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.

  • U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice listens as Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi speaks during a meeting in Beijing, China, July 25, 2016

    Report

    Exploring the Course and Consequences of a Sino-U.S. War

    Jul 28, 2016

    Premeditated war between the United States and China is very unlikely. But the danger that a mishandled crisis could trigger hostilities cannot be ignored. A new analysis illuminates various paths a war could take and their possible effects.

  • Fighters of the anti-government guerilla group UNITA parade under a portrait of their leader Jonas Savimbi, November 12, 1985, marking the 10th anniversary of Angolan Independence from Portugal

    Commercial Book

    Guide to Understanding Insurgency Warfare

    Nov 1, 2016

    An exploration of the history and dynamics of 181 insurgencies since 1946 provides lessons for those fighting insurgent campaigns today in such countries as Syria, Libya, and Iraq.

Explore Warfare and Military Operations

  • Landing ships putting cargo ashore on Omaha Beach, mid-June, 1944

    Report

    What Shapes a Nation's Will to Fight?

    When considering threats from Russia and North Korea, it is natural to focus on military capabilities. But incorporating will to fight into the analysis of actual or potential conflicts will enhance strategic planning. A model that can be tailored and applied to various conflict scenarios can help U.S. leaders better understand and influence will to fight.

    Sep 20, 2018

  • Report

    Will to Fight: Analyzing, Modeling, and Simulating the Will to Fight of Military Units

    This report defines and describes will to fight and provides a model of unit will to fight that can be applied to ground combat units of any scale. It also provides a theoretical basis for adding will to fight to military war gaming.

    Sep 20, 2018

  • Chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali-Akbar Salehi makes a speech during a ceremony to receive locally-produced yellowcake, in Isfahan, Iran, December 5, 2010

    Commentary

    Can U.S. Pressure Lead to a New Iran Nuclear Deal?

    It could be a mistake for the United States to assume that more pressure will bring Iran closer to ending or reducing its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. When it comes to measures aimed at Iran's nuclear program, more pressure could worsen nuclear risks and further drive a wedge between the United States and its European allies.

    Sep 18, 2018

  • U.S. Army, Air Force, and Italian paratroopers conduct joint airborne operations in Vicenza, Italy, July 16, 2013

    Report

    Learning from Past U.S. Army–Air Force Collaborations

    The Army and the Air Force are developing the concept of multi-domain battle to better coordinate air and ground forces to meet shared challenges. Lessons from past efforts show that to succeed, multi-domain battle will have to address the fundamental questions of each service's culture and deeply held views about warfighting.

    Sep 13, 2018

  • Soldiers of the Burkina Faso Army stand at attention at Camp Zagre, Burkina Faso, on February 27, 2017, at the opening of Flintlock 2017. The annual exercise, sponsored by the U.S. Africa Command, aims to strengthen security institutions, promote multilateral information sharing, and develop interoperability among partner nations in the Trans-Sahara region.

    Research Brief

    How to Reform Security Sector Assistance in Africa

    U.S.-provided security sector assistance (SSA) in Africa has largely failed to achieve its goals. Substantial changes are required if SSA is to have the impact the United States intends. These changes need to be made in strategies, programs, and evaluations.

    Sep 13, 2018

  • U.S. Army soldiers and members from the Zambian Defense Force work together during a daytime tactical movement at exercise Southern Accord 15 in Lusaka, Zambia, August 5, 2015

    Report

    Effects of U.S. Security Sector Assistance in Africa

    U.S.-provided security sector assistance in Africa has had a mixed record since the Cold War. But when implemented along with peacekeeping operations, U.S. assistance has had a positive impact on outcomes like the incidence of civil wars, terrorist attacks, and state repression.

    Sep 13, 2018

  • Report

    A Developmental Approach to Building Sustainable Security-Sector Capacity in Africa

    In this report, RAND researchers analyze options and recommend changes to improve the sustainability of security sector assistance in African partner nations, deriving insights from the development community.

    Sep 13, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin following Russian-Chinese talks at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, September 11, 2018

    Commentary

    Huge Military Drills Show Both the Limits and the Durability of China-Russia Ties

    The appearance of military cooperation between China and Russia masks deep strategic distrust and suspicion. But despite these real limitations, strong incentives and a lack of alternatives provide a sturdy foundation for a continued strategic partnership going forward.

    Sep 11, 2018

  • French President Emmanuel Macron gives a speech at an international conference to discuss ways of cutting funding to terrorist groups, at the OECD headquarters in Paris, France, April 26, 2018

    Testimony

    Current Trends in Terrorist Financing

    How do terrorists generate income? And how might ISIS, the wealthiest group in history, seek to use its funds to make a comeback? Terrorist financing has evolved, making it difficult to counter. But these efforts must continue to keep ISIS isolated from external patrons and state sponsors.

    Sep 7, 2018

  • Testimony

    Russian Social Media Influence: Understanding Russian Propaganda in Eastern Europe: Addendum

    Document submitted August 30, 2018, as an addendum to testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on August 1, 2018.

    Aug 31, 2018

  • Coalition special forces soldier in Chak district, Wardak province, Afghanistan

    Brochure

    RAND Arroyo Center Annual Report 2017-2018

    This RAND Arroyo Center report presents research-based insights and courses of action to help the U.S. Army meet five of its highest priorities.

    Aug 29, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin comforts the widow of Andrei Karlov, Russia's former ambassador to Turkey, at a memorial ceremony in Moscow, December 22, 2016

    Report

    How Russia Uses Media and Information Operations in Turkey

    Russian media have employed propaganda strategies to undermine Turkey's political and security cooperation with the United States and Europe. Russian media have also contributed to anti-American discourse in Turkey and have reinforced the Turkish government's propaganda pursuits.

    Aug 28, 2018

  • Refueling operations in a KC-135 Stratotanker

    Report

    Is the USAF Flying Force Large Enough? Assessing Capacity Demands in Four Alternative Futures

    This report draws on historical data to quantify gaps in the U.S. Air Force's capacity to meet potential future demands.

    Aug 28, 2018

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz are seen on the mobile phone screen as they attend a news conference at the Chancellery in Vienna, Austria July 4, 201,8

    Commentary

    Iran's Disinformation Campaigns

    New reports suggest that the Kremlin may have company in its efforts to shape the United States' domestic information landscape: Iran. As Americans prepare to return to the voting booths this fall, Washington would be well advised to look into Iran's disinformation capabilities and intentions.

    Aug 24, 2018

  • Shelly Culbertson and a United Nations Mine Action Service Implementation Partner survey the grounds of the Al-Shifa Hospital complex in Mosul, Iraq.

    Multimedia

    Making Victory Count: Stabilizing Mosul

    RAND researchers Shelly Culbertson and Linda Robinson visited Iraq nine months after the Battle of Mosul to gauge the progress being made in rebuilding and stabilizing the region. In the aftermath of combat operations against ISIS, what are the critical requirements for achieving lasting stability and the resumption of city life in Mosul?

    Aug 22, 2018

  • Israeli armored vehicles take part in a drill in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, August 7, 2018 August 7, 2018

    Commentary

    The Growing Risk of a New Middle East War

    Escalating clashes between Israeli and Iranian forces in Syria have demonstrably increased the risk of a new, large-scale regional conflict that would likely involve the U.S. military. Tehran's continued provocations and violations of Israel's stated red lines are fueling escalation with the potential to rapidly spin out of control.

    Aug 21, 2018

  • Report

    Restoring U.S. Power Projection Capabilities: Responding to the 2018 National Defense Strategy

    This Perspective can help to inform upcoming decisions to improve U.S. military abilities (which have been eroding vis-à-vis those of China and Russia) to deter aggression and intimidation, assure allies, and influence events in East Asia and Europe.

    Aug 16, 2018

  • Report

    Promoting Joint Warfighting Proficiency: The Role of Doctrine in Preparing Airmen for Joint Operations

    This report describes the differences and similarities between Air Force and joint doctrine and identifies ways to increase doctrinal alignment. It also evaluates the potential role of doctrine in increasing airmen's joint warfighting proficiency.

    Aug 16, 2018

  • Voters voting in polling place

    Commentary

    Here's How Russia Will Try to Interfere in the 2018 Elections

    Russia will threaten U.S. midterm elections in November, although by how much is unclear. Moscow might be more restrained this year, but it could be wilier.

    Aug 14, 2018

  • A drone is used to survey high-voltage power lines of electric company Westnetz near Wilnsdorf, Germany, July 11, 2018

    Commentary

    Approaching a 'New Normal': What the Drone Attack in Venezuela Portends

    The attempt to assassinate Venezuelan President Maduro showed that drones are easy to use and difficult to defend against. Commercial off-the-shelf technology is easy to acquire. It is imperative that counterterrorism specialists begin planning a robust response to the threat.

    Aug 13, 2018