Blog Posts by Pardee RAND Faculty

  • Where Is Assad Getting His Fighters from?

    The Assad regime's defense against insurgents in Syria's ongoing civil war is being provided by forces imported from Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Lebanon and Iraq, writes Prof. Colin Clarke. Most of these fighters are being trained and equipped by Iran. Could this network of foreign fighters help Iran establish a greater presence beyond the Middle East?

  • Jerusalem Embassy Move Sparks Turkey-Israel War of Words

    Jan 2, 2018

    Shira Efron

    President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has exacerbated tensions between Turkey and Israel, writes Prof. Shira Efron (alum, cohort '11). Economic interests had provided incentives for thawing relations in June 2016, but separating economic interests from political differences is harder today given the mistrust between Ankara and Jerusalem.

  • What the World Can Learn from Chile's Obesity-Control Strategies

    Nearly 30 years into the ongoing global epidemic of obesity and chronic diseases, Chile has taken the lead in identifying and implementing obesity-control strategies that could prove to be the beginning of the end of the epidemic, writes Prof. Deborah Cohen. The country's success on this front can serve as a lesson plan other countries could follow.

  • Justice for Florida Farmworkers: Q&A with Dean Susan Marquis

    Dec 15, 2017

    In her new book, Dean Susan Marquis takes readers inside the fight in Florida tomato fields. She traces the history and victories of a grassroots group of farmworkers and community leaders who wrested better wages and working conditions from major tomato growers and their corporate buyers.

  • All for One and One for All: Toward a Coordinated EU Approach on Returnees

    To combat the threat posed by returning fighters, EU intelligence and police agencies will need to coordinate to find potential terrorists before they are able to conduct attacks in Europe. Prof. Colin Clarke says the return of dangerous foreign fighters to European soil should be motivation enough for an overarching review of each country’s vulnerabilities.

  • Drones Could Deliver Change to Africa

    Nov 17, 2017

    Shira Efron

    Drones have potential on the African continent to transform urban and rural infrastructure and enhance agricultural productivity, writes Prof. Shira Efron (alum, cohort '11). But deployment of drones in Africa still faces technological, economic, social, and legal and regulatory challenges.

  • America Is Great at Fighting Terrorism, but Terror Is Alive and Well

    When terrorists adopt a strategy of pure terror, it is challenging to prevent attacks like those seen in Nice, Columbus, London, Barcelona, or New York. Instead, writes Prof. Henry Willis, strategies are needed to counter terrorism's ultimate aim, to instill fear, and to remove some of the incentives of those who might be motivated to conduct them.

  • The Looming Pension Crisis

    Nov 8, 2017

    Dan Grunfeld

    California leads the nation in pension underfunding. The state government has $464.4 billion in unfunded liabilities — the difference between resources that will be available in the state's pension fund and what will be owed to retiring employees. Executive Vice Dean Dan Grunfeld explains that, as dire as the problem is now, it could double over the next 12 years.

  • Recovering from a Nuclear Attack on a U.S. City

    Nov 7, 2017

    David A. Shlapak

    Responding after a nuclear attack will require having planned and prepared for problems that are very different than those encountered after hurricanes and earthquakes, writes Prof. David Shlapak. U.S. cities are inadequately prepared to handle a disaster of this magnitude.

  • The Long-Term Budget Shortfall and National Security: A Problem the U.S. Should Stop Avoiding

    Bold promises and even actions that balance the budget for the short term should not mask the fact that the U.S. government has failed to face its long-term budget problems. Without changes, writes. Prof Howard Shatz, the ability to pay for many functions — including defense — will rely wholly on borrowed money.

  • New York Terror Attack: Can Vehicle Attacks Be Prevented?

    The recent vehicle attack in Manhattan was the deadliest terror attack on New York since 9/11. Preventing every attack is unrealistic, writes Prof. Colin Clarke, but with increased vigilance, cooperation with law enforcement, and intelligence sharing, citizens can help mitigate the threat of terrorism.

  • Candy Out of Sight, Out of Mind

    CVS is cutting back on candy at the cash register, making junk food less visible and “healthier” snacks easier to find. Any move that nudges consumers toward healthier choices should be applauded, writes Prof. Deborah Cohen, but CVS could take the lead as a retailer and do away with junk food displays by the cash register altogether.

  • Checklist of Best Practices Developed to Guide Development of Suicide Prevention Campaigns

    Is your crisis line’s suicide-prevention communications effort working well enough? What should you be doing differently? Some help is available through a checklist published earlier this year, writes Prof. Joie Acosta.

  • The Moderate Face of Al Qaeda

    Al Qaeda in Syria cut ties with its parent organization to portray itself as a legitimate, capable, and independent force in the Syrian civil war. The group appears dedicated to helping Syrians prevail, writes Prof. Colin Clarke, and now that ISIS has lost its capital in Raqqa, al Qaeda may be the only group viewed as militarily capable of challenging the Assad regime.

  • China's Field of Dreams in Pakistan

    Oct 16, 2017

    Rafiq Dossani, Niels Erich

    China is four years into joint planning and construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, from Kashgar, China to the Pakistani port of Gwadar. Prof. Rafiq Dossani asks, What are the benefits for China and Pakistan and what do they mean for future growth in the region?

  • The Intersection of Algorithms and an Individual's Rights

    Sep 29, 2017

    Dan Grunfeld

    Data collection, and our reliance on it, have evolved extremely rapidly. The resulting algorithms have proved invaluable for organizing, evaluating and utilizing information. Our new executive vice dean, Dan Grunfeld, poses the question: How do individuals' rights come in to play, when data about their lives is compiled to create algorithms, and the resulting tools are applied to judge them?

  • Do Americans Expect Too Much from Health Insurance?

    Americans expect affordable coverage for pre-existing conditions, access to routine services, and for the health care system to protect them from financial risk from accidents or illness. As a product designed primarily for risk protection, insurance may not be the most efficient or affordable approach to achieving these objectives, write professors Christine Eibner and Katherine Grace Carman.

  • Campaign for Fair Food Makes a Real Difference

    The Fair Food Program protects farmworkers while providing corporations with transparency in their supply chains and tremendous brand protection, writes Dean Susan Marquis. It has been widely recognized for improving agricultural working conditions and for changing the culture of America's farm fields.

  • What Emerging Research Says About the Promise of Personalized Learning

    Aug 16, 2017

    John F. Pane

    Personalized learning holds promise as an innovation that can lead to improved educational outcomes for students. But Prof. John Pane writes that implementers should have modest expectations for the magnitude of the benefits, and patience for the full benefits to emerge.

  • Extending Marketplace Tax Credits Would Make Coverage More Affordable for Middle-Income Adults

    Paying for health care coverage is a challenge for Americans facing rising premiums, deductibles, and copayments. Alum Jodi Liu (cohort '12) and Prof. Christine Eibner say the ACA's tax credits that make marketplace insurance more affordable for lower-income individuals should be extended to middle-income adults aged 50–64.

  • Getting (Solar) Electricity Pricing Right

    For many U.S. homeowners, an investment in rooftop solar is becoming a cost-competitive alternative to purchasing grid electricity. But student Benjamin Smith (cohort '15) and professors Nick Burger and Aimee Curtright note that, as demand soars, states are struggling to adapt a 20th-century electrical grid to 21st-century supply and demand, leading to confusion and cost uncertainty.

  • Should California Drop Criminal Penalties for Drug Possession?

    Californians have a lot to consider when it comes to decriminalizing possession. But professor Beau Kilmer sayd now is the time for a rigorous discussion about removing criminal penalties for drug possession, rather than rushing to judgment in the heat of a future election season.

  • Navigating the Uncertain Path to Decarbonization

    Deep decarbonization can reduce the risk of climate change, and it offers opportunities to reimagine energy, transportation, and infrastructure. But Prof. Robert Lempert says it could also fail in many ways. Diverse, independent actors need a shared understanding of its complexity and deep uncertainty to design a solution to this challenge.

  • Ingredients for Health Care Reform

    Despite their differences, the Affordable Care Act and the current proposals to replace it take a similar approach to providing health insurance. Prof. Christine Eibner asks, What might some alternatives look like? And how could they provide coverage to more Americans?

  • Lessons for First Responders on the Front Lines of Terrorism

    Given the persistent risk of terrorist attacks, it is critical to learn from past incidents to prepare for future ones, writes Prof. Chris Nelson. Medical and nonmedical first responders need more training in basic lifesaving skills. Open communication lines such as a dedicated radio frequency could help responders better coordinate. Disaster drills are also essential.