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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

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  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Escalation in Ukraine, a Trilateral Imperialist Threat, Disaster Recovery: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the risk of escalation in Ukraine, the growing threat of a North-Korea-Russia-China partnership, the economics of disaster recovery, and more.

    Sep 22, 2023

  • The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), photo by U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Why Improve Ukraine's Deep-Strike Capability?

    Coordinated deep-strike capabilities—air-launched and ground-launched—will be most effective in degrading Russian forces and operations. Using air and ground launchers would force Russian commanders to devote substantial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to attempt to find these systems.

    Sep 19, 2023

  • A woman walks near a destroyed hotel in Chernihiv, northern Ukraine, on April 14, 2022, following Russian attacks, photo by Kyodo via Reuters

    Commentary

    Looking Beyond the War: Planning for Ukraine's Reconstruction

    More certain than the outcome of the war is the need for an extensive post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. It is likely to be the largest post-war rebuilding effort since the one in Europe after World War Two. The United States and its allies and partners have an intense interest in the success of reconstruction.

    Sep 18, 2023

  • U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Vietnam's President Vo Van Thuong at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, September 11, 2023, photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

    Commentary

    With ASEAN Paralyzed, Southeast Asia Seeks New Security Ties

    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations tirelessly proclaims its centrality to the region, but its inability to develop a coherent response to Chinese aggression or the crisis in Myanmar has effectively killed that claim. ASEAN members will inevitably continue to seek out alternative paths.

    Sep 18, 2023

  • Soldiers stand in formation as Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visits a military base in Chiayi, Taiwan, March 25, 2023, photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Strawman Defense Is Torching Taiwan's Military

    There are many reasons why the political future of Taiwan Strait relations is uncertain, but the military considerations for Taiwan are much more straightforward. Taiwan should invest in capabilities that are highly survivable and potent against a potential attack from mainland China.

    Sep 15, 2023

  • U.S. President Joe Biden holds a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) during the trilateral summit at Camp David near Thurmont, Maryland, August 18, 2023, photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

    Commentary

    Separate U.S. Alliances in East Asia Are Obsolete

    Washington manages its alliances with Tokyo and Seoul separately. But growing South Korean and Japanese military capabilities make a conversation about more integration unavoidable.

    Sep 14, 2023

  • North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a meeting at the Vostochny Сosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, September 13, 2023, photo by Sputnik/Artem Geodakyan/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea, Russia and China: The Developing Trilateral Imperialist Partnership

    There are no easy ways for the United States and its allies to counter the developing Russia-China–North Korea partnership. But there are options to consider and steps to take. There are also fissures in their relationships to exploit.

    Sep 13, 2023

  • diplomacyU.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Central Asian states' foreign ministers in Astana, Kazakhstan, February 28, 2023, photo by Olivier Douliery/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Case for Greater U.S. Engagement in Central Asia

    Central Asia's souring relations with Russia and growing skepticism of Chinese influence have created a rare and valuable window of opportunity for the United States to bolster its image through greater long-term investment in the region.

    Sep 11, 2023

  • (l-r) South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida walk to a joint press conference after their summit talks at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David near Washington, D.C., August 18, 2023, photo by Kyodo via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    A Trilateral Summit to Deal with Trilateral Threats

    The leaders of Japan, South Korea, and the United States held a trilateral summit in August, focused on countering military threats in East Asia. Not surprisingly, China and North Korea were upset by the summit, designed as it was to respond to their military build-ups.

    Aug 29, 2023

  • The ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defense staff brief the press on plans to deploy its standby force to the Republic of Niger, in Accra, Ghana, August 18, 2023, photo by Francis Kokoroko/Reuters

    Commentary

    ECOWAS: In Need of Help in Niger?

    Nigerian President Bola Tinubu recently sought the Nigerian national legislature's backing for a possible military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to turn back a coup that toppled the government of Niger. An ECOWAS intervention would have a better chance of succeeding if other nations joined the effort.

    Aug 25, 2023

  • Illustration of map of China and Taiwan with their flags as patterns on the countries, with shadow of China over Taiwan, photo by Rich Townsend/Getty Images

    Commentary

    These Technologies Could Defeat China's Missile Barrage and Defend Taiwan

    Earlier this year, a group of experts from RAND and the Special Competitive Studies Project launched a new wargame effort around China's invasion of Taiwan. But unlike most D.C.-based wargames, this effort heavily involved members of the commercial technology sector, to understand what near-term capabilities might be brought to bear on a Taiwan scenario.

    Aug 24, 2023

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India (r) meets Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, June 1, 2023, photo by ANI/Reuters

    Commentary

    India Is Pushing Back Against China in South Asia

    The jostling between India and China for influence in South Asia will likely prove crucial to the fate of U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy. The good news, at least for now, is that New Delhi has been mostly successful in pushing back against Beijing's rising influence across the region.

    Aug 21, 2023

  • USA map composed of stick figures in red and blue, image by bamlou/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Toward a New Paradigm in U.S. Foreign Policy: Harnessing the Power of American Society in Pursuit of U.S. National Security Objectives

    In this Perspective, the authors call for a new “whole of America” paradigm for U.S. foreign policy that leverages the nation’s governments, businesses, civil society, and academic institutions to defend core U.S. principles of democracy and freedom.

    Aug 17, 2023

  • A colorful silhouette of an aircraft is superimposed on maps of Russia and Iran, images by Belterz/Getty Images, Kevin Smart/Getty Images, and KeithBinns/Getty Images

    Report

    Deterring Russia and Iran

    How can the United States effectively and efficiently deter Russia and Iran without crowding out investments in other military missions, including competition with China in the Indo-Pacific?

    Aug 17, 2023

  • India and America waving flags on blue sky. 3d illustration, photo by Rawf8 / Adobe Stock

    Report

    Conference Proceedings on Indian and U.S. Security Cooperation: Defense Production, Indo-Pacific Region, and Afghanistan

    A two-day conference explored Indian and U.S. views on security across the Indo-Pacific, informed by six papers discussing bilateral security cooperation, Russian arms sales to India, and the challenges posed by China to regional security.

    Aug 16, 2023

  • A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft flies in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, April 27, 2023, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Uncounted Losses to Russia's Air Force

    The Russians have burned through more of the expected life span of their aircraft more quickly than anticipated. To make up for it, they'll have to procure more aircraft, increase maintenance, reduce operations, or accept a smaller force—or some combination of those.

    Aug 14, 2023

  • A military sapper picks up unexploded parts of a cluster bomb left after Russia's invasion near the village of Motyzhyn, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 10, 2022, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Biden Was Justified to Send Cluster Munitions to Ukraine

    The U.S. decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine—and the ensuing controversy—are reflective of a broader and long-standing question: What means are moral in war? While much has been made of the dangers posed by unexploded ordnance from these weapons, there are strong arguments for providing them to Ukraine.

    Aug 14, 2023

  • New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins (l) and Chinese Premier Li Qiang shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, June 28, 2023, photo by Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    New Zealand's New Prime Minister Is Making Nice with China

    There is little question that New Zealand will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy, albeit perhaps a quietly Western-aligned one, when it comes to China. Washington should not become disillusioned with Wellington, but it should not hold high expectations about cooperation on China issues either.

    Aug 9, 2023

  • Service members with the Freedom of Russia Legion at their positions near a front line in Donetsk region, Ukraine, March 21, 2023, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Russo-Ukrainian War Has Bolstered Ukraine's Nonstate Alliance Network

    Since 2014, militant groups from Russia, Belarus, Chechnya, and elsewhere have established themselves as allies of Ukraine in its fight against Russia and its aligned forces. Though alignment with these groups presents clear benefits in the near term, Kyiv should be cautious since these groups could turn on Ukraine at any time should their interests no longer align.

    Aug 7, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Ukrainian Refugees, U.S. and Allied Defense Strategy, Threats from AI: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on supporting Ukrainian refugees, the future of U.S. and allied defense strategy, existential threats posed by artificial intelligence, and more.

    Aug 4, 2023