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

    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

  • Blog

    COVID Learning Loss, Russian Trolls, Artificial Intelligence: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on helping students recover learning losses, fighting Russian trolls, racial disparity in unemployment benefits, the race for AI leadership, and more.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • Mature Black women working on a computer at home, photo by Goodboy Picture Company/Getty Images

    Commentary

    National Security and Workplace Flexibility Aren't Incompatible After All

    For years, the U.S. Defense Department dismissed workplace flexibility as being incompatible with national security. But during the pandemic, flexibility became a matter of survival for all employers, including Defense. The question now is whether it will keep recent adaptations or go back to its rigid ways.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • A Standard Missile (SM) 3 Block IIA is launched from the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai , HI, December. 10, 2018, photo by U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Is Japan's Interest in Enemy Base Attack Capabilities a Good Idea?

    In the span of a month, Tokyo has rapidly gone from canceling a ballistic missile defense system to considering strike capabilities against foreign adversaries. Is Japan on the precipice of dramatically changing the way it uses its military?

    Jul 17, 2020

  • U.S. dollars and other currencies lie in a charity receptacle at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada, June 13, 2018, photo by Chris Helgren/Reuters

    Report

    Economic Competition in the 21st Century

    One can think of economic competition in two broad ways. The first is competition as an outcome: the ability to boost standards of living through domestic policies. The second is competition as an action, where economic policies also pursue geopolitical goals.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • A view of a damaged building after a fire broke out at Iran's Natanz Nuclear Facility, in Isfahan, Iran, July 2, 2020, photo by Wana News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    An Israeli Escalation Against Iran?

    Israeli involvement in recent attacks on Iran would not be surprising, and more such attacks might be coming. However, Israel's bet that the Iranians will not respond is risky. It's hard to control escalation when things are so volatile, especially as hardline Iranian leaders may increase pressure to retaliate.

    Jul 15, 2020

  • Report

    Improving Acquisition to Support the Space Enterprise Vision

    A new RAND report examines potential acquisition approaches to support the Space Enterprise Vision and identifies several promising ones that merit in-depth examination: modular open system architectures, agile acquisition, rapid prototyping.

    Jul 15, 2020

  • Examples of Facebook pages displayed during a House Intelligence Committee meeting on Russian use of social media to influence U.S. elections in Washington, D.C., November 1, 2017, photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    Commentary

    How You Can Fight Russia's Plans to Troll Americans During Campaign 2020

    The goal of Russian interference is to trigger emotional reactions and drive people to ideological extremes, making it nearly impossible to build a consensus. But Americans are less likely to have their emotions manipulated if they are aware that manipulation is the goal.

    Jul 14, 2020

  • A satellite image of haze of eastern China

    Journal Article

    Geolocating Growth of Suspect "Boarding" Facilities in Xinjiang China

    GEOINT analysis shows steady construction progress in both 2017 and 2019 of suspect facilities in southern Xinjiang.

    Jul 14, 2020