of Beijing's efforts to assimilate Uyghurs by erasing their culture to a Communist Party ideal that has been compared to genocide.

    Jan 22, 2021