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RAND researchers examine military and national security issues across a broad spectrum — from political dissent and military training to tactical operations and reconstruction efforts — and take a long-term, global perspective. Terrorism, types of warfare, and international intervention are among the many topics RAND explores.

  • An armoured vehicle of the Syrian Democratic Forces is seen along a road at the frontline in Raqqa, Syria, October 8, 2017, photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

    Report

    Pentagon Processes on Civilian Casualties Inconsistent, in Need of Reform

    Jan 27, 2022

    The Department of Defense has committed to civilian-harm policies and processes, but inconsistencies remain. The Pentagon is not adequately organized or resourced to sufficiently assess, reduce, and respond to civilian-harm incidents. Reform will require institutional, not just operational, changes.

  • The launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile during a test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, February 5, 2020, photo by SrA Clayton Wear/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Weighing the Cost and Necessity of Nuclear Modernization

    Jan 3, 2022

    The United States has fielded a Triad of air-, sea-, and land-based nuclear delivery systems since the 1950s. Major components are nearing the end of their service lives, raising the question of whether to extend or replace them. Meanwhile, Russia and China continue to modernize, diversify, and expand their nuclear arsenals.

Explore Warfare and Military Operations

  • Report

    Report

    Planning for Significant Cyber Incidents: An Introduction for Decisionmakers

    This report describes contingency planning for a significant cyber incident, focusing on the importance of planning, the process of developing a plan, and options for operationalizing it. It summarizes a companion how-to guide by the same authors.

    Jun 27, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Russian Military Forecasting and Analysis: The Military-Political Situation and Military Potential in Strategic Planning

    In this report, the authors draw on a framework developed by the Russian military science community to gain insight into the likelihood and character of future war and the correlation of military potential between Russia and potential adversaries.

    Jun 23, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in the opening ceremony of new healthcare facilities in several regions of Russia, via video link in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 18, 2022, photo by Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/Reuters

    Commentary

    Has the War in Ukraine Damaged Russia's Gray Zone Capabilities?

    Russia's actions are to blame for the damage done to its gray zone capabilities, but it's the West's choice to see whether this respite represents a short-term aberration or presents opportunities for some long-term fixes.

    Jun 22, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin watches a military parade on Victory Day in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2022, photo by Mikhail Metzel/Pool via

    Commentary

    Should Ukraine Settle with Russia?

    Should the United States humiliate Russia—and Russian President Vladimir Putin specifically—over the Russo-Ukrainian War? It could lead to escalation and new wars, but the United States and NATO may need to think twice before offering concessions.

    Jun 22, 2022

  • A Ukrainian service member inspects a destroyed Russian armored personnel carrier in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, April 30, 2022, photo by Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

    Commentary

    What if Russia's Army Fails in Ukraine?

    Fighting in Ukraine will likely continue. But battlefield advantages could continue to ebb and flow, too. The West should prudently prepare for Ukrainian success as well as a less favorable outcome.

    Jun 20, 2022

  • U.S. Marines take part in a class about riot control techniques at Marine Corps Base Camp, Pendleton, CA, Feb. 22, 2022, photo by Cpl. Benjamin Aulick/U.S. Marine Corps

    Commentary

    Revealing the Impact of Non-Lethal Weapons

    Non-lethal weapons can be useful to U.S. military forces in a variety of contexts, but the Pentagon faces a challenge in ensuring their appropriate use and evaluating the potential effects of their deployment.

    Jun 15, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Human Security and the 2022 NATO Strategic Concept: Knowledge, Insights and Lessons Learned.

    These conference proceedings document the perspectives of human security experts brought together to provide recommendations on the importance of human security within the new Strategic Concept and the future of NATO.

    Jun 15, 2022

  • A man prays at a memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, May 19, 2022photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    Commentary

    States Have Leading Role to Play in Preventing Mass Shootings

    As the United States grapples with how to prevent mass shootings, state governments might be best positioned to take the lead on long-term, sustainable efforts that prevent targeted violence.

    Jun 13, 2022

  • Illustration of network connections over Earth, image by Anton Balazh/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Russia's Information Warfare with the West

    Popular portrayals of the Russian disinformation machine imply an organized and well-resourced operation, but evidence suggests that it is neither. Nonetheless, Russian social media activity can be harmful to U.S. interests and is likely to evolve.

    Jun 7, 2022

  • Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram from 2009 to 2021, speaks in an unknown location in Nigeria in this still image from a video obtained on January 15, 2018, handout from Sahara Reporters via Reuters

    Report

    How to Reduce Violent Nonstate Actors' Abilities to Adapt

    Violent nonstate actors—terrorist groups, drug trafficking organizations, and others—pose durable and direct threats to U.S. security interests. Why are they so capable of adapting to changes in their environments, and how might the Army detect and mitigate such adaptations before they occur?

    Jun 6, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on a screen partially obscured by decorations at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, June 4, 2021, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Return of 'Don’t Poke the Bear'

    Some argue that, in order to avoid antagonizing Russia, the West should call for Ukraine to back down and move toward a negotiated peace. But this strategy comes with its own set of consequences.

    Jun 3, 2022

  • A Ukrainian service member walks in a trench near the front line in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine, May 29, 2022, photo by Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ukraine's Best Chance for Peace

    In late March, Ukrainian diplomats introduced an innovative framework for a deal that could provide a pathway out of the war. There are powerful obstacles to achieving an agreement based on the framework, but so far it is the most plausible pathway identified to a sustainable peace for Ukraine.

    Jun 1, 2022

  • A collage of the COVID-19 virus, armed terror groups, and a biological response team

    Report

    Implications of the Pandemic for Terrorist Interest in Biological Weapons

    Some policymakers and analysts have expressed concern that weaknesses in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic will motivate terrorists to seek biological weapons. While the prospect of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda pursuing biological weapons is not zero, it is unlikely, given the difficulties involved and the availability of simpler alternatives.

    May 31, 2022

  • Blog

    Gun Policy, China and Taiwan, Russian Propaganda: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on reducing America's unacceptably high rates of gun violence, what would happen if China “quarantines” Taiwan, and Russia's “firehose of falsehood.”

    May 27, 2022

  • A Taliban leader Mullah Baradar Akhund hosted reception for a group of ambassadors to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on October 1, 2021, photo by EyePress via Reuters

    Report

    U.S. Policy Toward the Taliban: Engage, Isolate, or Oppose?

    With the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan and a growing humanitarian crisis, the United States faces several policy options. While isolation is the usual response to an unwelcome regime change, engagement offers the only prospect to advance U.S. interests in the country, mainly counterterrorism and humanitarian relief.

    May 26, 2022

  • Jessica Cecil listens as Mark Thompson speaks at the RAND Europe Council of Advisors meeting in London, UK, May 6, 2022, video still from RAND Europe Council of Advisors meeting

    Blog

    Combating Disinformation by Bolstering Truth and Trust

    For Jessica Cecil, founder and former head of the Trusted News Initiative, today feels a bit like the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire, in which agreed-upon facts endure in only a few isolated places of elite discussion and there is no common language of politics. She spoke about the need for governments, companies, news organizations, and relevant civil society groups to work together to combat disinformation at a meeting of RAND Europe's Council of Advisors.

    May 24, 2022

  • Mark Thompson discusses disinformation at the RAND Europe Council of Advisors meeting in London, UK, May 6, 2022, video still from RAND Europe Council of Advisors meeting

    Blog

    Russia Will Struggle to Sustain Its Disinformation Machine, Former New York Times/BBC Chief Tells RAND Europe

    As former head of the New York Times and the BBC, Mark Thompson has tackled disinformation on both sides of the Atlantic. One of his big takeaways: It's not as easy as you might think to sustain a successful disinformation campaign.

    May 24, 2022

  • A still from a powerful animated video created by RAND artists-in-residence Juan Delcan and Valentina Izaguirre, known as V+J, to show how Russian propaganda spreads—and how it can influence its audience by entertaining, confusing, and overwhelming them.

    Project

    Russia's Propaganda Model

    RAND artists-in-residence Juan Delcan and Valentina Izaguirre, known as V+J, created a powerful animated video to show how Russian propaganda spreads—and how it can influence its audience by entertaining, confusing, and overwhelming them.

    May 24, 2022

  • South Korea's new President Kim Dae-jung waves on the grounds of the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, February 25, 1998, photo by Str Old/Reuters

    Commentary

    Three Principles for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security

    In his inaugural address in 1998, former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung defined three principles for Korean Peninsula peace and security. How might these principles be adjusted to manage today's changing North Korean threats and the Korean security environment?

    May 20, 2022

  • Footage released by Russia Ministry of Defense shows Russian soldiers from airborne units advancing in an undisclosed location in Ukraine, March 10, 2022, photo by Russian MOD/Eyepress Pictures/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Russian Military Has Failed Its Sons

    The Russian military has a long history of mistreating its personnel and their frightened families. The military's culture of disregard for the lives and well-being of its personnel has done more than undermine their combat performance; it has also tanked their morale and will to fight.

    May 18, 2022