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The NATO alliance served its participants well in countering the strategic threat once posed by the Soviet Union, but the rise of other regional powers and coalitions since end of the Cold War has prompted a reevaluation of existing alliances. RAND research has provided policymakers with essential information on how best to forge new defense cooperation agreements and strengthen old alliances to counter emerging security threats.

  • The U.S. Navy's guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence transits international waters of the South China Sea with ships from India, Japan, and the Philippines, May 5, 2019, photo by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

    Report

    The Thickening Web of Asian Security Cooperation

    Aug 29, 2019

    Key U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific have been strengthening their defense ties with regional actors over the past two decades. To what extent is this a response to the perceived threat of a rising, assertive China? And how will these new commitments affect the United States?

  • U.S. Army soldiers deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve await aerial extraction via CH-47 Chinook during a training exercise in Iraq, October 31, 2018, photo by 1st Lt. Leland White/U.S. Army National Guard

    Report

    It's Time to Make a Full and Enduring Commitment to Iraq

    Apr 14, 2020

    American interests will suffer if strategic competition in Iraq is abandoned. U.S. policymakers should pursue a commitment to Iraq before opportunities are lost. The best way to establish that commitment is through robust, long-term, small-footprint assistance to the Iraqi Army.

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  • Army Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, the U.S. Army, Pacific deputy commanding general, stands with his foreign counterparts during the opening ceremony of Exercise Cobra Gold 2020 at Camp Akathotsarot in Phitsanulok Province, Thailand, Feb. 25, 2020, photo by Army Pfc. Lawrence Broadnax/U.S. Dept. of Defense

    Testimony

    The Role of Allies and Partners in U.S. Military Strategy and Operations

    America's time as the world's sole superpower is ending, and the country faces significant challenges. The United States needs to strengthen its network of partnerships to prepare for a new era of great-power competition.

    Sep 23, 2020

  • Blog

    Wildfires, America's Wealth Gap, Screening for COVID-19 at Work: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the growing risk of wildfires, how Americans' incomes have grown (or not), workplace screenings for COVID-19 symptoms, and more.

    Sep 18, 2020

  • U.S. Marines engage targets during a live-fire demonstration near At-Tanf Garrison, Syria, Sept, 7, 2018, photo by Cpl. Carlos Lopez/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    In the Middle East, Russia and China Expand Their Influence

    While the United States is concerned primarily about a resurgent China's inroads in the Middle East, it is also nervous about the gambits of a revanchist Russia. As the United States decides when and how to contest China and Russia—in and beyond the Middle East—it will have to resist alarmism as vigorously as complacency.

    Sep 18, 2020

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy warships and fighter jets take part in a military display in the South China Sea, April 12, 2018

    Commentary

    America's Indo-Pacific Vision Is Becoming a Reality—Because of China

    The Trump administration's Indo-Pacific strategy has received a significant boost in recent months toward achieving its goal of keeping the region “free and open” from Chinese coercion. Ironically, China itself has been doing the boosting.

    Sep 14, 2020

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper meets with Palauan President Tommy Remengesau in Koror, Palau, August 27, 2020, photo by Jim Garamone/U.S. Department of Defense

    Commentary

    America Is Betting Big on the Second Island Chain

    The United States has deep and abiding interests in the Second Island Chain. But China's growing influence in the region could complicate U.S. plans. Washington will almost certainly seek to strengthen security cooperation with Pacific Island states in the Second Island Chain and bolster defensive positions on U.S. territories in the region.

    Sep 8, 2020

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, June 18, 2020, photo by Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Reuters

    Commentary

    Abe's Resignation Could Leave Japan Less Secure—and Destabilize Its U.S. Alliance

    Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's leadership, Japan tightened its alliance with the United States and took on a more proactive role in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. His resignation, announced last month for health reasons, could very well leave Japan less secure and the U.S.-Japan alliance unstable.

    Sep 8, 2020

  • The port of Beirut and its construction cranes, destroyed by an explosion of ammonium nitrate on August 4, 2020, photo by Karine Pierre/Hans Lucas Pictures/Reuters

    Commentary

    Addressing Lebanon's Ailments, Acute and Chronic

    The recent explosion in Beirut has again led to calls for political and economic reforms in Lebanon. The country has an economy in crisis, corruption, few job opportunities, and an influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees. Sustained global investment is needed if Lebanon is to recover over the long run.

    Sep 1, 2020

  • U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar meets with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office, in Taipei, Taiwan, August 10, 2020, photo courtesy of the Taiwan Presidential Office

    Commentary

    Secretary Azar's Taiwan Visit Should Be Celebrated—for the Right Reasons

    HHS Secretary Alex Azar's August 9th visit to Taiwan should be celebrated by Taipei and Washington as it presents the latest evidence that bilateral relations are significantly strengthening. But Taiwan should view the United States' moves to bolster bilateral ties with some measure of trepidation. U.S. objectives with Taiwan over the past few years remain unclear.

    Aug 21, 2020

  • An amphibious landing demonstration, part of Rim of the Pacific exercise at Pyramid Rock Beach, on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, July 29, 2018, photo by Sgt. Aaron Patterson/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Why Militaries Should Play Games with Each Other

    With rising rates of COVID-19 and vulnerable populations at risk, Hawaii's people are understandably nervous about the upcoming Rim of the Pacific exercise scheduled for August. But COVID-19 cannot be a blanket check on international engagement by the U.S. military. With the effects of COVID-19 expected to last for decades, the forward thinking found in games may be exactly what is needed.

    Aug 14, 2020

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and his entourage meet with Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran, January 23, 2016, photo by Khamenei.ir / CC BY 4.0

    Commentary

    What to Watch to Understand the Sino-Iranian Relationship

    Beijing and Tehran are in the process of finalizing an ambitious partnership covering a range of security and economic issues. The United States should not overreact to shifting geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East, and should instead keep an eye out to assess the evolution of the relationship and take stock of what is delivered instead of what is merely promised.

    Aug 13, 2020

  • Members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces' airborne unit attend the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base in Asaka, north of Tokyo, Japan, October 14, 2018, photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

    Commentary

    Missing in Japan's Deterrence Debate

    Following its decision to cancel the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system, Japan is currently debating future deterrence capabilities. The debate over how Japan can defend itself is an important one, offering a major opportunity to shape the country's future defense posture.

    Aug 13, 2020

  • President Donald J. Trump visits Vietnam, November 11, 2017, photo by Shealah Craighead/White House

    Commentary

    What Does Vietnam Think About America's Indo-Pacific Strategy?

    The South China Sea is where the rubber meets the road for U.S.-Vietnam security ties, and in this regard, Hanoi has gone as far as it is comfortable. Washington should expect Vietnam to continue seeking balance between China, which has economic and military superiority over it, and the United States, which can help offset Chinese power.

    Aug 5, 2020

  • The U.N. Security Council's five permanent members (P5) attend a Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons conference in Beijing, China, January 30, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Negotiating with Great Powers on Nuclear Arms

    New START, the U.S.-Russia arms control treaty, expires in February 2021. Washington insists that any follow-on accord must include China. But overcoming Beijing's reticence to engage in nuclear talks will likely take deft diplomacy, time, and patience.

    Aug 3, 2020

  • Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Vladimir Putin of Russia arrive for a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, September 16, 2019, photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

    Commentary

    Can America Weaken the Russia-Iran Axis?

    America's slow-motion retreat in Syria could embolden Iran and Russia and perhaps lead them to underestimate U.S. resolve to protect its interests in the Middle East. Clearer U.S. priorities and more deliberate engagement could reduce risk and help avoid miscalculation.

    Jul 31, 2020

  • India's prime minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, during a bilateral meeting in Osaka, Japan, June 27, 2019, photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Quad Is Poised to Become Openly Anti-China Soon

    What has been striking about the Quad thus far is that it has resisted openly identifying China as the primary target it seeks to rein in. But if the Quad is to be sustained, then it will likely have to come to grips with a forward-leaning approach to opposing Chinese activities.

    Jul 28, 2020

  • Sudan's Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, head of Military Transitional Council, and the military's chief of staff Lieutenant General Kamal Abdul Murof Al-mahi shake hands after being sworn in as leaders of Military Transitional Council in Sudan in this still image taken from video on April 11, 2019, photo by Sudan TV/Reuters

    Commentary

    Can Sudan Escape Its History as a Hub for Violent Extremists?

    Sudan continues to confront major challenges that could derail its path back to the mainstream of international politics. Sudan must show that it is no longer a haven for terrorist and violent extremist groups and that it is committed to ensuring that this remains true.

    Jul 24, 2020

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines, November 20, 2018, photo by Mark Cristino/Reuters

    Commentary

    China Refuses to Quit on the Philippines

    When the Filipino people elected Rodrigo Duterte to become their next president in May 2016, China saw a distinct opportunity to pull the longtime U.S. ally away from Washington and into Beijing's strategic orbit. But it remains to be seen how the long-term geopolitical competition between the United States and China over the Philippines will play out.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to the media after having a telephone discussion with U.S. President Donald Trump, in Tokyo, December 21, 2019, photo by Koji Ito/Reuters

    Commentary

    Are U.S.-Japan Relations on the Rocks?

    The relationship between the national security establishments in Washington and Tokyo appears to be close and trusting. But with current troublesome trends, more attention should be paid to what has otherwise been a reliably solid relationship.

    Jul 20, 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