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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. RAND's four U.S. federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) explore topics from acquisition and technology to personnel and readiness.

  • The X-51A Waverider is set to demonstrate hypersonic flight, graphic by U.S. Air Force

    Report

    U.S.-Russia-China Cooperation Could Hinder the Proliferation of Hypersonic Missiles

    Sep 27, 2017

    Hypersonic missiles are a new class of threat that could penetrate most missile defenses and compress the timelines for a nation under attack to respond. The United States, Russia, and China should agree not to export hypersonic missile systems or components to other nations.

  • U.S. Army officer returning from Afghanistan holds his son for the first time during a redeployment ceremony at Fort Hood, December 9, 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Tomora Nance/3rd Cavalry Regiment Public Affairs Office

    Report

    Are Soldiers Getting What They Need?

    Oct 9, 2017

    In addition to typical household issues, U.S. military families deal with unique challenges, such as deployments and frequent moves. A survey of more than 7,000 active-duty soldiers provides insight into the problems they face, their needs, and the resources they use.

Explore National Security

  • Protective barriers are placed along a bike path near a memorial to remember the victims of the New York October 31 attack, in New York City, U.S., November 3, 2017

    Commentary

    America Is Great at Fighting Terrorism, but Terror Is Alive and Well

    When terrorists adopt a strategy of pure terror, it is challenging to prevent attacks like those seen in Nice, Columbus, London, Barcelona, or New York. Instead, strategies are needed to counter terrorism's ultimate aim, to instill fear, and to remove some of the incentives of those who might be motivated to conduct them.

    Nov 16, 2017

  • Computer hacker with magnifying glass

    Commentary

    It's Time for the International Community to Get Serious About Vulnerability Equities

    Multiple countries around the world are likely discovering, retaining and exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities without a process to properly consider the trade-offs. This needs to change. It’s time for the international community to get serious about vulnerability equities.

    Nov 15, 2017

  • Iran's army servicemen with the national flag attend the opening ceremony of the airborne platoon competition, part of the International Army Games 2017, in Guangshui, Hubei province, China, July 30, 2017

    Commentary

    Saudi Shakeup Gives the U.S. an Opening with Iran

    If Saudi Arabia forces a showdown with Iran, the U.S. will find itself in the middle of it. Washington and Tehran need to come to an understanding so as not to further inflame the region. Demonizing Iran for all the ills of the Middle East is counterproductive and will lead to further escalation.

    Nov 13, 2017

  • Polish Army PT-91 tank is seen during Silver Arrow 2017, the multinational military drills involving eleven NATO member countries in Adazi, Latvia October 29, 2017

    Commentary

    How NATO Could Accidentally Trigger a War with Russia

    An increased NATO presence in the Baltics could motivate Russia for an invasion. U.S. and NATO deployments in the region should take seriously Russian beliefs about NATO capabilities in planning future deployments, and by pursuing transparency and negotiation in future deployments in the Baltic region.

    Nov 13, 2017

  • Spanish Army soldiers run during the Silver Arrow 2017, the multinational military drills involving eleven NATO member countries in Adazi, Latvia October 29, 2017

    Commentary

    Deterring the Unthinkable: NATO's Role Along the Eastern Flank

    As NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels to set the stage for the 2018 NATO summit, key issues will include defense burden-sharing and NATO’s role to the south in counterterrorism and refugee management. But strengthening deterrence to the East must remain the top priority for the alliance.

    Nov 7, 2017

  • French soldiers set up camp while waiting for the delivery of a replacement piece for a vehicle in Inat, Mali, May 27, 2016

    Commentary

    What Is the Sahel G5 Force and Why Should the U.S. Support It?

    The French Joint Force G-5 Sahel plan offers the possibility of strengthening the Sahel nations' efforts to combat terrorism. Supporting the French initiative is a worthy undertaking, provided, of course, that everyone understands what it is and is not.

    Nov 6, 2017

  • Children run along a damaged street as they celebrate the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha at a rebel-held area in Deraa, Syria, September 1, 2017

    Commentary

    How to Help Syrians — Without Helping Assad

    The U.S. and others have a major interest in ending the Syrian civil war, helping the millions of displaced Syrians, and preventing the re-emergence of the Islamic State. But they are naturally reluctant to assist rebuilding a country run by Assad and supported by Russia and Iran. What are their options?

    Nov 3, 2017

  • Syrian Democratic Forces fighters ride atop of military vehicle as they celebrate victory in Raqqa, Syria, October 17, 2017

    Commentary

    Why the Fall of the 'Caliphate' in Syria Will Not Ease Western Security Concerns

    A Syria and Iraq free of ISIS do not, unfortunately, free the West from the ISIS threat. Instead, ISIS is likely to either disperse, with its followers prepared to carry out a range of further attacks, or attempt to regroup in the fragile states of Africa.

    Nov 3, 2017

  • Police investigate a pickup truck used in an attack on the West Side Highway in lower Manhattan in New York City, November 1, 2017

    Commentary

    New York Terror Attack: Can Vehicle Attacks Be Prevented?

    The recent vehicle attack in Manhattan was the deadliest terror attack on New York since 9/11. Preventing every attack is unrealistic, but with increased vigilance, cooperation with law enforcement, and intelligence sharing, citizens can help mitigate the threat of terrorism.

    Nov 1, 2017

  • Police look toward the scene of a pickup truck attack on West Side Highway in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 31 2017

    Commentary

    Terrorism Fatigue

    By continually staking claim to big and small terrorist attacks, regardless of target selection or casualty count, ISIS has attempted to instill a sense of omnipresent and unpredictable danger. And in the process, terrorism fatigue may be setting in around the world.

    Nov 1, 2017

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) and lawmaker Shinjiro Koizumi part ways at the Parliament in Tokyo, September 28, 2017

    Commentary

    Abe's Victory and Constitutional Revision

    After Japan's election, observers immediately began speculating about its impact on constitutional reform. While parties in favor of constitutional revision have secured enough seats to pass the legislative hurdle needed to revise Japan's basic law, the road ahead is much more complicated.

    Oct 31, 2017

  • A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employee waits for the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump during a visit at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., August 4, 2017

    Commentary

    Reauthorizing DHS: Contemplating Major DHS Organizational Realignments

    As Congress considers DHS reauthorization, having clear organizational realignment principles could help assess the degree to which expectations will be met. Those principles could examine whether mission effectiveness would improve and whether implemented changes would introduce new issues.

    Oct 30, 2017

  • Nigerien soldiers prepare their magazines for a dismounted patrol during Exercise Flintlock 2017 in Diffa, Niger, March 11, 2017

    Commentary

    The Real Questions We Should Be Asking About Niger

    In the wake of the deaths of four U.S. servicemen in Niger, Americans are embroiled in a pointless political squabble. The focus should be on developing a greater understanding of the risks and benefits of U.S. counterterrorism operations abroad.

    Oct 30, 2017

  • A U.S. Army Special Forces weapons sergeant observes a Nigerien soldier while practicing buddy team movement drills in Diffa, Niger, March 11, 2017

    Commentary

    U.S. Helping Niger Halt Spread of Terror in Region

    Niger is at the epicenter of the war on terror, with local and regional violent groups based there and entering the country from nearly every side. U.S. troops are there to train Niger's security services — not to fight. They are also assisting French forces who are fighting there.

    Oct 25, 2017

  • U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General, Gen. Robert Brown (left), and Philippines Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Glorioso, salute at an honor cordon convened on historic Palm Circle, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, to honor Glorioso's arrival February 1, 2017

    Commentary

    General Robert Brown on the U.S. Army's Role in Asia

    Gen. Robert B. Brown, Commanding General of U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), offers his perspective of key defense and security issues facing USARPAC in the Indo-Pacific region today. He discusses what the Army's role would be in any potential application of U.S. military power, as well as its peacetime role in strengthening U.S. alliances.

    Oct 25, 2017

  • Members of al Qaeda's Nusra Front move toward their positions near al-Zahra village, north of Aleppo city, November 25, 2014

    Commentary

    The Moderate Face of Al Qaeda

    Al Qaeda in Syria cut ties with its parent organization to portray itself as a legitimate, capable, and independent force in the Syrian civil war. The group appears dedicated to helping Syrians prevail, and now that ISIS has lost its capital in Raqqa, al Qaeda may be the only group viewed as militarily capable of challenging the Assad regime.

    Oct 24, 2017

  • U.S. Army Soldiers provide security during a mission in Yarmouk, Iraq, July 2007

    Report

    Armies Have a Role to Play in Nation Building

    Events in Iraq and Mali have raised questions about the value of Security Force Assistance and U.S. capacity to strengthen client states' militaries in the face of insurgencies or other threats. History shows that SFA programs could be improved if they focused more on ideology and how an army complements a host country's larger nation-building efforts.

    Oct 24, 2017

  • An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria, January 15, 2016

    Commentary

    Why the Iran Nuclear Deal Benefits the U.S.

    The Iran deal has stretched the time needed to produce a nuclear weapon from three to at least 12 months and has established the strongest inspections system ever negotiated. Walking away from the agreement now will only isolate the U.S. and provide Iran an easy excuse to join North Korea on the road toward nuclear weapons.

    Oct 23, 2017

  • A woman seeking asylum has her fingerprints taken by a U.S. Customs and Border patrol officer at a pedestrian port of entry from Mexico to the United States, in McAllen, Texas, U.S., May 10, 2017

    Commentary

    Reauthorizing DHS: Improving Operational Control

    One area of focus in the debate on reauthorizing the Department of Homeland Security should be its role in directing homeland security operations. The debate should include a comprehensive discussion of the future role for the department headquarters.

    Oct 23, 2017

  • A view of the U.S. Capitol Dome in Washington, October 4, 2013

    Commentary

    Reauthorizing DHS: Aligning Requirements, Research, Development and Acquisition

    As part of the discussion about reauthorizing the Department of Homeland Security, Congress might want to consider how to improve acquisitions. Rather than focusing only on the steps in the acquisition process, that discussion could also include consideration of pre and post-acquisition activities.

    Oct 23, 2017