Warfare and Military Operations

Featured

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.

  • Italian air force F-35 and Eurofighter Typhoons fly in formation over Italy during a training mission, courtesy photo, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

    Report

    European Contributions to NATO's Future Combat Airpower

    Oct 22, 2020

    European air forces currently have limited capabilities for defending allies in high-intensity conflict. However, Europe's airpower is trending in the right direction, especially with the introduction of fifth-generation aircraft.

  • A Delta IV rocket successfully launches the Global Positioning System IIF-5 satellite from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, February 20, 2014, photo by Ben Cooper/United Launch Alliance

    Research Brief

    What Will the Future of Warfare Look Like?

    May 11, 2020

    Poor predictions about wars stem from failing to think holistically about the factors that drive changes in the global environment and their implications for warfare. Geopolitical, economic, military, space, nuclear, cyber, and other trends will shape the contours of conflict through 2030.

Explore Warfare and Military Operations

  • A pro-government tribal fighter stands at a position where he fights against the Houthis in Marib, Yemen, October 2, 2020, photo by Ali Owidha/Reuters

    Commentary

    Pathways Toward Peace in Yemen: National Reconciliation or a 'Phased' Approach?

    Any potential pathway to an enduring peace in Yemen could take decades to recover from the economic, political, and social costs of this civil war. Our phased approach could require patience from the Yemeni people and a robust and enduring commitment from the international community. But war has brought Yemen to this point, and there are few remaining options.

    Mar 5, 2021

  • Members of a militia group who were charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in the state capitol building, in Lansing, Michigan, April 30, 2020, photo by Seth Herald/Reuters

    Commentary

    Implications of Domestic Terrorist Group Designations for Combating Homegrown Extremism

    It is not clear that an official designation of domestic extremists as terrorists would confer additional benefits that would outweigh potential risks to U.S. civil liberties. A combined government effort that facilitates mitigation strategies to preempt violence by hate groups, while also actively stemming the flow of online disinformation, may be a good first step in reducing homegrown extremism.

    Mar 2, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Winning the Battle of the Airfields: Seventy Years of RAND Analysis on Air Base Defense and Attack

    This report provides an overview of RAND's work on air base defense and attack from 1951 through 2020, describes RAND's contributions, and identifies enduring insights for improving the resiliency of U.S. air bases in the face of modern threats.

    Feb 24, 2021

  • Trump supporters on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021, photo by Lenin Nolly/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Five Reasons to Be Wary of a New Domestic Terrorism Law

    Momentum is building in Congress for legislation to deal with domestic terrorism. Here are five purely pragmatic reasons to be wary of addressing domestic terrorism with a new law.

    Feb 24, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Traditional U.S. Approaches to Middle East Not Working: Reimagined Strategy Would Lean Less on Massive Arms Sales, More ...

    U.S. policies in the Middle East are built on outdated “legacy” aid packages, massive arms sales, and a disproportionate focus on the Iranian threat that fail to advance American interests—or help the region's people—and need to be rethought.

    Feb 23, 2021

  • A view from space of the Middle East, West Asia, and East Europe at night, photo by wael alreweie/Getty Images

    Report

    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East

    Long-standing U.S. policies in the Middle East that rely on defeating threats and keeping partners on "our side" have fallen short. What if the U.S. approach shifted from focusing on the threat of the day to a positive vision of a region supported by increased diplomatic and economic investments?

    Feb 23, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Reimagining U.S. Strategy in the Middle East: Sustainable Partnerships, Strategic Investments (Executive Summary)

    In this summary, researchers assess the advantages and trade-offs of a reimagined Middle East strategy where strategic goals link to a broader understanding of stability that prioritizes reduced conflict, better governance, and greater development.

    Feb 23, 2021

  • Multimedia

    Multimedia

    West Coast Aerospace Forum 2020: Aerospace Vision for the Future

    The 6th annual West Coast Aerospace Forum in December 2020 featured discussions between some of the Department of the Air Force‘s most senior and experienced leaders and top civilian national security experts.

    Feb 19, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Evolution of Special Operations as a Model for Information Forces

    This article draws an analogy between special operations and information forces and suggests the history and evolution of SOF could serve as a model and provide lessons for the development of information forces.

    Feb 19, 2021

  • Members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces' infantry unit march during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base, Japan, October 23, 2016, photo by Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japanese Public Needs to Know SDF to Appreciate It

    Although Japan does not call the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) a military, externally it is widely respected as a modern armed force fielding advanced defense capabilities. Given the threats facing Japan, it may benefit the Japanese public to better understand the value of the SDF as an armed force and the military cooperation that takes place with the United States.

    Feb 19, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Systemic Cyber Risk and Aggregate Impacts

    High-profile attacks illustrate the potential for systemic cyber risk. We estimate the aggregate economic impact of firm-specific attacks finding potential large losses from downstream propagations.

    Feb 18, 2021

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    The Role of U.S. Airpower in Defeating ISIS

    The United States used airpower in Syria and Iraq to halt ISIS's momentum and help defeat the organization, without committing a large number of ground forces.

    Feb 12, 2021

  • Blog

    Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, COVID-19 Variants, Myanmar: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on alternatives in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military, how couples can sleep better during the pandemic, and more.

    Feb 12, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Israelis Unwilling to Risk Two-State Solution; Palestinians Only Interested in Variant That Israelis Cannot Accept

    Israelis across the political spectrum prefer the status quo to the two-state solution, and Palestinians are only willing to accept a two-state solution that Israelis will be unable to accept.

    Feb 10, 2021

  • Domestic Terrorism

    Multimedia

    Domestic Terrorism in the U.S.: The Need to Rethink Strategy

    An overview of testimony by Brian Michael Jenkins presented before the House Committee on Homeland Security on February 4, 2021.

    Feb 10, 2021

  • An aerial view shows the Cave of the Patriarchs, a site sacred to Jews and Muslims, in the Palestinian city of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, November 2, 2020, photo by Ilan Rosenberg/Reuters

    Report

    Alternatives in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    The two-state solution has dominated efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. But Israelis across the political spectrum prefer the status quo to the two-state solution, and Palestinians are interested in a variant that Israelis cannot accept. Is there a viable alternative?

    Feb 10, 2021

  • Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the leader of the Taliban delegation, signs an agreement with Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar, February 29, 2020, photo by Ibraheem al Omari/Reuters

    Commentary

    Afghanistan: Give Peace a Chance

    The timetable set out in the Afghan peace agreement was always unrealistically ambitious. If the Biden administration postpones the May withdrawal of U.S. troops, then this could provide the two Afghan sides more time to address core issues that must be resolved if any settlement is to stick.

    Feb 9, 2021

  • Two Air Force F-22 Raptors fly over Syria, February 2, 2018, while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, photo by Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott/Air National Guard

    Report

    Airpower Was Indispensable to Defeating ISIS

    Some argue that airpower could have been applied more vigorously in Operation Inherent Resolve to have more quickly defeated ISIS. Airpower was essential, but ground forces led by Iraqi and Syrian partners were needed to destroy the Islamic State as a territorial entity.

    Feb 5, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Deceive the Enemy with Emerging Technologies

    By using technology to deceive and confuse adversaries, the U.S. Navy can gain a competitive edge.

    Feb 4, 2021

  • An Indian fighter plane flies over a mountain range in Leh, in the Ladakh region, India, September 15, 2020, photo by Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

    Commentary

    Stabilizing China-India Relations in 2021: Is This Possible?

    China-India relations seem to be at their lowest point in decades. The Ladakh confrontation is fraught with the risk of escalation. But both countries have much to gain from a compromise. Leadership on both sides could help by focusing on the long-term gains in a spirit of give-and-take.

    Feb 2, 2021