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.

  • Chinese marine surveillance ships cruising in the East China Sea, as the islands known as the Senkaku isles in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China are seen in the background, April 23, 2013, photo by Kyodo/Reuters

    Report

    The Health of U.S. and Partner Deterrence in the Gray Zone

    Apr 19, 2021

    Gray zone aggression, campaigns to achieve political objectives while remaining below the threshold of outright warfare, is on the rise. U.S. and allied deterrent postures are reasonably strong, though mixed, when it comes to China's aggression in the Senkaku Islands, Russia's in the Baltic states, and North Korea's in South Korea.

  • 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?

    Apr 28, 2021

    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.

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  • South Korean soldiers coordinate fires during a joint artillery exercise with U.S. soldiers near the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea, May 10, 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson/U.S. Army

    Report

    The State of Deterrence in Korea and the Taiwan Strait

    The United States and South Korea have a robust military presence on the Korean peninsula that, at a minimum, would make any effort by North Korea to reunify the nations by force extremely costly. In contrast, the state of U.S. deterrence with regard to Chinese aggression against Taiwan is mixed.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Reducing Rework in Officer Appointment Processes

    Appointment scrolls are required for officers to enter the services and to take on service in a different grade, military service, or component. This report contains recommendations for increasing the efficiency of the scroll creation process.

    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

  • Houthi fighters during a gathering of Houthi loyalists on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, July 8, 2020, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Report

    Understanding the Iran Threat Network

    The Iran Threat Network is a formidable force of tens of thousands of fighters from non-Iranian, nonstate proxy and partner groups. How does this network factor into Tehran's political and military strategy?

    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, in which fundamental questions such as whether and how the U.S. should engage with the region were explored.

    Apr 13, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Report

    Report

    Examining Career and Technical Education in National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Programs

    The authors examined career and technical education opportunities for participants in the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program, a residential, quasi-military program for youth ages 16-18 who are experiencing difficulty in traditional high school.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Army Analytic Capabilities: A Case Study Within Army Contracting Command and Its Implications

    The U.S. Army lacks access to modern, commonplace analytical data management tools, and its data are locked away in siloed and proprietary databases. To solve these two challenges, the authors found an effective, efficient, and quick path forward.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • North Korea displays what appears to be its largest intercontinental ballistic missile during a parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Workers' Party, October 10, 2020, photo by KCNA

    Report

    Countering the Risks of North Korean Nuclear Weapons

    There is a growing gap between North Korea's nuclear weapon threat and South Korean and U.S. capabilities to defeat it. Because these capabilities will take years to develop, attention should be focused on where the threat could be in the mid to late 2020s and strategy options that could be employed to counter it.

    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

  • Report

    Report

    Tailoring Medical Standards for Air Force Personnel

    To serve in the U.S. military, individuals must meet medical standards to ensure that they are fit to serve. The authors explore the implications to U.S. Air Force culture of tailoring such standards to expand or limit the pool of qualified personnel.

    Apr 8, 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

  • Report

    Report

    A Review of the Air Force Fitness Assessment

    This report presents an overview of research relevant to U.S. Air Force fitness assessment components to ensure readiness of personnel, support the National Defense Strategy, and promote a culture of health and well-being across the U.S. Air Force.

    Apr 6, 2021

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Improving Behavioral Health Care for Remote Service Members: Three Key Priorities

    Service members who are geographically remote from a military treatment facility may face unique challenges accessing high-quality behavioral health care. RAND research identified three key priority areas for the U.S. Department of Defense.

    Apr 5, 2021