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 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

    Aug 13, 2018

    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.

  • 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

    Aug 6, 2018

    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.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • New Army recruits

    Report

    Who Joins the Army, and Why?

    The U.S. Army wants to improve its understanding of soldiers' motivations to enlist, and how the reality of Army life matches up with expectations. Interviews with soldiers ranked E-1 to E-4 offer a rich portrayal of life as a private.

    May 14, 2018

  • A Vietnamese floating guard station on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, April 12, 2010

    Commentary

    Deciphering Vietnam's Evolving Military Doctrine in the South China Sea

    Vietnam has sought to balance China's expanding presence in the South China Sea through diplomacy and military modernization. The Vietnam People's Army has acquired many useful weapons, but unfamiliarity with combat in the sea and air will test its evolving military doctrine.

    May 11, 2018

  • U.S. President Trump just before signing a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, May 8, 2018

    Commentary

    The Strategic Fallout of U.S. Withdrawal from the Iran Deal

    President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement. What will happen next? Friction between the United States and its European allies will likely increase, while Iran moves closer to China and Russia. Also, the resentment of a new generation of Iranians toward America is likely to grow.

    May 10, 2018

  • Vladimir Putin is sworn in as president during an inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2018

    Commentary

    How Russia's Blunders Abroad Have Galvanized Europe

    Russia overrates the efficacy of the military and underrates political and economic assets. Through this outdated prism the Kremlin sees Europe as America's weak sister. This miscalculation has led Russia repeatedly to err, as shown by decades of frustrated efforts to divide Europeans and split them from the U.S.

    May 10, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Sochi, Russia, November 20, 2017

    Commentary

    The Limits of Russian Strategy in the Middle East

    The greatest limitation of Russia's Middle East strategy is that it is not Russia, but the Middle Eastern states themselves that determine the depth of their relations with Moscow. Just as Russia seeks to engage in the Middle East for its own benefit, these states also seek to use Russia to their advantage.

    May 10, 2018

  • News Release

    3D Printing Could Disrupt Labor Markets and National Security

    While advances in additive manufacturing offer potential breakthroughs in prosthetic arms, jet engine parts, and a host of other products, 3D printing, as it is known, may also disrupt traditional labor markets and exacerbate existing security threats from violent actors.

    May 9, 2018

  • Muslim morning prayer. Blue Mosque in Afghanistan.

    Multimedia

    The Challenges and the Benefits for U.S. National Security of Providing Foreign Assistance to Afghanistan

    An overview of testimony by Laurel E. Miller presented before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management on May 9, 2018.

    May 9, 2018

  • U.S. President Trump holds up a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement after signing it at the White House, May 8, 2018

    Commentary

    The U.S. Is Out of the Iran Deal. What Now?

    Abandoning the nuclear agreement with Iran isolates the United States, reneges on an American commitment, adds to the risk of a trade war with U.S. allies and a hot war with Iran, and diminishes the prospects of an agreement to eliminate the North Korean threat.

    May 9, 2018

  • Clockwise from top left: RAND's JOHNNIAC mainframe computer, the RAND Tablet, a mobile phone, and an autonomous vehicle

    Essay

    70 Years of Innovation at RAND

    Seventy years ago, a group of researchers established the independent RAND Corporation. From the first satellite design, to helping ensure GPS as a public good, to laying the groundwork for the internet, RAND has been making a difference ever since.

    May 9, 2018

  • A B-1B Lancer unleashes cluster munitions

    Commentary

    Cluster Munitions and Rearming for Great Power Competition

    The United States might need Cluster munitions, anti-personnel landmines, and tactical nuclear weapons to deter or defeat aggression. If policymakers choose to lift bans on these munitions, the ensuing policy restrictions might be tailored to address where these capabilities are necessary.

    May 9, 2018

  • U.S. soldiers watch an Afghan soldier sign for the transfer of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles to Afghan security forces on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, February 14, 2015

    Testimony

    A Path Forward for U.S. Government Spending in Afghanistan

    For more than 16 years, U.S. assistance to Afghanistan has been enormous in scale and complexity. But how effective is U.S. spending when it comes to building a stable democracy in Afghanistan? How can the United States reduce its financial commitment while mitigating risks?

    May 9, 2018

  • 3D printer and printable drone, gun, and airplane turbine.

    Article

    Four Ways 3D Printing May Threaten Security

    3D printing has the potential to improve lives. But it could also bring new perils, such as disrupting weapons regulations and jeopardizing manufacturing jobs. While there's reason to be cautious about this technology, there's also danger in overreacting and overregulating what could be a new era of innovation.

    May 8, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech at the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 20, 2018

    Commentary

    Recalibrate, Rather Than Abandon, U.S. China Policy

    China does not necessarily seek to succeed the U.S. as the world’s superpower, especially if such a mantle would impose on it real and/or perceived obligations for steering global affairs. What is the verdict, then, on America’s China policy, and where should the two countries go from here?

    May 8, 2018

  • Report

    Force Presentation in U.S. Air Force History and Airpower Narratives

    USAF leaders are concerned that their force presentation construct is lacking. This report presents historical analysis and recommendations to inform USAF deliberations regarding future force presentation constructs.

    May 7, 2018

  • Lorton, Virginia, June 6, 2017: Elizabeth and Ventoux, a canine/handler team with Virginia Task Force 1, participate in a training drill. They practiced searching for people trapped within the rubble pile.

    Brochure

    HSOAC Annual Report 2016–2017

    The Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC) 2016-2017 Annual Report offers an overview of HSOAC capabilities and highlights how RAND is supporting the mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    May 7, 2018

  • 3d printing in progress

    Report

    Additive Manufacturing in 2040: Powerful Enabler, Disruptive Threat

    If additive manufacturing—also called 3D printing—continues to develop along its current trends, it could profoundly alter the global economy, international security, and the organization of society.

    May 7, 2018

  • Achieving cross-doman synergy

    Commentary

    Toward One Understanding of Multiple Domains

    The U.S. defense community can and should do what it can to get the most benefit from operating across domains. It just needs to remember to proceed carefully to discern between actual benefits and falsehoods that may do more harm than good.

    May 2, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Paradigm Change: Operational Art and the Information Joint Function

    The potential benefit of information as a joint function is clear. Commanders could measure campaign success by evaluating emergent behavior of relevant actors defining strategic outcomes rather than focusing too intently on the physics of fighting.

    May 2, 2018

  • The Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona June 11, 2014

    Journal Article

    VA Health System Generally Delivers Higher-Quality Care Than Other Health Providers

    The VA health care system performs similar to or better than non-VA systems on most measures of inpatient and outpatient care quality, although there is high variation in quality across individual VA facilities.

    May 2, 2018

  • A robot arm moves its index finger toward a nuclear button

    Commentary

    Will Artificial Intelligence Undermine Nuclear Stability?

    In the coming years, AI-enabled progress in tracking and targeting adversaries' nuclear weapons could undermine the foundations of nuclear stability. The chance that AI will someday be able to guide strategy decisions about escalation or even launching nuclear weapons is real.

    May 1, 2018