Security & Defense Research

The RAND Corporation helped create the field of defense analysis after World War II. Modern researchers at RAND, including Pardee RAND students, carry on this tradition. Common topic areas include strategy and policy, technology and acquisition, logistics, and personnel. Students doing research in this area employ diverse methods: modeling and simulation, wargaming, archival research, econometric analysis, and more. In recent years, roughly forty percent of students’ project work (OJT) has been related to defense and security. An annual dissertation fellowship competition awards generous funding — around $25,000 per fellowship — to up to 10 students focusing on defense and security research.

Student-Faculty Research Collaborations

Through project-based research, students work with faculty mentors to obtain professional skills and tacit knowledge that courses alone cannot convey. Here are a few recent projects and their resulting research.

Paratroopers exit a C-130 aircraft at Al Asad Airbase, Iraq, as part of an airborne training exercise

Enabling the Global Response Force

Student Jonathan Wong (cohort '12) worked with professor Christopher Pernin and other RAND colleagues in recommending specific Global Response Force access strategies for each geographic combatant command given constraints in aircraft, intermediate staging bases, and other factors.

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Key Leader Engagement attendees observe a solar-powered water pump while discussing ongoing projects in Farah province, Afghanistan, September 28, 2013

Assessing the Use of CERP in Afghanistan

Kathleen Loa (cohort '12), professor Daniel Egel, and RAND colleagues found the ability of the U.S. military to provide humanitarian relief and reconstruction services, through the Commander's Emergency Response Program in Afghanistan, enhanced the operational effectiveness of U.S. forces.

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Ukrainian servicemen take part in a rehearsal for the Independence Day military parade in central Kiev, Ukraine, August 22, 2016

Security Sector Reform in Ukraine

The 2014 Maidan revolution created an opportunity for change in a system that had resisted it for 25 years. Jakub Hlavka and Andriy Bega (both cohort '14) contributed to a report that found the Ukrainian security establishment has progressed since then, but its efforts have been insufficient to address the threats now facing the nation.

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Special Operations Forces utilize the Melrose Air Force Range's rough terrain and unique layout to conduct realistic training, November 8, 2012

Considerations for Integrating Women into U.S. Special Ops Forces

Cameron Wright (cohort '12), working with several professors and RAND colleagues, conducted a survey of special operations forces (SOF) personnel to identify their concerns with allowing women to fill SOF positions. Many said they thought mission effectiveness and unit cohesion would suffer as a result.

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Faculty Mentors