Terrorism and Homeland Security

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RAND is a world leader in research on terrorism, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, disaster management, and homeland security—topics that affect a wide variety of policy areas and challenge individuals and nations worldwide.

  • Prototypes for a U.S. border wall are shown near completion behind the current border fence near Tijuana, Mexico, October 23, 2017, photo by Jorge Duenes/Reuters

    Commentary

    Broken Border or Broken Policy?

    Nov 17, 2017

    What does a secure land border look like? The U.S. government's inability to provide an answer has trapped America in a vicious cycle. Every decade, the perception that the U.S.-Mexico border isn't secure enough leads to big investments—with mixed results.

  • A flag of Islamic State militants is pictured above a destroyed house near the Clock Square in Raqqa, Syria, October 18, 2017, photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

    Commentary

    ISIS Could Rise Again

    Dec 15, 2017

    ISIS has a tried-and-true playbook for bringing itself back from near death. Just a few years ago, it managed to resurrect itself after apparent defeat. And the history of that resurrection should serve as a warning of what may be coming now.

Explore Terrorism and Homeland Security

  • Power plant operations at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska

    Report

    Air Force Installation Energy Assurance: An Assessment Framework

    This report presents a framework that mission owners and civil engineers at Air Force installations can use to assess their level of energy assurance.

    Nov 6, 2017

  • Syrian Democratic Forces fighters ride atop of military vehicle as they celebrate victory in Raqqa, Syria, October 17, 2017

    Commentary

    Why the Fall of the 'Caliphate' in Syria Will Not Ease Western Security Concerns

    A Syria and Iraq free of ISIS do not, unfortunately, free the West from the ISIS threat. Instead, ISIS is likely to either disperse, with its followers prepared to carry out a range of further attacks, or attempt to regroup in the fragile states of Africa.

    Nov 3, 2017

  • Multimedia

    Federal Research and Development for Agricultural Biodefense

    An overview of testimony by Daniel Gerstein presented before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Research and Technology on November 2, 2017.

    Nov 2, 2017

  • Agricultural farm land is seen in the Imperial Valley near El Centro, California, May 31, 2015

    Testimony

    Agriculture Security in America

    The United States has made progress in developing systems to safeguard the nation's agriculture. But threats persist because of socioeconomic, environmental, and ecological factors.

    Nov 2, 2017

  • Police investigate a pickup truck used in an attack on the West Side Highway in lower Manhattan in New York City, November 1, 2017

    Commentary

    New York Terror Attack: Can Vehicle Attacks Be Prevented?

    The recent vehicle attack in Manhattan was the deadliest terror attack on New York since 9/11. Preventing every attack is unrealistic, but with increased vigilance, cooperation with law enforcement, and intelligence sharing, citizens can help mitigate the threat of terrorism.

    Nov 1, 2017

  • Police look toward the scene of a pickup truck attack on West Side Highway in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 31 2017

    Commentary

    Terrorism Fatigue

    By continually staking claim to big and small terrorist attacks, regardless of target selection or casualty count, ISIS has attempted to instill a sense of omnipresent and unpredictable danger. And in the process, terrorism fatigue may be setting in around the world.

    Nov 1, 2017

  • A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employee waits for the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump during a visit at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., August 4, 2017

    Commentary

    Reauthorizing DHS: Contemplating Major DHS Organizational Realignments

    As Congress considers DHS reauthorization, having clear organizational realignment principles could help assess the degree to which expectations will be met. Those principles could examine whether mission effectiveness would improve and whether implemented changes would introduce new issues.

    Oct 30, 2017

  • Nigerien soldiers prepare their magazines for a dismounted patrol during Exercise Flintlock 2017 in Diffa, Niger, March 11, 2017

    Commentary

    The Real Questions We Should Be Asking About Niger

    In the wake of the deaths of four U.S. servicemen in Niger, Americans are embroiled in a pointless political squabble. The focus should be on developing a greater understanding of the risks and benefits of U.S. counterterrorism operations abroad.

    Oct 30, 2017

  • Iraqi security forces stand guard in an oil refinery, north of Baghdad, in Baiji, Iraq, October 16, 2015

    Commentary

    Oil, Extortion Still Paying Off for ISIS

    ISIS's oil revenues declined from a peak of $40 million per month in 2015 to $4 million per month as of early October 2017. Despite the massive reduction, it's still a substantial amount of money for a group whose expenditures decrease with the size of the population and territory it controls and decreased recruitment.

    Oct 27, 2017

  • Hands typing with visual of computer code

    Multimedia

    Equifax and the Data-Breach Era: How Worried Should We Be?

    Large-scale data breaches like those of Equifax and OPM compromised the personal data of millions of people. What can be done to improve the response to such breaches? In this October 26th congressional briefing, Lillian Ablon and Sina Beaghley address victim and lawmaker reactions, national security implications, and considerations for policymakers.

    Oct 26, 2017

  • A U.S. Army Special Forces weapons sergeant observes a Nigerien soldier while practicing buddy team movement drills in Diffa, Niger, March 11, 2017

    Commentary

    U.S. Helping Niger Halt Spread of Terror in Region

    Niger is at the epicenter of the war on terror, with local and regional violent groups based there and entering the country from nearly every side. U.S. troops are there to train Niger's security services — not to fight. They are also assisting French forces who are fighting there.

    Oct 25, 2017

  • Members of al Qaeda's Nusra Front move toward their positions near al-Zahra village, north of Aleppo city, November 25, 2014

    Commentary

    The Moderate Face of Al Qaeda

    Al Qaeda in Syria cut ties with its parent organization to portray itself as a legitimate, capable, and independent force in the Syrian civil war. The group appears dedicated to helping Syrians prevail, and now that ISIS has lost its capital in Raqqa, al Qaeda may be the only group viewed as militarily capable of challenging the Assad regime.

    Oct 24, 2017

  • A woman seeking asylum has her fingerprints taken by a U.S. Customs and Border patrol officer at a pedestrian port of entry from Mexico to the United States, in McAllen, Texas, U.S., May 10, 2017

    Commentary

    Reauthorizing DHS: Improving Operational Control

    One area of focus in the debate on reauthorizing the Department of Homeland Security should be its role in directing homeland security operations. The debate should include a comprehensive discussion of the future role for the department headquarters.

    Oct 23, 2017

  • A view of the U.S. Capitol Dome in Washington, October 4, 2013

    Commentary

    Reauthorizing DHS: Aligning Requirements, Research, Development and Acquisition

    As part of the discussion about reauthorizing the Department of Homeland Security, Congress might want to consider how to improve acquisitions. Rather than focusing only on the steps in the acquisition process, that discussion could also include consideration of pre and post-acquisition activities.

    Oct 23, 2017

  • A Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bus is seen parked outside a federal jail in San Diego, California, U.S. October 19, 2017

    Commentary

    Reauthorizing DHS: The Case for Reauthorization

    Reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security is vital to clarifying responsibilities and setting expectations for the continued evolution of the department. Policymakers might also wish to conduct an external review, which could help inform a broader future reform bill.

    Oct 20, 2017

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: November-December 2017

    This issue highlights recent RAND research on post-9/11 military caregivers; RAND-Lex, a computer program built at RAND that can analyze huge data sets of text; and the implications of climate change on Arctic cooperation.

    Oct 19, 2017

  • Credit cards, a chain, an open padlock, and a computer keyboard are visible next to the Equifax logo

    Commentary

    Equifax and the Data-Breach Era

    The personal and financial data of almost 146 million U.S. consumers has been compromised by the Equifax breach, the latest in a long line of high-profile hacks. Do consumers worry enough about such breaches? And what options are available to Congress?

    Oct 18, 2017

  • Hezbollah members carry the coffin of Hezbollah commander Fadi Shahouri, near Nabatieh in southern Lebanon, August 4, 2017

    Commentary

    A Glass Half Empty? Taking Stock of Hezbollah's Losses in Syria

    Hezbollah has gained valuable combat experience in Syria, but the cost of that experience may not outweigh the losses in troops, the damage to its image and the need to cede some of its autonomy to Iran and the Assad regime. The longer the war drags on, the more apparent these losses will become.

    Oct 17, 2017

  • Speech bubbles imposed over a world map

    Essay

    Big Data, Big Questions

    RAND-Lex is a computer program that can scan millions of lines of text and identify what people are talking about, how they fit into communities, and how they see the world. The program has shed light on how terrorists communicate, how the American public thinks about health, and more.

    Oct 16, 2017

  • Members of Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas patrol on the border with Egypt, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip October 8, 2017

    Commentary

    How Salafism's Rise Threatens Gaza

    The rise of hardline Salafism is a worrisome trend in Gaza, where Salafists could surpass Hamas as the most dangerous threat to other Palestinians and the state of Israel. Such a result could signal the sabotage of yet another chance for progress in one of the world's longest-running conflicts.

    Oct 11, 2017