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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.

Explore Security Cooperation

  • A Chinese Coast Guard ship (top) and a Vietnam Marine Guard ship in the South China Sea, about 130 miles away from Vietnam, May 14, 2014

    Commentary

    Vietnam's Remarkable Month of Balancing Against China in the South China Sea

    Vietnam has engaged in a string of activities to strengthen deterrence against China in the South China Sea. But Hanoi's push to deepen external defense ties with states that can help its cause won't necessarily translate into greater risk-taking in the region.

    Mar 26, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with co-chairs of his campaign office at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 19, 2018

    Commentary

    Putin Can Learn from Gorbachev on How to Gain from Future U.S. Talks

    Vladimir Putin has won a flawed election to a fourth term as Russia's president, and Donald Trump has suggested the two will likely meet soon. For the Kremlin leader, however, a summit may draw shortcomings into sharper relief. If the two presidents meet, several key issues will await them.

    Mar 22, 2018

  • A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran, September 27, 2017

    Commentary

    Can Europe Save the Iran Nuclear Deal?

    In mid-January, President Trump threatened to withdraw from the Iran agreement if Europe does not “fix” it within four months. There are viable steps Europe could take to address Trump's concerns about the deal—on missile development, inspections, and sunset clauses. But if the United States withdraws, Europe could still work with other international powers to keep the deal alive.

    Mar 12, 2018

  • Report

    Getting Out from "In-Between": Perspectives on the Regional Order in Post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia

    The perspectives collected in these conference proceedings explore alternatives to the current approaches to the regional order for the states "in between" the West and Russia -- Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

    Mar 8, 2018

  • A U.S. Marine with a Marine special operations team assists with security during a construction project for an Afghan Local Police checkpoint in Helmand province, Afghanistan, March 30, 2013

    Commentary

    In Afghanistan, A Protracted Stalemate

    The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for over 16 years, at a cost of over $1 trillion. But the Taliban now controls more territory than at any point since the U.S.-led invasion. This should give pause to observers who believe that the United States is, or will soon be, poised to turn the tide in Afghanistan.

    Feb 26, 2018

  • Report

    Limited Intervention: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Limited Stabilization, Limited Strike, and Containment Operations

    The report analyzes the strategic effects of low-cost and small-footprint military options across a range of irregular warfare operations and in a range of operational environments.

    Feb 22, 2018

  • A model of Taiwanese domestically manufactured Hsiung Feng III Anti-Ship Missile is seen inside the missile launching vehicle during International Maritime and Defense Industry Exposition in Kaohsiung, Taiwan September 16, 2016

    Commentary

    China Is Tightening the Screws on Taiwan. Will Trump Act and Risk Losing Beijing?

    The United States should consider ways to strengthen its engagement with Taiwan on defense and security issues that go beyond arms sales. Washington will need to do more to help Taiwan deal with other forms of Chinese pressure as well.

    Feb 22, 2018

  • Chinese boats fish at the disputed Scarborough Shoal, April 5, 2017

    Commentary

    The Potential of the Quadrilateral

    The countries of the Quadrilateral Security Framework are the region's four most capable maritime powers, and are naturally concerned with China's assault on international rules and norms. If ever put in place, the Quad could contribute to the maintenance of security and order in the Indo-Pacific maritime commons.

    Feb 22, 2018

  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in attend short track speed skating events in Pyeongchang, February 10, 2018

    Commentary

    At Olympics, U.S. and Korean Leaders Revive Familiar Roles

    The current spate of North-South Korean diplomacy could be short-lived, giving way to resumed tensions and mounting fears of war. It seems possible, however, that South Korean President Moon Jae-in will succeed in brokering direct talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

    Feb 22, 2018

  • Residents who returned from evacuation centers walk past a bullet-ridden house believed to have been rented by pro-Islamic State militant group leaders before their attack on the region, in Basak Malutlut district in Marawi City, Philippines, October 29, 2017

    Commentary

    Where Will ISIS Seek to Establish Its Next Safe Haven?

    Many of ISIS's surviving fighters will seek out new battlefields to continue waging jihad. By coordinating with its allies around the globe, the U.S. could work to help alleviate the conditions that lead states to fail, making them less appealing as sanctuaries where terrorists can rest, rearm, and recuperate.

    Feb 19, 2018

  • An AH-64 Apache attack helicopter takes off near soldiers participating in a training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, November 18, 2017

    Report

    How Does U.S. Military Presence Affect Conflict?

    A large U.S. regional troop presence may reduce the likelihood of interstate conflict. But it doesn't appear to reduce the risk of intrastate conflict. And there's an important trade-off: U.S. military presence may increase interstate militarized activities short of war.

    Feb 15, 2018

  • German troops cross the Neris River during the 2017 Iron Wolf exercise in Stasenai, Lithuania, June 20, 2017

    Commentary

    A 'Glass Half-Full': Next Steps for Enhancing Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank

    The United States and key allies have taken steps toward redressing the imbalance in military power between NATO and Russia in Northeastern Europe. But NATO's defense planners must be clear-eyed about what remains to be done.

    Feb 12, 2018

  • Russian trucks seen on the road heading to Deir al-Zor in Kabakeb near Deir al-Zor, Syria September 21, 2017

    Commentary

    Russia Is Not a Viable Counterterrorism Partner for the United States

    Russia is America's adversary and its actions, particularly attempts to fracture NATO, do not align with larger U.S. security goals. Even where there are areas in which the two countries could work together to mutual benefit, any cooperation should be judicious, measured and treated with the requisite degree of skepticism.

    Feb 9, 2018

  • Illustration of Mental Gears Turning and U.S. Flag

    Report

    Career Development for the Department of Defense Security Cooperation Workforce

    This study informs the development of career models for the Department of Defense security cooperation workforce. It assesses potential requirements for competencies and experience and identifies potential job families within the workforce.

    Feb 8, 2018

  • Smoke rises after an airstrike during fighting between the Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants, Raqqa, Syria, August 15, 2017

    Commentary

    Tillerson's All of the Above Policy for Syria

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson proposed to suppress any ISIS resurgence in Syria, oust Bashar al Assad, reduce Iranian influence, continue to back a Kurdish-dominated enclave, and reassure Turkey. It's important to understand why such an “all of the above” approach would not be workable.

    Feb 1, 2018

  • U.S. Navy amphibious assault vehicles enter the sea during BALTOPS, an annual NATO exercise, near Ventspils, Latvia, June 6, 2017

    Blog

    Amphibious Plans and Posture in Support of NATO Event Held at RAND

    A RAND workshop focused on the importance of amphibious and maritime forces working together within NATO. This provided a venue for dialogue and idea exchange about maritime and amphibious challenges and opportunities in Europe.

    Jan 19, 2018

  • A French gendarme stands guard near a line of lorries as migrants wait in bushes in the hopes of boarding a truck to make their way across the Channel to Britain, near Calais, France, Janaury 21, 2016

    Commentary

    Is Macron Set to 'Take Back Control' of UK-France Border After Brexit?

    As French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in London for the 35th UK-France Summit, there is growing French discomfort with arrangements at the UK-France border. The UK's decision to leave the European Union has added new urgency to this already fraught debate.

    Jan 17, 2018

  • South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a news conference in Seoul, November 7, 2017

    Commentary

    South Korea Picking the Wrong Fight

    Washington may need to encourage Seoul to find ways to cooperate with Tokyo in confronting threats from the region's revisionist actors, rather than picking fights with Japan.

    Jan 7, 2018

  • French soldiers of the 13th engineering regiment inspect the perimeter of a touareg home near Tin Hama, Mali, October 20, 2017

    Commentary

    Meet France's War Philosophers

    Gen. Vincent Desportes and Col. Michel Goya draw on careers focused on the study and practice of war and share a grimmer and more Hobbesian vision than what one normally meets in French public debates. This makes them appealing guides to the dark world in which the French now find themselves.

    Jan 5, 2018

  • Demonstrators wave Turkish and Palestinian flags during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Istanbul, Turkey, December 10, 2017

    Commentary

    Jerusalem Embassy Move Sparks Turkey-Israel War of Words

    President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has exacerbated tensions between Turkey and Israel. Economic interests had provided incentives for thawing relations in June 2016, but separating economic interests from political differences is harder today given the mistrust between Ankara and Jerusalem.

    Jan 2, 2018