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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Report

    Report

    Supporting a Royal Australian Navy Modelling and Simulation Strategy: A Strategy-to-Task Framework

    The authors provide an evidence base for an expanded Modelling and Simulation Strategy for the Royal Australian Navy so that it can better position itself to operate in a high-end warfighting environment.

    May 18, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    State Targeted Violence Prevention: Programming & Key Performance Indicators

    This resource is a guide for U.S. state governments as they seek to implement comprehensive targeted violence prevention (TVP) programming and evaluate its implementation, outcomes, and impact.

    May 18, 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

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Considering Responsible Behaviours as Part of Managing Threats to Space Systems

    Space is becoming more contested, competed and congested. This report covers Wilton Park consultations on how to define and promote responsible behaviors in space, ahead of formal United Nations negotiations to try to reduce threats to space security.

    May 17, 2022

  • Blog

    Truth Decay, School Lunch Nutrition, Regulating Space: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on tackling Truth Decay, how civilian tech experts view the military's use of artificial intelligence, a new approach to regulating outer space, and more.

    May 13, 2022

  • Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen visits army reservist troops during training in Nanshipu, Taiwan, March 12, 2022, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ukraine War Is Motivating Taiwan to Better Secure Its Own Future

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine is probably motivating Taiwan to better secure its own future versus China. But many of the challenges currently facing Taiwan, such as shortcomings in reservist training or lingering confusion over its military strategy, are difficult to fix, assuming they are even fixable.

    May 13, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Managing Response to Significant Cyber Incidents: Comparing Event Life Cycles and Incident Response Across Cyber and Non-Cyber Events

    This report examines U.S. structures and processes for non-cyber emergency management and whether U.S. officials can learn from these other incidents to help public and private sector stakeholders improve preparations for response to cyber incidents.

    May 12, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Road to Damascus: The Russian Air Campaign in Syria, 2015 to 2018

    The authors review the chronology of Russian air operations in Syria, and assess the strategic and operational blueprint, basing strategy and force disposition, effectiveness of the Russian air campaign, and its applicability to future campaigns.

    May 11, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Do National Security Communication Campaigns Work? Taking a Lesson from the Public Health Sector

    Through a systematic review of research on public health communication campaigns, the authors identified insights relevant to national security communication campaigns, such as those conducted by the U.S. Army's psychological operations forces.

    May 10, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Leveraging Machine Learning for Operation Assessment

    This report shows how machine learning (ML) can support assessment of military operations by describing and illustrating the use of ML in systematically extracting assessment-relevant insights from intelligence, operational, and media reporting.

    May 9, 2022

  • Illustration of astronauts on a space colony unloading boxes from a spaceship, photo by CSA-Printstock/Getty Images

    Commentary

    An Alternative Way to Think About Space Regulation

    There are currently no international binding rules that would address growing threats in space. Without more-defined and enforceable rules of war regarding space and space assets, the danger of a destructive conflict in space grows significantly.

    May 9, 2022

  • Blog

    How Data Can Help Refugees, Homelessness in L.A., Harm Reduction: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on tapping into Facebook data to help refugees, addressing homelessness in Los Angeles, understanding burnout among health care providers, and more.

    May 6, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on arming Ukraine, after touring a Lockheed Martin weapons factory in Troy, Alabama, May 3, 2022, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Escalation Fixation

    Fears of global nuclear annihilation should have produced a concerted effort by all sides to keep the Ukraine conflict limited. But the focus on escalation—rather than ensuring Russia's defeat—has instead made the international security picture more precarious.

    May 6, 2022

  • Local resident Olga is seen in her destroyed flat in Borodyanka, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 5, 2022.

    Multimedia

    What Does Putin Want in Ukraine?

    RAND senior political scientists Samuel Charap and Stephen J. Flanagan discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin's strategic goals in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

    May 3, 2022