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.

  • An F-22 Raptor conducts a combat air patrol mission over an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, September 13, 2019, photo by MSgt. Russ Scalf/U.S. Air Force

    Research Brief

    Who Has More Influence in the Indo-Pacific, the United States or China?

    Nov 12, 2020

    Neither the United States nor China is clearly winning the competition for influence in the Indo-Pacific region as a whole. China has more economic influence, and the United States has more diplomatic and military sway. But partners generally value economic development over security concerns.

  • Sign that says Fort Bragg, Home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces, photo by U.S. Army

    Report

    How to Protect Army Installations from Emerging Threats

    Nov 10, 2020

    Emerging technologies such as drones, 5G communications, smart city systems, and the use of social media disinformation by adversaries all pose potential threats to U.S. Army bases. A new framework can help assess possible solutions and the resources required to defend against these threats.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Photo by Ron Przysucha/U.S. Government Photo

    Commentary

    PIF Fragmentation May Alter U.S.-China Competition in the Pacific

    The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) may be on the verge of fragmentation, and if it happens, the consequences for U.S.-China geostrategic competition could be significant. A divided PIF would likely present several opportunities and challenges for China and the United States as their competition ramps up in Oceania.

    Oct 14, 2020

  • Russian submarine with map overlay of Black Sea, photos by LA(Phot) Guy Pool/Wikimedia Commons and kdow/Getty Images

    Report

    Understanding Russian Black Sea Power Dynamics

    Russian investment since 2014 has profoundly shifted the military balance in the Black Sea. NATO has taken some steps to assert its presence but the United States and regional allies may have limited options to expand existing defense and deterrence measures.

    Oct 13, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 5, 2019, photo by Maxim Shipenkov/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Friends Are Few and Unreliable

    Amid escalating competition, China and the United States are actively shoring up their diplomatic relationships in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. Compared to the United States, China's friends are certainly not as numerous, nor are they as reliable. That is a major challenge for Beijing.

    Oct 12, 2020

  • Blog

    Election Interference on Twitter, Insulin Prices, Remote Learning: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on evidence of interference in the 2020 election on Twitter, U.S. insulin prices compared to those of other countries, how parents can help their kids' education stay on track during the pandemic, and more.

    Oct 9, 2020

  • U.S. and Canadian personnel using a virtual training platform in Fort Meade, MD, June, 2020, photo by U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jon Dasbach/U.S. Cyber Command

    Commentary

    The United States Can Achieve AI Dominance with Its Allies

    Close collaborators in any AI alliance must be able to usefully contribute to the work and be trustworthy enough to share in cutting-edge technical advancements. While achieving this close collaboration with allies may be difficult, it will be essential if the United States hopes to achieve the data dominance needed to succeed in future combat.

    Oct 9, 2020

  • Christine Wormuth

    Multimedia

    What Role Should Allies and Partners Play in U.S. Military Strategy and Operations?

    An overview of testimony by Christine Wormuth presented before the House Armed Services Committee on September 23, 2020.

    Oct 9, 2020

  • Battalion of French soldiers of the RSMA marching during a monthly ceremony rewarding the young soldiers in Saint-Paul, LaRéunion, June 28 2017, photo by Gwengoat/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Grand Strategy Is Total: French Gen. Andre Beaufré on the Nuclear Age

    Gen. André Beaufre, the father of contemporary French strategic thought, epitomizes better than anyone the traits that make modern French military theory unusually rich. He is also a key for accessing a rich and distinctly different way of thinking about war with direct applications for today, whether one is pondering Afghanistan or how to deal with China.

    Oct 8, 2020

  • U.S. Marine Corps 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Amphibious Assault Vehicles rush Freshwater Beach during Talisman Sabre 2011 in Australia, on July 19, 2011, photo by Captain Staci Reidinger/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Two Vignettes: How Might Combat Operations Be Different Under the Information Joint Function?

    RAND researcher Christopher Paul employs storytelling to illustrate two distinct approaches to Joint Combat Operations. While both vignettes result in the expulsion of adversary forces and the restoration of territorial integrity, they take different approaches to kinetic and informational power.

    Oct 8, 2020

  • Overlapping silhouettes of mobile phone users, illustration by smartboy10/Getty Images

    Report

    Foreign Actors Are Again Using Twitter to Interfere with the U.S. Election

    After the 2016 U.S. election it became clear that Russian agents had engaged in online efforts to sow chaos and inflame partisan divides among Americans. Interference is happening again now. It includes posts from trolls—fake personas spreading hyper-partisan themes—and superconnectors designed to spread messages quickly.

    Oct 8, 2020

  • Report

    Counter-Radicalization Bot Research: Using Social Bots to Fight Violent Extremism

    As the online recruitment of violent extremist organizations grows, the U.S. government may benefit from promising emerging technology tools to rapidly detect targets of such recruitment efforts and deliver counter-radicalization content to them.

    Oct 8, 2020

  • News Release

    Coordinated Efforts on Twitter to Interfere in the U.S. Presidential Election Are Likely Foreign

    A coordinated effort on Twitter to influence the upcoming U.S. presidential election—using trolls (fake personas that spread hyper-partisan themes) and super-connectors (highly-networked accounts)—aims to sow distrust, exacerbate political divisions and undermine confidence in American democracy.

    Oct 8, 2020

  • People line up to cast their ballots for the upcoming presidential election as early voting begins in Cincinnati, Ohio, October 6, 2020, photo by Megan Jelinger/Reuters

    Commentary

    Will There Be Domestic Terrorism During Election Season?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has roiled the elections. The United States is deeply divided and the political system is polarized. Under these fraught circumstances, even a minor event can have far-reaching repercussions. What are the prospects for domestic terrorism in the context of U.S. elections?

    Oct 7, 2020

  • Journal Article

    The Future Role of the U.S. Armed Forces in Counterterrorism

    This essay provides observations on the future role of the armed forces in counterterrorism and the future role of counterterrorism forces in great power competition.

    Oct 6, 2020

  • Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Sochi, Russia, February 15, 2019, photo by Sergei Chirikov/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Belarusian Mortgage on Russia's Future

    In September, President Vladimir Putin signaled that Russia was throwing its weight behind embattled Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. But any move to enforce Putin's will in Belarus could invite tougher Western sanctions and scare investors. This would exacerbate problems facing Russia's flagging economy.

    Oct 5, 2020

  • Blog

    How Russia Targets U.S. Elections, Black Workers and COVID-19, TikTok: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how Russia targets U.S. elections, Americans' increased alcohol consumption during the pandemic, Black workers and COVID-19, and more.

    Oct 2, 2020

  • Niger soldiers guard with their weapons pointed towards the border with neighbouring Nigeria, near the town of Diffa, Niger, June 21, 2016, photo by Luc Gnago/Reuters

    Commentary

    How to Build Better Militaries in Africa: Lessons from Niger

    To help counter the threat of terrorism and build the capacity of African militaries, the U.S. government spends over $1.5 billion a year on security assistance to the African continent. Does this support work?

    Oct 2, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video conference call with officials and public representatives of the region of Dagestan amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia May 18, 2020, photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Reuters

    Report

    How Russia Targets U.S. Elections

    In this campaign season, Russia might try to manipulate U.S. voters through social media as it did in 2016. New technologies have made these efforts easier. Russia's tactics aim to polarize Americans, create distrust, and paralyze the political process. What is the best defense against them?

    Oct 1, 2020

  • Russian Interference in the 2020 U.S. Election (Crop)

    Multimedia

    Russian Interference in the 2020 U.S. Election

    RAND military sociologist Marek Posard describes several broad risks of foreign interference in American democracy and explains how Russia may use reflexive control theory to cause disruption in the 2020 U.S. Election.

    Oct 1, 2020

  • Chinese soldiers using desktop computers at a garrison of the PLA in Chongqing, China, November 14, 2013, photo by Gao Xiaowen/Reuters

    Report

    China's Evolving Military Strategy and Doctrine

    The People's Liberation Army has made impressive modernization progress over the past three decades, but it is unclear how its efforts will translate to battlefield performance. Chinese military theory, strategy, and operational concepts are key to understanding how the PLA might fight when needed.

    Sep 29, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 13th Political Bureau meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released June 7, 2020 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea Has Agreed to Denuclearization. Trump Could Try to Make It Happen

    President Trump came into office determined to rein in the North Korean nuclear weapons program. But it has become quite clear that North Korea has no intention of giving it up. How might the United States bring North Korea into compliance with its denuclearization commitments?

    Sep 28, 2020