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.

  • A Delta IV rocket successfully launches the Global Positioning System IIF-5 satellite from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, February 20, 2014, photo by Ben Cooper/United Launch Alliance

    Research Brief

    What Will the Future of Warfare Look Like?

    May 11, 2020

    Poor predictions about wars stem from failing to think holistically about the factors that drive changes in the global environment and their implications for warfare. Geopolitical, economic, military, space, nuclear, cyber, and other trends will shape the contours of conflict through 2030.

  • Members of the Great Lakes anti-fascist organization (Antifa) fly flags during a protest against the Alt-right outside a hotel in Warren, Michigan, March 4, 2018, photo by Stephanie Keith/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Dangers of Designating Antifa as a Terrorist Organization Now

    Jun 22, 2020

    The notion of designating Antifa as a terrorist organization may be intended to be a discrete act. But the precedent it would set could bring major strategic changes to how the United States uses counterterrorism laws, with uncertainties about whether those changes better serve national security.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Coast Guard cutter Cypress at sunset. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Rat / U.S. Coast Guard

    Report

    Developing New Future Scenarios for the U.S. Coast Guard's Evergreen Strategic Foresight Program

    The U.S. Coast Guard's Evergreen strategic foresight initiative works to identify emerging service challenges that require focus in the near term. This report describes an approach to developing future scenarios to aid in that process.

    May 27, 2020

  • Report

    Russia's Limit of Advance: Analysis of Russian Ground Force Deployment Capabilities and Limitations

    Analysis of Russian military capabilities reveals stark limitations in Russia's ability to safely and effectively deploy and sustain ground forces around the world.

    May 27, 2020

  • Report

    Russia's Limit of Advance: Scenarios

    Russia's ability to deploy military forces around the world is significantly depleted from the Soviet era. This report describes the strengths and weaknesses of Russia's ground force deployment capacity.

    May 27, 2020

  • Digital world map, photo by dem10/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Why the United States Will Need a New Foreign Policy in 2020

    Even before the pandemic, the United States faced a growing strategic predicament: U.S. challenges are mounting, and America's international commitments increasingly outstrip its means to fulfill them.

    May 26, 2020

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: May-June 2020

    Feature stories explore how military and local governments can work together to prepare their communities for climate change, and the unmet needs of civilians who return from war zones and other hot spots throughout the world.

    May 22, 2020

  • China's aircraft carrier Liaoning takes part in a Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy military drill in the western Pacific Ocean, April 18, 2018, photo by China Stringer Network/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Aggression Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Little to Do with COVID-19

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to monopolize the attention of leaders around the world, some international observers of China have concluded that Beijing is attempting to exploit the crisis for geopolitical gain. The reality is that China has been engaging in the same types of pressure tactics for years and will likely continue once the pandemic passes.

    May 20, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, May 17, 2018, p

    Commentary

    Russia's Challenge and Syria's Chance

    With much of Syria lying in ruins, Russia can back a revived United Nations–led peacemaking process, or see the West rebuff its appeals for large-scale aid. If Russia chooses wisely, the West, wealthy Gulf countries, and China could help. If Moscow procrastinates, the West may withhold assistance and continue cooperation with regional partners.

    May 20, 2020

  • Report

    Enhancing Assessments of Space Mission Assurance

    The authors describe decisionmaker needs for assessments of space mission assurance (SMA), challenges for conducting SMA assessments, the shortfalls that may result from the challenges, and options for addressing the shortfalls.

    May 20, 2020

  • Kim Jong Un attends the completion of a fertilizer plant with his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, in a region north of Pyongyang, May 2, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea Post–Kim Jong Un Reappearance: Expect Business as Usual in the Hermit Kingdom

    Kim Jong Un's return, while it leaves much to be desired in the way of explanation, should send one message to the international audience: North Korea's fate rests still in the hands of Kim Jong Un. And judging by appearances in recent days, Kim does not appear to intend to change the course of his strategy to reduce tensions with the United States.

    May 19, 2020

  • Capt. Tara Brouse, critical care nurse, intensive care unit, Madigan Army Medical Center, assists with treating a mock patient at the Internal Care Ward of the 131st Field Hospital, 528th Hospital Center, photo by U.S. Army

    Report

    Options for Maintaining Clinical Proficiency During Peacetime

    The U.S. Army Medical Department cares for war wounded during conflict and operates medical treatment facilities that care for service members, their beneficiaries, and military retirees. How can the Army help providers prepare at home for wartime?

    May 19, 2020

  • Report

    Building a Broader Evidence Base for Defense Acquisition Policymaking

    This report summarizes the case for a broader evidence base for defense acquisition policymaking. It also describes a prototype policy game focused on Middle-Tier Acquisition that researchers developed to enrich the available evidence base.

    May 19, 2020

  • U.S. soldiers load onto a CH-47 Chinook helicopter as they leave Al Qaim Base, Iraq, March 9, 2020, photo by Spc. Andrew Garcia/U.S. Army

    Report

    Weighing U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Iraq

    Supporting a stable and friendly Iraq is in the long-term interest of the United States. This does not require continuing the combat assistance mission, but would mean maintaining a small force of military advisers to help train and develop Iraqi capabilities so that Iraq could defend itself.

    May 19, 2020

  • Woman walking through airport with luggage and an image of bombed Syrian city superimposed on the background, photos by Drazen_/Getty Images and fly_and_dive/Adobe Stock

    Essay

    Civilians Returning from War Zones Need More Support

    Deployed civilians often work alongside the military in combat zones or other high-stress, high-risk areas. But when they return, their experience is much different. They come home to support that is often incomplete and insufficient, and sometimes entirely nonexistent.

    May 18, 2020

  • Report

    U.S. Coast Guard Workforce 2040: Better Management Through Transparency

    This Perspective describes several ways in which the U.S. Coast Guard can effectively recruit and retain its future workforce by providing greater transparency in personnel management practices, inspired by a U.S. Coast Guard Evergreen V workshop.

    May 18, 2020

  • Polygonal image of COVID-19 virus superimposed on a digital world map, photo by Andrii Pokliatskyi/Getty Images

    Blog

    Global Challenges to Maintaining a Healthy Workforce During a Pandemic: Views from RAND Experts

    As nations across the globe remain in lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, questions about the future of employment and workforce productivity emerge. During a recent webinar, RAND experts discussed how to get people back to work and improve productivity post COVID-19.

    May 15, 2020

  • An aerial view of Joint Base Langley-Eustis and the Hampton Roads area, Virginia, May 20, 2018, photo by SrA Anthony Nin Leclerec/U.S. Air Force

    Essay

    Civilians and Military Collaborate to Address Climate Change

    The Hampton Roads area in Virginia is home to more than 1.7 million people, a major port, and more military installations than anywhere else in the United States. Its rising sea levels and floods brought together civilian and military officials on a project to mitigate damage and foster resiliency.

    May 13, 2020

  • A truck driver shows his transportation worker identification credentials to Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Parrington and Ens. Cassidy Childs at the Motiva Enterprises fuel terminal. Photo by PA2 Lauren Jorgensen/Coast Guard First District Public Affairs

    Report

    The Risk-Mitigation Value of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential: A Comprehensive Security Assessment of the TWIC Program

    The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is designed to enhance security at U.S. ports. This report provides the findings from an assessment of the TWIC program, along with the assessors' recommendations.

    May 13, 2020

  • An ancient sculpture of a god's face superimposed over source code, images by Adolf and kentoh/Adobe Stock

    Report

    How to Track and Disrupt the Illicit Antiquities Trade

    The sale of stolen cultural property provides an important funding source for terrorist organizations and rogue states. New evidence compiled from numerous open sources shows how the illicit antiquities market operates and ways law enforcement might be able to disrupt it.

    May 12, 2020

  • The business centre Lakhta-2, which reportedly houses internet research companies known for the trolling on social media, in St. Petersburg, Russia, February 20, 2018, photo by Anton Vaganov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Exposing Russian Information Operations Does Not Violate the First Amendment

    Russia's hostile information operations are continuous and extend to a broad range of domestic issues. First Amendment concerns are important, but they do not protect hostile information campaigns by foreign actors, nor are they a legal excuse for inaction by the United States.

    May 11, 2020

  • Joint Interagency Task Force South, JIATF South, JIATF-S, Drug trafficking, illicit trafficking, DOD, Federal Agencies, Interagency, Border Safety, Customs, Border Patrol

    Report

    The Future of Warfare in 2030: Project Overview and Conclusions

    This report is the overview in a series that seeks to answer questions about the future of warfare, including who might be the United States' adversaries and allies, where conflicts will be fought, and how and why they might occur.

    May 11, 2020