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.

  • A drone is used to survey high-voltage power lines of electric company Westnetz near Wilnsdorf, Germany, July 11, 2018

    Commentary

    Approaching a 'New Normal': What the Drone Attack in Venezuela Portends

    Aug 13, 2018

    The attempt to assassinate Venezuelan President Maduro showed that drones are easy to use and difficult to defend against. Commercial off-the-shelf technology is easy to acquire. It is imperative that counterterrorism specialists begin planning a robust response to the threat.

  • Airman 1st Class Summer Toney, 1st Lt. Ashley Guthrie Capt. Kate Bufton, Capt. Emily Nelson, Tech. Sgt. Lori Tascione and Staff Sgt. Krysteena Scales make up an 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron flight crew, March 19, 2005

    Commentary

    The U.S. Air Force Is Working Harder to Retain Female Officers, and Here's How

    Aug 6, 2018

    Women are underrepresented among the U.S. Air Force's senior leadership. This could be robbing the service of the potential to improve innovation, agility, and performance. The Air Force is working to address diversity in the service, and it continues to work to improve representation of women within its ranks.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Airmen from the 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron lift a crate

    Report

    Evaluation of the Strength Aptitude Test and Other Fitness Tests to Qualify Air Force Recruits for Physically Demanding Specialties

    This report evaluates the Strength Aptitude Test and related fitness tests to identify strategies for ensuring airmen can meet job-related physical requirements.

    Aug 10, 2018

  • U.S. President Trump arrives to announce his decision to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, May 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Bringing Back Sanctions Will Hurt U.S. Allies and Iran, but Will It Help America?

    What happens if leaving the Iran nuclear deal and applying “maximum pressure” doesn't lead Iran to change its behavior or the regime to collapse? The Trump administration may find that it's much easier to break a deal than to replace it with something better.

    Aug 7, 2018

  • The U.S. Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain conducts a patrol in the South China Sea, January 22, 2017

    Commentary

    The Security Risks of a Trade War with China

    As U.S.-China trade tensions continue to rise, many observers are focused on the potential for a full-fledged trade war that could destabilize the world economy. But there are security concerns as well. A China less constrained by and invested in economic ties with the United States could pose a greater challenge to U.S. foreign policy.

    Aug 6, 2018

  • Vehicles of Russian state-controlled broadcaster Russia Today are seen near Red Square in Moscow, Russia, June 15, 2018

    Testimony

    Russia's Social Media Influence in Eastern Europe

    Russia is engaged in an active, worldwide propaganda campaign, but it is particularly interested in targeting its western border. What can the United States and allied governments do to limit Russian influence in the region?

    Aug 1, 2018

  • A desk with 3D printing technology on top

    Commentary

    Downloadable Guns and Other 3-D Printing Security Threats

    Americans may soon be able to legally access blueprints for 3D-printed guns. The growing opposition to these weapons shows that potential security threats do not have to be inevitable. The security challenges inherent in 3D printing could be addressed, while the development of industry norms can still be shaped.

    Jul 31, 2018

  • NATO helicopters land at Afghan and U.S. Special Forces base in Deh Bala district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, July 7, 2018

    Commentary

    Lives on the Line: The A2AD Challenge to Combat Casualty Care

    Countries such as Russia and China continue to develop and expand the ability to integrate long-range strike, anti-ship, anti-air, space and cyber abilities. Provision of medical support could be a worthy priority for NATO planners when considering deterrence of and defense against near-peer or peer adversaries.

    Jul 31, 2018

  • A simple radiation warning design on a concrete wall

    Commentary

    Is Nuclear Terrorism Distracting Attention from More Realistic Threats?

    A nuclear terrorist attack is currently not a realistic threat. It would require an unprecedented level of sophistication from terrorists. The majority of terrorist attacks are conducted with conventional explosives.

    Jul 27, 2018

  • Bridge stretching across the Vistula River during the joint NATO exercise Anakonda 2016, near Chelmno, Poland, June 7-17, 2016

    Commentary

    Exploring the Allied Decisions on Military Mobility in Europe

    Debates about defense expenditure and concerns over NATO unity overshadowed decisions on defense and deterrence in Europe made during the recent NATO summit and European Council meetings. Both events brought significant and tangible conclusions with potential impacts on defense, deterrence, and readiness in Europe.

    Jul 27, 2018

  • Flags of the world

    Commentary

    Attempts to Order Geopolitics Have a Sobering History

    Past efforts to introduce world order have resulted less from foresighted statecraft than from cataclysmic upheavals such as World War II. If the current international system erodes, what might have to happen for a new one to emerge?

    Jul 25, 2018

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, May 27, 2018

    Commentary

    Making Sense of South Korea's Cautious Optimism on North Korea

    South Korea is cautiously optimistic that North Korea will denuclearize, and it hopes that this will lead to the normalization of relations. The vast majority of U.S. observers believe that the North is bluffing. Seoul and Washington should continue to strive for transparency about the future of the peninsula.

    Jul 24, 2018

  • Globe on chess board

    Report

    Proposing a New American Approach to Political Warfare

    U.S. adversaries employ a blend of political, economic, cyber, and military tools. To address these nonconventional threats, America should consider developing a capability to orchestrate all elements of national power, both in war and in peace.

    Jul 24, 2018

  • U.S. Army personnel with members of the Special Rescue Unit, Bureau of Fire Protection, National Capital Protection at Camp Aguinaldo, Manila, Philippines

    Report

    Assessing, Monitoring, and Evaluating Army Security Cooperation: A Framework for Implementation

    To help the Army increase the effectiveness of its security cooperation activities, this report examines when Army security cooperation can have the greatest impact, and how the Army should assess, monitor, and evaluate security cooperation.

    Jul 24, 2018

  • An officer walking his children to school and daycare on Bike and Walk to School and Work Day at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, May 4, 2016

    Report

    Army Soldier and Family Needs Vary Across Bases

    The Army has many programs to help soldiers and their families cope with military life. But do these programs address their most pressing needs? An analysis of survey data, interviews, and focus groups from 13 garrisons provides local-level insight into soldier and family issues and needs, as well as the resources they use.

    Jul 24, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talk as they visit the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, China, April 27, 2018

    Commentary

    Is India the Weakest Link in the Quad?

    India's sustained membership in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue would fit with the goal of balancing against China to deter it from further militarizing the Indo-Pacific. But New Dehli may be getting cold feet.

    Jul 23, 2018

  • Soldiers walk to their fuel trucks after refueling a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at a forward area refueling point during a readiness training exercise at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, July 12, 2018.

    Commentary

    Reshaping U.S. Military Forces: Getting the Process Right

    War gaming and analysis show that American forces face serious operational challenges. What steps could be taken to ensure the United States can defeat aggression by its greatest adversaries?

    Jul 20, 2018

  • Admiral Michelle Howard visiting Fort Leavenworth

    Commentary

    To Produce Strategists, Focus on Staffing Senior Leaders

    To reinvigorate graduate-level professional military education, the military could carve out a unique educational niche by focusing on intense, quality staff officer education that is more relevant to understanding the demands placed on top defense leaders.

    Jul 20, 2018

  • Report

    Understanding Demographic Differences in Undergraduate Pilot Training Attrition

    This report looks at demographic differences in U.S. Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training completion and presents challenges that women and racial and ethnic minorities might face in entering and completing the training.

    Jul 19, 2018

  • Report

    F-35 Block Buy: An Assessment of Potential Savings

    This report assesses potential cost savings available through use of a three-year block buy contract for procurement of F-35 aircraft during fiscal years 2018-2020 -- approximately $2.1 billion, or 4.9 percent of the cost of annual contracting.

    Jul 18, 2018