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

  • A tank crew member of the Russian armed forces fires a weapon during combat drills at the Kadamovsky range in the Rostov region, Russia, December 14, 2021, photo by Sergey Pivovarov/Reuters

    Report

    Russian Military Forecasting Translation Volume: 1999–2018

    This translation volume compiles texts by Russian military experts and planners and covers key factors in Russian military forecasting that inform military planning decisions on force structure and training.

    Jan 10, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Strategic and Legal Implications of Emerging Dual-Use ASAT Systems

    This article addresses the dual-use conundrum of space technology, examining where the threshold lies for anti-satellite systems.

    Jan 6, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Assessing the Readiness of Contractor-Provided Space Operations Capabilities

    There are a significant number of private contractors performing space operations functions and tasks for the Air Force. This report examines how the Air Force evaluates its ability to deliver space operations capabilities provided by contractors.

    Jan 3, 2022

  • Blog

    The Most Popular RAND Research of 2021

    As another extraordinary year draws to a close, we continue to believe that objective, nonpartisan research and analysis has a key role to play in navigating what continues to be a difficult time. Here are the 10 research projects that resonated most with rand.org readers in 2021.

    Dec 22, 2021

  • Jacqueline Burns, bottom right, with Ambassador Donald Booth, at an Internally Displaced Person camp in Darfur, Sudan, in 2016, over a map of Sudan, photo courtesy of Jacqueline Burns; images by oxygen and JeanUrsula/Getty Images; design by Chara Williams/RAND Corporation

    Q&A

    Helping People Affected by Conflict: Q&A with Jacqueline Burns

    From the Air Force to Africa to RAND, Jacqueline Burns resolved to help people whose lives have been torn apart by conflict or disaster. As a senior policy analyst she wants to be a part of finding better solutions to the complex questions of peace and security.

    Dec 22, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Conspiracy Theories Have Much in Common. Their Differences May Hold the Key to Identifying When They Turn Violent.

    RAND/Google collaboration to improve machine learning models to detect and understand the rhetorical functions of conspiracy theories over social media.

    Dec 22, 2021

  • Blog

    RAND Commentary Highlights of 2021

    Vaccine rollouts, an attack on the U.S. Capitol, massive ransomware attacks, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, record numbers of job openings and people quitting, and more. RAND researchers weighed in on all these topics and more.

    Dec 21, 2021

  • Multimedia

    RAND Video Highlights of 2021

    The best RAND videos from the past year brought our research to life in new ways. From the sidewalks of Pittsburgh to preschools in the Middle East, see how people around the world are using RAND research to make their communities safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.

    Dec 20, 2021

  • View of Pakistan and Taliban flags at the Friendship Gate crossing point in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, August 27, 2021, photo by Saeed Ali Achakzai/Reuters

    Commentary

    Complex Calculations Shape Pakistan-TTP Negotiations

    Pakistan sees the Taliban as a facilitator of discussions with the TTP, as an ally in persuading the TTP to negotiate, and as a guarantor of whatever agreement is reached. And given the Taliban's diplomatic isolation and desperate economic situation, Pakistan can in return assist Afghanistan's new rulers in gaining acceptance and aid.

    Dec 20, 2021

  • Blog

    Gender Pay Gap Among Doctors, America's Labor Shortage, 'Hacking Equity': RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the pay gap between female and male doctors, understanding America’s weird job market, social and emotional learning, and more.

    Dec 17, 2021

  • A new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile being launched in waters off the east coast of North Korea in a photo released by the North Korean Central News Agency on October 20, 2021, photo by KCNA via/Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    North Korea's Nuclear Arsenal and Prospects for Regional Peace

    Nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea have hovered at a standstill since 2019. With the door to diplomacy seemingly closed and North Korea marching forward on weapons development and making threatening statements, what are the prospects for Pyongyang's denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula?

    Dec 16, 2021

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends his annual special televised question and answer session at Moscow's World Trade Centre, June 30, 2021, photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Reuters

    Commentary

    Deterring Putin in Eastern Europe

    After having gone years without a significant threat from Russia, NATO leaders and legislatures now may be recognizing that the security environment has changed and the more comfortable political status quo is gone. But if NATO were to decide to stand firmly together, conflict in Europe may be deterred and strategic stability restored.

    Dec 16, 2021

  • Barbed wire and protective fencing surrounds the U.S. Capitol, as the sun sets in Washington, February 21, 2021, photo by Al Drago/Reuters

    Multimedia

    RAND Remote: America's Response to Terrorism

    In this RAND Remote conversation, Brian Michael Jenkins, senior adviser to the RAND president, and senior behavioral scientist Rajeev Ramchand discuss how the terrorism threat to America has changed over the past 20 years.

    Dec 16, 2021

  • Members of the Iowa National Guard load vehicles during railhead operations at Camp Shelby, Miss., photo by Sean Taylor/U.S. Army

    Report

    Weighing the Trade-Offs of U.S. Military Interventions

    Military interventions can be effective at advancing U.S. interests in some contexts and situations. But they can have the opposite effect in other cases, creating long-term entanglements and increasing economic and strategic costs without realizing U.S. objectives.

    Dec 13, 2021

  • HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Portsmouth after her maiden operational deployment in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, December 9, 2021, p

    Commentary

    Ready for Take-Off? The Next Generation of UK Maritime Air Power

    The recent deployment of a Carrier Strike Group represents a marked shift in the United Kingdom's ambitions and capabilities for power projection in both the maritime and air domains. The United Kingdom is hoping to work closely with NATO Allies to enhance the Alliance's collective ability to deploy maritime airpower as part of a flexible posture that can deter and respond to threats both close to home and far afield.

    Dec 10, 2021

  • Multimedia

    Combating Extremism in the U.S. Military

    RAND military sociologist Marek N. Posard describes the threat of extremism in the U.S. military, the ways in which extremism develops, and strategies the military could use to combat extremism.

    Dec 9, 2021

  • Tech. Sgt. Rosa Valdes and Staff Sgt. Rebecca Toland, non-destructive inspection technicians from the 140th Maintenance Squadron, perform an inspection of the 446 bulkhead on a block-30 F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. The 446 bulkhead is aft fuselage structure of the F-16 aircraft that supports the tail structure and recent tests have indicated an increased amount of stress cracks in this area, photo by Senior Master Sgt. John Rohrer/U.S. Air National Guard

    Report

    Wing-Level Mission Assurance for a Cyber-Contested Environment

    The authors offer ways to help wings assure their missions despite cyber attacks, focusing on how wings can maintain situational awareness, defend their systems, and respond to and recover from attacks to survive and operate when under cyber attack.

    Dec 9, 2021

  • Multimedia

    The U.S. Army's Role in the Pacific Theater: A Panel Discussion with General Charles A. Flynn

    Speaking at a RAND Corporation event, General Charles A. Flynn, head of the U.S. Army Pacific, said that the nation's land force provides two distinct values in a maritime region: (1) supporting allies and partners and (2) providing enabling capabilities to the Joint Force, including sustainment and logistics.

    Dec 6, 2021

  • A woman with a smartphone is seen in front of social media logos, May 25, 2021, photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

    Report

    Understanding the Online Extremist Ecosystem

    By the early 2010s, it was clear that the internet provided white supremacists and other extremists a tool to operationalize their hateful ideas and cause real-world harms. How can the average user understand their risk of exposure to extremist content and make informed decisions about the platforms they use?

    Dec 2, 2021