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.

  • Woman walking through airport with luggage and an image of bombed Syrian city superimposed on the background, photos by Drazen_/Getty Images and fly_and_dive/Adobe Stock

    Essay

    Civilians Returning from War Zones Need More Support

    May 18, 2020

    Deployed civilians often work alongside the military in combat zones or other high-stress, high-risk areas. But when they return, their experience is much different. They come home to support that is often incomplete and insufficient, and sometimes entirely nonexistent.

  • A Delta IV rocket successfully launches the Global Positioning System IIF-5 satellite from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, February 20, 2014, photo by Ben Cooper/United Launch Alliance

    Research Brief

    What Will the Future of Warfare Look Like?

    May 11, 2020

    Poor predictions about wars stem from failing to think holistically about the factors that drive changes in the global environment and their implications for warfare. Geopolitical, economic, military, space, nuclear, cyber, and other trends will shape the contours of conflict through 2030.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bilateral meeting with President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte alongside the ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines, November 13, 2017, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    If U.S. Forces Have to Leave the Philippines, Then What?

    If the United States were to lose access to bases in the Philippines, the effects would ripple outward. Maintaining alliances in the Indo-Pacific in all their manifestations is critical—and the details matter.

    Feb 28, 2020

  • U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army base in Logar province, Afghanistan, August 7, 2018, photo by Omar Sobhani/Reuters

    Commentary

    The First Step on a Long Path to Peace in Afghanistan

    It has taken 10 years to reach the brink of a first substantial step in toward peace in Afghanistan, and much could still go wrong. Can the Taliban and the Afghan government come together to jointly govern the country?

    Feb 27, 2020

  • West African leaders and officials stand for a family photo at the ECOWAS extraordinary summit on terrorism in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, September 14, 2019 photo by Anne Mimault/Reuters

    Commentary

    More Engagement in West Africa Could Blunt Looming Crisis

    There is a very real possibility that the security crisis afflicting Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger will spread to the countries of the West African coastal region. Early action including security-sector support could be the key to staving off worst-case scenarios.

    Feb 25, 2020

  • U.S. advisors speak with their Afghan National Army counterparts during a routine fly-to-advise mission at Forward Operating Base Altimur, Afghanistan, September 19, 2018, photo by Sean Kimmons/U.S. Army

    Report

    What Best Practices in DDR Could Work for Afghanistan?

    Implementing a peace accord between the Afghan government and the Taliban will take years. Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) are likely to result from rather than lead the process, because disarmament requires a level of trust that can only be built over time. How can the U.S. best advise Afghan authorities on DDR?

    Feb 24, 2020

  • Blog

    New START, Trump's Middle East Peace Plan, New Tobacco Products: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why the United States should extend the New START agreement, the Trump administration's Middle East peace plan, new tobacco products, and more.

    Feb 21, 2020

  • Robot hand touching CGI lightbulb, photo by PhonlamaiPhoto/Getty Images

    Blog

    National Security Commission on AI Requests New Ideas; RAND Responds

    The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence put out an open call for submissions about emerging technology's role in the global order. RAND researchers stepped up to the challenge and submitted a wide range of ideas.

    Feb 21, 2020

  • Robot Detection U.S. Air Force Airman Gevoyd Little operates his remote explosive detection robot during Operation Falcon Sweep in the Village of Shakaria, Iraq, Jan. 11, 2006, photo by Kevin L. Moses Sr./U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    How to Train Your AI Soldier Robots (and the Humans Who Command Them)

    While AI-enabled robots will have human-like characteristics, they will likely develop distinct personalities of their own. The military will need an extensive training program to inform new doctrines and concepts to manage this powerful, but unprecedented, capability.

    Feb 21, 2020

  • Report

    Physical Task Simulations: Performance Measures for the Validation of Physical Tests and Standards for Battlefield Airmen

    This report describes RAND's assistance to the Air Force in designing physical task simulations to evaluate the physical capabilities required to perform critical physical tasks in six battlefield airmen occupational specialties.

    Feb 20, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony for newly appointed foreign ambassadors to Russia, in Moscow, Russia, February 5, 2020, photo by Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via Reuters

    Report

    How to Understand and Respond to Russian Subversion

    Russia's interests motivate different forms of subversion to influence domestic politics in the United States and elsewhere. Capabilities vary across countries and activities, and the effectiveness of such efforts remains largely unknown. Despite these challenges, there are ways to deter and respond to Russian subversion.

    Feb 18, 2020

  • Blog

    Infectious Diseases, Zimbabwe, Students with Disabilities: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the U.S. response to infectious diseases, Zimbabwe after Mugabe, the support for students with disabilities, and more.

    Feb 14, 2020

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty at Prague Castle in the Czech Republic, April 8, 2010, photo by Jason Reed/Reuters

    Report

    The Military Case for Extending New START

    The most prudent course of action would be for Washington to extend the U.S.-Russia New START agreement before it expires in February 2021. This would constrain Russia's nuclear forces covered by the treaty for five more years. And it would buy time to pursue multilateral negotiations that also include China.

    Feb 14, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin uses a pair of binoculars while overseeing the military exercises known as "Centre-2019" in Orenburg Region, Russia September 20, 2019, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters

    Commentary

    Jumpstarting Arms Control Talks with Russia: A Low-Risk Gambit

    In 2019, Russia proposed a moratorium on missile deployments in Europe. If the United States does not accept, it could increase the threat to NATO allies and provide Moscow with more bargaining chips in future arms negotiations.

    Feb 13, 2020

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev exchange the signed new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) at Prague Castle in Prague, April 8, 2010, photo by Petr Josek/Reuters

    Commentary

    Stabilizing the Nuclear Cold War

    Russia and the United States are still locked in a nuclear cold war. Thousands of nuclear weapons are deployed, some on high alert. Although the United States prudently withdrew from several past arms control treaties with Russia, it could be in America's interest to extend New START.

    Feb 13, 2020

  • News Release

    Autonomous Vehicle Technology May Improve Safety for U.S. Army Convoys

    The technology to make a U.S. Army convoy fully autonomous doesn't exist yet. But Army convoys could be made safer for soldiers by implementing autonomous vehicle technology to reduce the number of service members needed to operate the vehicles.

    Feb 12, 2020

  • Americans, providing the main muscle for a global peace force, cross a pontoon bridge toward the northern Bosnian town of Orasje, December 31, 1995, photo by Petar Kudjundzic/Reuters

    Report

    Seizing the 'Golden Hour' of Stability Operations

    The early phases of stability operations are critical for improving the odds of success and reducing the costs of achieving an acceptable outcome. Both diplomatic and military actions to provide security in the postconflict country are essential and should be integrated. Past U.S. interventions offer valuable lessons.

    Feb 11, 2020

  • A saluting soldier and a civilian man in an airport, images by ViewApart and MariaArefyeva/Getty Images; design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    Report

    Do Civilians Receive the Support They Need After Deployment?

    As more U.S. government civilians have been deployed over the past two decades, increasing numbers have been exposed to high-threat environments. Combat exposure and related stressors correlate with significant levels of health conditions. How are these civilians reintegrated when they return?

    Feb 11, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Conventional Deterrence Redux: Avoiding Great Power Conflict in the 21st Century

    Deterrence in the twenty-first century presents some new challenges to strategists, but there is little basis for thinking that our problems with deterrence derive from our well-developed theories about it being obsolete.

    Feb 11, 2020

  • Blog

    Civic Engagement and Health, the State of the Union, Better Sleep: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the link between civic engagement and health, policy insights from the State of the Union address, what couples can do to improve their sleep, and more.

    Feb 7, 2020

  • Brochure

    Effecting Change, Improving Health

    The RAND Corporation is dedicated to transforming the wellbeing of all people by improving health care systems in the United States and abroad.

    Feb 7, 2020

  • Report

    Assessment of Alternative Funding Models for Activities in RDECOM (Now CCDC) and ATEC

    Current funding models and impacts of alternative models are assessed by the authors to help the U.S. Army increase the transparency of reimbursable accounting practices and improve auditability at two Army commands.

    Feb 6, 2020