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.

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in discussion with Ted Harshberger, director of RAND Project AIR FORCE

    Multimedia

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper Visits RAND

    Sep 16, 2020

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper visited RAND's Santa Monica headquarters on September 16, 2020. Secretary Esper emphasized the importance of deterring China and the role of the U.S. defense industrial base.

  • Smoke superimposed over a mass grave of ISIS fighters found in 2017 near Fallujah, Iraq, photos by Iraqi ministry of defence and Marina/Adobe Stock; design by Peter Soriano/RAND Corporation

    Report

    Who Are America's Jihadists?

    Sep 11, 2020

    U.S. residents who plotted to carry out jihadist attacks at home and those who traveled or attempted to travel to join jihadists abroad represent two dimensions of the terrorist threat. But both types are driven by internal motivations and circumstances as much as they are inspired by external groups.

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  • NATO flags fly at summit meetings of Heads of State and Government in Strasbourg, France

    Project

    Defense and Security Research at RAND Europe

    In a climate of uncertainty and rapidly evolving threats, RAND Europe equips clients with the evidence-based analysis they need to inform their decisionmaking on topics ranging from equipment acquisition and personnel policy to cyber security and counter violent extremism.

    Sep 2, 2020

  • The port of Beirut and its construction cranes, destroyed by an explosion of ammonium nitrate on August 4, 2020, photo by Karine Pierre/Hans Lucas Pictures/Reuters

    Commentary

    Addressing Lebanon's Ailments, Acute and Chronic

    The recent explosion in Beirut has again led to calls for political and economic reforms in Lebanon. The country has an economy in crisis, corruption, few job opportunities, and an influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees. Sustained global investment is needed if Lebanon is to recover over the long run.

    Sep 1, 2020

  • Members from the Tyndall Program Management Office, Air Force contracting, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center and Air Force Civil Engineer Center evaluate technical presentations from four vendors vying for the $9 million Other Transaction Authority opportunity to develop an innovative operations center prototype at the PMO’s virtual Pitch Day Sept. 14, 2020, photo by Taylor Koopman/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Prototyping Using Other Transactions: Case Studies for the Acquisition Community

    Through literature reviews, interviews, and case studies, researchers reviewed recent U.S. Air Force experience in using other transactions for prototype projects (OTs), identifying lessons for acquisition professionals and improvements for use.

    Aug 31, 2020

  • Graphic depicting people using brain-computer interface technology to communicate

    Article

    Brain-Computer Interfaces Are Coming. Will We Be Ready?

    Brain-computer interfaces give humans the ability to directly control machines with their minds. Before this emerging technology matures, it's important for developers to weigh the opportunities against the risks.

    Aug 27, 2020

  • Report

    Strategies for Acquisition Agility: Approaches for Speeding Delivery of Defense Capabilities

    The authors analyze various approaches to speed acquisition of military capabilities and keep pace with evolving threats, assess these approaches' suitability for different conditions and acquisition types, and identify implementation issues.

    Aug 27, 2020

  • Human brain partially consists of circuit board, photo by Prostock-studio/AdobeStock

    Report

    Brain-Computer Interfaces: An Initial Assessment

    Brain-computer interfaces allow humans to communicate directly with machines. This technology may eventually be used to monitor a soldier's cognitive workload, control a drone swarm, or link with a prosthetic. But potential risks should be considered before the technology is widely deployed.

    Aug 27, 2020

  • Report

    The Future of Warfare Boxed Set

    This series of reports examines the key geopolitical, economic, environmental, geographic, legal, informational, and military trends that will shape the contours of conflict between now and 2030.

    Aug 26, 2020

  • Testimony

    The Strategic National Stockpile and COVID-19: Rethinking the Stockpile: Addendum

    Document submitted August 21, 2020, as an addendum to testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on June 24, 2020.

    Aug 24, 2020

  • U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar meets with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office, in Taipei, Taiwan, August 10, 2020, photo courtesy of the Taiwan Presidential Office

    Commentary

    Secretary Azar's Taiwan Visit Should Be Celebrated—for the Right Reasons

    HHS Secretary Alex Azar's August 9th visit to Taiwan should be celebrated by Taipei and Washington as it presents the latest evidence that bilateral relations are significantly strengthening. But Taiwan should view the United States' moves to bolster bilateral ties with some measure of trepidation. U.S. objectives with Taiwan over the past few years remain unclear.

    Aug 21, 2020

  • Blog

    Radicalization, the Gender Pay Gap, Israel-UAE Deal: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the potential for a new era of radicalization, insights into the gender pay gap, why the Israel-UAE deal doesn't merit the hype, and more.

    Aug 21, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a drill of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army, March 2, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Report

    How Does North Korean Leadership Make Decisions?

    With talks between the United States and North Korea at a standstill, U.S. policymakers must consider what the regime might do next and know what signs or decisions to look for. Will Kim open the DPRK economy? What if conventional deterrence fails on the Korean Peninsula? And what could lead to the use of nuclear weapons?

    Aug 20, 2020

  • A U.S. Air Force Airman sleeps inside a C-17 Globemaster during a flight

    Tool

    Getting To Outcomes® Operations Guide for U.S. Air Force Community Action Teams: Content Area Module for Air Force Sleep Health Promotion

    This content area module for Air Force sleep health promotion is a companion volume to the Getting To Outcomes Operations Guide for U.S. Air Force Community Action Teams.

    Aug 20, 2020

  • A Boogaloo Boy stands with protesters demanding that federal officers leave the federal courthouse in Portland, Ore., on July 25, 2020, photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Building the Boogaloo Brand: Why the Movement Succeeds in Attracting New Followers

    The Boogaloo should not be dismissed as disaffected far-right youth enamored with firearms. Several acts of political violence on American soil are connected to the movement, including homicides. It's a fast-growing, anti-government and anti-police movement with broad appeal.

    Aug 19, 2020

  • The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., photo by lucky-photographer/Getty Images

    Blog

    Summer Reading List for Congress

    During the August recess Hill staff should have an opportunity to step back from the fast pace of votes and hearing preparation to examine priorities for the fall and beyond. This list of must-read research and commentary covers some policy issues they will likely be addressing after the break.

    Aug 18, 2020

  • A member of the Three Percent militia in downtown Stone Mountain, Georgia, where various militia groups stage rallies, August 15, 2020, photo by Dustin Chambers/Reuters

    Commentary

    Could 2020 Spawn '70s-Style Radicalization and Violence?

    The U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic has further cleaved an already deeply divided society. The conditions facing the United States today are reminiscent of those that gave rise to the radicalism of the 1970s and could once again lead to political violence, including terrorism.

    Aug 17, 2020

  • Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jets perform during a demonstration flight at the MAKS-2019 air show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Russia, August 29, 2019, photo by Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Su-57 Heavy Fighter Bomber: Is It Really a Fifth-Generation Aircraft?

    Russia's Su-57 aircraft has been in development since 2002 and is considered a key part of Russia's arms export industry as a fifth-generation fighter. Despite continued Russian efforts to sell the aircraft, it is unlikely that a fully developed and full production–ready Su-57 will be available for sale before the late 2020s.

    Aug 17, 2020

  • A missile is seen launched during a military drill in North Korea, May 10, 2019, photo by Korean Central News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    In North Korea, The U.S. Could Take the Lead

    North Korea is hurting: its economy is stagnant and it is having trouble feeding even its elites because of the UN/U.S. sanctions designed to pressure North Korean toward denuclearization. A combined carrot and stick approach may help overcome some of North Korea's reluctance to negotiate the future of its nuclear weapons program.

    Aug 17, 2020

  • Blog

    L.A.'s High Unemployment, RAND's New Research Center, Twitter: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on unemployment in the Los Angeles area, the new RAND Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy, food consumption in the UK, and more.

    Aug 14, 2020

  • An amphibious landing demonstration, part of Rim of the Pacific exercise at Pyramid Rock Beach, on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, July 29, 2018, photo by Sgt. Aaron Patterson/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Why Militaries Should Play Games with Each Other

    With rising rates of COVID-19 and vulnerable populations at risk, Hawaii's people are understandably nervous about the upcoming Rim of the Pacific exercise scheduled for August. But COVID-19 cannot be a blanket check on international engagement by the U.S. military. With the effects of COVID-19 expected to last for decades, the forward thinking found in games may be exactly what is needed.

    Aug 14, 2020

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and his entourage meet with Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran, January 23, 2016, photo by Khamenei.ir / CC BY 4.0

    Commentary

    What to Watch to Understand the Sino-Iranian Relationship

    Beijing and Tehran are in the process of finalizing an ambitious partnership covering a range of security and economic issues. The United States should not overreact to shifting geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East, and should instead keep an eye out to assess the evolution of the relationship and take stock of what is delivered instead of what is merely promised.

    Aug 13, 2020