• Commentary

    Ohio's Train Derailment—Not Spy Balloons—Is the Real National Security Threat

    The slow degradation of infrastructure and disaster response is less a spectacle than an overflying balloon, but the train derailment and chemical spill in Ohio highlights just how bizarre such a focus on perceived external national security threats has become. The far greater threat may be from within.

    Feb 20, 2023

  • Commentary

    Do Car Companies Know Where Their Critical Minerals Come From?

    The initial slate of electric vehicles qualifying for a new federal tax credit was announced in April. Key to eligibility is the source of critical minerals used in their batteries. While the list of acceptable nations of origin is still being worked out, there's an important practical question the IRS should ask: Do carmakers really know where their critical minerals come from?

    Apr 28, 2023

Explore Transportation

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Rethink Mine Countermeasures

    Despite efforts to reduce the timelines, costs,and risks associated with MCM operations, mines remain cost-imposing weapons that can deny access for protracted periods or inflict unacceptable losses on the U.S. Navy.

    May 23, 2023

  • Undated photo of Virgin Galactic Spaceship Cabin Interior, handout photo by Virgin Galactic/ABACA via Reuters Connect


    Enter Outer Space at Your Own Risk?

    Since 2004, federal law has barred most participant safety regulations and leaves nearly all issues of safety up to the discretion of the company providing the service. It's time to allow the moratorium on regulation to expire and allow the development of safety standards, led by the FAA.

    May 16, 2023

  • Numerous square concrete blocks are stacked on top of each other underwater to create an artificial reef, photo by Placebo365/Getty Images


    Defending Taiwan with Artificial Reefs

    Deterring a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is arguably the most important defense problem of the next few decades. Artificial reefs could help to deter China simply by waiting to impale any potential invasion force.

    May 10, 2023

  • A Coast Guard unmanned aircraft system hovers during training in Astoria, Oregon, February 24, 2023, photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Diolanda Caballero/U.S. Coast Guard


    Coast Guard Leans Forward in New UxS Strategy but Faces Significant Challenges

    The rise of unmanned systems creates a challenging landscape for the U.S. Coast Guard as it endeavors to conduct its diverse missions in the future. To address emerging technologies and prepare for forthcoming threats, the service recently released a strategic plan.

    May 3, 2023

  • Report


    Characterizing the Uncrewed Systems Industrial Base

    The Department of Defense has hypothesized that future demand for uncrewed systems (UxS) will strain the capacity of the defense industrial base (DIB). This report contains an analysis of UxS demand and recommendations on strengthening the DIB.

    Apr 26, 2023

  • Nickel-rich drill cores in Tamarack, Minnesota, November 22, 2021, photo by Mike Hughlett/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/ABACA via Reuters Connect


    Militaries, Metals, and Mining

    Securing access to supply, increasing global and domestic capacity, and diversifying supply chains for critical minerals should be at the top of the agenda for both nations and private industry. Failure could jeopardize climate mitigation strategies and U.S. military readiness.

    Apr 18, 2023

  • A staff member is congratulated as he steps out of China's home-grown C919 passenger jet after its maiden flight at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, May 5, 2017, photo by Aly Song/Reuters


    U.S.-China Aviation Competition

    The United States leads in aviation capability and technology. However, as of early 2023, China continues to close the gap. What should Congress take into account when considering how to maintain U.S. competitive advantages in aviation?

    Apr 13, 2023

  • A vessel of the Russian Navy is seen through a flock of birds in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, Crimea, February 16, 2022, photo by Alexey Pavlishak/Reuters


    Why Blockading Rather Than Retaking Crimea Might Be Kyiv's Best Option

    Ukraine may lack the military capability to retake Crimea from Russia. But Kyiv might still achieve some of its key objectives by blockading the peninsula. New technology may ease this task.

    Apr 10, 2023

  • A rocket ship flying in front of the moon. Photo by Adobe Stock / NASA


    Assessing the Readiness for Human Commercial Spaceflight Safety Regulations

    What is the progress of the commercial space industry in adopting voluntary standards for participant safety, and towards meeting key metrics that would indicate readiness for regulation?

    Apr 3, 2023

  • Report


    Russia's Asymmetric Response to 21st Century Strategic Competition: Robotization of the Armed Forces

    The authors explore Russian views on the military applications of robotics and artificial intelligence and how they differ from the United States' views on the matter. They assess whether Moscow has delivered -- or can deliver -- its robotization vision.

    Mar 13, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    A Look Back at the War in Afghanistan, National Secuirty Risks, Hospice Care: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why the United States “stayed the unfavorable course” in Afghanistan, the Ohio train derailment, state data on gun deaths, and more.

    Mar 3, 2023

  • Report


    Cross-Domain Lessons for Space Traffic Management: An Analysis of Air and Maritime Treaty Governance Mechanisms

    In this report, the authors examine the treaty-based governance systems from both the air and maritime domains as potential models for the development of an international space traffic management system.

    Jan 25, 2023

  • Stranded passengers wait at Orlando International Airport as flights were grounded after the FAA system outage, in Orlando, Florida, January 11, 2023, photo by Lou Mongello via Reuters


    Grounded: The FAA Alert System Failure Could Be a Wake-Up Call

    It turned out to be a system failure that grounded thousands of flights on January 11, but U.S. critical infrastructure faces a range of threats—from Russian hackers, to weather events, to angry individuals with guns. The government and organizations responsible for critical infrastructure can take steps to actively manage these risks.

    Jan 13, 2023

  • An F/A-18E Super Hornet flies near the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Mediterranean Sea, January 22, 2022, photo by U.S. Navy


    How Big of a Fleet? A Look at the U.S. Navy's Size and Readiness Needs

    Congress is trying to nudge the Navy to expand the size of the fleet. But without comparable levels of funding for personnel, maintenance, technology upgrades, logistics and other support functions, a larger fleet could come at the cost of readiness.

    Jan 11, 2023

  • U.S. Navy vessels participate in an exercise with uncrewed surface vessels off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia, October 12, 2022, photo by Warren Duffie/U.S. Navy


    Could Taiwan Defend with Uncrewed Surface Vessels?

    Ukraine has demonstrated the ability of explosive uncrewed surface vessels to target ships. These weapons could play a role in preventing Chinese forces from successfully invading Taiwan in potential future scenarios.

    Jan 9, 2023

  • A soldier's hands on a battery, photo by Staff Sgt. Sarah M. McClanahan/U.S. Air Force


    Critical Material Supply Chains Should Be More Resilient

    The COVID-19 pandemic and Russian invasion of Ukraine highlight the vulnerabilities of supply chains that are dependent on foreign inputs. How can the U.S. Department of Defense increase the resilience of its supply chains for materials essential to national security?

    Dec 15, 2022

  • Cannabis green leaves in medical plus sign emblem frame on white background, photo by Amax Photo/Getty Images

    Journal Article

    The Kids Aren't Alright: The Effects of Medical Marijuana Market Size on Adolescents

    Combining a novel measure of market size with two shocks to U.S. federal enforcement policy, researchers find that legal medical market growth increases youth cannabis use and alcohol-involved car accidents, suggesting complementarities for youths. It’s unclear whether these results apply to cannabis legalization for nonmedical purposes.

    Dec 9, 2022

  • Senior Airman Allyssa Helma prepares to marshal an F-15C Eagle onto the flightline for Red Flag-Alaska at Kadena Air Base, Japan, April 15, 2022, photo by Airman 1st Class Sebastian Romawac/U.S. Air Force


    As F-15s Leave Okinawa, an Opportunity to Change Indo-Pacific Air Tactics with Unmanned Options

    As it considers its future force mix and posture in the Indo-Pacific region and elsewhere, the U.S. Air Force has options that go beyond traditional platforms. Among them are rapidly maturing concepts for generating and sustaining high-tempo operations in forward areas with autonomous, runway-independent air vehicles.

    Nov 28, 2022