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.

  • Servicemen disembark from a Ka-29 helicopter during an exercise staged by the Baltic Fleet forces of the Russian Navy to train amphibious assault, at Khmelevka firing ground in Kaliningrad Region, Russia, April 4, 2019, photo by Vitaly Nevar/Reuters

    Report

    How Capable Are Russia's Armed Forces?

    Oct 29, 2019

    Since 2008, the Russian military has become more capable, not only of defending its territory but also of launching invasions against its neighbors. Russia's defense spending is now in decline, but NATO policymakers and defense planners should continue to monitor its military improvements.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron gives a news conference after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Paris, France, November 28, 2019, photo by Bertrand Guay/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is NATO Brain Dead?

    Dec 3, 2019

    French President Macron's remark about the brain death of NATO was provoked by President Trump's October 6 decision, since modified, to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria. Macron is right to wonder how Trump would respond to any threat to European security. But he is wrong to attribute this uncertainty to diminishing support for the alliance among all Americans.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Blog

    Inmate Suicides, India and Kashmir, Health Care: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap looks at preventing inmate suicides, India and Kashmir, improving health care for veterans, and more.

    Aug 16, 2019

  • Research Brief

    Assessing the Use of Data Analytics in Department of Defense Acquisition

    This research brief addresses congressional concerns about the use of data analysis, measurement, and other evaluation-related methods in U.S. Department of Defense acquisition programs and decisionmaking.

    Aug 13, 2019

  • A licensed clinical social worker listens to her client during a therapy session at the Bay Pines Veterans Administration Healthcare Center in Bay Pines, Florida, October 29, 2015, photo by EJ Hersom/DoD News

    Research Brief

    How to Improve Mental Health Care for Veterans

    Veterans, especially those who deployed overseas, face elevated risks of mental health conditions. Those who have served since 9/11 are particularly vulnerable. About one in five experiences mental health problems. Are veterans getting the high-quality care that they need?

    Aug 13, 2019

  • Report

    Assessing Department of Defense Use of Data Analytics and Enabling Data Management to Improve Acquisition Outcomes

    Congress asked about acquisition data analytics in the Department of Defense. This report identifies and measures capabilities and recent progress. Barriers to improvement include a culture against data sharing due to security and burden concerns.

    Aug 13, 2019

  • An Egyptian military vehicle on the highway in northern Sinai, Egypt, May 25, 2015, photo by Asmaa Waguih/Reuters

    Commentary

    Making Headway Against the Sinai Insurgency

    Since 2013, Egypt has been engaged in the Sinai Peninsula against a deadly ISIS-affiliated insurgency. To make headway, the Egyptian government could focus on providing services in the region and repairing its relationship with citizens.

    Aug 12, 2019

  • Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (L) and U.S. President Ronald Reagan begin their mini-summit talks in Reykjavik, October 11, 1986, photo by Mal Langsdon/Reuters

    Commentary

    Reagan's Cold War Lessons for Handling Russia

    Rising public protests in Russia may be putting the Kremlin on the defensive at home. But Moscow is playing offense abroad, challenging the West more than at any time since Ronald Reagan's presidency. Reagan's strategy to counter the Kremlin back then offers insights that could help guide U.S. policy today.

    Aug 9, 2019

  • Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a news conference in Tehran, Iran, August 5, 2019, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Iran's Cooperation with the Taliban Could Affect Talks on U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has acknowledged that his country has some level of cooperation with the Taliban. How did Iran's relationship with the Taliban come about? And how might it affect the future of U.S.-Taliban talks?

    Aug 9, 2019

  • Soldiers sit on an M60A3 tank for a group photograph after an anti-invasion drill to test readiness ahead of Lunar New Year, simulating enemy invasion and the safeguarding of the weapon systems in case of air raid, in Taichung, Taiwan, January 17, 2019, Photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Commentary

    Making Sense of U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

    Why does the U.S. sell arms to Taiwan? And what is the impact on the cross-Strait military balance? Taiwan's arms purchase reflects a continuing concern over Beijing's military intentions; a balancing of operational and political considerations; a commitment by the United States to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself; and an American refusal to “stand down” in the face of China's aggressive behavior and coercion of Indo-Pacific democracies.

    Aug 9, 2019

  • Blog

    Gun Policy, Cannabis, ISIS: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap looks at gun policy in America, the cannabis market in Washington state, countering an ISIS comeback, and more.

    Aug 9, 2019

  • Indian security personnel stand guard along a deserted street during restrictions in Jammu, August 5, 2019, photo by Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

    Commentary

    Kashmir's Democracy—and the World's

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi just changed the status of the restive Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. This may be the most important event in an enormously volatile part of the world since the end of the last century, with repercussions that will extend far beyond Kashmir itself.

    Aug 8, 2019

  • News Release

    Follow the Money: How the United States Can Counteract the Islamic State's Plans for a Comeback

    With the end of its territorial caliphate, the Islamic State will almost certainly attempt a comeback. Such efforts will require money. A new RAND report examines the group as an insurgency and a self-styled caliphate, with a focus on how the group managed its finances, drawing from the literature, the group's documents, and interviews with individuals who lived under the caliphate.

    Aug 8, 2019

  • 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

    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.

    Aug 8, 2019

  • USNS Mendonca offloads cargo in Virginia Beach, Va., photo by U.S. Navy

    Report

    Approaches to Strategic Sealift Readiness

    The authors examine the readiness of the strategic sealift fleet and its management. They determine that many factors can be improved to increase readiness and make recommendations toward that end.

    Aug 8, 2019

  • Sailors stand guard near petrol boats at the Cambodian Ream Naval Base in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, July 26, 2019, photo by Pring Samrang/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Ramifications of China's Reported Naval Base in Cambodia

    China and Cambodia have reportedly signed a secret agreement allowing the Chinese navy to use a military facility near Ream, along Cambodia's southern coast, though both countries deny the reports. The installation of a Chinese military facility in Cambodia, if realized, would further complicate an already sensitive and tense situation in the region.

    Aug 7, 2019

  • View of the U.S. Capitol Building, photo by SurangaWeeratunga/AdobeStock

    Blog

    RAND's Summer Reading List for Congress

    For busy staff, August's respite from back-to-back meetings, hearing preparation, and late votes is hard-earned. The summer recess also provides an opportunity to get ahead of issues that will resurface in the fall. To that end, we have compiled recent RAND research on topics likely to top the congressional agenda come September.

    Aug 5, 2019

  • Diagram of an insider threat under a magnifying glass, image by Andrea Danti/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Continuous Evaluation Approaches for Insider Threats

    Insiders could cause harm to the United States, maliciously or unintentionally. This threat isn't new, but it's likely to increase in the near term. Continuous evaluation approaches to detecting insider threats could be more effective and less costly than the current security clearance system.

    Aug 5, 2019

  • Hamza bin Laden on an undetermined date at his wedding, video still by CIA

    Commentary

    The Death of Hamza bin Laden Will Hurt al Qaeda

    Hamza bin Laden, the son of al Qaeda's founder and the architect of the 9/11 attacks, is reportedly dead. If true, this is more than just a symbolic loss for the terrorist organization.

    Aug 2, 2019

  • Report

    Air Force Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Programs and Services: Contribution to Airman and Family Resilience and Readiness

    Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) programs are key to resilient and ready Airmen and families. The authors developed a resilience and readiness model and compared it with target outcomes of MWR services. Next steps are also provided.

    Jul 31, 2019

  • Report

    Producing Joint Qualified Officers: FY 2008 to FY 2017 Trends

    RAND assesses production of joint qualified officers by examining trends in achieving educational requirements and accomplishing joint assignments. The information presented serves as a baseline to assess policy change, impact, and future direction.

    Jul 30, 2019

  • Report

    Balancing Quality of Life with Mission Requirements: An Analysis of Personnel Tempo on U.S. Coast Guard Major Cutters

    The authors analyze how U.S. Coast Guard servicemembers serving on major cutters respond to various levels of personnel tempo, as well as the effects of working conditions on these responses.

    Jul 29, 2019