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.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin during an end-of-year videoconference with members of the Russian government at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, December 24, 2020, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Reuters

    Commentary

    Arms Control Held Hostage

    Dec 28, 2020

    President-elect Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have wisely promised to extend the 2010 New START Treaty, which cuts long-range nuclear arms. The two leaders may also pursue a broader follow-on accord, but frigid U.S.-Russian relations could put this out of reach. Progress on arms control often comes when political winds are warmer.

  • Puzzle pieces representing the flags of Japan, France, Germany, the UK, and NATO, images by numax3d, railwayfx/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Allies Growing Closer: Japan-Europe Security Ties in the Age of Strategic Competition

    Dec 21, 2020

    Some of America's strongest allies are its European partners and Japan. In an age of growing strategic competition, how are these allies cooperating with one another? And how might these partnerships affect the United States?

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Syrian refugees cross into Jordanian territory, near the town of Ruwaished, 149 miles east of Amman, December 5, 2013, photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    Report

    Stabilizing Eastern Syria After ISIS

    Eastern Syrian communities are no longer occupied by ISIS but they are in a fraught political environment where the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian government have both expanded their presence and some ISIS fighters remain. What are the region's most urgent needs and is there a viable strategy to build near-term stability?

    Sep 8, 2020

  • American whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen on a screen as he delivers a speech during the Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark, June 28 2016, photo by Scanpix Denmark/Mathias Loevgreen Bojesen/via Reuters

    Commentary

    A Snowden Pardon Could Have a Snowball Effect on Protecting National Security Secrets

    If President Trump were to pardon Edward Snowden, then he might encourage vigilante behavior that puts at risk the very sensitive information and operations—meaning American interests and lives—that the U.S. national security system is intended to protect.

    Sep 4, 2020

  • Patricia Marshall, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center chief of strategy, shares information about the Defense Innovation Dashboard project with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass at the AFWERX Austin hub, Aug. 20, 2020. During the visit, the AFWERX team showcased various initiatives aimed toward modernizing the Air Force including the AFVentures Fellowship, Agility Prime program, AFWERX internships, Spark Colliders and RAPIDx, photo by Staff Sgt. Jordyn Fetter/Air National Guard

    Report

    Maintaining a Demographically Diverse Air Force Civilian Workforce

    The Air Force experiences challenges in maintaining a demographically diverse civilian workforce. How can changes to policies and practices help it grow and retain civilian talent from across all demographics?

    Sep 3, 2020

  • Senior Airman Colby Cook, 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, inspects an F-35A Lightning II before takeoff at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 16, 2017. The F-35A is the Air Force's latest low observable fifth-generation fighter incorporating stealth technology, photo by Naoto Anazawa/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Evaluating Alternative Maintenance Manpower Force Structure Concepts for the F-35A

    The authors of this report evaluate the costs and benefits of maintenance manpower force structures in the U.S. Air Force that merge maintenance career fields in different ways, including alternatives that are being explored by the Air Force today.

    Sep 3, 2020

  • NATO flags fly at summit meetings of Heads of State and Government in Strasbourg, France

    Project

    Defense and Security Research at RAND Europe

    In a climate of uncertainty and rapidly evolving threats, RAND Europe equips clients with the evidence-based analysis they need to inform their decisionmaking on topics ranging from equipment acquisition and personnel policy to cyber security and counter violent extremism.

    Sep 2, 2020

  • The port of Beirut and its construction cranes, destroyed by an explosion of ammonium nitrate on August 4, 2020, photo by Karine Pierre/Hans Lucas Pictures/Reuters

    Commentary

    Addressing Lebanon's Ailments, Acute and Chronic

    The recent explosion in Beirut has again led to calls for political and economic reforms in Lebanon. The country has an economy in crisis, corruption, few job opportunities, and an influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees. Sustained global investment is needed if Lebanon is to recover over the long run.

    Sep 1, 2020

  • Members from the Tyndall Program Management Office, Air Force contracting, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center and Air Force Civil Engineer Center evaluate technical presentations from four vendors vying for the $9 million Other Transaction Authority opportunity to develop an innovative operations center prototype at the PMO’s virtual Pitch Day Sept. 14, 2020, photo by Taylor Koopman/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Prototyping Using Other Transactions: Case Studies for the Acquisition Community

    Through literature reviews, interviews, and case studies, researchers reviewed recent U.S. Air Force experience in using other transactions for prototype projects (OTs), identifying lessons for acquisition professionals and improvements for use.

    Aug 31, 2020

  • Graphic depicting people using brain-computer interface technology to communicate

    Article

    Brain-Computer Interfaces Are Coming. Will We Be Ready?

    Brain-computer interfaces give humans the ability to directly control machines with their minds. Before this emerging technology matures, it's important for developers to weigh the opportunities against the risks.

    Aug 27, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Strategies for Acquisition Agility: Approaches for Speeding Delivery of Defense Capabilities

    The authors analyze various approaches to speed acquisition of military capabilities and keep pace with evolving threats, assess these approaches' suitability for different conditions and acquisition types, and identify implementation issues.

    Aug 27, 2020

  • Human brain partially consists of circuit board, photo by Prostock-studio/AdobeStock

    Report

    Brain-Computer Interfaces: An Initial Assessment

    Brain-computer interfaces allow humans to communicate directly with machines. This technology may eventually be used to monitor a soldier's cognitive workload, control a drone swarm, or link with a prosthetic. But potential risks should be considered before the technology is widely deployed.

    Aug 27, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    The Future of Warfare Boxed Set

    This series of reports examines the key geopolitical, economic, environmental, geographic, legal, informational, and military trends that will shape the contours of conflict between now and 2030.

    Aug 26, 2020

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    The Strategic National Stockpile and COVID-19: Rethinking the Stockpile: Addendum

    Document submitted August 21, 2020, as an addendum to testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on June 24, 2020.

    Aug 24, 2020

  • Blog

    Radicalization, the Gender Pay Gap, Israel-UAE Deal: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the potential for a new era of radicalization, insights into the gender pay gap, why the Israel-UAE deal doesn't merit the hype, and more.

    Aug 21, 2020

  • U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar meets with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office, in Taipei, Taiwan, August 10, 2020, photo courtesy of the Taiwan Presidential Office

    Commentary

    Secretary Azar's Taiwan Visit Should Be Celebrated—for the Right Reasons

    HHS Secretary Alex Azar's August 9th visit to Taiwan should be celebrated by Taipei and Washington as it presents the latest evidence that bilateral relations are significantly strengthening. But Taiwan should view the United States' moves to bolster bilateral ties with some measure of trepidation. U.S. objectives with Taiwan over the past few years remain unclear.

    Aug 21, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a drill of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army, March 2, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Report

    How Does North Korean Leadership Make Decisions?

    With talks between the United States and North Korea at a standstill, U.S. policymakers must consider what the regime might do next and know what signs or decisions to look for. Will Kim open the DPRK economy? What if conventional deterrence fails on the Korean Peninsula? And what could lead to the use of nuclear weapons?

    Aug 20, 2020

  • A U.S. Air Force Airman sleeps inside a C-17 Globemaster during a flight

    Tool

    Getting To Outcomes® Operations Guide for U.S. Air Force Community Action Teams: Content Area Module for Air Force Sleep Health Promotion

    This content area module for Air Force sleep health promotion is a companion volume to the Getting To Outcomes Operations Guide for U.S. Air Force Community Action Teams.

    Aug 20, 2020

  • A Boogaloo Boy stands with protesters demanding that federal officers leave the federal courthouse in Portland, Ore., on July 25, 2020, photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Building the Boogaloo Brand: Why the Movement Succeeds in Attracting New Followers

    The Boogaloo should not be dismissed as disaffected far-right youth enamored with firearms. Several acts of political violence on American soil are connected to the movement, including homicides. It's a fast-growing, anti-government and anti-police movement with broad appeal.

    Aug 19, 2020

  • The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., photo by lucky-photographer/Getty Images

    Blog

    Summer Reading List for Congress

    During the August recess Hill staff should have an opportunity to step back from the fast pace of votes and hearing preparation to examine priorities for the fall and beyond. This list of must-read research and commentary covers some policy issues they will likely be addressing after the break.

    Aug 18, 2020

  • A missile is seen launched during a military drill in North Korea, May 10, 2019, photo by Korean Central News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    In North Korea, The U.S. Could Take the Lead

    North Korea is hurting: its economy is stagnant and it is having trouble feeding even its elites because of the UN/U.S. sanctions designed to pressure North Korean toward denuclearization. A combined carrot and stick approach may help overcome some of North Korea's reluctance to negotiate the future of its nuclear weapons program.

    Aug 17, 2020

  • Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jets perform during a demonstration flight at the MAKS-2019 air show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Russia, August 29, 2019, photo by Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Su-57 Heavy Fighter Bomber: Is It Really a Fifth-Generation Aircraft?

    Russia's Su-57 aircraft has been in development since 2002 and is considered a key part of Russia's arms export industry as a fifth-generation fighter. Despite continued Russian efforts to sell the aircraft, it is unlikely that a fully developed and full production–ready Su-57 will be available for sale before the late 2020s.

    Aug 17, 2020