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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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  • Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks to media after announcing his withdrawal from the party leadership race in Tokyo, Japan, September 3, 2021, photo by Kyodo/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Instability at the Top Means for Japan's Alliance with the United States

    Having shorter-serving prime ministers tends to minimize Japan's ability to operate as a strategic player. If Suga's resignation is the start of a revolving door, then the implications for Japan's policies and the U.S.-Japan alliance could be significant.

    Sep 22, 2021

  • Visualization

    Visualization

    Potential Drivers of Crises in the Arctic

    Historically in the Arctic, regional tensions have been resolved before turning into major crises. With the Arctic gaining more attention in recent years, are existing governance mechanisms enough to handle future diplomatic challenges?

    Sep 22, 2021

  • Taliban flags are seen on a street in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 16, 2021, photo by West Asia News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    China and Pakistan See Eye to Eye on the Taliban—Almost

    Beijing and Islamabad share a long history of cooperation and have much in common on Afghanistan. Both are poised to benefit strategically from the Taliban's success. But the Taliban's resurrection almost certainly will add some stress to an otherwise positive and productive bilateral partnership.

    Sep 21, 2021

  • Russian nuclear icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy escorts the LNG tanker Christophe de Margerie in the North Sea Region, March 2, 2021, photo by Rosatom/Pool/Latin America News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    No Need to Read Between the Lines: How Clear Shifts in Nordic Strategies Create Opportunities for the United States to Enhance Arctic Security

    Norway, Sweden, and Finland have dramatically shifted their plans and actions in response to Russian threats in the European Arctic. This change could provide an opportunity for the United States to further strengthen cooperation, enhancing security and better countering Russia in the region.

    Sep 15, 2021

  • U.S. and Japanese military commanders visit the Misawa Air Base during Keen Sword/Orient Shield 21 in Aomori, Japan, October 28, 2020, photo by Sgt. Raquel Birk/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Japan's Potential Acquisition of Ground-Launched Land-Attack Missiles: Implications for the U.S.-Japanese Alliance

    If Japan acquired ground-based strike capabilities, it would have significant consequences for the U.S.-Japanese alliance. American and Japanese policymakers may need to have a new and expanded set of conversations about how such capabilities would be used and how the alliance could adjust to incorporate them.

    Sep 9, 2021

  • A NATO helicopter flies over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 29, 2020, photo by Omar Sobhani/Reuters

    Commentary

    Lessons from Afghanistan

    The British invaded Afghanistan multiple times from 1839 to 1919. These wars offer wider context for understanding America's intervention in that same nation—and its ultimate failure.

    Sep 3, 2021

  • Navy Cmdr. Ryan T. Easterday, commanding officer of the guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, observes from the bridge wing as the ship sails in the South China Sea, Oct. 20, 2020, photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Markus Castaneda/U.S. Department of Defense

    Commentary

    Reinforcing U.S. Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific After the Fall of Afghanistan

    China and North Korea are seizing on the U.S. departure from Afghanistan to press their own political warfare messages. What can the United States do to mitigate the impact of the Taliban takeover on America's interests in the Indo-Pacific?

    Sep 3, 2021

  • Marines guide a woman and her child during an evacuation from Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 18, 2021, photo by Marine Corps Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/U.S. Department of Defense

    Commentary

    Afghanistan Was Lost Long Ago

    The United States failed to build a lasting state in Afghanistan. Although the mission was not doomed from the start, early miscalculations and critical mistakes made success unlikely.

    Aug 30, 2021

  • A U.S. Marine escorts Department of State personnel to be processed for evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 15, 2021, photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/U.S. Marines via Reuters

    Commentary

    Afghanistan Withdrawal Says Little About U.S. Commitments Elsewhere

    The United States is a nation which sees that it is in its vital interest to deter autocrats from adventurism and challenges to the world order. Drawing lessons from the narrow case of Afghanistan to speak about broad U.S. resolve or credibility comes with an inherent risk that adversaries may choose to ignore at their own peril.

    Aug 25, 2021

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a news conference in New Delhi, India, July 28, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden's Indo-Pacific Policy Blueprint Emerges

    The Biden administration has yet to detail its goals in the Indo-Pacific region and how it plans to achieve them. But following recent virtual engagements and U.S. visits to the region, at least three key points have crystallized.

    Aug 23, 2021

  • RAF A400M Atlas transport aircraft carrying out a series of spectacular test landings and take offs on a beach, UK MOD photo by Andrew Linnett/Open Government Licence

    Report

    Strategic Airlift in Africa: Understanding Challenges and Opportunities for the Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE) and Member Nations

    The Movement Coordination Centre Europe commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a scoping study to understand constraints of operating in Africa, as well as barriers to the efficient coordination of airlift and other logistic support in the continent. This narrated presentation describes the project, including key findings.

    Aug 20, 2021

  • Topographic map showing Russia and the Arctic region, image by FrankRamspott/Getty Images

    Report

    Exploring Gaps in Arctic Governance

    Conditions in the Arctic region are evolving, driven by such factors as climate change, economics, and geopolitics. What are the risks that come with these changes—and how could governance in the Arctic adapt to mitigate them?

    Jul 27, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a summit in Paris, France, December 10, 2019, photo by Charles Platiau/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    Disrespecting Europe Could Cost Russia

    Western unity is critical to addressing authoritarian challenges. Brexit, immigration, leadership transition in Germany, and COVID-19 provide grist for Russian propaganda claims of European weakness. But unified EU action on Ukraine, Navalny, and Belarus shows that Europe is a force with which to be reckoned.

    Jul 26, 2021

  • The USS Bonhomme Richard , left, and USS Green Bay docked at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, March 5, 2015, photo by Lt. David Levy/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    A Taiwan Contingency and Japan's Counterstrike Debate

    The United States and Japan could be drawn into a conflict in the event of Chinese aggression against Taiwan whether they like it or not. Allied defense planning could consider how Japan might further reinforce deterrence and if necessary improve its ability to contribute to the common defense.

    Jul 23, 2021

  • Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and other Taliban delegation members attend the Afghan peace conference in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2021, photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

    China is set to benefit significantly from a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. It's worth following this dynamic closely in the coming weeks and months.

    Jul 22, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Strategic Airlift in Africa: Understanding Challenges and Opportunities for the Movement Coordination Centre Europe

    The Movement Coordination Centre Europe commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a scoping study to understand constraints of operating in Africa, as well as barriers to the efficient coordination of airlift and other logistic support in the continent.

    Jul 22, 2021

  • An I-Kiribati girl watches as the Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS Millinocket arrives in Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati, June 2, 2015, photo by Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Kulp/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    America's Strategy in Oceania: Time for a Better Approach

    China has moved in earnest to engage with Oceania, while the United States is vying to get a toehold in the region. To develop an effective strategy for engaging there, Washington could seek guidance from key allies to better understand their experience, lessons, and efforts already underway.

    Jul 19, 2021

  • Aerial of Thule Air Base, Greenland, photo by JoAnne Castagna, Public Affairs/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Commentary

    Mind the GIUK Gap

    For decades, NATO forces have used nearby bases to keep tabs on Russian submarines, surface ships, and aircraft transiting the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom Gap. Strong independence movements in Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Scotland could soon jeopardize this position.

    Jul 15, 2021

  • Image of a HAR2 Bell Griffin helicopter, seen here at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on 4 July 2021 assisting with efforts to tackle wildfires across Cyprus, photo by Cpl Phil Dye/UK Ministry of Defence Crown Copyright

    Multimedia

    Understanding the Value of Defence

    RAND Europe Defence, Security and Infrastructure director Ruth Harris and Research Leader James Black examine the ‘value proposition’ of UK defence in this audio conversation. They explore how the value it brings to the nation can be better articulated across government, to partners and to the wider public.

    Jul 13, 2021

  • Report

    Understanding the Value of Defence: Towards a Defence Value Proposition for the UK

    The UK Ministry of Defence asked RAND to develop a 'Defence Value Proposition' to provide a better understanding of why defence exists and how the value it brings to the nation can be better articulated to government, partners and the wider public.

    Jul 13, 2021