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 world map with digital infographics

    Report

    What Deters and Why

    Nov 20, 2018

    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.

  • 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

    Nov 26, 2018

    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.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz are seen on the mobile phone screen as they attend a news conference at the Chancellery in Vienna, Austria July 4, 201,8

    Commentary

    Iran's Disinformation Campaigns

    New reports suggest that the Kremlin may have company in its efforts to shape the United States' domestic information landscape: Iran. As Americans prepare to return to the voting booths this fall, Washington would be well advised to look into Iran's disinformation capabilities and intentions.

    Aug 24, 2018

  • Shelly Culbertson and a United Nations Mine Action Service Implementation Partner survey the grounds of the Al-Shifa Hospital complex in Mosul, Iraq.

    Multimedia

    Making Victory Count: Stabilizing Mosul

    RAND researchers Shelly Culbertson and Linda Robinson visited Iraq nine months after the Battle of Mosul to gauge the progress being made in rebuilding and stabilizing the region. In the aftermath of combat operations against ISIS, what are the critical requirements for achieving lasting stability and the resumption of city life in Mosul?

    Aug 22, 2018

  • Detachment of Americans leave for the front, Le Havre, France, July 12, 1918

    Commentary

    How the U.S. Military Learned to Learn in World War I: Lessons from the American Expeditionary Forces

    The U.S. military generally believes it has little to learn from its allies. But during World War I, the more open the Americans were to their allies’ wisdom, the better they fought and the less they suffered.

    Aug 22, 2018

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with Fox News after a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018

    Commentary

    Walking a Fine Line on Russian Sanctions

    The United States and its allies are increasingly frustrated over malign activities by Russia. This week the U.S. unveiled new sanctions, and is expected to impose even more in the future. But choosing sanctions requires care. Their purpose should be to penalize Russia for misbehavior, but not to isolate Russians.

    Aug 22, 2018

  • Israeli armored vehicles take part in a drill in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, August 7, 2018 August 7, 2018

    Commentary

    The Growing Risk of a New Middle East War

    Escalating clashes between Israeli and Iranian forces in Syria have demonstrably increased the risk of a new, large-scale regional conflict that would likely involve the U.S. military. Tehran's continued provocations and violations of Israel's stated red lines are fueling escalation with the potential to rapidly spin out of control.

    Aug 21, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, June 8, 2018

    Commentary

    A U.S.-Russia Partnership Against China Is Unlikely

    After Donald Trump's summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in July, it might appear as if the U.S. and Russia are considering the formation of a partnership against China. But Russia seems more likely to try to expand the scope of its cooperation with China while also attempting to extract concessions from the United States.

    Aug 21, 2018

  • Report

    National Guard Youth ChalleNGe: Program Progress in 2016–2017

    This report presents information on recent participants of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, a quasi-military program for young people lacking a high school diploma. It also documents program progress in academics, fitness, and other areas.

    Aug 20, 2018

  • The Missile Defense Agency conducts the first intercept flight test of a land-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system from the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex in Kauai, Hawaii, December 10, 2015

    Commentary

    Japan's Aegis Ashore Defense System

    For nearly 20 years, Japan has used the North Korea threat as a legitimate rationale to build its missile defense system and cooperate closely with the U.S. in its development. This argument remains as true today as it was before the flurry of regional diplomacy began earlier this year.

    Aug 20, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Current and Future Demographics of the Veteran Population, 2014-2024

    We estimate that the U.S. veteran population will shrink over the next decade - declining from 21.6 million in 2014 to 17.5 million by 2024, a 19-percent decrease.

    Aug 17, 2018

  • Report

    Restoring U.S. Power Projection Capabilities: Responding to the 2018 National Defense Strategy

    This Perspective can help to inform upcoming decisions to improve U.S. military abilities (which have been eroding vis-à-vis those of China and Russia) to deter aggression and intimidation, assure allies, and influence events in East Asia and Europe.

    Aug 16, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Key Skills and Competences for Defence: Governmental Domain

    This study, commissioned by the European Defence Agency, identifies key defence skills within the governmental domain and proposes recommendations for their sustainment.

    Aug 16, 2018

  • Report

    Promoting Joint Warfighting Proficiency: The Role of Doctrine in Preparing Airmen for Joint Operations

    This report describes the differences and similarities between Air Force and joint doctrine and identifies ways to increase doctrinal alignment. It also evaluates the potential role of doctrine in increasing airmen's joint warfighting proficiency.

    Aug 16, 2018

  • Report

    Supplemental Career Paths for Air Force Pilots: A Warrant Officer Component or an Aviation Technical Track?

    This report documents analyses of two ways to supplement the traditional Air Force pilot career path to enhance force sustainment: a warrant officer component to fill pilot requirements or an aviation technical track for commissioned officers.

    Aug 14, 2018

  • Voters voting in polling place

    Commentary

    Here's How Russia Will Try to Interfere in the 2018 Elections

    Russia will threaten U.S. midterm elections in November, although by how much is unclear. Moscow might be more restrained this year, but it could be wilier.

    Aug 14, 2018

  • Maj. Mike Stinchfield, left, and Maj. Greg. Pavlichko, demonstrate the virtual capabilities of the Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer concept at the Combined Arms Center - Training Innovation Facility on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

    Commentary

    The Military's Search for Innovation

    Militaries have historically sought ways to incorporate new weapons, armaments and methods of fighting into their operations. As the United States military continues to vigorously pursue innovation, history has provided important lessons which can help guide future innovation efforts.

    Aug 13, 2018

  • A drone is used to survey high-voltage power lines of electric company Westnetz near Wilnsdorf, Germany, July 11, 2018

    Commentary

    Approaching a 'New Normal': What the Drone Attack in Venezuela Portends

    The attempt to assassinate Venezuelan President Maduro showed that drones are easy to use and difficult to defend against. Commercial off-the-shelf technology is easy to acquire. It is imperative that counterterrorism specialists begin planning a robust response to the threat.

    Aug 13, 2018

  • Airmen from the 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron lift a crate

    Report

    Evaluation of the Strength Aptitude Test and Other Fitness Tests to Qualify Air Force Recruits for Physically Demanding Specialties

    This report evaluates the Strength Aptitude Test and related fitness tests to identify strategies for ensuring airmen can meet job-related physical requirements.

    Aug 10, 2018

  • U.S. President Trump arrives to announce his decision to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, May 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Bringing Back Sanctions Will Hurt U.S. Allies and Iran, but Will It Help America?

    What happens if leaving the Iran nuclear deal and applying “maximum pressure” doesn't lead Iran to change its behavior or the regime to collapse? The Trump administration may find that it's much easier to break a deal than to replace it with something better.

    Aug 7, 2018

  • The U.S. Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain conducts a patrol in the South China Sea, January 22, 2017

    Commentary

    The Security Risks of a Trade War with China

    As U.S.-China trade tensions continue to rise, many observers are focused on the potential for a full-fledged trade war that could destabilize the world economy. But there are security concerns as well. A China less constrained by and invested in economic ties with the United States could pose a greater challenge to U.S. foreign policy.

    Aug 6, 2018

  • Airman 1st Class Summer Toney, 1st Lt. Ashley Guthrie Capt. Kate Bufton, Capt. Emily Nelson, Tech. Sgt. Lori Tascione and Staff Sgt. Krysteena Scales make up an 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron flight crew, March 19, 2005

    Commentary

    The U.S. Air Force Is Working Harder to Retain Female Officers, and Here's How

    Women are underrepresented among the U.S. Air Force's senior leadership. This could be robbing the service of the potential to improve innovation, agility, and performance. The Air Force is working to address diversity in the service, and it continues to work to improve representation of women within its ranks.

    Aug 6, 2018