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

    Jul 7, 2022

    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.

  • 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

    Jul 1, 2022

    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.

Explore Warfare and Military Operations

  • 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

  • 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

  • U.S. President Joe Biden speaks virtually with Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the White House, November 15, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Report

    A Guide to Extreme Competition with China

    The U.S.-China competitive dynamic is at a critical crossroads. What realistic, actionable policy options should U.S. policymakers consider in developing effective strategies for this competition?

    Dec 1, 2021

  • Military parade after the 2021 coup d'état in Kaloum, Guinea, September 6, 2021, photo by Aboubacarkhoraa/CC BY 4.0 International

    Commentary

    Are Military Coups Back in Style in Africa?

    There have been five coups in sub-Saharan Africa since August 2020. On a continent that was recently lauded for its democratic advancement, this backsliding suggests the military coup may be dangerously back in fashion. Why are more coups happening now?

    Dec 1, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Building Military Coalitions: Lessons from U.S. Experience

    This report describes factors that seem to be associated with U.S. decisions to use coalitions for military interventions, factors that drive partner states to join such coalitions, and factors that shape the success of military coalitions.

    Nov 30, 2021

  • ROK combat medics load a simulated wounded soldier into a U.S. Army helicopter during a joint exercise in Uijongbu, South Korea, March 5, 2008, photo by MC1 Lou Rosales/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Preserving the ROK-U.S. Alliance by Sustaining Military Exercises

    The Republic of Korea (ROK)/U.S. military forces based in the ROK are in a constant state of training, which is required to maintain military effectiveness. North Korea seeks to stop this ROK/U.S. military training, but taking the North Korean complaints seriously could be a mistake.

    Nov 30, 2021

  • Composite image for the U.S. Capitol dome with clouds in the sky and U.S. currency superimposed on the sky, photo by Douglas Rissing/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Nuclear Strategists Know How Dangerous the Debt Fight Is

    Nuclear-war strategists' work offers a warning for Congress: The more times a game is played, the more treacherous it becomes, because when both sides believe catastrophe will always be averted in the end, each behaves more rashly. In the debt-ceiling dispute, the United States could end up defaulting precisely because each side keeps waiting for the other to blink.

    Nov 29, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Overview of the Jack Rabbit II (JR II) Field Experiments and Summary of the Methods Used in the Dispersion Model Comparisons

    This paper summarizes the Jack Rabbit II chlorine release trials conducted at the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground in 2015 and 2016 and provides on overview of comparisons of 17 widely used dense-gas dispersion models using the JR II data.

    Nov 23, 2021

  • Woman looking at phone with COVID-19 news story, photo by LeoPatrizi/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Reining in COVID-19 Disinformation from China, Russia, and Elsewhere

    During the pandemic, misinformation and conspiracy theories have spread more virulently than ever before. The vast scale of the problem means scalable solutions like machine learning could be needed to rein in the bots, trolls, and conspiracy theories being spread by bad-faith actors.

    Nov 19, 2021

  • Blog

    News Manipulation, the Risk of Civil War, Russia and Ukraine: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on tracking news manipulation during the pandemic, the threat of another civil war, preventing health insurance loss, and more.

    Nov 19, 2021

  • Tool

    Tool

    Command Narrative Smart Guide

    This quick reference provides the big-picture basics for successful command narrative development and deployment.

    Nov 15, 2021

  • Young man wearing virtual reality headset and trying to touch something, 3d rendering, photo by U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Drake NickelsAdobe Stock/Sergey Nivens; Cover design by Pete Soriano

    Report

    Developing, Disseminating, and Assessing Command Narrative

    In the contemporary era marked by informational competition, one of the most important activities of a strategic or operational command is the development, presentation, and support of the command's narratives. What are some best practices for the effective use of command narrative?

    Nov 15, 2021

  • A person looks at a COVID-19 news update on their cell phone, photo by svetikd/Getty Images

    Report

    Tracking News Manipulation by Malicious State Actors

    During the pandemic, both Russia and China used authoritarian power over the media to manipulate the news. What can be done to better detect such propaganda campaigns—and guard against them in the future?

    Nov 15, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Countering Russia: The Role of Special Operations Forces in Strategic Competition

    This report establishes a strategic framework for U.S. Army special operations forces support to countering Russian activities in the competition space.

    Nov 8, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Analysis of Russian Irregular Threats

    The authors of this report describe strategic global trends related to Russian global influence and behavior and provide an overview and assessment of hostile activities that Russia has undertaken in the face of these trends.

    Nov 8, 2021