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.

  • Russian President Putin attends a conference of heads of security and intelligence agencies of the Commonwealth of Independent States member countries remotely in Moscow, Russia, September 29, 2022, photo by Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik via Reuters

    Commentary

    Nuclear Weapons and Putin's 'Holy War'

    Russia's nuclear saber-rattling has shifted the stakes of the war in Ukraine. But enabling Russia's blackmail doesn't prevent the catastrophic costs of nuclear escalation. It merely shifts those costs away from Russia and into the future, inviting other nuclear states to pull the same move for their conquests.

    Nov 2, 2022

  • Commanding General of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force awards U.S. Marines and Soldiers a challenge coin during an award ceremony in Okinawa, Japan, February 2019, photo by Joshua Sechser/U.S. Department of Defense

    Report

    How China Might React to Shifting U.S. Posture in the Indo-Pacific

    As the U.S. military weighs posture enhancements in the Indo-Pacific to counter China's military development and influence, understanding how China is likely to react to these changes is critical. A new framework offers key factors that U.S. policymakers and military planners should consider.

    Oct 25, 2022

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  • Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers set up High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems supplied by the United States in Ukraine, July 5, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Protecting Ukraine's Future Security

    Western support for Ukraine's future security could depend in part on how the war ends and the extent to which Moscow remains threatening. Ukraine can better protect its security through robust, tangible security ties with the West.

    Oct 10, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends an annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 23, 2021, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    Commentary

    Will Putin's War in Ukraine Continue Without Him?

    Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, there has been ongoing deliberation about how long Putin will remain in power. But the West should not assume a change of leadership would result in an end to the war, at least in the short term, as Putin's war could very well continue without Putin.

    Oct 10, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Microchips, Ukraine, Outer Space: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how safeguarding Taiwan is the answer to America's microchip problem, a moment of clarity in Ukraine, new rules in space, and more.

    Oct 7, 2022

  • Dissertation

    Dissertation

    A Proposed Decision Framework for DoD Investment in Nuclear Energy Technology: Focused on Microreactors at DoD Locations in the U.S.

    Proposes a decision framework to help DoD decisionmakers determine whether an investment in nuclear energy technologies is worthwhile.

    Oct 5, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Using Metrics to Understand the Performance of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework

    The authors of this report identify initial metrics that the U.S. Department of Defense can use to assess whether pathways in the Adaptive Acquisition Framework are achieving their goals.

    Oct 5, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin declares the annexation of four Ukrainian provinces at the Great Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia, September 30, 2022, photo by Grigory Sysoyev/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    A Moment of Strategic Clarity

    With the Russian mobilization and declared annexation, whatever prospects there were for a negotiated peace seem to have all but vanished. Any result short of Ukrainian victory will be, in the long run, a worse outcome for the rules-based international order.

    Oct 3, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Civic Education, Twitter's Bot Problem, Police Reform: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses civic and citizenship education in America, addressing Twitter’s bot problem, why community engagement is key to police reform, and more.

    Sep 30, 2022

  • Multiracial group of teenagers sitting on school steps looking at the camera, photo by Daniel de la Hoz/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Ways to Help Students Report Threats to Their School

    When students or others don't know how to report a threat or aren't willing to do so, important opportunities to protect students may be missed. Schools receive little guidance about how to implement an effective reporting program or how to build a robust reporting culture. A recent research effort helps to fill this gap, highlighting seven key implications for school safety planning.

    Sep 29, 2022

  • Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden in Jamkha, Afghanistan, May 1, 1998, photo by Balkis Press/ABACA/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Question of Succession in Al-Qaida

    Two months after the death of al Qaida leader Aymin al-Zawahiri, experts continue to debate potential contenders for his replacement while waiting for al-Qaeda to make an announcement. A dark horse contender with long ties to Osama bin Laden could upend predictions and threaten to revive one of history's most lethal terrorist groups.

    Sep 29, 2022

  • A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft makes a very low altitude pass by USS Donald Cook, April 12, 2016, photo by U.S. Navy

    Report

    Russian Coercive Signaling Toward the West

    In recent years, Russia has consistently engaged in signaling activities—military actions far short of direct aggression but often creating escalatory risks—toward the United States and its allies. Understanding what drives this behavior can help U.S. efforts to interpret future events.

    Sep 29, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    A Methodology for Quantifying the Value of Cybersecurity Investments in the Navy

    Researchers developed a methodology to assess the value of resource options for U.S. Navy cybersecurity investments. The proposed methodology enables the Navy to rationalize the cost-effectiveness of potential investments within the POM process.

    Sep 28, 2022

  • Members of China's research team setting up an ocean profiling float near the icebreaker Xuelong in the Arctic Ocean, August 18, 2016, photo by Wu Yue/Xinhua/Alamy

    Report

    China's Growing Role in the Arctic

    China has become a player in the Arctic region, engaging in economic, scientific, cultural, diplomatic, and military activities. What security risks do China's investments pose, and what could the United States and its partners do to mitigate undesirable Chinese involvement in the region?

    Sep 27, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Assessment and Selection for U.S. Air Force Special Warfare: Vol. 1, Defining Attributes and Designing Rater Training

    Air Force Special Warfare warrants specialized assessment and selection of future operators. The authors examine the nontechnical attributes needed to conduct challenging missions and the process for selecting candidates who can succeed.

    Sep 27, 2022

  • Global communication, photo by Von polygraphus/Getty Images

    Report

    Digital Infrastructure and Digital Presence: A Framework for Assessing the Impact on Future Military Competition and Conflict

    Digital infrastructure has emerged as an area of competition between the United States and China. This report examines this competition and describes the implications for long-term military competition and conflict.

    Sep 27, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Putin's Latest Threats, U.S. Policy in the Middle East, Disaster Recovery: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russia's troop mobilization and the ongoing war in Ukraine, U.S. policy in the Middle East, building a more diverse teacher workforce, and more.

    Sep 23, 2022

  • Elon Musk's twitter account on a smartphone in front of the Twitter logo, April 15, 2022, photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

    Commentary

    Elon Musk May Have a Point About Bots on Twitter

    Twitter has a deep bench of engineers working for the company. They have access to trillions of data points on their over 300 million monthly active users. Why has a company this size struggled to clean up its platform?

    Sep 23, 2022

  • Cars drive and residents gather at the Shorja wholesale market during a sandstorm in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2022, photo by Ahmed Saad/Reuters

    Report

    A New Approach to U.S. Security Policy in the Middle East

    U.S. interests in the Middle East and the risks posed to them have evolved in ways that call for a modified set of priorities. The United States should not disengage from the region, but instead protect its interests by relying less on military operations and more on diplomacy and other civilian tools.

    Sep 22, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin makes an address on the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Moscow, Russia, September 21, 2022, photo by Russian Presidential Press Service/Kremlin via Reuters

    Blog

    RAND Experts React to Putin's Latest Threatening Rhetoric

    Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to double down on his country's war effort during a major speech, calling up hundreds of thousands of new troops, threatening Ukraine and the West, vowing to use “all the means at our disposal,” and pointing out that he is not bluffing. Here's what RAND experts had to say.

    Sep 21, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in the city of Veliky Novgorod, Russia, September 21, 2022, photo by Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    Regime Change in Russia?

    A careful strategy of strength and prudence has helped the West maintain security and manage relations with Moscow. The West may continue this course while upping the ante to help Ukraine defeat and expel Russian forces. In so doing, the West may also be advancing prospects for longer-term peace that might come only through liberalization in Russia.

    Sep 21, 2022

  • Doctor working on a digital tablet with copy space, photo by 6okean/Getty Images

    Testimony

    Wait Times for Veterans Scheduling Health Care Appointments

    There are no national standards for how long is too long for a patient to wait for a health care appointment. Better data about the timeliness and quality of VA Community Care are needed to help veterans make better-informed decisions. What are some recommended approaches to improve data collection and reporting?

    Sep 21, 2022