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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.

  • Commentary

    Yes to Striking Iranian-Backed Militants

    Strikes against state-backed militias like the Houthis degrade these groups' military capabilities. But such strikes will almost certainly not deter the group from launching additional attacks. They could, however, take key capabilities and leaders off the battlefield, challenging Iran and the militias it backs to field the same quantity and quality of attacks in the future.

    Feb 26, 2024

  • Commentary

    From Forward Presence to Forward Defense: NATO's Defense of the Baltics

    The Baltic states remain vulnerable to a potential Russian military attack due to their geography. They are watching closely as NATO begins pivoting its posture of deterrence by punishment to deterrence by denial.

    Feb 14, 2024

Explore Security Cooperation

  • U.S. Coast Guard boats patrol open seas in the Fifth Fleet area of operations, February 1, 2018, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin J. Steinberg/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Persistent Gray Zone Aggression in the South China Sea Calls for Increased Coordination in Rule of Law

    By not providing consistent leadership on priority issues, and by allowing China to assert hegemony, the United States is losing its strategic influence in the Indo-Pacific. Establishing a Combined Maritime Forces focused on law enforcement as a soft power approach would provide a cohesive structure, improved partnerships, and a clear way to push back against Chinese gray-zone tactics and overt aggression.

    Apr 16, 2024

  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (R) and U.S. President Joe Biden shake hands at an arrival ceremony ahead of their summit meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2024, photo by Kyodo via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Japan's Alliance with the U.S. Has Just Gone Global

    The most profound aspect of the recent U.S.-Japan summit was the underlying message: the U.S.-Japan alliance is now global. This is an alliance now focused on the public goods of global peace, stability, and prosperity, committed to jointly building a free and open international order.

    Apr 16, 2024

  • Smoke rises after what the Iranian media said was an Israeli strike on a building close to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, April 1, 2024, photo by Firas Makdesi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Russia Doesn't Want War Between Israel and Iran

    Moscow stands to lose a great deal if the Israel-Hamas conflict escalates into a wider war. While Russia would prefer the West distracted, a direct Israel-Iran conflict would expose Russia's vulnerabilities in the Middle East.

    Apr 12, 2024

  • U.S. Space Force Col. Phillip Verroco explains the layout of the Combined Space Operations Center's operations floor to members of a delegation of French officers at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, April 15, 2022, photo by Tech. Sgt Luke Kitterman/U.S. Space Force

    Commentary

    The Path to Thoughtful Allied Space Power: Progress on a Steep Road

    The road to thoughtful allied space power is steep and requires commitment to make progress. By being forthright about the prospects for cooperation, the United States will enable allies and partners to make choices about their own investments and operations that will strengthen future coalition capabilities.

    Apr 12, 2024

  • U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and his wife Kishida Yuko at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2024. photo by Annabelle Gordon/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    America's Best Friend in Asia

    Many describe NATO as the United States' indispensable alliance—and it remains a top priority. But with a growing slate of traditional and nontraditional security issues, many of which center on China, the United States' new go-to ally is Japan.

    Apr 10, 2024

  • A worker builds a trench as part of a system of new fortification lines near the Russian border in Chernihiv region, Ukraine, March 28, 2024, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    Putin's Cordon Sanitaire in Ukraine

    Moscow is signaling a renewed Russian lunge into northern Ukraine to create a buffer zone and seize Kharkiv. Any Russian escalation in northern Ukraine deserves to be met with the full force of Ukraine's own arms and those from the West.

    Apr 10, 2024

  • The burnt-out Crocus City Hall following a deadly attack on the concert venue outside Moscow, Russia, March 29, 2024, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Moscow Terror Attack Shows the Limits of the Russia-Iran Partnership

    Growing military and economic ties between Russia and Iran pose a threat to U.S. and Western interests. But their relationship remains largely transactional. The Ukraine war has incentivized them to paper over their disputes for now, but has not erased significant differences which make it more difficult for Moscow and Tehran to forge a true strategic partnership.

    Apr 10, 2024

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes U.S. President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Bharat Mandapam convention center for the G20 Summit, in New Delhi, India, September 9, 2023, photo by Evan Vucci/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S.-India Ties Remain Fundamentally Fragile

    Despite widespread optimism about the future of the U.S.-India partnership, relations are considerably more fragile than they might appear. Indeed, the two countries continue to experience friction in several areas that, if left unaddressed, could ultimately undermine or even derail future cooperation.

    Apr 7, 2024

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Amur Oblast of the Far East Region, Russia, September 13, 2023, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Putin's Embrace of Kim Jong-un Has Its Limits

    The current trajectory of North Korea–Russia relations is certainly unfavorable for the United States and its allies because it essentially gives the two nations greater wiggle room to continue their bad behavior. But all is not necessarily lost. The strategic partnership between Russia and North Korea is unlikely to be decisive for either side.

    Apr 4, 2024

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    A Leader's Guide to Interoperability

    This brief summarizes RAND’s research on interoperability, provides guidance for military leaders to institute policies that prioritize interoperability, and explains how to include partners and monitor progress.

    Apr 4, 2024

  • A destroyed Russian Sukhoi Su-34 in a residential area of Chernihiv, Ukraine, April 16, 2022, photo by Piero Cruciatti/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Russian Air Force Is Hollowing Itself Out. Air Defenses for Ukraine Would Speed That Up

    The Russian Aerospace Forces has fewer than 650 tactical aircraft when accounting for end-of-life aircraft; it has even less when accounting for accelerated usage. But these numbers are unlikely to change Russia's behavior, based on its exhibited willingness to accept high losses, even for trivial gains.

    Mar 29, 2024

  • Multimedia

    Multimedia

    Harnessing Quantum Technology for the Benefit of Society: How the U.S. and Japan are Moving Quantum Science Research from the Lab to Everyday Life

    RAND, in partnership with Japan’s Consulate General in Los Angeles and the Japan House Los Angeles, hosted a conference to enable scholars in the United States and Japan to share expertise in the realms of applied quantum technology.

    Mar 29, 2024

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (r), with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson during the NATO ratification ceremony as Sweden formally joins NATO at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., March 7, 2024, photo by Chuck Kennedy/ABACA via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    What Sweden's Accession Means for NATO

    Russia's failed invasion of Ukraine pushed neutral Sweden to embrace a role in NATO's collective defence and security. With this addition, NATO's toolkit gains Sweden's ground and air combat, nearshore and undersea warfare capabilities, as well as the country's expertise in niche areas such as cold weather operations.

    Mar 22, 2024

  • U.S. Army helicopters transport vehicles as part of an air assault mission during Saber Junction 19 at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, September 26, 2019, photo by Sgt. Thomas Mort/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Don't Abandon Europe in the Name of 'Asia First'

    Allies are key to U.S. great-power competition. They are the only asset its adversaries do not also share. Instead of a strategic calculation, isolating European partners' vital interests because they are “less important” than Asia can only harm the U.S. relationship with Asian partners as well.

    Mar 22, 2024

  • The Kerch bridge on fire after an explosion on the rail section of the bridge, between Crimea and mainland Russia, October 8, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Bolstering Ukraine's Irregular War Against Russia

    As Ukrainian forces assume a more defensive posture, Kyiv's irregular warfare behind enemy lines becomes even more important. Ukrainian irregulars are already active, even striking distant targets in Russia. With Western support and technology, these silent warriors could become even more potent.

    Mar 18, 2024

  • National Guardsmen during a routine training exercise in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, February 29, 2024, photo by Ukrinform/Reuters

    Commentary

    Help Ukraine Win—or Risk Kicking Off a U.S. Losing Streak

    Continued assistance to Ukraine is critical if the United States is to retain its position as the world's indispensable nation and the many benefits Americans enjoy as a result. Failing to support Ukraine now might kick off an American losing streak that could take decades to overcome.

    Mar 18, 2024

  • Dutch submarine HNLMS Walrus in Groton, Connecticut, October 15, 2008, photo by John Narewski/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Relationships with Netherlands Neighbours Would Set the Course of Walrus Replacement

    The Netherlands recently commissioned a French company to replace the Royal Navy's four Walrus submarines. Economic and strategic considerations play a role in the decision, but policy safeguards will ensure that even a non-Dutch bidder returns industrial benefits.

    Mar 15, 2024

  • Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov during peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Berlin, February 28, 2024, photo by Annegret Hilse/Reuters

    Commentary

    The U.S. Can't Guarantee Armenia's Security, Despite Azerbaijan's Threats, but It Can Help

    The United States and its European allies cannot be everything Armenia wants and needs from a foreign partner. The West should recognize and accept Armenia's multi-alignment and focus on areas where it is comparatively able and willing to deepen ties and foster stability.

    Mar 14, 2024

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) meets with Czech Republic President Petr Pavel at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 19, 2023, photo courtesy of NATO

    Commentary

    As Europe's Peace Unravels, Czech Republic Ties Its Defence More Tightly to NATO

    The Czech Republic's new defence strategy emphasises its commitment to its allies and Ukraine at a time when NATO's cohesion is being challenged by both domestic and external factors.

    Mar 11, 2024

  • Flowers at the grave of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny following his funeral at the Borisovskoye cemetery in Moscow, Russia, March 1, 2024, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Moscow's History of Unforced Errors Is the West's Hidden Advantage

    In challenging the West, Russia often shoots itself in the foot. It has done so again with the murder of Alexei Navalny. While policymakers cannot count on Russian blunders continuing, it's worth considering the number of unforced errors Moscow has committed over the years and their consequences.

    Mar 4, 2024