Threat Assessment

Featured

Researchers collaborate across disciplines at RAND to evaluate terrorist, military, nuclear, cyber, and other threats to U.S. national security—identifying emerging threats, scrutinizing known risks, and evaluating potential strategic and tactical responses. Recent studies have included examinations of ISIS, Iran's nuclear capabilities, and insider threats.

  • A memorial site outside Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, after a 15-year-old allegedly killed four classmates and injured seven others on November 30, 2021, photo by Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP

    Essay

    How to Prevent, Prepare for, and Respond to Mass Attacks

    A new step-by-step guide can help communities prevent shootings and other mass attacks before they happen, and save lives when they do. It's written for a variety of public- and private-sector audiences—everyone from emergency responders and school officials to security personnel and community leaders.

    Aug 30, 2022

  • An M1A2 Abrams main battle tank fires during an exercise in Egypt

    Tool

    Forecasting the Demand for U.S. Ground Forces

    This interactive tool uses a dynamic forecasting model to project future demand for U.S. ground forces. The resulting forecasts can help inform U.S. military decisions regarding future force planning, posture, and investments.

    Jul 6, 2022

Explore Threat Assessment

  • map of Syria

    Testimony

    Terrorist Threat to the United States from Syria Will Likely Increase

    Syria is attracting a growing cadre of foreign fighters from the West, who could potentially return home with the capability to conduct attacks against the United States and its allies, says Seth Jones.

    May 22, 2013

  • close up of person using an ATM

    Commentary

    The Real Cyber Threat

    The fact is that the United States needs to gear up for the coming era of cyber threats — and start by ensuring its financial flank is not catastrophically compromised, writes Mark Sparkman.

    May 21, 2013

  • An MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft

    Commentary

    Drones Are Useful, but Not the Solution or the Problem

    The effectiveness of our attacks, particularly by drones, has already decimated the al Qaeda hierarchy, writes Harold Brown. That achievement, together with the negative effect on Muslim publics of drone attacks, suggests that the rate of their usage could be moderated.

    May 16, 2013

  • Buildings in Syria damaged by bombings

    Commentary

    Learning the Wrong Lessons from Israel's Intervention in Syria

    The lesson here is not that countries should act for the sake of maintaining credibility but that they should act when they believe it serves their interests and might make a difference, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    May 14, 2013

  • a woman talking to Boston police near site of Marathon bombings

    Commentary

    Crowd-sourcing Our Security

    Involvement can transform members of the public from helpless bystanders into active participants in their own defense, thereby reducing fear and alarm, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 13, 2013

  • Secretary Napolitano monitors the flooding in North Dakota at the National Operations Center

    Testimony

    Strengthening Strategic Planning and Management at DHS

    To meet complex security challenges in the future, the Department of Homeland Security must develop integrated plans that set priorities, direct resources to programs and activities to achieve outcomes consistent with these priorities, and conduct evaluations to ensure these outcomes are realized.

    Apr 26, 2013

  • Massachusetts National Guardsmen in Boston

    Commentary

    Reacting to Boston

    Basing public safety decisions on risk analysis allows authorities to devote public resources to those counterterrorism measures that have the potential to do the most good, writes Henry Willis.

    Apr 22, 2013

  • Testimony

    Managing September 12th in Cyberspace

    Testimony presented before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats on March 21, 2013.

    Mar 21, 2013

  • Red network cables

    Testimony

    Managing September 12th in Cyberspace

    The U.S., while worried about a

    Mar 20, 2013

  • space

    Commentary

    Satellite Collision Is a Reminder of Challenges Posed by Space Debris

    Solving the problem of space debris isn't going to be easy because, like spilled petroleum products, debris can spend years lurking in an environment that is foreign to most people's daily lives, write Dave Baiocchi and William Welser.

    Mar 15, 2013

  • Timbuktu residents rally against control by Islamist group Ansar al-Din

    Commentary

    Al Qaeda Is Weak and Bungling—but Still Dangerous

    The swift march into Mali by a band of Islamist thugs demonstrates an efficient, opportunistic filling of a security vacuum more than an increase in jihadist power or influence, writes Andy Liepman.

    Feb 26, 2013

  • Meteorite and the Earth

    Commentary

    The Effects of Celestial Events Go Beyond Their Impact

    While the event in Russia was caused by a medium-sized (10,000-ton) meteor, larger objects, like the asteroid 2012 DA14 that also passed near Earth last week, have the potential to be significantly more damaging, write Dave Baiocchi and William Welser.

    Feb 20, 2013

  • Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter visits Ankara and G, Turkey, Feb. 4, 2013. (DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett) (Released)

    Report

    Assessing Multiple Data Points Can Help in Predicting Suicide Attack Targets

    Analysis of data on suicide attacks in Israel suggest that assessing sociocultural, political, economic, and demographic factors in addition to geospatial data enhances the ability to predict future suicide attack targets.

    Feb 18, 2013

  • Paratroopers during air assault training

    Commentary

    Changing World Climate Requires a Dynamic Foreign Policy

    As Secretary of State Kerry and former senator Chuck Hagel outline their thinking on the nation's strategy, let us hope that they both hold firm to the strategy that has served us well in the past and have the courage to explore a very different set of political and military ways to accomplish it, write Lynn Davis and Andrew Hoehn.

    Feb 15, 2013

  • The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the U.S. September 11, 2012

    Report

    Embassy Security: From the Outside In

    U.S. embassies shored up security in the wake of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Going forward, the security plan for the U.S. diplomatic presence abroad must include strategies to detect and prevent such attacks before they occur.

    Feb 11, 2013

  • digital globe

    Report

    Analysis of Cyber Threats Informs Swedish Strategy

    How do governments characterize cyber threats and what role does law enforcement play in tackling cyber crime in different countries? These are some of the questions RAND Europe investigated on behalf of the Swedish National Defence College to inform the development of the Swedish Cyber Security Strategy.

    Feb 5, 2013

  • Touareg rebels in Mali hoist a flag

    Q&A

    The al Qaeda Threat in North Africa

    Last week's terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas complex in Algeria, along with the recent success of the militant groups fighting government forces in Mali, indicate al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are gaining influence in North Africa. RAND experts weigh in on the latest developments.

    Jan 24, 2013

  • Iran's Revolutionary guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari speaks during a conference to mark the martyrs of terrorism in Tehran, September 6, 2011

    Commentary

    Profile: Revolutionary Guards Chief Gen. Jafari

    Jafari now commands one of the most feared militaries in the Middle East, which is also far better equipped than Iran’s conventional army, navy and air force, writes Alireza Nader. He has an estimated 150,000 troops under his control.

    Jan 22, 2013