Warfare and Military Operations

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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.

  • Smoke rises from a residential building after shelling from Russian positions in northern Kharkiv as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, March 31, 2022, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Obstacles to Lasting Peace Between Ukraine and Russia

    The current situation in Ukraine suggests that neither side will be able to achieve a decisive military victory that settles the disputes that led to the war. Ukraine and Russia theoretically could reach an agreement to stop the fighting, but the politics between the two sides and centuries of confrontational history do not suggest a lasting peace.

    Jul 7, 2022

  • Residents of Raqqa gather in the morning to drink tea after they had been allowed back to inspect their homes, photo by Aboud Hamam

    Essay

    Civilian Casualties: Lessons from the Battle for Raqqa

    The United States' emphasis on minimizing civilian harm in Raqqa, Syria, was quite clear and strong up and down the chain of command. But the way in which the U.S. military waged war in Raqqa too often undercut that commitment. The Pentagon asked RAND to find out what happened.

    Jul 1, 2022

Explore Warfare and Military Operations

  • Blog

    Putin's Latest Threats, U.S. Policy in the Middle East, Disaster Recovery: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russia's troop mobilization and the ongoing war in Ukraine, U.S. policy in the Middle East, building a more diverse teacher workforce, and more.

    Sep 23, 2022

  • Elon Musk's twitter account on a smartphone in front of the Twitter logo, April 15, 2022, photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

    Commentary

    Elon Musk May Have a Point About Bots on Twitter

    Twitter has a deep bench of engineers working for the company. They have access to trillions of data points on their over 300 million monthly active users. Why has a company this size struggled to clean up its platform?

    Sep 23, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in the city of Veliky Novgorod, Russia, September 21, 2022, photo by Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    Regime Change in Russia?

    A careful strategy of strength and prudence has helped the West maintain security and manage relations with Moscow. The West may continue this course while upping the ante to help Ukraine defeat and expel Russian forces. In so doing, the West may also be advancing prospects for longer-term peace that might come only through liberalization in Russia.

    Sep 21, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin makes an address on the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Moscow, Russia, September 21, 2022, photo by Russian Presidential Press Service/Kremlin via Reuters

    Blog

    RAND Experts React to Putin's Latest Threatening Rhetoric

    Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to double down on his country's war effort during a major speech, calling up hundreds of thousands of new troops, threatening Ukraine and the West, vowing to use “all the means at our disposal,” and pointing out that he is not bluffing. Here's what RAND experts had to say.

    Sep 21, 2022

  • A Russian flag lies on the ground near a destroyed Russian tank in the town of Izium, which was liberated by Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Battle of Kharkiv, Ukraine, September 14, 2022, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ukraine's 1777 Moment

    The Battle of Saratoga turned the tides of the Revolutionary War, ultimately leading to American independence. Nearly 250 years later, the Battle of Kharkiv may be a similar turning point in Ukraine's fight against Russia.

    Sep 19, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with journalists in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, June 29, 2022, photo by Dmitry Azarov/Sputnik via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Rise of the Rest: How Russia Views the Future World Order

    What Russia seeks is new political leadership across the Western world that does not support a status quo that can isolate Russia from the capital and technology it needs to generate security and prosperity over the long term.

    Sep 19, 2022

  • A Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet makes its approach for takeoff at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 13, 2022, photo by Staff Sgt. Carlos Ferran/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Should Greenland and Denmark Become Part of NORAD?

    As tensions with Russia rise to levels not seen since the Cold War, NORAD may need to detect and counter increasing numbers of aerial intrusions. One way to strengthen NORAD's capabilities: Invite Greenland and Denmark to join the command.

    Sep 16, 2022

  • Hands typing on a laptop keyboard at night, photo by Zhanna Danilova/Getty Images

    Announcement

    Fake RAND Report on 'Weakening Germany'

    A supposedly leaked RAND report about a bizarre U.S. conspiracy to “weaken Germany” is fake. Genuine RAND research, analysis, and commentary on the war in Ukraine may be found at rand.org.

    Sep 14, 2022

  • Rosneft boss Igor Sechin's yacht Amore Vero , which was seized by French authorities, in La Ciotat harbor, in the south of France, March 4, 2022, photo by Florian Escoffier/ABACA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Sanctioning Business Leaders in Russia

    Western sanctions are ensnaring more Russian business leaders, some of whom say they are unjustly targeted. Can those in the private sector reduce their risks of being designated? Perhaps, if they make difficult choices.

    Sep 12, 2022

  • Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia attends Security Council meeting convened at the request of the Russian Federation who accused Ukraine of developing biological weapons under the tutelage of the United States, at U.N. Headquarters in New York, March 11, 2022, photo by Lev Radin/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Debunking Russian Lies About Biolabs at Upcoming U.N. Meetings

    Before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, its diplomatic missions began circulating some particularly fantastical lies. It's tempting to write off such claims as cartoonish propaganda. But Russia is making similarly outrageous claims to the United Nations and other international forums. Such maneuvers could dangerously undermine international arms control agreements.

    Sep 12, 2022

  • Blog

    Veterans Health Care, Media Literacy, Sleep Retreats: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the challenges of VA community care, the importance of improving middle schoolers' media literacy skills, tips to improve sleep, and more.

    Sep 9, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Information Warfare: Methods to Counter Disinformation

    We consider the nature of disinformation and its use in the hybrid warfare domain, before examining the problem through frames of planning approach, truth theory, systems thinking, and military strategy.

    Sep 8, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Joint Requirements Framework for Collaboration at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

    To help the U.S. Department of Homeland Security plan and assess joint activities, researchers created a framework with a decision aid, a taxonomy, a tool for selecting program types, and recommendations for structuring joint programs for success.

    Sep 6, 2022

  • Blog

    Back to School, Vaccinating Kids, Space Security: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the well-being of America's educators, the effort to vaccinate kids and teens, security in outer space, and more.

    Sep 2, 2022

  • Commercial Book

    Commercial Book

    Practical Geolocation for Electronic Warfare Using MATLAB

    This text explores the practical realities that arise from the employment of geolocation for electronic warfare in real-world systems.

    Sep 2, 2022

  • A Japan Ground Self Defense Force soldier (left) and a U.S. Army soldier (right) salute the Japanese and U.S. flags during the opening ceremony of Rising Thunder 2021 at Yakima Training Center, Washington, December 1, 2021, photo by Spc. Dean Johnson/U.S. Army

    Report

    Economic Benefits of U.S. Alliances and Military Engagement

    Decisions about alliances and forward military presence should be based on a range of factors beyond potential economic benefits. But there is evidence that military engagement has historically helped the U.S. economy by promoting international commerce.

    Sep 1, 2022

  • A Russian frigate launches a Kalibr cruise missile at a Ukrainian target, from the Black Sea, June 15, 2022, photo by Russian Ministry of Defence/Reuters

    Commentary

    Will Robotized Fire Power Replace Manned Air Power?

    Russia's war in Ukraine entered the summer of 2022 with no clear military victor in sight. Although it is important to exercise caution in drawing any major conclusions, some powerful signs about the future of warfare can be derived from this conflict.

    Aug 31, 2022

  • Kim Jong-un watches a military parade in Pyongyang to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean People's Revolutionary Army in this image released by KCNA on April 26, 2022, photo by EyePress News via Reuters

    Report

    The Risks of North Korean Weapons of Mass Destruction

    In addition to its nuclear weapons, North Korea has amassed chemical, biological, and electromagnetic pulse weapons. It has also created an active cyber hacker force. What can the United States and South Korea do to deter and, if necessary, counter these threats?

    Aug 29, 2022

  • U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office in Taipei, August 3, 2022, photo courtesy of Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Indo-Pacific Mostly Backs 'One China,' but Taiwan Gets Some Love, Too

    Almost the entire Indo-Pacific region backs China over Taiwan. But U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's August trip to Taiwan made it clear that key U.S. allies strongly support Taiwan's cause, particularly in the face of a potential war over the island. This suggests that Beijing's assertive behavior is steadily alienating nations that otherwise may have minded their own business.

    Aug 22, 2022

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg fencing in the Metaverse with an Olympic gold medal fencer in a video released October 28, 2021, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Facebook Misinformation Is Bad Enough. The Metaverse Will Be Worse

    Virtual reality environments such as the metaverse will enable psychological and emotional manipulation of users at a level unimaginable in today's media. We must not wait until these technologies are fully realized to consider appropriate guardrails for them. We can reap the benefits of the metaverse while minimizing its potential for great harm.

    Aug 22, 2022