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 mourner writes a message on a makeshift memorial a day after a van struck multiple people along a major intersection in north Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 24, 2018

    Commentary

    The Continuing Plague of Vehicle Attacks: What Can Be Done?

    Apr 26, 2018

    Attacks using vehicles like the one in Toronto this week are difficult to defend against, but that doesn't mean that law enforcement and local security forces can't make progress. There are four crucial elements to consider when thinking about mitigating the effects of ramming attacks.

  • A mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle was used to extract people day and night from flooded areas in Florence County, North Carolina

    Report

    DoD's Excess Property Program Works, but Perceptions About Militarized Police Persist

    May 23, 2018

    The Department of Defense provides excess equipment—everything from desks to rifles to airplanes—at little or no cost to law enforcement agencies across America. This program is efficient and effective, but there are perceptions that it contributes to the militarization of police.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • The official mascot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, Zabivaka, is on display, with a tower of the Kremlin seen in the background, in central Moscow, Russia November 29, 2017

    Commentary

    Hit Russia Where It Hurts: Take Away World Cup

    After a chemical attack in Great Britain, U.K., U.S. and other governments responded unilaterally. But this crime cries out for a more collective response. Revoking Russia's right to host the World Cup tournament would be a powerful signal of global outrage and would hit Putin where it hurts.

    Apr 5, 2018

  • Bruce Bennett discusses North Korea at a March event at RAND's Santa Monica headquarters

    Blog

    Preparing for U.S.-North Korea Talks

    What are the chances that a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Trump will lead to meaningful progress? And what should U.S. leaders be thinking about as they prepare? RAND's Bruce Bennett discusses.

    Apr 5, 2018

  • News Release

    RAND Study Examines Ways U.S. Can Better Counter Political Warfare

    The United States needs to improve the ways it combats adversaries adept at using political warfare tactics to achieve their goals and undermine U.S. interests and allies.

    Apr 5, 2018

  • A U.S. soldier tends to Iraqi children during a mission in al-Kut, Iraq, September 19, 2008

    Report

    What Should DoD's Role in Stabilization Be?

    The U.S. military has historically shied away from stabilization activities, only to find itself tasked with performing that role. The experience of the past 15 years provides insights into what DoD should and should not be expected to undertake and into how a more effective approach to stabilization might be developed.

    Apr 5, 2018

  • Chess board made out of a world map

    Report

    Countering Modern Political Warfare

    Both state and nonstate actors—including Russia, Iran, and ISIS—practice political warfare in unique ways. How can the United States, along with its allies and partners, respond to or engage in this type of conflict to protect U.S. interests?

    Apr 5, 2018

  • London skyline with overlay of the UK and EU flags

    Commentary

    'Zero-sum' Approach to Defence and Security During Brexit Negotiations Risks a Less Secure UK and EU

    It is in the interest of neither the UK nor the EU to have a 'zero sum' approach to defense and security during Brexit negotiations. Both sides have plenty to lose if it turns into a 'messy divorce.'

    Apr 4, 2018

  • China Coast Guard vessels at the disputed Scarborough Shoal, April 5, 2017

    Commentary

    China Welcomes Its Newest Armed Force: The Coast Guard

    China's recent move to transfer responsibility for the China Coast Guard to the People's Armed Police will have major symbolic implications for China's presence in disputed waters. It can no longer claim its presence in the South China Sea is purely civilian in nature.

    Apr 4, 2018

  • Iran flag and ICBM

    Commentary

    The Iran Deal Will Survive, at Least for Now

    A U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal does not necessarily mean the deal will collapse. But a broader collapse of the agreement along with the imposition of harsh sanctions in the coming months could sharply escalate tensions with Iran.

    Apr 4, 2018

  • The U.S. embassy in Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2018

    Commentary

    Moscow Is Going Too Far

    Russia has become more daring with the West with its retaliatory expulsions and may face a high price. An angered West could turn from expulsions to economic countermeasures.

    Apr 3, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Terrorism Before and After 9/11: A More Dangerous World?

    This research aims to present a focused and balanced reckoning of the "global war on terror" (GWOT) by comparing it to the era immediately preceding it. The results do not generally comport with popular or mainstream accounts of terrorism.

    Apr 3, 2018

  • Man sitting with head in hands on a bed in a dark bedroom

    Commentary

    Comparing Suicide Rates: Making an Apples to Apples Comparison

    As the national suicide rate continues to rise, many stakeholders are looking within their own communities and asking, “Do we have a suicide problem?” This is a difficult question to answer.

    Apr 2, 2018

  • Turkish forces patrol an area in Afrin, Syria, March 22, 2018

    Commentary

    What's Turkey Trying to Achieve in Syria?

    Turkish President Erdoğan is attempting to cement his political legitimacy among Syrian Sunnis by portraying himself as their savior. If the United States withdraws from Syria after the mission to defeat ISIS is complete, it will essentially be ceding the advantage to Erdoğan, who can continue pushing his agenda.

    Apr 2, 2018

  • A U.S. Air Force B-52 prepares to carry the X-51 Hypersonic Vehicle out to the range for a launch test from Edwards AFB, California, May 1, 2013

    Commentary

    Hypersonic Missiles: A New Proliferation Challenge

    Within 10 years, hypersonic missiles are likely to be deployed and offered on the international market. But there is time for action by states that do not want hypersonic missiles to flourish in their neighborhoods. It is time to move toward heading off this threat while it is still possible to do so.

    Mar 29, 2018

  • Passengers walks past sign prior to immigration control

    Commentary

    European Security Cooperation Should Remain Comprehensive—Especially After Brexit

    During Brexit negotiations, it could be tempting for the UK and EU to use certain security structures as 'bargaining chips'. However, it is in no one's interests for both sides to adopt a 'zero-sum' approach to security discussions.

    Mar 28, 2018

  • F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Pakistan Air Force fly to a joint exercise with the air forces of the United States and its allies, Nevada, July 21, 2010

    Report

    Prospects for U.S. and Pakistan Air Power Engagement

    As U.S. military action in Afghanistan stabilizes below its peak levels, the U.S.-Pakistan security relationship will enter a new phase. What is the nature of the relationship between the U.S. Air Force and the Pakistan Air Force, and how can it be strengthened?

    Mar 28, 2018

  • Silhouetted soldiers on patrol at sunset

    Commentary

    On RAND's Research Findings Regarding Transgender Military Personnel Policy

    In September 2015, the Department of Defense asked RAND to initiate a study on the implications of allowing transgender personnel to serve openly. Since its publication, the research has been widely viewed as the most comprehensive and authoritative analysis on this topic. RAND stands by the study's research approach, analysis, and findings.

    Mar 27, 2018

  • Multimedia

    Overcoming the Threats of Our Strategic Competitors

    What weapon systems and posture enhancements should Congress and the Defense Department consider to ensure that America is prepared for responsive and resilient operations in theaters of potential conflict? In this Congressional briefing, RAND's David Ochmanek discusses findings from his recent research.

    Mar 27, 2018

  • News Release

    To Protect Overseas Interests, China Likely to Rely More on Contractors and Host Nation Forces Than Its Own Military

    China is far less likely to involve its military in security activities abroad than has been the case for the United States or for imperial powers of previous centuries. To bolster security for the Belt and Road Initiative and other economic activities abroad, China will instead rely heavily on civilian contractors and host nation-provided forces, with Chinese military and paramilitary forces playing an important but limited role.

    Mar 27, 2018

  • A U.S. gunnery officer discusses techniques with Chinese sailors before a joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden, August 24, 2013

    Report

    How China Is Pursuing Overseas Security

    Thousands of China's commercial enterprises are located overseas. Millions of its citizens travel abroad each year. To protect its interests from maritime piracy, civil conflict, and other threats, China is likely to rely more on contractors and host nation forces than its own military. What will this mean for the United States?

    Mar 27, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at an opening of a new session of parliament in Tokyo, January 22, 2018

    Commentary

    What Does Japan Think of the Iran Nuclear Deal?

    What is Tokyo's view of the Iran nuclear deal and how has Tokyo responded to the U.S. threat to withdraw from it? What role is Japan, the world's third-largest economy, a major U.S. ally, and the only country ever to be attacked with nuclear weapons, likely to play in attempting to preserve, improve, or scrap the deal?

    Mar 26, 2018