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 map depicting Russian influence over Europe

    Report

    How to Counter Russia's Hostile Measures in Europe

    Jan 28, 2019

    Russia has a range of tools and methods short of conventional war that it can use to achieve its goals in Europe. There is no way to predict what Russia will do, but it's possible to analyze its motives and opportunities, the means it might employ, and how the United States should respond.

  • Police officials stand on the sidewalk as cars drive on the road in front of the Pulse night club, following a shooting in Orlando, Florida, June 21, 2016

    Report

    Trends in the Draw of Americans to Foreign Terrorist Organizations from 9/11 to Today

    Dec 18, 2018

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been more successful than its predecessor organization, al Qaeda, in drawing Americans to its cause. Americans drawn to ISIL are more likely to be younger, less educated, Caucasian/white or African American/black, and to have been born in the United States.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • A woman holding a diploma

    Report

    Scholarships Associated with Employment and Higher Earnings for Military Spouses

    MyCAA Scholarships aim to help military spouses obtain associate's degrees, occupational certificates, or licenses in high-demand portable career fields. They are associated with employment and higher earnings, and service members married to MyCAA users are more likely to be on active duty three years later.

    Nov 29, 2018

  • Report

    Analyses of the Department of Defense Acquisition Workforce: Update to Methods and Results Through FY 2017

    To aid the Department of Defense in managing its acquisition workforce, this volume provides analysis of the workforce and describes data-based tools to support further analysis.

    Nov 29, 2018

  • Report

    Quality of Life at Contingency Bases: Managing Sustainment Community Support Requirements

    Quality of life for soldiers on contingency bases is key for morale and physical and emotional well-being but also a substantial logistics burden. This report evaluates factors that contribute to and detract from soldier quality of life.

    Nov 29, 2018

  • A woman graduating

    Research Brief

    Scholarships Improve Work Prospects for Military Spouses

    MyCAA Scholarships are reaching the intended population—military spouses who want or need work, who are early in their careers, and who face military moves and deployments. Findings regarding work and earnings are promising, and personnel married to MyCAA users are more likely to still be on active duty three years after the scholarship is awarded.

    Nov 29, 2018

  • A man prays at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue following the October 27, 2018 shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Commentary

    Suppressing Motivation, Legitimacy Can Help Avoid Political Violence

    The threat of political violence is real and growing, but there are concrete things that can be done to reduce the risks. Solutions might include repeated statements from leaders that fear of people because of their ethnicity, religion, party, or social grouping is wrong and that violence against them is illegitimate and against American values.

    Nov 28, 2018

  • A U.S. soldier takes part in a defense exercise with British and Lithuanian soldiers in Mikyciai, Lithuania, June 17, 2017

    Report

    Rethinking the U.S. Approach to Force Planning

    The force planning standard used since the end of the Cold War is ill-suited for today. Force planning should focus on modernizing the capabilities and posture of U.S. forces to better enable them to deter and defeat aggression by China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Salafist-jihadi groups.

    Nov 28, 2018

  • Report

    Environmental Biodetection and Human Biosurveillance Research and Development for National Security: Priorities for the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate

    This report examines the Department of Homeland Security's chemical and biological defense research and development portfolio to identify priorities for future investments to effectively address biological threats.

    Nov 28, 2018

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers take part in a combat training in the Gobi desert in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, May 18, 2018

    Commentary

    China's Military Has No Combat Experience: Does It Matter?

    China's military has an impressive high-tech arsenal, but its ability to use these weapons and equipment remains unclear. The one asset that the People's Liberation Army lacks is combat experience. But there is no consensus—either within Chinese military circles or among foreign analysts—on how much that matters.

    Nov 27, 2018

  • L-R: Caroline Baxter, Cherie Emerson, Melissa Rowe, Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, Christine Wormuth, Kimberly Kagan, Cortney Weinbaum, Stacie Pettyjohn at the Roberta Wohlstetter Forum on National Security in Arlington, Virginia, October 24, 2018

    Blog

    RAND Hosts Forum on 21st-Century Warfare Honoring Roberta Wohlstetter

    National security experts, flag officers, and decisionmakers attended the Roberta Wohlstetter Forum on National Security at RAND's Washington office on October 24. The featured speakers, moderators, organizers, donor, and namesake for the event were all women.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • Senior military officials watch a parade at the main Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 9, 2018

    Commentary

    How America Can Test North Korea's True Intentions

    While North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has suggested he may be prepared to abandon his nuclear ambitions, there has been no proof that he is serious. The United States could take steps to discover Kim's true intentions.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leads the testing of a newly developed tactical weapon in this undated photo released on November 16, 2018

    Commentary

    Why North Korea Sanctions Relief Is Inappropriate at This Time

    In early 2018, Kim Jong Un signaled that he was ready to negotiate abandoning North Korea's nuclear weapons with the United States. But since then, Pyongyang hasn't taken steps to denuclearize. The DPRK's actions speak louder than its words.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • A 28th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician counts pills

    Report

    Integrating Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs Purchased Care: Preliminary Feasibility Assessment

    An integrated approach to purchasing health care for U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs could have important implications for access, quality, and costs but could face legislative, policy, or contractual challenges.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • Research Brief

    Preliminary Feasibility Assessment of DoD-VA Purchased Care Integration

    An integrated approach to purchasing health care for U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs could have important implications for access, quality, and costs but could face legislative, policy, or contractual challenges.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • A PLAAF J-20 stealth fighter performs during the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, China, November 6, 2018

    Report

    How the U.S. Air Force Shapes China's Military Aerospace Goals

    Aerospace power has been a core feature of the People's Liberation Army's rapid modernization. The main driver for its development is the PLA's view that it needs to be prepared to deter and, if necessary, defeat the United States in a high-end clash.

    Nov 21, 2018

  • The Ilyushin Il-96 aircraft transporting expelled Russian diplomats and their family members from the U.S., shortly after landing at Vnukovo airport outside Moscow, Russia, April 1, 2018

    Commentary

    Effective Responses to Russian Misbehavior

    Sanctions on Russians can be a powerful and effective tool, but in some cases there is a risk of spillover damage to other United States interests. It is worth considering whether America's interests may be best served by ensuring that penalties applied to Russia for misbehavior hit home against those responsible for it.

    Nov 20, 2018

  • A world map with digital infographics

    Report

    What Deters and Why

    What must the United States do to deter potential aggressors from attacking allies or other countries in large-scale conventional conflicts? Managing an adversary's motives is the key first step.

    Nov 20, 2018

  • U.S. Marines install concertina wire along the top of the primary border wall at the port of entry next to Tijuana, Meico, in San Ysidro, San Diego, U.S., November 9, 2018

    Commentary

    The U.S. Military's Border Enforcement Role

    The Trump administration announced a deployment of at least 5,200 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Is a military response of this size needed to address the situation on the southern border?

    Nov 19, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, March 20, 2018

    Commentary

    Could America Use Its Leverage to Alter the Saudis' Behavior?

    As the Saudis' chief political and military partner and the undisputed security guarantor in the Middle East, the United States has considerable influence it can wield over Saudi decisionmaking. The Trump administration could consider using its influence to encourage Saudi leadership to moderate its assertive and damaging policies abroad.

    Nov 15, 2018

  • Wargaming at the U.S. Army Command and Staff College on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, March 9, 2018

    Commentary

    Building a Pipeline of Wargaming Talent: A Two-Track Solution

    How does the Department of Defense imagine the future of war and make long-term investments to confront the challenges ahead? On issues ranging from potential conflicts with Russia to the future of transportation and logistics, senior leaders have increasingly turned to wargames to imagine potential futures.

    Nov 15, 2018

  • Brian Michael Jenkins at the One Night with RAND event on November 8, 2018

    Blog

    Reflecting on the Past to Counter Future Terrorism

    One Night with RAND brought together leaders in business, government, academia, and philanthropy to pay tribute to Brian Michael Jenkins and mark his 50-year affiliation with RAND and his substantial body of research on terrorism. Jenkins and other experts discussed the evolution of terrorism and strategies for countering it in the future.

    Nov 14, 2018