Terrorism and Homeland Security

Featured

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

  • A pedestrian looks at floral tributes for the victims of the attack on London Bridge and Borough Market, June 6, 2017

    Commentary

    Why Aren't There More Terrorist Attacks Like the One in London?

    The number of attacks like the one on London Bridge are low because jihadist ideologies have failed to gain traction in most Muslim countries, and it's difficult to recruit people remotely. Supporting violence and participating in it are two different things.

    Jun 7, 2017

  • Vehicles drive near Tabqa Dam on the Euphrates River, in the town of Tabqa, after Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured it from Islamic State militants, Syria May 12, 2017

    Commentary

    Developing a Comprehensive Strategy for Countering the Islamic State

    Despite substantial policy and military focus, U.S. attempts to stop the Islamic State group have met with only varying degrees of success. A patient, long-term U.S. investment in governance—including a renewed commitment to addressing the root causes of instability in the Middle East—is needed in Iraq and Syria.

    Jun 5, 2017

  • People lay flowers after a vigil to remember the victims of the attack on London Bridge and Borough Market, at Potters Field Park, London, June 5, 2017

    Commentary

    London Bridge Attack: The Latest Example of 'Pure Terror'

    Terrorists can attack anything, anywhere, any time. Preventing all pure terrorism is impossible, but seeking ways to divert vulnerable people from the terror path as Prime Minister May has discussed is a worthy step in that direction.

    Jun 5, 2017

  • Police attend to an attack on London Bridge in Britain, June 3, 2017

    Commentary

    How Vehicular Terrorism Became Mainstream

    The terrorist attack that began when a van mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge is a reminder that vehicular terrorism has become mainstream. How can authorities safeguard against such low-tech attacks?

    Jun 5, 2017

  • A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him

    Report

    Could Stateless Attribution Promote International Cyber Accountability?

    The public may respond to government claims about who is behind a cyberattack with suspicion and confusion. Could an independent, global organization for cyber attribution help?

    Jun 2, 2017

  • A soldier sets up voice intercept equipment during a cyber integration exercise on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, October 21, 2015

    Commentary

    What Happens After ISIS Goes Underground

    As the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria suffers defeats on the battlefield, it is expanding its cyber presence to continue to encourage attacks abroad. The more the group relies on cyberspace, the more likely it will expose important segments of its organization to detection and disruption.

    May 30, 2017

  • A young man is frustrated by the WannaCry ransomware attack

    Commentary

    WannaCry Virus: A Lesson in Global Unpreparedness

    The WannaCry ransomware attack provides important lessons about how to secure cyber networks. History indicates that other attacks will follow. Preparedness is crucial.

    May 22, 2017

  • Anti-government protesters outside Sana'a University raise their fingers and fists in the air while chanting for a new Yemen, February 25, 2011

    Report

    Undermining Violent Extremism in Yemen

    In the past 50 years, Yemen has faced significant political instability, including multiple civil wars. Why might Yemenis reject political violence despite persistent conflict and unrest? And how can the United States and its partners undermine violent extremism?

    May 22, 2017

  • Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) shakes hands with U.S President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, May 16, 2017

    Commentary

    A Turning Point in U.S-Turkish Relations?

    While Turkish President Erdoğan and U.S. President Trump emphasized the positive aspects of bilateral relations after their meeting, there remain points of contention. The stakes at this meeting and its outcome are high for both Turkey and the United States, and could mark a major milestone in the relationship.

    May 21, 2017

  • A former Islamic State prison in the town of Tabqa, after Syrian Democratic Forces captured it from Islamic State militants, Syria, May 12, 2017.

    Commentary

    ISIS: Weakened but Still Potent

    ISIS is being defeated as an insurgency while preparing to transform into a clandestine terrorist group. But ISIS will continue to pose a serious threat to the countries where it operates and to the Western nations that it targets as it evolves.

    May 18, 2017

  • Ismail Haniyeh, newly elected head of Hamas' political office, arrives to visit a sit-in in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, Gaza City, May 8, 2017

    Commentary

    Hamas's Strategic Rebranding

    Hamas has unveiled a revised version of its charter that appears to soften the group's stance toward Israel. Does this represent a shift away from violence and toward a more lasting and peaceful political presence? Or is it a ploy to buy time to rearm?

    May 17, 2017

  • A mother and her child walk along the Ganges river during a dust storm on a hot summer day in Allahabad, India, June 9, 2015

    Commentary

    Where Are India's Heat Hotspots?

    Poverty, poor sanitation, a precarious water and electricity supply, and limited access to health care make India vulnerable to heat waves. Rural and urban districts could improve their preparedness by developing and targeting local adaptation strategies.

    May 17, 2017

  • Kampala street food vendor Monica Kayagi makes a recipe during the Superfoods Cook-Off in December 2016

    Commentary

    What Street Food Vendors in Uganda Need to Succeed

    Street vendors in Kampala, Uganda, would benefit from infrastructure development, food safety standards, rules of hygiene, and greater focus on healthy products. The city's growing population also would benefit from increased access to nutritious and affordable foods.

    May 16, 2017

  • Displaced Iraqi people pass a torn Islamic State banner as the battle between the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service and Islamic State militants continues nearby, in western Mosul, Iraq, April 23, 2017

    Commentary

    Can the Islamic State Survive Financially?

    Significant gains have been made in attacking the Islamic State's cash and diminishing its ability to finance high-frequency attacks in Iraq and Syria. But the group may retain enough money to support sporadic attacks in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.

    May 15, 2017

  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington, U.S., May 3, 2017.

    Commentary

    Toward a Renewed Middle East Peace Process

    Momentum is building toward resumption of the dormant Middle East peace process. But there will need to be a clear, consistent plan that delivers quick, tangible results to both sides and helps restore trust between them in order for a peace plan to succeed.

    May 11, 2017

  • Ugandan chefs display their creations at the first Superfoods Contest in December 2015

    Commentary

    A New Ugandan Cuisine: Showcasing Superfood Qualities of Millet and Sorghum

    The results of a series of cooking contests in Uganda to promote the use of drought-tolerant, nutritious traditional grains—millet and sorghum—signal that a new food trend may be on the horizon.

    May 9, 2017

  • A screen, showing Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual end-of-year news conference, is on display in Simferopol, Crimea, December 23, 2016.

    Commentary

    Russia in Action, Short of War

    The West needs to work more quickly and coordinate better to offset Russia's capabilities, aggressiveness, and success. Responding to Russia's hostile influence involves predicting Russia's targets, identifying the tools it's likely to use, and playing the long game rather than focusing on near-term events.

    May 9, 2017

  • U.S. Army Special Forces members train Iraqi fighters from Hashid Shaabi at Makhmur camp in Iraq, December 11, 2016

    Commentary

    SOF's Evolving Role: Warfare 'By, With, and Through' Local Forces

    U.S. special operations forces are not providing the muscle of the frontline combat troops fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Instead, they are providing meaningful support to the various indigenous forces. If they succeed, this model could become a standard option in the U.S. military playbook.

    May 9, 2017

  • In an interview with Russian state television on September 12, 2013, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said Damascus would send documents to the United Nations needed to join a convention that prohibits chemical weapons

    Commentary

    Regional Action Needed to Prevent Syrian Chemical Attacks

    Action must be taken to deter future use of chemical weapons. Regional leaders could call for the International Criminal Court to indict Assad for war crimes. Also, borders with Syria could be sealed to prevent any of the remaining stocks from leaving the country.

    May 8, 2017

  • Members of the Free Syrian Army distribute humanitarian aid to residents left in Harem town, Idlib Governorate, October 28, 2012, after Syrian jets bombarded Sunni Muslim regions across the country

    Report

    The U.S. Strategy to Defeat the Islamic State Needs an Overhaul

    A broader strategy to beat the Islamic State should address the conditions that allowed the group to emerge and thrive. A long-term commitment is required to establish legitimate governance in Iraq and Syria and reconcile the disenfranchised Sunni Arab populations with their governments.

    May 8, 2017