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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.

  • U.S. Army Soldiers provide security during a mission in Yarmouk, Iraq, July 2007, photo by Spc. Elisha Dawkins/U.S. Army

    Report

    Armies Have a Role to Play in Nation Building

    Oct 24, 2017

    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.

  • Knights Brigade Soldiers take the oath of reenlistment in the courtyard of the Burg Lichtenberg castle in Kusel, Germany, April 1, 2016, photo by 1st Lt. Hannah Morgan/U.S. Army

    Report

    Promising Approaches to Army Institutional Change

    Dec 5, 2017

    The U.S. Army is facing many challenges. These include behavioral health issues, misconduct, and adjustment to changing demographics. Long-term solutions will require changes in Army culture and climate. Such changes are difficult, but promising strategies do exist.

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  • 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

  • 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

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) delivers remarks on North Korea, accompanied by U.S. President Donald Trump at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, February 11, 2017

    Commentary

    Japan's Election Matters for U.S. Interests

    What happens in Japan's election carries enormous consequence for the United States and its interests in the region. U.S. Asia policy begins and ends with America's critical alliance with Japan.

    Oct 21, 2017

  • A Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bus is seen parked outside a federal jail in San Diego, California, U.S. October 19, 2017

    Commentary

    Reauthorizing DHS: The Case for Reauthorization

    Reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security is vital to clarifying responsibilities and setting expectations for the continued evolution of the department. Policymakers might also wish to conduct an external review, which could help inform a broader future reform bill.

    Oct 20, 2017

  • Report

    Supporting Persistent and Networked Special Operations Forces (SOF) Operations: Insights from Forward-Deployed SOF Personnel

    RAND Corporation researchers identified three key operational challenges that forward-deployed personnel have encountered and then assessed the extent to which persistent, networked, and distributed operations can mitigate these challenges.

    Oct 16, 2017

  • A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer is joined by Republic of Korea air force F-15s, during a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017

    Commentary

    On North Korea, Past Foreign Policy Fiascoes Show U.S. What Not to Do

    Foreign policy disasters are often the sum of two basic errors: embracing exaggerated claims about the need to act, and inventing a conceptual magic wand to wish away potential consequences. Both are apparent in U.S. policy toward North Korea's nuclear aspirations.

    Oct 5, 2017

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani delivers remarks at a news conference during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, September 20, 2017

    Commentary

    Decertifying the Iran Nuclear Deal Would Not Increase U.S. Leverage

    The Iran nuclear agreement is not perfect, but it is working. Iran is no longer on the brink of being able to produce a nuclear weapon as it was two years ago. The suggestion that decertifying would increase U.S. leverage to renegotiate and strengthen the agreement is unrealistic.

    Oct 5, 2017

  • An F/A-18 Super Hornet lands on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea, September 30, 2017

    Report

    Risk of U.S.-China Conflict Should Not Be Ignored or Exaggerated

    Armed conflict between the United States and China isn't likely. But the possibility is real enough to warrant prudent policies and effective deterrence. America should continue to support China's neighbors while drawing Beijing into cooperative security endeavors.

    Oct 2, 2017

  • Police officers check the identity cards of a people as security forces keep watch in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, March 24, 2017

    Commentary

    All That Could Go Wrong When Jihadists Return Home — to China

    About 300 of Western China's Uighurs, the Sunni Muslim indigenous ethnic minority, went to Syria to join ISIS. Now that the caliphate is collapsing, Beijing could soon find itself in the crosshairs of a religiously motivated, battle-hardened crop of returning terrorists.

    Sep 29, 2017

  • Tool

    Roadmap to Succeed in the Open for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's Human Development Directorate

    This tool provides the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's Human Development Directorate with a roadmap for how employees can overcome the hurdles to achieving the agency's missions outside of secure and classified environments.

    Sep 26, 2017

  • Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a bomb attack at a police checkpoint on a highway near the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya, Iraq, September 14, 2017

    Commentary

    How ISIS Is Transforming

    The campaign to counter ISIS has made significant progress, but predictions of the group's demise are premature. It is transitioning from an insurgent organization with a fixed headquarters to a clandestine terrorist network dispersed throughout the globe.

    Sep 25, 2017