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.

  • An F-22 Raptor conducts a combat air patrol mission over an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, September 13, 2019, photo by MSgt. Russ Scalf/U.S. Air Force

    Research Brief

    Who Has More Influence in the Indo-Pacific, the United States or China?

    Nov 12, 2020

    Neither the United States nor China is clearly winning the competition for influence in the Indo-Pacific region as a whole. China has more economic influence, and the United States has more diplomatic and military sway. But partners generally value economic development over security concerns.

  • Sign that says Fort Bragg, Home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces, photo by U.S. Army

    Report

    How to Protect Army Installations from Emerging Threats

    Nov 10, 2020

    Emerging technologies such as drones, 5G communications, smart city systems, and the use of social media disinformation by adversaries all pose potential threats to U.S. Army bases. A new framework can help assess possible solutions and the resources required to defend against these threats.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • Detroit police line up next to an armored vehicle following a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Detroit, Michigan, June 1, 2020, photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    Commentary

    How to Reform Military Gear Transfers to Police

    Police officers equipped like soldiers have appeared on the streets of American cities amid recent protests over George Floyd's killing. How should lawmakers reform a program that makes use of excess equipment and is popular with police departments, but that also raises substantial concerns about the militarization of policing?

    Jul 13, 2020

  • Supporters of the Houthi movement attend a rally to mark the 4th anniversary of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen's war, in Sanaa, Yemen, March 26, 2019, photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Report

    Could Yemen's Houthis Be the Next Hizballah?

    Iran turns to sponsor-proxy relationships to expand its reach in the Middle East while minimizing the risk of inviting direct conflict. The Houthis give Iran reach into Yemen and the Red Sea, providing a means to harass its rival, Saudi Arabia. Will Iran further invest in the Houthis?

    Jul 13, 2020

  • U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan at the annual NATO heads of government summit in Watford, UK, December 4, 2019, photo by Peter Nicholls/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Way Forward for the United States and Turkey

    Relations between the United States and Turkey, while fraught with tension, must also align with a mutual interest in stability in the Middle East and preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It may be important for the region's stability and prosperity to find constructive ways for the United States to work with Turkey in the years ahead.

    Jul 9, 2020

  • The U.S. 7th Fleet amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) approaches the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet Base East on Garden Island in Sydney July 15, 2013, U.S. Navy Photo

    Commentary

    The Indo-Pacific Contest: It Could be Time for Fresh Ideas on Allied Security Cooperation

    U.S. and Australian interests in the Pacific and Southeast Asia face unprecedented challenges from China, and Australia may not be able to handle them on its own. Momentum is growing for heightened cooperation between Australia and the United States.

    Jul 8, 2020

  • French military academy cadets during a military parade on the Champs-Élysées, in Paris, France, July 14, 2007, photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen/ CC BY 2.5

    Commentary

    Modern War for Romantics: Ferdinand Foch and the Principles of War

    Recent American military history suggests civilian and military leaders could benefit from studying French military strategy. For those who wish to understand French military thinking, the place to start is with Marshal Ferdinand Foch.

    Jul 8, 2020

  • China's flag superimposed over a computer chip, illustration by IvancoVlad/Getty Images

    Report

    What If China Becomes the World Leader in AI Innovation?

    Artificial intelligence technologies may become critical force multipliers in future armed conflicts. China has prioritized AI to enhance its national competitiveness and security. If its plan is successful, China will achieve a substantial military advantage over the United States and its allies by 2030.

    Jul 8, 2020

  • Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono speaks at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, Tokyo, June 25, 2020, photo by Yoshio Tsunoda/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan Is Canceling a U.S. Missile Defense System

    In June, Japan canceled its planned deployment of two Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense systems. This decision is understandable, but that doesn't negate the problems it could pose for Japanese security and Japan's relationship with the United States.

    Jul 6, 2020

  • An Indian Army convoy moves along a highway leading to Ladakh, at Gagangeer in Kashmir's Ganderbal district, June 18, 2020, photo by Danish Ismail/Reuters

    Commentary

    Chinese Border Aggression Against India Likely Unrelated to Pandemic

    Some argue that Beijing's aggression at the China-India border is part of an attempt to exploit the pandemic. But it may simply be a continuation of China's threatening behavior in the Indo-Pacific, which began before COVID-19 started to spread.

    Jul 6, 2020

  • U.S. Army Pfc. Shawn Williams of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, gives the thumbs-up to members of his unit as he is evacuated after being injured by a roadside bomb, Friday, June 17, 2011, in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan.U.S. Army Pfc. Shawn Williams of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, gives the thumbs-up to members of his unit as he is evacuated after being injured by a roadside bomb, Friday, June 17, 2011, in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, photo by Lt.j.g. Haraz Ghanbari/U.S. Army

    Report

    Limb Salvage and Recovery After Severe Blast Injury

    Although there is a vast literature on limb salvage, there is limited research on military blast-related limb salvage. What can be learned from the evidence and innovations about restoration and reconstruction after limb salvage for severe blast-related limb injury?

    Jul 6, 2020

  • A Pantsir-S surface-to-air missile system fires a missile during the International Army Games 2017 outside Astrakhan, Russia, August 5, 2017, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Drone-Era Warfare Shows the Operational Limits of Air Defense Systems

    External powers have intervened in the civil wars in Libya and Syria, supplying advanced conventional weapons that have intensified the conflicts. But not all of the weapons have performed as claimed.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • An Airman with the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron prepares for a close air support exercise during Southern Strike 2020 at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, MS, February 3, 2020, photo by Staff Sgt. Izabella Workman/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare' by Christian Brose

    As the Pentagon and commercial technologists continue to explore the potential of commercial technologies for the military and work towards greater adoption, they may wish to focus not only on lowering bureaucratic barriers but also on managing expectations about what technologies will be most beneficial and how they will be used.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • Counterterrorism police stand guard at the annual Gay Pride Parade in Greenwich Village, June 25, 2017, photo by PeskyMonkey/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Growing Irrelevance of Organizational Structure for U.S. Domestic Terrorism

    For decades, America's primary terrorist threat came from groups based abroad. Today, a new crop of terrorist actors is emerging from within our own borders. Although diverse and for the most part unconnected to each other, they share a common objective of disrupting society and in the process, overturning existing norms if not the entire political, social, and economic order.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • U.S. Army 1st Lt. Shaun Lawson, Cpl. Marvin Carson and Sgt. John Delgado, assigned to Charlie Company, 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade, manage the company network operations (NETOPS) cell monitoring the networks at exercise Allied Spirit VIII, Jan. 30, 2018 at the Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, photo by William B. King/U.S. Army

    Report

    Frameworks for Assessing USEUCOM Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade

    Campaigns to inform, influence, and persuade a range of foreign audiences are critical to achieving key U.S. national security objectives, but it can be challenging to assess the effectiveness of these efforts. How can assessment design and planning support U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) efforts?

    Jul 2, 2020

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin gestures during the joint press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018, photo by Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari/Reuters

    Commentary

    Take the Bird in the Hand. Strike a Nuclear Weapons Deal with Russia

    By extending New START, the Trump administration would preserve verifiable constraints on Russia's nuclear arsenal, buy time to negotiate a more comprehensive agreement, and pave the way for arms talks about intermediate-range missiles.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • Report

    Joint All-Domain Command and Control for Modern Warfare: An Analytic Framework for Identifying and Developing Artificial Intelligence Applications

    The authors examine and recommend opportunities for applying artificial intelligence and, more broadly, automation to deliberate planning for joint all-domain command and control for the U.S. Air Force.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • A radio telescope in front of a field of stars

    Report

    Opportunities for Including the Information Environment in U.S. Marine Corps Wargames

    Wargaming is enjoying renewed prominence in the defense community, yet the information environment remains underdeveloped and underrepresented in wargames.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • Russian military jets at Khmeimim Air Base in Syria, June 18, 2016, photo by Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry via Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Is Eyeing the Mediterranean. The U.S. and NATO Must Be Prepared

    Russia is seeking more access and freedom of movement in the Mediterranean region, and is bolstering its military footprint to achieve this objective. The United States and NATO could respond by developing a more robust southern strategy, with a reinforced air and naval presence, respectively.

    Jun 30, 2020

  • South Korean soldiers hold flags of countries that fought in the Korean War at a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the war, near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Cheorwon, South Korea, June 25, 2020, photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is North Korea Prepared to End the Korean War?

    The end of the Korean War and peace on the peninsula are no more likely to occur as the result of a peace agreement than has North Korean denuclearization occurred as the result of multiple denuclearization agreements. Ultimately, North Korean objectives matter, and real peace does not appear to be part of those objectives.

    Jun 29, 2020

  • Daniel Gerstein

    Multimedia

    Rethinking the Role of the Strategic National Stockpile

    An overview of testimony by Daniel M. Gerstein presented before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on June 24, 2020.

    Jun 29, 2020

  • Royal Air Force Flying Officer Syd Janota, Pilot Training Next 2.0 student, observes a fellow student flying a virtual-reality training sortie at the PTN facility at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Austin, Texas, March 18, 2019, photo by Dan Hawkins/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Air Force Nonrated Technical Training: Improving Efficiency

    What are some ways to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of the Air Force's technical training enterprise for both officers and enlisted personnel? There may be some lessons the Air Force can take from higher education institutions.

    Jun 29, 2020