National Security and Terrorism


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.

  • Russian soldiers man a checkpoint near the Georgian village of Kekhvi in breakaway South Ossetia, August 21, 2008, photo by Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters


    What Drives U.S. Adversaries to Use Military Forces Abroad?

    Sep 27, 2021

    Where, how, and how often have China, Russia, and Iran intervened militarily since 1946? A review of their behavior and that of other U.S. adversaries identifies why they initiated military interventions and why they might do so in the future.

  • Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers conduct a sunrise run during annual training at Fort Stewart, Georgia, January 11, 2017, photo by Capt. William Carraway/U.S. Army


    Supporting the Mental Health Needs of National Guard and Reserve Members

    Sep 22, 2021

    Over one million U.S. military service members are members of the National Guard or reserves. These troops are being tested like never before, but they do not receive the same physical and mental health care coverage provided to their active-duty counterparts. It may be time to explore policy solutions to ensure that these service members have access to high-quality mental health care.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • May 2011 Parade - S-400


    Russian S-400 Surface-to-Air Missile System: Is It Worth the Sticker Price?

    Indian civilian and military leadership face investment choices that go beyond the decision to buy the S-400. To be effective, the S-400 needs to be deployed within a larger integrated air and missile defense system and requires a very skilled military workforce to operate. Otherwise, it will prove to be a costly and expensive military extravagance.

    Jul 13, 2021

  • Major Summer Kolcun leads a breakout session during Air University's second Leadership Education Development eXperience (LEDx), Jan.3, 2019. LEDx is an educational conference bringing a diverse group of civilian and military professionals who share a passion for leadership, photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox/U.S. Air Force


    Air Force Professional Military Education: Considerations for Change

    Professional military education is a complex system that accommodates thousands of Air Force officers yearly. The Air Force needs to rebalance the assignment of students to Air University and to other PME or fellowship programs outside the Air Force.

    Jul 12, 2021

  • A soldier loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad's forces is seen in Quneitra, Syria, July 22, 2018


    The Power and Limits of Threat: The Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act at One Year

    A powerful new U.S. sanctions law on Syria came into effect one year ago, with great notice and speculation regarding its potential effects. Now, one year later, it is apparent that the act's power lies not in who the United States has sanctioned but in who the United States could sanction.

    Jul 8, 2021

  • A boy in the Hillcrest section of Corpus Christi, Texas, at the fence line of a refinery in August 2007, photo by Peter Essick/Cavan Images/Alamy


    How RAND Applies an Equity Lens to Research and Analysis

    RAND recognizes that serving the public good requires tackling the factors that contribute to inequities head-on. Current projects focus on such issues as environmental racism, mass incarceration, and anti-Asian violence.

    Jul 7, 2021

  • Violent Extremism in America: Can it be Stopped?


    Violent Extremism in America: Can It Be Stopped?

    Co-authors of the RAND report, Violent Extremism in America, discuss the findings from their interviews with former members of radical organizations.

    Jul 7, 2021

  • Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, June 2, 2021, photo by U.S. Embassy Bangkok


    Biden's Troubled Southeast Asia Policy Needs a Reboot

    Nearly six months into Joe Biden's presidency, it is now possible to begin assessing the effectiveness of some of his administration's policies. When it comes to Southeast Asia, the Biden administration has thus far fallen short, but the future looks relatively bright with certain caveats.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld pauses during a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., March 29, 2005, photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters


    Donald Rumsfeld: Anti–Nation-Builder

    As Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly resisted U.S. military participation in nation-building–type operations. Even as the United States terminates the last of those nation-building missions, that in Afghanistan, it is worth reflecting on these experiences.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • Kenneth Wells at an Ideas Generation event for the RWJF Clinical Scholars Program on October 2, 2014, with an overlay of music notes, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation


    Veteran Journeys: Where Mental Health Research Meets Opera

    Kenneth Wells, a psychiatrist, librettist, and composer, has written a documentary disguised as an opera. He drew on Partners in Care, a 10-year RAND-UCLA study that was one of the first to use a multisite collaborative primary care approach to treat veterans and others experiencing depression.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Understanding and Pursuing Information Advantage

    This article tries to unpack the concept of "information advantage" and explore what it might mean and how it should be thought about by the U.S. Army and the joint force more broadly.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • Report


    Challenges and barriers that limit the productivity and competitiveness of UK defence supply chains

    Small and medium-sized companies attempting to enter and operate in the UK's defence market face several barriers that can limit productivity of defence supply chains. Addressing these challenges is key to improving productivity and competitiveness.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • A service member being treated for lower back pain, photo by U.S. Army


    Quality Measurement Is Key to Improving Chronic Pain Care for Service Members

    Chronic pain affects 31 to 44 percent of active-duty service members and is a leading cause of disability and reduced readiness. And factors such as traumatic brain injury and PTSD can complicate treatment. Research can guide efforts to improve the quality of care for this population.

    Jul 1, 2021

  • Earth partially covered by Chinese Yuan, image by Stephen Finn/Adobe Stock


    China's Drive for Power and Influence Around the World

    An analysis of China's ability to use various mechanisms of influence to shape the policies and behavior of 20 countries finds that China's economic power is the foundation for its influence. This analysis offers lessons for the United States that can inform its response.

    Jun 30, 2021

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers demonstrate their capabilities to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen in China, July 12, 2011, photo by MC1 Chad J. McNeeley/Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff


    The Signal and the Noise: Understanding China's Military Threats

    Although China's capabilities and communication channels have changed, its fundamental approach to military deterrence signaling as a form of political coercion has not. As Australia-China relations enter a new, more confrontational era, Canberra is likely to be an increasingly frequent target of Chinese deterrence signaling.

    Jun 29, 2021

  • A supporter of Ebrahim Raisi displays his portrait during a celebratory rally for his presidential election victory in Tehran, Iran, June 19, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters


    Why Iran May Be in No Hurry to Get Nuclear Weapons Even Without a Nuclear Deal

    History shows that many countries with advanced nuclear technologies but without nuclear bombs opt to stay that way. There are reasons to believe that Iran, too, may choose to remain non-nuclear at least in the foreseeable future.

    Jun 28, 2021

  • Blog

    RAND Art + Data, 'Gray Market Care,' Supply Chains and Cyberattacks: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on RAND's new artist residency program, Art + Data; the prevalence of “gray market care” in the United States; supply chains' cyber problem; and more.

    Jun 25, 2021

  • Protesters gather during the Indiana Stop Asian Hate Rally on Monument Circle in Indianapolis, Indiana, March 27, 2021, photo by USA Today Network via Reuters

    Research Brief

    What Former Extremists and Their Families Say About Radicalization in America

    Violent extremism is an evolving, ongoing threat in the United States. Interviews with former extremists—and their families and friends—offer insights into how individuals become radicalized, how they leave extremist groups, and what communities can do to stop the growth of extremism in their area.

    Jun 25, 2021

  • Naval Research Lab Chemical Engineer Katherine Hinnant prepares to test an experimental aqueous film-forming foam to replace firefighting foams containing fluorine at the NRL in Washington, Sept. 23, 2019, photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Manuel Najera/U.S. Department of Defense


    Arming the Department of Defense's Environmental Liabilities Program

    A new U.S. emphasis on sustainable environmental conditions is emerging just as budget pressures are increasing. The DoD could use this as an opportunity to develop a systematic approach to addressing its environmental liabilities.

    Jun 23, 2021

  • Report


    Persistent Challenges in UK Defence Equipment Acquisition

    This paper identifies underlying and cross-cutting factors that contribute to seemingly intractable challenges in defence equipment acquisition programmes. It also discusses measures that could help address these inefficiencies going forward.

    Jun 23, 2021

  • The former Colorado National Guard armory in Grand Junction, Colorado, is the new home of the Western Region One Source. The facility will help connect Western Slope service members, veterans, and their families with service providers, photo by Joanne Iglesias/Colorado National Guard


    An Evaluation of the Military OneSource Call Center in Select Groups of Callers: Call Quality, Call Outcomes, and Caller Satisfaction

    The authors evaluate call quality, call outcomes, and caller satisfaction for the Military OneSource call center for military personnel and their families. They provide recommendations for operations and identify areas for future study.

    Jun 23, 2021

  • An Israeli soldier watches as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercept rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, off the southern Israeli coast, May 19, 2021, photo by Amir Cohen/Reuters


    The Real Tragedy of Israel's Wars in Gaza

    Israel's strategy in Gaza of repeatedly cutting back Hamas's military capabilities before it gets strong enough to do Israel any serious harm is known as “mowing the grass.” Unfortunately this approach offers no alternative to continued bloodshed.

    Jun 22, 2021