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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.

  • Members of the Iowa National Guard load vehicles during railhead operations at Camp Shelby, Miss., photo by Sean Taylor/U.S. Army

    Report

    Weighing the Trade-Offs of U.S. Military Interventions

    Dec 13, 2021

    Military interventions can be effective at advancing U.S. interests in some contexts and situations. But they can have the opposite effect in other cases, creating long-term entanglements and increasing economic and strategic costs without realizing U.S. objectives.

  • ROK combat medics load a simulated wounded soldier into a U.S. Army helicopter during a joint exercise in Uijongbu, South Korea, March 5, 2008, photo by MC1 Lou Rosales/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Preserving the ROK-U.S. Alliance by Sustaining Military Exercises

    Nov 30, 2021

    The Republic of Korea (ROK)/U.S. military forces based in the ROK are in a constant state of training, which is required to maintain military effectiveness. North Korea seeks to stop this ROK/U.S. military training, but taking the North Korean complaints seriously could be a mistake.

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  • Ukrainian service members unload anti-tank weapons supplied by Britain at the Boryspil airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, January 18, 2022, photo by Ukrainian Defence Ministry/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    Ukraine Needs Help Surviving Airstrikes, Not Just Killing Tanks

    A Russian large-scale multidomain operation would be devastating for the Ukrainian military and people, and Ukraine should work to prevent that. But steps can also be taken to reduce the effects of the air and missile strikes that would likely lead off such an operation.

    Jan 19, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden holds virtual talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the White House in Washington, D.C., December 7, 2021, photo by The White House/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden's Rhetoric on Ukraine Has Been Quite Moderate. Here's What That Means

    President Biden's public statements since December have focused on how further Russian invasion of Ukraine would result in material consequences. His rhetorical restraint may have important implications for the current conflict.

    Jan 18, 2022

  • U.S. Navy Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Daniel Mendoza (center) observes Sierra Leonean service members as they plot a navigational course during a training session in Freetown, Sierra Leone, August 18, 2010, photo by MC1 Jeffery Tilghman Williams/U.S. Navy

    Report

    U.S. Security Governance and Competition Objectives in Africa

    Institutional capacity-building (ICB) efforts have been critical to achieving U.S. security objectives in Africa. But as U.S. policy shifts from counterterrorism to strategic competition, could ICB programs also help the United States gain influence in Africa?

    Jan 18, 2022

  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov attend security talks, Geneva, Switzerland, January 10, 2022, photo by Denis Balibouse/Reuters

    Commentary

    Speaking Aloud What NATO Has Left Unsaid Could Help Ease Ukraine-Russia Impasse

    A statement that NATO has no intention to offer Ukraine membership at present should only be made in return for a tangible drawdown of Russian forces on the border. It concedes nothing to declare that NATO is not planning to do something it has no intention of doing anyway.

    Jan 13, 2022

  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman meets with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 1, 2021, photo by U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh/Public Domain

    Commentary

    Could the U.S. Play Offense in China's Back Yard?

    Relations with Cambodia and Laos have fallen victim to the U.S. administration's foreign policy priority of shared values over shared interests. This approach has failed to make headway in Cambodia and Laos, isolates the United States in a region where few countries are true democracies, and unnecessarily cedes ground to Beijing.

    Jan 13, 2022

  • Iraqi army force are seen in frontline to fight against Islamic State (IS) militants in Khrbadan village in the city of Qayyarah, 55 km south of Mosul, Iraq, on April 9, 2016, photo by Yaser Jawad/Xinhua/Alamy Live News

    Report

    Iraqi Army Will to Fight: A Will-to-Fight Case Study with Lessons for Western Security Force Assistance

    This is a study of Iraqi Army will to fight. It applies the RAND military will-to-fight model and assessment tool to three cases and recommends changes to U.S. security force assistance.

    Jan 11, 2022

  • “Checkmate,” the new Sukhoi fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, at the opening ceremony of the MAKS 2021 air show in Zhukovsky, Russia, July 20, 2021, photo by Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is Russia's Su-75 'Checkmate' Aircraft a Case of Vapor Marketing?

    During a Moscow air show last summer, Russia rolled out a mockup of the Su-75, a multipurpose fighter-bomber designed to compete in the global marketplace. But given the Russian aerospace sector's difficulties in developing, let alone delivering, advanced combat aircraft, prospective buyers should consider a range of options to meet defense needs.

    Jan 6, 2022

  • Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Murasame-class Yuudachi transits the South China Sea during a joint operation photo exercise, October 28, 2021, photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Langholf/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Taiwan and Six Potential New Year's Resolutions for the U.S.-Japanese Alliance

    How might the United States and Japan prepare for possible conflict with China over Taiwan, and ensure forces are postured to operate together? The alliance could benefit from greater clarity, and practical conversations could make a better and stronger alliance in the new year.

    Jan 5, 2022

  • A woman leaves a voting booth during the parliamentary election at a polling station in Seoul, South Korea, April 10, 2020, photo by Heo Ran/Reuters

    Commentary

    South Korea's Presidential Election: Beyond Mudslinging, What Gives?

    The 2022 South Korean presidential campaign has focused largely on personal attacks and allegations of corruption with little attention being paid to pressing issues facing the nation. The absence of meaningful policy debate and clarity on policy deliverables will continue to leave the South Korean electorate largely uninformed about what may be the most important decision they will make in 2022.

    Jan 3, 2022

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 16, 2021, photo by North Atlantic Treaty Organization/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Commentary

    Russia May Underestimate Ukraine and NATO

    Moscow has unveiled outlandish security demands that sound aggressive and suggest that it may underestimate both NATO and Ukraine. Kremlin leaders might consider instead seeking a stable European security architecture that protects Russia's interests while also allowing for a vibrant and sovereign Ukraine.

    Dec 27, 2021

  • Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during the National Day celebration in Taipei, Taiwan, October 10, 2021, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

    Commentary

    Taiwan Would Be Better Off Alone

    Relinquishing diplomatic partners could free Taiwan from an unwinnable competition with China and refocus attention on what really matters: reducing China's coercive power by strengthening relationships with powers that can truly help.

    Dec 23, 2021

  • Blog

    The Most Popular RAND Research of 2021

    As another extraordinary year draws to a close, we continue to believe that objective, nonpartisan research and analysis has a key role to play in navigating what continues to be a difficult time. Here are the 10 research projects that resonated most with rand.org readers in 2021.

    Dec 22, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden participates virtually in the annual U.S.-ASEAN Summit at the White House in Washington, D.C., October 26, 2021, photo by Gripas Yuri/ABACA via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Biden's Southeast Asia Policy Still Has Much to Prove

    As the Biden administration's first year comes to a close, how is the United States faring in Southeast Asia? Washington got a lot right, but it could do better to optimize competition against China and work on a more sensitive understanding of the delicate and at times precarious position Southeast Asian states are in.

    Dec 17, 2021

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends his annual special televised question and answer session at Moscow's World Trade Centre, June 30, 2021, photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Reuters

    Commentary

    Deterring Putin in Eastern Europe

    After having gone years without a significant threat from Russia, NATO leaders and legislatures now may be recognizing that the security environment has changed and the more comfortable political status quo is gone. But if NATO were to decide to stand firmly together, conflict in Europe may be deterred and strategic stability restored.

    Dec 16, 2021

  • A new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile being launched in waters off the east coast of North Korea in a photo released by the North Korean Central News Agency on October 20, 2021, photo by KCNA via/Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    North Korea's Nuclear Arsenal and Prospects for Regional Peace

    Nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea have hovered at a standstill since 2019. With the door to diplomacy seemingly closed and North Korea marching forward on weapons development and making threatening statements, what are the prospects for Pyongyang's denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula?

    Dec 16, 2021

  • HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Portsmouth after her maiden operational deployment in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, December 9, 2021, p

    Commentary

    Ready for Take-Off? The Next Generation of UK Maritime Air Power

    The recent deployment of a Carrier Strike Group represents a marked shift in the United Kingdom's ambitions and capabilities for power projection in both the maritime and air domains. The United Kingdom is hoping to work closely with NATO Allies to enhance the Alliance's collective ability to deploy maritime airpower as part of a flexible posture that can deter and respond to threats both close to home and far afield.

    Dec 10, 2021

  • Blog

    Russia and Ukraine, Climate Migration, Democracy in Asia: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russia and Ukraine, planning for climate migration, the state of democracy in Asia, and more.

    Dec 10, 2021

  • Armoured vehicles are deployed to carry out a shore defense operation as part of the HanKuang military exercise in Taipei, Taiwan, September 16, 2021, photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Reuters

    Commentary

    Preventing China from Taking Taiwan

    The single most challenging high-end threat to a key American national security interest today is probably a Chinese invasion attempt against Taiwan. The United States could try to make that scenario unthinkable for Beijing by ensuring that China cannot dominate the western Pacific region.

    Dec 9, 2021

  • Ukrainian Marines take part in multinational Sea Breeze 2021 military exercises involving more than 30 countries near Kherson, Ukraine, July 2, 2021, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    If Russia Invaded Ukraine

    The United States and NATO worry that Russia may be planning an invasion of Ukraine. A renewed crisis could spur the United States and its NATO allies to go beyond, perhaps well beyond, their responses to Russia's 2014 assault.

    Dec 8, 2021