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UK — Living Room Connected Devices: Opportunities, security challenges and privacy implications for users and industry

September 8, 2014 Comments off

Living Room Connected Devices: Opportunities, security challenges and privacy implications for users and industry
Source: RAND Corporation

RAND Europe was commissioned by Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, to investigate and prepare an independent expert report on the growth of the connected living room and the implications of this growth for UK citizens and consumers. As the living room becomes an Internet connected space, this shift offers opportunities to consumers and industry while also raising potential privacy and security concerns. Although currently a nascent market, the uptake of living room connected devices is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. However, it appears that there is a low awareness of how the capabilities of living room connected devices might be used, either legitimately by industry or illegitimately by criminal actors. This report addresses the security and privacy implications of the Internet connected living room for both industry and consumers, discussing potential benefits and emerging threats associated with living room connected devices and their technical capabilities.

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Portfolio Assessment of the Department of State Internet Freedom Program

September 5, 2014 Comments off

Portfolio Assessment of the Department of State Internet Freedom Program
Source: RAND Corporation

The struggle between those promoting Internet freedom and those trying to control and monitor the Internet is a fast-paced game of cat and mouse, and the DRL Internet freedom program seeks to fund projects that promote preserving the open character of the Internet. Employing portfolio analysis techniques, the authors assessed DRL’s Internet freedom portfolio for fiscal year 2012–2013. The assessment showed good alignment between the State Department’s strategy and the cumulative effect of the 18 funded projects. Additionally, the portfolio was assessed to be well balanced with an unrealized potential for supporting emergent State Department needs in enlarging political space within authoritarian regimes. The assessment revealed that the investment in developing Internet freedom capacity and capabilities would likely have residual value beyond the portfolio’s funded lifespan, with positive, but indirect, connections to civic freedom. Moreover, promoting Internet freedom appears to be a cost-imposing strategy that simultaneously aligns well with both U.S. values and interests, pressuring authoritarian rivals to either accept a free and open Internet or devote additional security resources to control or repress Internet activities. Finally, the authors determined that the value of such analysis is best realized over multiple stages of the portfolio’s lifecycle. Among the authors’ recommendations were for DRL to enhance the synergy within the portfolio and among its grantees and to maintain a relatively balanced Internet freedom strategy that includes projects working on access, anonymity, awareness, and advocacy.

Information and Communication Technologies to Promote Social and Psychological Well-Being in the Air Force

September 1, 2014 Comments off

Information and Communication Technologies to Promote Social and Psychological Well-Being in the Air Force
Source: RAND Corporation

This report presents the findings from a pioneering exploratory survey of 3,479 active-duty, guard, and reserve Airmen on their use of information and communication technology (ICT), the association between ICT use and social and psychological well-being, and the potential for Air Force mental-health professionals to use ICT to meet the needs of Airmen. The survey data were weighted to ensure that the analytic sample would be representative of the gender, age group, rank (officer, enlisted), and affiliation (active, guard, reserve) composition of the U.S. Air Force. Rates of ICT usage by Airmen are presented, along with Airmen’s perceptions of the relationship between social support and ICT use, their attitudes about seeking and receiving health information via technology, and the differences in ICT use, social support, and psychological well-being among different groups of Airmen. Finally, recommendations are presented on ways the Air Force can leverage ICT to promote the social and psychological well-being of Airmen.

Spillover from the Conflict in Syria: An Assessment of the Factors that Aid and Impede the Spread of Violence

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Spillover from the Conflict in Syria: An Assessment of the Factors that Aid and Impede the Spread of Violence
Source: RAND Corporation

All roads lead to Damascus and then back out again, but in different directions. The financial and military aid flowing into Syria from patrons and neighbors is intended to determine the outcome of the conflict between a loose confederation of rebel factions and the regime in Damascus. Instead, this outside support has the potential to perpetuate the existing civil war and to ignite larger regional hostilities between Sunni and Shia areas that could reshape the political geography of the Middle East. This report examines the main factors that are likely to contribute to or impede the spread of violence from civil war and insurgency in Syria, and then examines how they apply to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan.

DoD — Small Business and Strategic Sourcing: Lessons from Past Research and Current Data

August 28, 2014 Comments off

Small Business and Strategic Sourcing: Lessons from Past Research and Current Data
Source: RAND Corporation

The Department of Defense (DoD) may face challenges as it attempts to maintain its goal of spending about 23 percent of its prime-contract dollars for goods and services with small businesses and at the same time apply strategic-sourcing practices to reduce total costs and improve performance in ways that will not conflict with small-business goals while making DoD purchasing more effective and efficient. Strategic sourcing practices, for example, recommend consolidation of the supply base to reduce total costs, which can lead to fewer, larger, longer-term contracts with fewer and, often, larger suppliers.

Toward Improved Management of Officer Retention: A New Capability for Assessing Policy Options

August 26, 2014 Comments off

Toward Improved Management of Officer Retention: A New Capability for Assessing Policy Options
Source: RAND Corporation

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) needs the capability to assess alternative policies to enhance the retention of officers. This capability should be founded on empirically based estimates of behavioral response to policy and recognize that, when making decisions, members are forward-looking and take into account future opportunities and uncertainty and the outcomes of past decisions and policies. Further, the capability should enable DoD to simulate or predict the effects of alternative policies on officer retention and the costs of those policies. This report documents efforts to implement such a capability for officers and illustrates its use. The authors statistically estimate the parameters of a dynamic retention model of officer behavior and use the parameter estimates in a simulation model to help evaluate the effect that changes in compensation can have on the retention of officers and to show how policies that change the retention behavior of these officers can also change the aggregate retention of the population of officers at earlier or later years of their careers. The model can also be used to gauge the effect of alternative policies to enhance retention. In addition, the authors have created a spreadsheet version of the model that can provide quick estimates of the effect that bonuses, gate pays, and separation pays can have on retention in all years of service. This report provides the mathematical foundations and the source code for the spreadsheet model. The spreadsheet model is also available on request from the RAND Forces and Resources Policy Center.

The changing hospital landscape: An exploration of international experiences

August 20, 2014 Comments off

The changing hospital landscape: An exploration of international experiences
Source: RAND Corporation

The nature of hospital activity is changing in many countries, with some experiencing a broad trend towards the creation of hospitals groups or chains and multi-hospital networks. This report seeks to contribute to the understanding of experiences in other countries about the extent to which different hospital ‘models’ may provide lessons for hospital provision in England by means of a review of four countries: France, Germany, Ireland and the United States, with England included for comparison. We find that here has been a trend towards privatisation and the formation of hospital groups in France, Germany and the United States although it is important to understand the underlying market structure in these countries explaining the drivers for hospital consolidation. Thus, and in contrast to the NHS, in France, Germany and the United States, private hospitals contribute to the delivery of publicly funded healthcare services. There is limited evidence suggesting that different forms of hospital cooperation, such as hospital groups, networks or systems, may have different impacts on hospital performance. Available evidence suggests that hospital consolidation may lead to quality improvements as increased size allows for more costly investments and the spreading of investment risk. There is also evidence that a higher volume of certain services such as surgical procedures is associated with better quality of care. However, the association between size and efficiency is not clear-cut and there is a need to balance ‘quality risk’ associated with low volumes and ‘access risk’ associated with the closure of services at the local level.

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