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

  • Joe Biden shakes hands with Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, March 10, 2011, photo by Alexander Natruskin/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Biden-Putin Summit: Do the Risks Outweigh the Potential Rewards?

    President Biden has proposed that the United States and Russia hold a summit in the coming months. If that happens, major gains may be out of reach at first. Some progress might be possible, but the risks may be greater than at most previous summits.

    Apr 27, 2021

  • Soldiers in 3rd Platoon, Combat Company, 1-32 Infantry, return from a patrol near the villages of Tsapre and Aybat, Afghanistan, April 1, 2007, photo by Army Spc. Jon H. Arguello/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    To Lose a War

    The result of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will be a blow to American credibility and a weakening of deterrence and the value of American reassurance elsewhere. It will also result in an increased terrorist threat emanating from the Afghan region, and the distinct possibility of a necessary return there one day under worse conditions.

    Apr 26, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga arrive for a news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2021, photo by Tom Brenner/Reuters

    Commentary

    Suga-Biden Summit: Rekindling Confidence in the U.S.-Japan Alliance

    The April summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga signaled a deepening in the U.S.-Japan alliance. It highlighted important new areas of cooperation and a concrete agenda for U.S.-Japan relations.

    Apr 26, 2021

  • Blog

    Summer Learning, America's Middle Class, Waking Up After the Pandemic: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to make summer learning count, U.S. deterrence in the ‘gray zone,’ why so many Americans are stuck outside the middle class, and more.

    Apr 23, 2021

  • Cyber warfare operators monitor cyber attacks at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, MD, December 2, 2017, photo by J.M. Eddins Jr./U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    How the Military Might Expand Its Cyber Skills

    The U.S. military will need to improve its software fluency if it wants to be dominant on the battlefields of the future. Ensuring that future leaders in the military develop cyber skills and the ability to interface with technical experts may be increasingly important.

    Apr 22, 2021

  • Time-lapse of Starry Night Sky

    Multimedia

    The Need for Space Norms

    RAND senior political scientist Stephen Flanagan discusses the increasing level of space activity and the need for space norms to provide guidance for how nations should conduct space operations.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden walk on the Colonnade prior to their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2021, photo by Doug Mills/Pool via CNP/InStar

    Commentary

    'Joe-Yoshi' Spirit Buoys Japan-U.S. Alliance in Turbulent Seas

    President Biden and Prime Minister Suga appear to have established a warm, personal rapport while communicating a clear vision of the importance of working together to end the pandemic, combat climate change, preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific, and defend democracy.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • A U.S. Army sergeant, part of a Female Engagement Team in Afghanistan, gathering information from women so that blankets and winter clothing can be distributed to the women and their families, photo by Spc. Kristina Truluck/U.S. Army

    Multimedia

    The Future of the Special Operations Forces

    An overview of testimony by Linda Robinson presented before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations on March 26, 2021.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchange documents during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • The SolarWinds logo is seen outside its headquarters in Austin, Texas, December 18, 2020, photo by Sergio Flores/Reuters

    Commentary

    Unconventional Supply Network Operations: A New Frontier in Global Competition

    The technological advances of recent decades that have made supply networks drastically more efficient, valuable, and essential to every element of our daily lives have also created a highly interdependent, largely unsecured portfolio of potential attack surfaces.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • Blog

    COVID-19 Demographic Trends, Vaccinating 'High-Contact' People, the Iran Threat Network: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how the pandemic is shaping demographic trends, targeting vaccines to "high-contact" people, the Iran Threat Network, and more.

    Apr 16, 2021

  • European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora and Iranian Deputy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria April 6, 2021

    Commentary

    The Biden Administration Will Find It Difficult to Contain Israel and Iran's Escalating Tensions

    Iran is blaming Israel for a blackout at one of its nuclear research facilities. This attack is likely to complicate nuclear diplomacy and further erode trust between Tehran and Washington. Also, it may only incentivize Iran to advance its nuclear program.

    Apr 14, 2021

  • A New Vision for the Middle East

    Multimedia

    A New Vision for the Middle East

    Dalia Dassa Kaye and Linda Robinson discuss their study, Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East, which explores fundamental questions, such as whether and how the United States should engage the region.

    Apr 13, 2021

  • Call with the Experts: The North Korean Nuclear Threat

    Multimedia

    The North Korean Nuclear Threat

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, Jeffrey Hiday, director of Media Relations at RAND, is joined by Bruce Bennett, RAND adjunct international/defense researcher, Bruce Bechtol, professor of political science at Angelo State University, and Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow with the Heritage Foundation, for a discussion about the North Korean nuclear threat.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft return after a long-range raid from Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Nov. 4, 2016, photo by Sergeant Major Michael Cato/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    The United States Considers Reinforcing Its 'Pacific Sanctuary'

    Soon after he took office, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a posture review to ensure that the U.S. global footprint is the right size to support U.S. strategy. Japan's continued importance to U.S. strategy and Tokyo's increased willingness to be more proactive in the security domain mean that Japan could see an uptick in U.S. military presence after this review is complete.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi at a joint press conference in Tokyo, March 16, 2021, photo by Yomiuri Shimbun/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden Puts Japan at the Center of U.S. Policy in Asia

    Addressing the Chinese threat in the Indo-Pacific requires working with allies and partners. So far, Japan appears to be one of the priority relationships for the Biden administration.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • Social networking service, streaming video, communication network, photo by metamorworks/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Intelligence Community's Deadly Bias Toward Classified Sources

    Even when relevant data is publicly available, U.S. intelligence analysts are not including it in their analytic products during their routine course of business. This willful ignorance of publicly available information is hurting U.S. national security.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • Blog

    Trust in the CDC, Teaching Students with Disabilities, Russian Mercenaries: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses declining trust in the CDC, insights from educators about teaching students with disabilities, Russian mercenaries, and more.

    Apr 9, 2021

  • A man holds an assault rifle as Proud Boys gather in support of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse and Aaron 'Jay' Danielson in Portland, Oregon, September 26, 2020, photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Muddy the Objectives on Fighting Domestic Extremism

    The U.S. Capitol attack on January 6 has fueled momentum for new approaches and laws to counter attacks by domestic violent extremists. It will be crucial for policymakers to reckon with what new laws and law enforcement can achieve, and what they can get wrong.

    Apr 7, 2021

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the Prime Minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, March 16, 2021, photo by Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Japan-U.S. Summit and Cooperation with South Korea

    The Biden administration's goal of renewed Japan–South Korea–U.S. trilateralism is laudable and promising, but substantial obstacles remain. The passage of time alone is not going to strengthen ties between South Korea and Japan. Washington may have to play a leading role if it wants to see relations between Seoul and Tokyo improve.

    Apr 6, 2021