National Security

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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.

  • Depressed veteran meets with psychologist, photo by Steve Debenport

    Report

    What Is the Quality of Mental Health Care in the Military?

    Aug 7, 2017

    The care provided by the Military Health System (MHS) is critical to maintaining a physically and psychologically healthy, mission-ready force. When it comes to PTSD and depression, the MHS demonstrates excellent care in some areas but could improve in others.

  • A soldier engages a target during a convoy live fire exercise at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, on July 7, 2017, photo by Spc. Thomas Scaggs/U.S. Army

    Report

    What Are the Trends in Armed Conflicts? What Do They Mean for U.S. Defense Policy?

    Sep 12, 2017

    Until the wars in Syria and Ukraine, armed conflict in the world had been decreasing for decades. Future projections show continued decline, but the U.S. military has an important role in deterring conflict, underpinning peacekeeping coalitions, and possibly in responding to proxy wars by other powers.

Explore National Security

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L), and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia December 29, 2016

    Commentary

    No Quick Fix with Russia

    A series of small steps is more likely to improve Western and Russian security than an attempt at a total reset. At the same time, sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and NATO actions to reassure and protect allies, must continue.

    Jan 3, 2017

  • People protest as electors gather to cast their votes amid allegations of Russian hacking to try to influence the U.S. presidential election in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, December 19, 2016

    Commentary

    Were Russian Hacks Really a Threat to American Democracy?

    The Russian attacks should be another wake up call about the relentless probing of America's digital assets by adversaries and the potential consequences of weak cyber defenses. But U.S. democracy appears to have survived safe and sound.

    Dec 30, 2016

  • The Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, and the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, October 10, 2006

    Commentary

    Hidden Dangers of Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

    Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would antagonize partners in the Islamic world who are key to fighting ISIS and other extremists. And any potential cooperation that might have developed between Israel and Arab states over common concerns about Iran could suffer.

    Dec 28, 2016

  • A sailor opens a network monitoring program during an exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, August 22, 2016

    Commentary

    America's Cyber Security Dilemma — and a Way Out

    The United States should continue to pursue international cooperation in cyberspace, improve its ability to identify and expose the sources of attacks, and improve its oversight of the development and adoption of cyber-related technologies.

    Dec 22, 2016

  • French police secure a street near a travel agency where a gunman took seven people hostage in a robbery, in Paris, France, December 2, 2016

    Commentary

    Crime and Terror in Europe: Where the Nexus Is Alive and Well

    The idea of a crime-terror nexus does appear to be a major threat in Europe, where terrorists and criminals now recruit from the same milieu. Coperation between European law enforcement and intelligence agencies is critical.

    Dec 15, 2016

  • Japan's Self Defence Force holds an opening ceremony of a new military base on the island of Yonaguni in the Okinawa prefecture, March 28, 2016

    Commentary

    The Risks of an Accelerating Rivalry Between China and Japan

    China and Japan have a long history of antagonism but their competition for influence in Asia has recently expanded in the economic, diplomatic, and security domains. The U.S., although a staunch ally of Japan, has served as a mediator. Weakening the U.S. role could aggravate Sino-Japanese tensions to a destabilizing degree.

    Dec 12, 2016

  • News Release

    China Invests Warily in Middle East

    China endeavors to protect its expanding interests in the Middle East by not taking sides in conflicts and controversies. The United States should encourage China to become more involved in efforts to improve regional stability while reassuring partners of its own commitment to the region.

    Dec 5, 2016

  • Announcement

    Alex Hall Appointed Director of RAND Europe’s Defence, Security and Infrastructure Research Group

    5 December 2016 Alex Hall has been appointed director of RAND Europe’s Defence, Security and Infrastructure Research Group which provides analytical and research support to a range of public policy clients in the UK and Europe. The Research Group’s expertise spans a broad spectrum of defence, security ...

    Dec 5, 2016

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state of the nation address at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 1, 2016

    Commentary

    Can Trump Make a Deal with Putin?

    If executed properly, President-elect Trump's diplomacy could help reverse a destabilizing downward spiral in U.S.-Russian relations and create a vision of what normal relations might entail.

    Dec 5, 2016

  • President Barack Obama meets with members of the National Security Council in the Situation Room of the White House, September 10, 2014

    Commentary

    Presidential Policy Directive 1: Forming the NSC

    If precedent holds, the National Security Council will be defined in the first policy directive that President Trump signs in the early weeks of his administration. Several important questions should be considered.

    Dec 5, 2016

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and UAE's deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces, meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, December 14, 2015

    Report

    China Invests Warily in the Middle East

    China endeavors to protect its expanding interests in the Middle East by not taking sides in conflicts and controversies. The United States should encourage China to get more involved in efforts to improve regional stability while reassuring partners of its own commitment to the region.

    Dec 5, 2016

  • A Lithuanian army soldier holds the national flag during the NATO Force Integration Unit inauguration event in Vilnius, Lithuania, September 3, 2015

    Commentary

    'If You Want Peace, Prepare for Resistance'

    The government of Lithuania issued a guide on how its citizens can resist a potential Russian invasion and occupation. Resistance is a key element of the “Total Defense” strategy which all three Baltic states have been pursuing to varying degrees, spurred on by Russian aggression in Crimea and elsewhere.

    Nov 22, 2016

  • Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan meet to sign a bilateral agreement on construction of the TurkStream undersea gas pipeline in Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 2016

    Commentary

    The Turkish-Russian Rapprochement: How Real? How Durable?

    The recent strengthening of ties between Turkey and Russia may represent more of an economic marriage of convenience than a deeply rooted political alliance. On a number of important issues, particularly the Syrian conflict, the two nations have very different interests and priorities.

    Nov 21, 2016

  • Donald Trump arrives at his election night rally at the New York Hilton Midtown in Manhattan, November 9, 2016

    Commentary

    Can Trump Really Do Deals with Putin?

    Russia is a declining economic power whose foreign policy has led to isolation and criticism. But Putin may have an inflated sense of Russia's importance and expect one-sided U.S. concessions. If so, diplomacy could run into headwinds early in the Trump administration.

    Nov 21, 2016

  • A boy holds up a white flag in Mosul, Iraq, November 16, 2016

    Commentary

    What ISIS Leaves Behind in Mosul Will Reveal a Lot

    The capture of Mosul, Iraq, may produce a potential trove of information about how ISIS organized itself to run a large city. Collecting, analyzing, and disseminating this material will be a major effort, one of the most important as the city is liberated.

    Nov 18, 2016

  • Former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and CFR Senior Fellow Gayle Tzemach Lemmon at RAND's Politics Aside event in Santa Monica, November 12, 2016

    Blog

    The Return of a Cold War Threat

    The danger of blundering into a nuclear war through miscalculation or human error has returned, said former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry at RAND's Politics Aside event. No leader is seeking nuclear war, but there are new dangers that didn't exist during the Cold War that could lead to one.

    Nov 15, 2016

  • NSC Senior Director Maren Brooks, journalist Malcolm Gladwell, and Amb. Charles Ries at RAND's Politics Aside event in Santa Monica, November 12, 2016

    Blog

    Making National Security Decisions

    In a crisis, there's a tendency in government to add more people to address the problem, but doing so often slows decisionmaking. It's easier to invent something new rather than require the agency to fix problems in the existing structure.

    Nov 15, 2016

  • A worker reads a freshly printed newspaper with the headline reading "We will tremble" at a printer of the local daily Norte in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, November 9, 2016.

    Commentary

    Is the U.S. Abandoning the World Order It Created?

    In the 20th century the United States created and expanded a world order that has provided security and prosperity—and it has borne much of the cost for sustaining it. Can that liberal global order be updated rather than jettisoned?

    Nov 14, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama (right) stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, September 25, 2015

    Commentary

    China's Actions Are Causing U.S. 'Militarization' of the Pacific

    Beijing's aggression in the Asia-Pacific is threatening key U.S. allies, causing America to respond. Any change in U.S. policy must be based on changes in Chinese behavior.

    Nov 3, 2016

  • Marta Kepe moderates a panel at the Riga Conference

    Announcement

    Kepe Moderates Riga Conference Panel on Ambiguous Threats

    RAND Europe analyst Marta Kepe moderated a RAND Europe-hosted panel at the annual Riga Conference. The topic was 'Dealing with Ambiguous Threats in the Nordic Baltic Region’.

    Nov 2, 2016