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.

  • Production line at Eminent Luggage Corp. in Taiwan and a <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ym_People_at_Keelung.jpg">ship at Keelung</a>, Taiwan, photos by Pichi Chuang/Reuters and pete/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">CC by 2.0</a>

    Report

    Implications of a Coercive Quarantine of Taiwan by China

    May 23, 2022

    It's possible that China could enact a quarantine of Taiwan, preventing it from sending exports or receiving imports. Quarantine exploits Taiwan's economic vulnerability but also has consequences for the United States and other allies. How might they respond?

  • Social media network over a world map, composite image by denisismagilov and Piotr Krzeslak/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Map of Online Violent Extremist Rhetoric Can Inform Counter-Efforts

    Jun 7, 2022

    An analysis of White identity terrorism and racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism discourse on social media finds that this content is largely created and fueled by users in the United States. A national strategy to counter these threats is needed.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • USS Connecticut submarine crew members after surfacing in the Arctic Circle during Ice Exercise, a biennial submarine exercise that promotes interoperability between allies and partners in Alaska, March 7, 2020, photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael B. Zingaro/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Blinken's Arctic Opportunities

    Continued positive U.S. engagement in the Arctic Council could be important for balancing the influence of Russia and China, and in moving toward the Biden administration's climate change goals. Washington's new priority on climate change could be an issue that will now bind, rather than divide, Arctic states.

    May 19, 2021

  • A driver walks to his car near an empty gas pump in Falls Church, Virginia, May 12, 2021, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is DarkSide Really Sorry? Is It Even DarkSide?

    The U.S. military relies heavily on commercial energy assets, making the implications of events like the Colonial Pipeline outage more serious than just higher prices at the gas pump. The origins and severity of an attack dictate what the United States might do in response.

    May 19, 2021

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III during a virtual meeting at the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C., May 5, 2021, photo by Chad McNeeley/U.S. Department of Defense

    Commentary

    It's Time to Drop 'Competition' in the National Defense Strategy

    What should the U.S. Defense Department do during peacetime if the United States is not competing with China and Russia? Simply put, it should prepare to win the next war, while defeating any military aggression below the threshold of conflict.

    May 18, 2021

  • A protester is detained inside the U.S. Capitol as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump protest outside, in Washington, D.C., January 6, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    Capitol Rioters Face FBI Arrests and Prosecution. How Not to Make Them Martyrs in the Process

    The righteous wrath of those who view January 6 as an insurrection and believe we need uncompromising prosecution is understandable. But is it strategic thinking? History has shown that prosecutions based on less severe and politically-fraught charges have a greater chance of resulting in the convictions needed to stop this behavior.

    May 14, 2021

  • Blog

    Pandemic Education, Working Mothers, Predicting Cyber Threats: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the urban-rural divide in pandemic education, supporting working moms, what makes a good COVID-19 reopening plan, and more.

    May 14, 2021

  • An employee works on final assembly of ventilators at Ventec Life Systems, in Bothell, Washington, March 18, 2020, photo by Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

    Commentary

    Supply Chains and National Security

    The many pandemic-related shortages that occurred in the United States and elsewhere provide a clear warning. Serious supply-chain vulnerabilities exist. We need to learn much more about this potential threat to national security.

    May 11, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga hold a joint news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April, 16, 2021, photo by Doug Mills/Pool/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    What the United States Wants from Japan in Taiwan

    If a Taiwan conflict breaks out, what might the United States request of Japan? For the U.S.-Japan alliance, the answer is critical if the countries want to translate expressions of support into actual planning and preparation.

    May 10, 2021

  • Massive coils of heavy high tension wire to rebuild the island's electrical distribution system arrive at the lay-down yard in this undated photo in Ponce, Puerto Rico, photo by Jerry Rogers/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Commentary

    U.S. Military Power Comes from More Than Just the Defense Budget

    With U.S. domestic challenges ranging from the ongoing pandemic to long-delayed infrastructure investments, now is a good time to consider spending that provides both domestic and national security benefits. Infrastructure spending offers one such example.

    May 10, 2021

  • Blog

    The Uyghurs, Getting the World Vaccinated, Policing in America: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on China's disappeared Uyghurs, how the United States can help get the rest of the world vaccinated, what's next for policing in America, and more.

    May 7, 2021

  • President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at Davao International airport in Davao City in southern Philippines, September 8, 2018, photo by Lean Daval Jr./Reuters

    Commentary

    China Has Lost the Philippines Despite Duterte's Best Efforts

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has time and again underscored his anti-U.S. and pro-Chinese orientation. Duterte now recognizes, in spite of his continued rhetoric to the contrary, that China is no friend.

    May 6, 2021

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts as he attends a parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in this image released by North Korea's Central News Agency on October 10, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden's North Korea Policy Review Is Sparse on Details. Here's One Interpretation

    The Biden administration recently completed its North Korea policy review. Details have been sparse, but based on prior U.S. dealings with the Kims, some informed guesses about Washington's approach towards Pyongyang under the new administration can be had. Here's one.

    May 6, 2021

  • Royal Australian Navy Able Seaman Marine Technician Joey Mead operates a zodiac as the USNS Mercy transfers cargo aboard the HMAS Labuan , near Timor-Leste, August 15, 2010, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eddie Harrison/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Australian and U.S. Military Health Professionals Can Help Address Pacific Island Needs

    Australia and the United States can combine their military health capabilities to help improve the long-term health security of Pacific island countries. These partnerships should be carefully planned and focus on enduring engagement.

    May 5, 2021

  • Aerial photo of the 12-building Department of Veterans Affairs replacement medical center under construction in Aurora, Colorado, photo courtesy of Kiewit Turner

    Commentary

    Infrastructure Investment for Veterans

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides health care to over 9 million veterans through its network of medical facilities. Improved infrastructure could help attract veterans to care, boost provider morale, and ensure high-quality care.

    May 4, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken meet virtually with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 12, 2021, photo by Pool/ABACA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden Should Consider Downsides of Stressing National Values in Indo-Pacific

    The Biden administration has argued that the United States must strengthen its Indo-Pacific alliances and partnerships to compete more successfully with China. Will Washington prioritize national interests or national values?

    May 3, 2021

  • Blog

    COVID-19 Disinformation, Biden's Address, Leaving Afghanistan: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russian and Chinese campaigns to spread malign and subversive information on COVID-19, President Biden's address to Congress, the planned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more.

    Apr 30, 2021

  • Children sing and dance in front of Children's Peace Monument to commemorate the coming into effect of the TPNW at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, January 22, 2021, photo by Osamu Kanazawa/Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters

    Commentary

    Nuclear Ban Treaty Offers Rare Chance for Japan

    As the only country to suffer the horrors of wartime atomic bombings, one would assume Japan would eagerly sign any treaty to ban such weapons. Why hasn't Japan signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which took effect in January 2021?

    Apr 30, 2021

  • An ethnic Uyghur boy stands at the door of his home as Chinese security forces secure the area in Urumqi, China, July 10, 2009, photo by Nir Elias/Reuters

    Essay

    China's Disappeared Uyghurs: What Satellite Images Reveal

    At least one million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have vanished into a sprawling network of camps and prisons in China's far west. Satellite images show brightly lit compounds, wall after wall of barbed wire, and a sudden rush to build what appear to be fortified preschools.

    Apr 29, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S. Service Members in Generally Good Health, but Risky Behaviors Persist

    U.S. military service members are mostly healthy but the level of risky behaviors such as binge drinking, tobacco use, and unprotected sex is cause for concern.

    Apr 28, 2021

  • Staff Sgt. Sharonica White completes a deadlift repetition during the U.S. Army Japan 2020 Army Week's Army Combat Fitness Test Fitness Warrior Competition at Camp Zama, Japan, June 8, 2020, photo by Winifred Brown/U.S. Army

    Project

    What Do We Know About the Health and Well-Being of U.S. Service Members?

    RAND experts have analyzed data from the Department of Defense's flagship survey for understanding the health, health behaviors, and well-being of service members. The results provide valuable insights across various health-related topics and about personnel by service branch.

    Apr 28, 2021

  • Russian Armed Forces disembark from assault boats during an exercise at the Opuk training ground, Crimea, April 22, 2021, photo by Sergei Malgavko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Will Russia's Risk-Aversion Keep It Away from Ukraine?

    Russia could blunder in Ukraine as Soviet rulers did in Afghanistan. Unlike then, however, a new Russian thrust into Ukraine could lead to early, heavy casualties. This could quickly bring home to the Kremlin the political costs of any incursion.

    Apr 28, 2021