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.

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in discussion with Ted Harshberger, director of RAND Project AIR FORCE

    Multimedia

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper Visits RAND

    Sep 16, 2020

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper visited RAND's Santa Monica headquarters on September 16, 2020. Secretary Esper emphasized the importance of deterring China and the role of the U.S. defense industrial base.

  • Smoke superimposed over a mass grave of ISIS fighters found in 2017 near Fallujah, Iraq, photos by Iraqi ministry of defence and Marina/Adobe Stock; design by Peter Soriano/RAND Corporation

    Report

    Who Are America's Jihadists?

    Sep 11, 2020

    U.S. residents who plotted to carry out jihadist attacks at home and those who traveled or attempted to travel to join jihadists abroad represent two dimensions of the terrorist threat. But both types are driven by internal motivations and circumstances as much as they are inspired by external groups.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Blog

    China in 2050, Using Mobile Tools to Track COVID-19, Telemedicine: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the future of U.S.-China competition, privacy concerns surrounding mobile tools used to track COVID-19, how telemedicine can help patients access specialized care, and more.

    Jul 31, 2020

  • Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Vladimir Putin of Russia arrive for a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, September 16, 2019, photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

    Commentary

    Can America Weaken the Russia-Iran Axis?

    America's slow-motion retreat in Syria could embolden Iran and Russia and perhaps lead them to underestimate U.S. resolve to protect its interests in the Middle East. Clearer U.S. priorities and more deliberate engagement could reduce risk and help avoid miscalculation.

    Jul 31, 2020

  • Report

    An Updated Look at Military and Civilian Pay Levels and Recruit Quality

    Comparing military pay with civilian pay, the authors find that military pay in 2017 was above the 70th percentile of civilian pay. It was at the 85th percentile for enlisted personnel and the 77th percentile for officers.

    Jul 30, 2020

  • A group of U.S. NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) soldiers climb off a destroyed Bosnian tank March 16, 1996, that was hit in 1992, at the beginning of the war between Bosnian Moslem and Serbs, photo by Peter Andrews/Reuters

    Report

    Why America Fails in Irregular Warfare

    A memoir drawn from four decades of experience in the U.S. Army explores the strengths and limitations of America's irregular warfare capability. The author, who often saw success at the tactical level only to be followed by strategic muddling and eventual failure, offers ideas on how to develop a world-class way of irregular war.

    Jul 29, 2020

  • India's prime minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, during a bilateral meeting in Osaka, Japan, June 27, 2019, photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Quad Is Poised to Become Openly Anti-China Soon

    What has been striking about the Quad thus far is that it has resisted openly identifying China as the primary target it seeks to rein in. But if the Quad is to be sustained, then it will likely have to come to grips with a forward-leaning approach to opposing Chinese activities.

    Jul 28, 2020

  • North Korean and South Korean Flags

    Multimedia

    Rising Tensions Between the Two Koreas

    RAND policy analyst Soo Kim describes how the United States, South Korea, and Japan might respond to North Korea's recent provocations.

    Jul 27, 2020

  • Big data concept, global communication networks of planet earth. Data storage system. 3D illustration of Artificial Intelligence. Elements of this image are furnished by NASA, photo by NASA/Siarhei/AdobeStock

    Report

    Whose Story Wins: Rise of the Noosphere, Noopolitik, and Information-Age Statecraft

    Noopolitik, which favors the use of "soft power," is a new concept for adapting U.S. grand strategy to the information age. What are some new ways to fight back? And how might the future of noopolitik depend on what happens to the global commons?

    Jul 27, 2020

  • Sudan's Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, head of Military Transitional Council, and the military's chief of staff Lieutenant General Kamal Abdul Murof Al-mahi shake hands after being sworn in as leaders of Military Transitional Council in Sudan in this still image taken from video on April 11, 2019, photo by Sudan TV/Reuters

    Commentary

    Can Sudan Escape Its History as a Hub for Violent Extremists?

    Sudan continues to confront major challenges that could derail its path back to the mainstream of international politics. Sudan must show that it is no longer a haven for terrorist and violent extremist groups and that it is committed to ensuring that this remains true.

    Jul 24, 2020

  • Blog

    Reopenining Schools, Affordable Housing, Unemployment: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the debate about reopening schools, how a decline in commercial real estate demand could help address the housing crisis, challenges facing the U.S. unemployment system, and more.

    Jul 24, 2020

  • News Release

    China 2050: How the U.S. Should Prepare for an Ascendant China

    The United States should prepare for a triumphant or ascending People's Republic of China—scenarios that not only align with current PRC national development trends but also represent the most challenging future scenarios for the U.S. military.

    Jul 24, 2020

  • Chinese flag, yuan, and soldiers, image design by Katherine Wu/RAND Corporation; photos by Dmytro and Mike/Adobe Stock

    Report

    China's Grand Strategy

    China aims to be well governed, socially stable, economically prosperous, technologically advanced, and militarily powerful by 2050. Will it succeed? And how might its progress affect U.S.-China relations over the next three decades?

    Jul 24, 2020

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines, November 20, 2018, photo by Mark Cristino/Reuters

    Commentary

    China Refuses to Quit on the Philippines

    When the Filipino people elected Rodrigo Duterte to become their next president in May 2016, China saw a distinct opportunity to pull the longtime U.S. ally away from Washington and into Beijing's strategic orbit. But it remains to be seen how the long-term geopolitical competition between the United States and China over the Philippines will play out.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • Internally displaced Syrians drive back to their homes, as some people are afraid of the COVID-19 outbreak in crowded camps, in Dayr Ballut, Syria, April 11, 2020, photo by Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S. Is Just Getting Started in New Bid to End the War in Syria

    In June, the U.S. government announced the implementation of the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act with a flurry of sanctions against 39 people and entities connected with the Assad regime. There is much more to come. Syria, and Russia and Iran, have not yet felt the Caesar Act in full force.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • News Release

    Care for Veterans with Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders Requires Improvement

    Veterans who have served in the U.S. military since the 9/11 attacks have a high level of need for both substance use treatment and mental health care, yet many do not receive appropriate help for their co-occurring disorders.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • Flags of the United States and Russia

    Multimedia

    How Might the U.S. Respond to Russia?

    RAND's Linda Robinson describes several options for how the U.S. might respond if reports that Russia offered bounties to the Taliban for targeting U.S. and coalition troops are confirmed.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • Research Brief

    Guidance for Organizations That Support the Behavioral Health of Post-9/11 Veterans

    This brief highlights important treatment, provider, and system factors that organizations that support the behavioral health needs of veterans with co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health disorders should consider.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • Veterans talk in a group therapy session, photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images

    Research Brief

    Veterans with Both Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders Need Integrated Treatment

    Co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders are common among post-9/11 veterans. But treatment programs typically specialize in one issue or the other. Integrated treatments are more effective and have become more available, but it's critical that veterans have access to facilities that are equipped to treat them.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • Report

    Improving Substance Use Care: Addressing Barriers to Expanding Integrated Treatment Options for Post-9/11 Veterans

    This report provides guidance and recommendations to support the delivery of quality care for veterans with co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health disorders.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to the media after having a telephone discussion with U.S. President Donald Trump, in Tokyo, December 21, 2019, photo by Koji Ito/Reuters

    Commentary

    Are U.S.-Japan Relations on the Rocks?

    The relationship between the national security establishments in Washington and Tokyo appears to be close and trusting. But with current troublesome trends, more attention should be paid to what has otherwise been a reliably solid relationship.

    Jul 20, 2020

  • A man seated in front of a computer monitor in a dark room, photo by tommaso79/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Deadly Terrorist Threats Abound. Here Are the Key Dangers

    Today's self-selecting solo terrorists answer only to their god, whether seeking to destroy all government, pursuing racial separation or genocidal goals, expressing sexual dissatisfaction, or simply wanting to leave their mark. Military operations are irrelevant. This is a deeper societal problem.

    Jul 20, 2020