Operational Readiness

Organizing, training, and equipping armed forces for combat is essential to ensure their success in the field. RAND research provides military decisionmakers with information and analyses to implement effective support, training, and acquisition policies that ensure the highest level of operational readiness, even in the face of increasingly fluid combat environments.

  • Four F-15E Strike Eagles fly in formation above the Nevada Test and Training Range June 21, 2011

    Commentary

    The More Things Change: Explaining Continuity in Defense Strategy

    United States presidential administrations from Clinton to Trump have championed different approaches to military and defense policy. The verbiage of the National Defense Strategy, however, remains relatively the same and the numbers reflect more incremental rather than monumental shifts.

    Apr 25, 2018

  • Silhouetted soldiers on patrol at sunset

    Commentary

    On RAND's Research Findings Regarding Transgender Military Personnel Policy

    In September 2015, the Department of Defense asked RAND to initiate a study on the implications of allowing transgender personnel to serve openly. Since its publication, the research has been widely viewed as the most comprehensive and authoritative analysis on this topic. RAND stands by the study's research approach, analysis, and findings.

    Mar 27, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviews the honor guard before a meeting with Japan Self-Defense Force's senior members at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, September 11, 2017

    Commentary

    Revising Japan's Peace Constitution: Much Ado About Nothing

    Despite Abe’s legislative majority, it is unclear whether he has enough political capital to convince the public of the need for a constitutional revision on the Self-Defense Force. Japan’s security policies are heavily constrained by legal and normative constraints and Abe’s plan would likely do little more than codify the status quo.

    Mar 21, 2018

  • A C-130J Super Hercules aircraft flies over a formation of Airmen during a ceremony to remember veterans of World War II on the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Picauville, France, June 6, 2014

    Commentary

    The Chairman the Pentagon Needs

    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford says that to fight and win 21st century wars, the department should find a way to globally integrate below the secretary of defense. To do so, the chairman's role would have to expand to allow him to advise the secretary on the allocation and transfer of forces for transregional, multi-functional, and multi-domain operations.

    Jan 5, 2018

  • A Japan Self-Defense Forces soldier (L) talks with a U.S. Forces soldier during a drill to mobilise JSDF's PAC-3 missile unit in response to a recent missile launch by North Korea, at U.S. Air Force Yokota Air Base in Fussa on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, August 29, 2017

    Commentary

    Why Japan Needs Long-Range Strike Capabilities

    Japan's pacifist constitution allows it to exercise force only when its survival is threatened and there are no other means to repel the attack. But North Korea's advancing military capabilities have drastically changed the threat environment. Japan no longer has the luxury to be complacent about its security threats.

    Oct 23, 2017

  • First Sgt. Raquel Steckman, with the 374th Engineer Company (Sapper), headquartered in Concord, California, jokes with her Soldiers before the start of formation.

    Commentary

    Military Power Is All About People: A Return to Personnel Policy

    Ensuring the strength of U.S. armed forces is critical to U.S. national security and the key source of strength is its people. True investment in personnel is a long-term legacy and an investment worthy of attention and policy debate to ensure the United States continues to recruit and retain the most effective fighting force in the world.

    Jul 27, 2017

  • Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers take part in an annual training session near Mount Fuji at Higashifuji training field in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, August 25, 2016

    Commentary

    Giving Japan a Military

    After 70 years, Japan may finally be on the cusp of acquiring its own military. Legally, that is. Prime Minister Abe has proposed a change to Japan's constitution to give legal standing to the Self-Defense Forces, and it's long overdue.

    Jun 20, 2017

  • Report

    Sustaining the Army's Reserve Components as an Operational Force

    This report identifies emerging policy lessons regarding the use of, and reforms to, the U.S. Army's Reserve Components (RCs) as an operational reserve derived from analyses of their contributions to recent contingency operations.

    Jun 12, 2017

  • United Nations Mission in South Sudan peacekeepers from Japan assemble a drainage pipe at Tomping camp in Juba, January 7, 2014

    Commentary

    Japan's Mistaken South Sudan Withdrawal

    Being a proactive contributor to peace involves risk if a country is serious about gaining real-world experience. Pulling out of South Sudan deprives Japan's Self-Defense Force of crucial operational experience and sends a confusing message to the United States and the international community.

    Jun 8, 2017

  • A student from the U.S. Air Force Pararescue School shields a wounded Airman during a mass casualty exercise at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, January 6, 2018

    Report

    Are Battlefield Airmen Fit for Duty?

    Military occupations can be physically demanding, yet few attempts have been made to determine the physical readiness of today's airmen to perform their jobs. A methodology for establishing physical fitness standards for four Air Force occupational specialties can help the Air Force measure the physical readiness of airmen.

    May 9, 2017

  • Maj. Bishane, a 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron MQ-9 Reaper pilot, controls an aircraft from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada

    Report

    Stress and Dissatisfaction in the Air Force's Remotely Piloted Aircraft Community

    The demand for the Air Force's remotely piloted aircraft has spiked in the past few years. Crews feel stressed due to heavy workloads, understaffing, and other factors. What can the Air Force do to mitigate these stressors?

    Apr 27, 2017

  • People's Liberation Army soldiers march outside the Great Hall of the People ahead of the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, China, March 5, 2017

    Testimony

    Chinese Contingency Planning for Regional Hotspots

    The Chinese People's Liberation Army has modernized significantly over the past two decades—bringing in world-class inventory and new technology. But the major issue facing the PLA remains its ability to adequately train and prepare staffs for a range of scenarios.

    Apr 13, 2017

  • Report

    Needs, Effectiveness, and Gap Assessment for Key A-10C Missions: An Overview of Findings

    This report analyzes several missions assigned to the A-10C aircraft and the needs this mission set could generate over the next five years. It also assesses existing and planned forces' effectiveness and capability gaps in performing those missions.

    Mar 2, 2017

  • Taiwanese soldiers salute from tanks during a military exercise in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan, July 4, 2015

    Report

    Transforming Taiwan's Reserve Force

    As the political-military challenge from China grows, Taiwan's reserve force may need to play a more prominent role in Taipei's approach to deterring Chinese aggression. Changing its reserve force size, structure, roles, missions, equipment, and training could help Taiwan offset PLA advantages.

    Feb 22, 2017

  • Report

    Developing a Capacity Assessment Framework for Marine Logistics Groups

    This report provides a capacity assessment framework to assist each of the Marine Logistics Groups, or any size unit, in determining the ability of logistics units to meet current and projected tasks.

    Feb 20, 2017

  • J-10 in Zhuhai Air Show, 2008. PLAAF.

    Report

    Assessing the Training and Operational Proficiency of China's Aerospace Forces: Selections from the Inaugural Conference of the China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI)

    This volume contains revised versions of three presentations on Chinese aerospace training and operational competence issues from a June 2015 China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI) conference.

    Oct 20, 2016

  • U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Peace poses near her home in Spanaway, Washington, August 28, 2015

    Essay

    Transgender Troops: Fit to Serve

    The Pentagon's decision to open the ranks to transgender service members was informed by months of RAND research into the costs and numbers involved.

    Aug 18, 2016

  • U.S. Marines with their Georgian counterparts preparing for NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, March 24, 2015

    Commentary

    How Defense Choices Affect Military Readiness

    Because the United States cannot afford to prioritize and defend against every possible threat or contingency, it must accept risk with each decision it makes. And the more adaptive the adversary, the more likely it will confound readiness investments made previously to confront it.

    Aug 10, 2016

  • Soldiers from U.S. Army Europe's Charlie Company show Ukrainian Marines and National Guard soldiers the proper procedures for clearing a room, September 16, 2014

    Commentary

    It's Getting Harder to Define Military Readiness. Here's What to Do About It.

    Focusing on one type of threat or the other — whether state or non-state in its general nature — is becoming a less tenable option as the United States considers how to assess and improve its military readiness.

    Jul 12, 2016

  • Scientist in a clean room, with data overlay

    Report

    Improving Decision Support for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control: Aligning Models and Other Tools with Policymakers' Needs

    This report provides an overview of decision-support tools, including models and nonmodeling approaches, for policymakers and modelers and provides recommendations for using the tools to inform real-world infectious disease-related policy questions.

    Jul 12, 2016