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.

  • Concept of artificial intelligence winning at chess, photo by JohnDWilliams/Getty Images

    Report

    The Emerging Risk of Virtual Societal Warfare

    Oct 9, 2019

    Living in an information society opens unprecedented opportunities for hostile rivals to cause disruption, delay, inefficiency, and active harm. Social manipulation techniques are evolving beyond disinformation and cyberattacks on infrastructure sites. How can democracies protect themselves?

  • Billboard that reads, "Welcome Home SGT KURT POWER" and illustration of mental health issues

    Article

    How High-Quality Mental Health Care Improves Veterans' Lives

    Sep 25, 2019

    A growing body of RAND research shows that veterans who receive high-quality care have the best chance of improving their mental health outcomes.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • U.S. Marines hold military drills during Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations in Washington, D.C., July 4, 2019, photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    Commentary

    Americans Have Faith in the Military, but They Don't Understand It

    The U.S. military is a central element of America's power and history. It dominates discretionary spending and remains the country's most trusted institution. However, it is peripheral to the daily life of most citizens.

    Sep 13, 2019

  • Riflemen compete in the Lithuanian Best Infantry Squad Competition at Rukla Training Area, Lithuania, August 24, 2017, photo by Lithuanian Land Forces

    Research Brief

    Why Understanding 'Will to Fight' Is Crucial

    Arguably, will to fight is the most important factor in war. The best technology in the world is useless without the force of will to use it and to keep using it even as casualties mount and unexpected calamities arise. Ignoring will to fight can contribute to tactical or even strategic defeat.

    Sep 13, 2019

  • Report

    Development of a Short Form Measure of Sexual Harassment Risk in the Military: Findings from the RAND Military Workplace Study

    RAND has developed a short version of a survey that investigates sexual harassment in the military. The original RAND survey contained up to 52 questions. This report discusses the accuracy of a five-question version of the longer survey.

    Sep 12, 2019

  • Artificial Intelligence, Graphical User Interface, photo by kontekbrothers/Getty Images

    Commentary

    A Code of Conduct for AI in Defense Should Be an Extension of Other Military Codes

    An AI code of conduct for defense should look a lot like all other defense codes of conduct. A global society that would create the Geneva Convention is a society that believes in a moral code for warfare, and this same moral code could extend into its weaponized algorithms.

    Sep 11, 2019

  • Report

    Manpower Alternatives to Enhance Total Force Capabilities: Could New Forms of Reserve Service Help Alleviate Military Shortfalls?

    Changes in employment stability, family structure, and economic pressures have created challenges for the U.S. military reserve component. Modifying assumptions about Reserve duty can improve recruitment, performance, development, and retention.

    Sep 11, 2019

  • Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Chief of the General Staff, First Deputy Minister Valery Gerasimov, before a meeting with Russian Defence Ministry leadership and defense industry heads photo courtesy of Office of the Russian President/ Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

    Commentary

    A New Russian Military Doctrine: What It Might Contain and Why It Matters

    The United States and its allies should anticipate the possibility of an updated Russian military doctrine as early as 2020. Evaluating this document closely is important for understanding Russian threat perceptions and the leadership's methods to address those threats.

    Sep 9, 2019

  • A mental health professional takes notes while talking with a soldier, photo by asiseeit/Getty Images

    Research Brief

    Quality Matters in Mental Health Care for Veterans

    High-quality mental health care is treatment that has been proven effective and is safe, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. Veterans who receive such care are much more likely to improve and recover. Ensuring that they get the care they need also helps their families.

    Sep 9, 2019

  • Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front fighters carry weapons on the back of pick-up trucks in Arsal, eastern Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, December 1, 2015, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Al Qaeda Is Ready to Attack You Again

    As al Qaeda continues to evolve, one of the most pressing questions is to what extent the group is still focused on attacking the West. Does the absence of spectacular attacks attributed to al Qaeda since 9/11 represent a lack of capability or merely a shift in priorities?

    Sep 5, 2019

  • Raphael S. Cohen discusses Russia’s economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties in an overview of a September 5th congressional briefing.

    Multimedia

    Extending Russia

    What policies could the United States adopt to stress Russia’s military, its economy, or the regime’s political standing at home and abroad? In this congressional briefing summary, former Ambassador James Dobbins, Raphael Cohen, and Howard Shatz discuss Russia’s economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties; nonviolent, cost-imposing options that the United States and its allies could pursue to stress Russia; and the costs, benefits, and implications of those options.

    Sep 5, 2019

  • Report

    Force Planning Scenarios, 1945–2016: Their Origins and Use in Defense Strategic Planning

    This report presents a historical review of defense strategic planning, with a focus on the factors that have shaped defense planning scenarios and strategic analysis in the Department of Defense in an aim to improve scenario use in defense planning.

    Sep 5, 2019

  • Globe map on grunge texture, photo by caracterdesign/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Time to Return to the Basics of Statecraft

    After two decades of setbacks abroad, it's time to ask whether the decline in American influence is irreversible. Ultimately, neither China nor Russia is responsible for these difficulties. Washington's failures have been self-inflicted, the result of flawed policy rather than any decisive shift in the global balance of power.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • News Release

    Hostile Social Manipulation by Russia and China a Growing but Poorly Understood Threat

    With the role of information warfare in global strategic competition becoming much more apparent, a new RAND Corporation report delves into better defining and understanding the challenge facing the United States by focusing on the hostile social manipulation activities of the two leading users of such techniques: Russia and China.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • Illustration of a network, security information, and AI technology, image by issaronow/Adobe Stock

    Report

    'Hostile Social Manipulation' Is a Growing Threat to the United States

    Hostile social manipulation includes social media campaigns, sophisticated forgeries, and spreading rumors and conspiracy theories. As these techniques are used by Russia and China, Washington should invest more resources to understand and counter them.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • Report

    The tanKer Aerial Refueling Model for Analysis (KARMA)

    This report describes the algorithms used in the tanKer Air Refueling Model for Analysis (KARMA) and explains how to use the model. KARMA simulates the extent to which a tanker force can aerially refuel combat aircraft in a denied environment.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • Report

    Projecting Air Force Rated Officer Inventory Across the Total Force: Total Force Blue Line Model for Rated Officer Management

    Managing the flow of Air Force rated officers has become more challenging. In this report, the authors document their efforts to develop a long-term career field planning model for all rated officers across the Total Force.

    Sep 4, 2019

  • Mozambique on a map with a green pin, photo by Mark Rubens/Adobe Stock

    Commentary

    Counterproductive Counterinsurgency: Is Mozambique Creating the Next Boko Haram?

    Despite recent claims of ties to the Islamic State, the threat in Mozambique from the Islamist insurgent group al-Sunnah wa Jamaah appears to be domestic, with scarce evidence of direct ties to international extremist groups. But if the Mozambique government continues to respond in a heavy-handed manner, the threat is likely to grow, with potentially devastating effects for the country and region.

    Sep 3, 2019

  • Kimberly Curry Hall summarizes research on improving female retention in the Coast Guard.

    Multimedia

    Improving Gender Diversity in the U.S. Coast Guard

    For active-duty women, many complex factors influence the decision to stay in or separate from the Coast Guard. In this video, RAND's Kimberly Curry Hall summarizes research on these factors and makes recommendations for improving female retention in the Coast Guard.

    Sep 1, 2019

  • Report

    Improving DoD's Weapon System Support Program: A Critical Readiness Driver Approach

    The readiness and sustainability of weapon systems is a key factor in defense. The Weapon System Support Program prioritizes system parts, but performance is lacking. RAND examines program effectiveness and gives recommendations for the future.

    Aug 29, 2019

  • The U.S. Navy's guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence transits international waters of the South China Sea with ships from India, Japan, and the Philippines, May 5, 2019, photo by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

    Report

    The Thickening Web of Asian Security Cooperation

    Key U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific have been strengthening their defense ties with regional actors over the past two decades. To what extent is this a response to the perceived threat of a rising, assertive China? And how will these new commitments affect the United States?

    Aug 29, 2019

  • Soldiers represent their nation's flags during the opening ceremony of Saber Strike 2015 held in Pabrade, Lithuania, June 8, 2015, photo by Sgt. James Avery/U.S. Army

    Report

    How Willing Are NATO Members to Defend Their Baltic Allies?

    What factors would make NATO allies more or less likely to respond to a Russian attack? And what can be done to reduce their vulnerability to Russian influence and to increase alliance cohesion?

    Aug 29, 2019