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.

  • Fishing boats departing from Shenjiawan port in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province towards the East China Sea fishing grounds, September 17, 2012, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Report

    How the United States Can Compete in the Gray Zone

    Jun 27, 2019

    America is entering a period of intensifying strategic competition with Russia and China. U.S. officials expect this to play out below the threshold of armed conflict, in the gray zone between peace and war. What policy options does the United States have to respond to gray zone threats?

  • Armed fighters over a background of Syrian, Iraqi, and U.S. currencies and gold ingots, photos by zabelin, Cimmerian, Vitoria Holdings LLC, and johan10/Getty Images

    Report

    U.S. Efforts Are Essential to Counter an Islamic State Comeback

    Aug 7, 2019

    The Islamic State can no longer rely on local funding sources as it did when it controlled territory. But as an insurgency, its expenses are far lower. With revenue from criminal activities and the cash it hoarded, the group will survive as a clandestine terrorist movement. Counterfinance, intelligence, and possibly military action will be needed.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Cordon tape at the scene of an accident in Australia, photo by STRINGERimage/Getty Images

    Report

    Countering Violent Extremism Programs May Gain Insights from Each Other

    As countries around the world develop CVE programs to prevent homegrown terrorism, there is a dearth of understanding about what types of such programs exist and which approaches are most effective. Mapping CVE programs against goals and activity types could facilitate information exchange across countries.

    Apr 4, 2019

  • Report

    Development of a Knowledge Readiness Level Framework for Medical Research

    A new framework for assessing the maturity of knowledge products (outputs from health science research) assigns each product to a knowledge readiness level, to help the U.S. Army make better decisions about its health science research portfolio.

    Apr 4, 2019

  • British Royal Marine commandos participate in a hostile scenario during exercise at Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, April 12, 2012, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class April D. Adams/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    A Ruling from the Hague Threatens a U.S. and British Military Base in Asia

    A remote and obscure tropical atoll in the Indian Ocean would seem an unlikely stage for the latest act of the United Kingdom's unfolding Brexit drama and the newest challenge to U.S. global power projection. But a nonbinding verdict in The Hague calls into question the legitimacy of the UK's administration and the major U.S. military presence on the islands' largest atoll, Diego Garcia.

    Apr 1, 2019

  • Silhouette of soldiers with military vehicles, photo by veneratio/Adobe Stock

    Report

    What Makes U.S. Military Interventions Successful?

    An analysis of 145 U.S. military interventions identifies the factors that have made them more or less successful at achieving their political objectives. They were successful 63 percent of the time, but levels of success have declined over time as the United States has pursued more ambitious goals. Before intervening, planners should carefully match strategy with political objectives.

    Apr 1, 2019

  • News Release

    Women Leave U.S. Coast Guard at Higher Rates Than Men; More Equitable Personnel Policies Could Help Narrow Gap

    As at other military services, women leave the active-duty Coast Guard at higher rates than men. To retain a diverse workforce the Coast Guard should continue to pursue more inclusive personnel policies, such as augmenting workforce gaps during parental leave, minimizing the impact parental leave has on evaluations and promotion, and expanding opportunities for leadership development training.

    Mar 29, 2019

  • Petty Officer 1st Class Krystyna Duffy, a boatswain's mate assigned to Coast Guard Station Golden Gate in San Francisco, drives a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat near the Golden Gate Bridge, February 8, 2018, photo by PO3 Sarah Wi/U.S. Coast Guard

    Research Brief

    Why Do Women Leave the Coast Guard, and What Could Encourage Them to Stay?

    Women leave the Coast Guard at higher rates than men. Focus groups raised concerns about work environment, career issues, and personal life matters. More inclusive personnel policies could help the Coast Guard address these concerns and retain more women.

    Mar 29, 2019

  • Report

    Improving Gender Diversity in the U.S. Coast Guard: Identifying Barriers to Female Retention

    This report documents the results of a study designed to help identify the root causes of female attrition in the active-duty Coast Guard and develop recommendations to help mitigate identified barriers to Coast Guard female retention.

    Mar 29, 2019

  • Khalifa Haftar salutes as he participates in the General Security conference, in Benghazi, Libya, October 14, 2017, photo by Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is an Escalation Imminent in Western Libya?

    The Libyan Civil War has largely been contained to pockets of violence. Prolonged battles decimated cities such as Benghazi, Derna, and Sirte, but the majority of the country has been spared large-scale destruction. However, that could change soon.

    Mar 27, 2019

  • Pilots from the 388th Fighter Wing's 4th Fighter Squadron participating in Red Flag 19-1 at Nellis AFB, Nevada, January 31, 2019, photo by R. Nial Bradshaw/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Is It More Cost-Effective to Retain Pilots or Train New Ones?

    Instead of relying on retaining its current pilots, the U.S. Air Force could hypothetically find and train new ones. But expanding the pilot training pipeline is costly. What is the best way for the Air Force to allocate its resources and sustain its number of pilots?

    Mar 27, 2019

  • Mock Bitcoins are displayed in Berlin, January 7, 2014, photo by Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters

    Report

    Terrorist Use of Cryptocurrencies

    Counterterrorism finance strategies have reduced terrorist access to official currencies. Will terrorist groups therefore increase their use of digital cryptocurrencies? New ones have emerged, including some that claim to be more private and secure than Bitcoin, but they also have limitations that make them less viable.

    Mar 27, 2019

  • Andrew Marshall, photo courtesy of RAND Corporation

    Announcement

    Andrew Marshall, RAND Researcher Who Founded Department of Defense's 'Internal Think-Tank,' Dies at 97

    The RAND Corporation notes with profound regret the passing of Andrew W. Marshall, 97, a RAND researcher who went on to serve for more than four decades as director of the Department of Defense's Office of Net Assessment, which contemplates military strategy decades into the future.

    Mar 26, 2019

  • Christine Wormuth gives and overview of testimony presented before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment on March 26, 2019.

    Multimedia

    The United States and Europe Since World War II: A Mutually Beneficial Partnership

    An overview of testimony by Christine Wormuth presented before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment on March 26, 2019.

    Mar 26, 2019

  • Journal Article

    From Ballot-Boxes to Barracks: Votes, Institutions, and Post-Election Coups

    If war is too important to be left to the generals, politics may be too contentious to be left to the civilians. At least this is what frequent military forays into the political arena suggest. But when and why does the military actively intervene in politics?

    Mar 26, 2019

  • A U.S. soldier marches, followed by troops from various NATO countries, during a ceremony of the transfer of command in Herat, Afghanistan, May 31, 2005, photo by Ahmad Fahim/Reuters

    Testimony

    The U.S.-European Partnership Since World War II

    The relationship between the United States and Europe has advanced U.S. and global security since the end of World War II. The partnership has benefited the United States several times, including during the post-Cold War period, the years after the September 11 attacks, and the current era of strategic competition with Russia and China.

    Mar 26, 2019

  • U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Christopher G. Dixon, operations officer, 2nd Marine Division (2nd MARDIV) is promoted to the rank of colonel during his promotion ceremony at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 3, 2014, photo by Lance Cpl. David McKenzie/U.S. Marine Corps

    Report

    Officer Career Management: Steps Toward Modernization in the 2018 and 2019 National Defense Authorization Acts

    In this report, the authors summarize departmental views on the military officer career management policies examined in the two reports required by the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act and provide data to inform potential policy changes.

    Mar 25, 2019

  • Report

    Targeted Interoperability: A New Imperative for Multinational Operations

    This report looks at what motivations exist for interoperability and defines a reasonable framework from which to work if and when interoperability needs and investments meet strategic language in the United States.

    Mar 25, 2019

  • Imam Ibrahim Abdul Halim of the Linwood Mosque is embraced by Father Felimoun El-Baramoussy from the Coptic Church, in Christchurch, New Zealand March 18, 2019, photo by Edgar Su/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Christchurch Massacre Was Another Internet-Enabled Atrocity

    Terrorism has become an internet-enabled abuse—incited, propagated, and sometimes organized and concealed by online activity. Who should be held accountable for abusive content, the author or the publisher? And what role should the government play in regulating it?

    Mar 20, 2019

  • Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army Navy patrol at Fiery Cross Reef, in the Spratly Islands, February 9, 2016, photo by China Stringer Network/Reuters

    Commentary

    Time to Speak Up About the South China Sea

    Some leaders in Southeast Asia may fear that new or enhanced postures in the South China Sea could antagonize China. But directly calling out China's breaks from the status quo or intimidation tactics may not necessarily put these countries at risk of Chinese countermeasures.

    Mar 20, 2019

  • Christine Wormuth and Kimberly Kagan at the 2018 Roberta Wohlstetter Forum on National Security

    Report

    Roberta Wohlstetter Forum on National Security

    In October 2018, RAND hosted a forum on national security that honored the legacy of Roberta Wohlstetter, a military analyst who worked at RAND from its creation in 1948 until 1965. Panelists discussed events, capabilities, technologies, and methodologies that demand new concepts for national security and defense.

    Mar 19, 2019

  • Elizabeth Bodine-Baron discusses the challenges in combating the threat of Russian influence via disinformation spread on social media.

    Multimedia

    Approaches to Counter Russian Social Media Influence

    In this congressional briefing, RAND information scientist Elizabeth Bodine-Baron discusses the challenges in combating the threat of Russian influence via disinformation spread on social media.

    Mar 15, 2019