Archive for the ‘RAND Corporation’ Category

Plans Allowing People to Keep Health Insurance Will Not Threaten New Insurance Marketplaces

January 21, 2014 Comments off

Plans Allowing People to Keep Health Insurance Will Not Threaten New Insurance Marketplaces
Source: RAND Corporation

Plans to allow people to keep their individual health insurance policies even if they don’t meet the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act are unlikely to send new health insurance marketplaces into a “death spiral,” according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Although three options put forward to help people keep their old plans all would cause some disruption of the risk pools that are important to the insurance exchanges, none of the changes would be severe enough to threaten their viability, according to the study.

An option adopted by President Obama to allow state insurance commissioners to decide whether to extend old insurance policies is the least disruptive of the three policies examined by the RAND report. The study predicts the president’s action will have only minimal effect on enrollment and premiums.

The most disruptive of the alternative proposals would both allow people to keep their old health plans and allow others to buy the policies as well. That option would lead to moderate price hikes and sharply lower enrollment in the new marketplaces, substantially increasing federal spending on subsidies for enrollees.

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Improving the U.S. Military’s Understanding of Unstable Environments Vulnerable to Violent Extremist Groups: Insights from Social Science

January 20, 2014 Comments off

Improving the U.S. Military’s Understanding of Unstable Environments Vulnerable to Violent Extremist Groups: Insights from Social Science
Source: RAND Corporation

Over the previous decade, operations associated with irregular warfare have placed large demands on U.S. ground forces and have led to development of new Army and Joint doctrine. This report helps analysts identify and assess key factors that create and perpetuate environments susceptible to insurgency, terrorism, and other extremist violence and instability to inform military decisions on allocation of analytic and security assistance resources. The report focuses in particular on sources of understanding about these environments from the fields of sociology and cultural anthropology. RAND researchers surveyed existing sociological and anthropological theories and schools of thought and identified 12 key factors that give rise to and sustain unstable environments. The research found a relatively high degree of consensus among experts regarding the salience of these factors. The factors are interrelated and mutually dependent in complex ways. The report proposes a series of qualitative and quantitative metrics for each of the 12 factors and uses them in an analytic construct for assessing countries and regions based on their susceptibility to unstable environments.

Multinational overview of cannabis production regimes

January 17, 2014 Comments off

Multinational overview of cannabis production regimes
Source: RAND Corporation

In July 2013, the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) of the Netherlands Ministry of Security and Justice asked RAND Europe to provide a multinational overview of cannabis production regimes, with a special focus on identifying and describing official statements and/or legal decisions made about production regimes for non-medical and non-scientific purposes (i.e. recreational use for adults). This research report describes the ways in which these policies developed in selected countries, and the legal, legislative and voters’ decisions that shaped them. It pays attention to whether there have been formal statements from these countries about whether and how the new policies fit within the existing international legal framework. However, it does not make an assessment about whether these countries are compliant with the treaties. The report also does not take a position about whether changes in cannabis production policies would be good or bad for society.

Identifying Enemies Among Us: Evolving Terrorist Threats and the Continuing Challenges of Domestic Intelligence Collection and Information Sharing

January 15, 2014 Comments off

Identifying Enemies Among Us: Evolving Terrorist Threats and the Continuing Challenges of Domestic Intelligence Collection and Information Sharing
Source: RAND Corporation

This report summarizes the discussions at a seminar organized and hosted by the RAND Corporation at which a group of acting and former senior government and law enforcement officials, practitioners, and experts examined domestic intelligence operations and information sharing as these relate to terrorist threats. Topics discussed include changes in the direction and scope of the threat; the differences in the focus of local, state, and federal agencies; the need for better communication among law enforcement and intelligence agencies; the role of Joint Terrorism Task Forces; the shortcomings of fusion centers; the political sensitivity of collecting domestic intelligence; and the consequences of reductions in counterterrorism funding on the level of risk the American people will accept.

Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers

January 14, 2014 Comments off

Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers
Source: RAND Corporation

For the past hundred years, innovation within the automotive sector has created safer, cleaner, and more affordable vehicles, but progress has been incremental. The industry now appears close to substantial change, engendered by autonomous, or “self-driving,” vehicle technologies. This technology offers the possibility of significant benefits to social welfare — saving lives; reducing crashes, congestion, fuel consumption, and pollution; increasing mobility for the disabled; and ultimately improving land use. This report is intended as a guide for state and federal policymakers on the many issues that this technology raises. After surveying the advantages and disadvantages of the technology, RAND researchers determined that the benefits of the technology likely outweigh the disadvantages. However, many of the benefits will accrue to parties other than the technology’s purchasers. These positive externalities may justify some form of subsidy. The report also explores policy issues, communications, regulation and standards, and liability issues raised by the technology; and concludes with some tentative guidance for policymakers, guided largely by the principle that the technology should be allowed and perhaps encouraged when it is superior to an average human driver.

See also: Autonomous Vehicle Technology: How to Best Realize Its Social Benefits

Do Workplace Wellness Programs Save Employers Money?

January 13, 2014 Comments off

Do Workplace Wellness Programs Save Employers Money?
Source: RAND Corporation

Examines the return on investment (ROI) that companies realize from workplace wellness programs, focusing on the ROI provided by disease management programs versus lifestyle management programs.

Understanding the Cost and Quality of Military-Related Education Benefit Programs

December 31, 2013 Comments off

Understanding the Cost and Quality of Military-Related Education Benefit Programs
Source: RAND Corporation

Since the 1944 passage of the original GI Bill following World War II, the military has provided veterans with a collection of financial aid benefits designed to help them attend college. While research has shown that these programs have helped many veterans acquire a college education, less is known about the impact of more recent educational benefits for veterans. This is especially true of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which, in conjunction with a number of other assistance programs, has afforded veterans new educational opportunities. The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers tuition subsidies paid directly to institutions, a housing allowance tied to cost of living, and a book stipend, which in combination are usually more generous than preceding GI Bills. However, issues such as rising tuition costs; an increasing presence of low-quality, for-profit institutions that target veterans; and a potentially confusing array of benefit options could mitigate the impact of these programs on the recruitment, retention, and human capital development of service members. This report contextualizes these issues and formulates a research agenda to address them.

Europe’s Societal Challenges: An analysis of global societal trends to 2030 and their impact on the EU

December 19, 2013 Comments off

Europe’s Societal Challenges: An analysis of global societal trends to 2030 and their impact on the EU
Source: RAND Corporation

What will be the key societal challenges that the EU will need to address within the next two decades? Building on an evidence base provided by a review of literature, data and insights from over 200 international experts from academia, think tanks, policy and the private sector, this report explores evidence and uncertainties underpinning global societal trends and the challenges they provide for policymakers. The report analyses trends under the following themes: income equality and global middle class; a globally expanding and ageing population; employment and the changing labour force; evolving patterns and impacts of migration; and the potential of connected societies for empowering individuals. Commissioned on behalf of the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), the goal behind this research effort is to help put in place a lasting framework to assess salient global trends. With this foundation, the report concludes that there are a number of salient policy challenges clustered around three themes: 1) Investing in citizens: Equipping EU citizens with the tools to seize opportunities and protect the most vulnerable; 2) Preparing for a new growth paradigm: Focusing on wellbeing beyond productivity growth and enabling businesses to compete globally and in the internal market; and 3) Reinventing government: Recalibrating the public sector machinery and services to accommodate the realities of the 21st century. Some trends and challenges are much more uncertain however. The report suggests that the EU should increase its own resilience, limit vulnerability to the most unpredictable trends, and better define and enact policy responses.

The New Neglected Diseases? Policy Interventions Are Needed to Encourage CNS Drug Development

December 16, 2013 Comments off

The New Neglected Diseases? Policy Interventions Are Needed to Encourage CNS Drug Development
Source: RAND Corporation

This paper evaluates the causes of the unmet need for investment in drugs targeting central nervous system diseases and discusses policy solutions to better align drug development with untreated disease burden. The authors’ analysis suggests that current market forces are stacking the deck against development of drugs for common CNS disorders, as the expected returns on investment are lower and more uncertain than those for, say, targeted cancer drugs. They propose several policy changes that could steer investment into drugs for these “new neglected diseases” by reducing development cost and uncertainty and increasing expected revenue.

Will the Affordable Care Act Make Health Care More Affordable?

December 13, 2013 Comments off

Will the Affordable Care Act Make Health Care More Affordable?
Source: RAND Corporation

For most lower-income people who obtain coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act, health care spending will fall. But spending by some newly insured higher-income people will increase because they will be now paying insurance premiums.

Contractors Who Worked in Conflict Zones Suffer High Rates of PTSD, Depression and Get Little Help

December 13, 2013 Comments off

Contractors Who Worked in Conflict Zones Suffer High Rates of PTSD, Depression and Get Little Help
Source: RAND Corporation

Private contractors who worked in Iraq, Afghanistan or other conflict environments over the past two years report suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression more often than military personnel who served in recent conflicts, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Researchers found that among the contractors studied, 25 percent met criteria for PTSD, 18 percent screened positive for depression and half reported alcohol misuse. Despite their troubles, relatively few get help either before or after deployment.

Toward Integrated DoD Biosurveillance: Assessment and Opportunities

December 5, 2013 Comments off

Toward Integrated DoD Biosurveillance: Assessment and Opportunities
Source: RAND Corporation

In the context of the 2012 National Strategy for Biosurveillance, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) asked the Department of Defense (DoD) to review its biosurveillance programs, prioritize missions and desired outcomes, evaluate how DoD programs contribute to these, and assess the appropriateness and stability of the department’s funding system for biosurveillance. DoD sought external analytic support through the RAND Arroyo Center. In response to the questions posed by OMB request, this report finds the following:

  • Current DoD biosurveillance supports three strategic missions. Based mostly on existing statute, the highest-priority mission is force health protection, followed by biological weapons defense and global health security.
  • Guidance issued by the White House on June 27, 2013, specified priorities for planning fiscal year 2015 budgets; it includes an explicit global health security priority, which strengthens the case for this as a key DoD biosurveillance strategic mission.
  • DoD biosurveillance also supports four desired outcomes: early warning and early detection, situational awareness, better decision making at all levels, and forecast of impacts.
  • Programs and measures that address priority missions — force health protection in particular — and desired outcomes should be prioritized over those that do not do so.
  • More near-real-time analysis and better internal and external integration could enhance the performance and value of the biosurveillance enterprise.
  • Improvements are needed in key enablers, including explicit doctrine/policy, efficient organization and governance, and increased staffing and improved facilities for the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC).
  • AFHSC has requested additional funding to fully implement its current responsibilities under the 2012 Memorandum of Understanding between the Assistant Secretaries of Defense for Health Affairs and for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs. Additional responsibilities for coordinating the entire DoD biosurveillance enterprise would need concomitant resourcing.
  • There is not a single, unified funding system for the DoD biosurveillance enterprise; the multiple current funding systems would likely benefit from an organizing mechanism with the authority to manage and control funds to meet enterprise goals.

New Approaches for Delivering Primary Care Could Reduce Predicted Physician Shortage

December 3, 2013 Comments off

New Approaches for Delivering Primary Care Could Reduce Predicted Physician Shortage
Source: RAND Corporation

If the prevalence of two innovative care delivery models — the patient-centered medical home and the nurse-managed health center — increases, projected U.S. physician shortages can be cut in half by 2025 without training a single additional physician.

Predicting Suicide Attacks: Characteristics of Bombings in Israel

November 25, 2013 Comments off

Predicting Suicide Attacks: Characteristics of Bombings in Israel
Source: RAND Corporation

This brief describes an assessment of how geospatial and sociocultural characteristics may help predict the timing and targets of terrorist attacks.

Laying the Foundation for Successful School Leadership

November 20, 2013 Comments off

Laying the Foundation for Successful School Leadership
Source: RAND Corporation

Principals can influence student achievement in a number of ways — monitoring instruction; evaluating teachers; hiring, developing, and retaining school staff; maintaining student discipline; managing the school budget; establishing a school culture; and engaging with the community. While principals’ skills in these areas are important, skills alone are not enough to ensure that they will be effective school leaders. This is because school and district contexts — which include school and district characteristics, practices, and policies — set the stage for principals’ performance and strongly influence their effectiveness. In this report, RAND researchers provide guidance to state and district decisionmakers and others who manage school systems, focusing on four areas that research has identified as particularly influential in supporting principal effectiveness: placement in the school, evaluation, autonomy, and resources. We highlight how actions in these areas can create conditions in the school and district that foster principal success.

U.S. Navy Employment Options for Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs)

November 14, 2013 Comments off

U.S. Navy Employment Options for Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs)
Source: RAND Corporation

This report assesses in what ways and to what degree unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) are suitable for supporting U.S. Navy missions and functions. It briefly characterizes the current and emerging USV marketplaces to provide a baseline for near-term capabilities, describes USV concepts of employment to support diverse U.S. Navy missions and functions, and evaluates these concepts of employment to identify specific missions and functions for which they are highly suitable. USVs offer several particular strengths relative to other platforms, including the ability to interact both above and below the waterline, enabling them to serve as critical nodes for cross-domain networks. They also have potentially longer endurance, larger payloads, and higher power outputs than comparably sized unmanned air or undersea vehicles. Additionally, their greater risk tolerance compared with manned systems makes them desirable platforms for overcoming adversaries’ anti-access and area-denial measures. These strengths make USVs particularly suitable for missions such as characterizing the physical environment, observation and collection regarding adversaries, mine warfare, military deception/information operations/electronic warfare, defense against small boats, testing and training, search and rescue, and the support of other unmanned vehicles. However, USVs need advanced autonomy and assured communications to complete complex missions, as well as any missions in complex environments. Autonomous seakeeping and maritime traffic avoidance are USV-specific capabilities that likely need to be developed with U.S. Navy involvement. Also, optional manning and payload modularity can enhance the desirability of USV programs.

Fighting Obesity in the United States with State Legislation

November 12, 2013 Comments off

Fighting Obesity in the United States with State Legislation
Source: RAND Corporation

Obesity is a problem of epidemic proportions in the U.S. There is a role for government involvement to reduce and prevent this public health problem of obesity. Strategies for obesity prevention are moving away from focusing on the individual alone and towards an ecological model to address environmental and societal influences on behavior. Obesity prevention efforts are taking place at national, state and local levels. Since individual states have fiscal and legislative authority and regulatory powers for public health policy, this project will focus at the state level. Various states have already implemented nutrition standards for school meals, taxes on foods of low nutritional standards, or require weight-related assessments for children and adolescents. Given the need to address ecological factors and the complexities of the policy making process, “Does state legislation reduce and prevent obesity at the state level? If not, why?”

The study’s aims are to: (1) describe the landscape of obesity prevention legislation, including how legislation compares to research-based policy recommendations; (2) examine the association between obesity prevention legislation and obesity prevalence and other weight outcomes; (3) identify the process of how obesity prevention legislation are formulated and implemented, including factors that facilitate or hinder the process; and (4) suggest strategies to improve role of state legislation in preventing obesity.

Culture, Compliance, and the C-Suite: How Executives, Boards, and Policymakers Can Better Safeguard Against Misconduct at the Top

November 6, 2013 Comments off

Culture, Compliance, and the C-Suite: How Executives, Boards, and Policymakers Can Better Safeguard Against Misconduct at the Top
Source: RAND Corporation

On May 2, 2013, the RAND Corporation convened a symposium, “Culture, Compliance and the C-Suite: How Executives, Boards and Policy-Makers Can Better Safeguard Against Misconduct at the Top,” to stimulate a broad conversation about the challenges posed by executive misconduct (e.g., episodes of fraud, malfeasance, unethical behavior) at the level of the chief executive, financial, and other officers (sometimes called the C-suite). The symposium conversation also focused on the risk factors that contribute to executive misconduct and on practical steps that could be taken to strengthen compliance and ethical tone at the C-suite level and the unique roles of directors, top executives, chief ethics and compliance officers (CECOs), and government regulators and policymakers in pursuing those steps. Prior to the symposium, several of the invited participants were asked to prepare and present formal remarks on corporate culture, compliance, and the C-suite. Their white papers, distributed in advance of the event, represent varied perspectives on law enforcement, organizational behavior, and compliance activity, all relating to instances of C-suite misconduct. The speakers presented their remarks during the first session of the symposium. The second and third sessions engaged the symposium participants in interactive discussions, launching from the foundational remarks initially offered by the white-paper authors. These proceedings summarize the discussion and include the white papers.

Implications of an Air Force Budget Downturn on the Aircraft Industrial Base: An Exploratory Analysis

November 1, 2013 Comments off

Implications of an Air Force Budget Downturn on the Aircraft Industrial Base: An Exploratory Analysis
Source: RAND Corporation

The U.S. Air Force is facing a number of challenges as a result of the current defense budget downturn along with the uncertainty of its timing and magnitude. RAND examined the challenge of modernizing the Air Force’s aircraft fleet while trying to sustain the industrial base with limited funding. Complicating this challenge is that the pattern of Air Force spending has shifted dramatically away from new aircraft procurement, and a competitor with significant technical and economic capability has emerged. There is a need for careful strategic management of investment choices — and this goes beyond just aircraft. The Air Force will first need to define its capability priorities that fit within budget constraints, then use those priorities to shape a budget strategy. RAND considered six budget strategies for aircraft procurement: from a new high-tech fleet to sustaining and modifying the existing one. Each strategy under a constrained spending future results in challenges and issues for the industrial base. The Air Force will need to help mitigate industrial base problems that result from their chosen budget strategy — but some issues may be beyond their control. There are lessons from foreign acquisitions that the Air Force can leverage to avoid pitfalls. Most importantly, shortfalls in both industry and government skill bases can cause significant problems later during execution. Finding ways to sustain key skills during a spending downturn will be important for the future and potentially produce longer-term savings.

See also: Capacity Management and Changing Requirements — Cost Effective Decision Making in an Uncertain World

The U.S. Military Response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake: Considerations for Army Leaders

October 30, 2013 Comments off

The U.S. Military Response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake: Considerations for Army Leaders
Source: RAND Corporation

The earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 collapsed 100,000 structures, damaged 200,000 more, killed more than 316,000 people, injured 300,000 others, and displaced more than 1 million people. It virtually decapitated the Haitian government, destroying the presidential palace and 14 of 16 government ministries and claiming the lives of numerous government officials and employees and the head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti and his principal deputy. Shortly after the earthquake, surviving Haitian government officials made an urgent request for U.S. assistance. In reply, President Barack Obama promised U.S. support, directing a whole-of-government response led by the U.S. Agency for International Development with significant support from the U.S. Department of Defense through U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). Selected U.S. military elements began mobilizing immediately, and SOUTHCOM established Joint Task Force-Haiti (JTF-Haiti) to provide U.S. military support to the international response and relief effort through Operation Unified Response (OUR). U.S. Army forces constituted a principal component of JTF-Haiti. Researchers assessed the effectiveness of JTF-Haiti, with the goal of informing the U.S. Army on how to best prepare for and support future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) operations. This report examines how JTF-Haiti supported the HA/DR effort in Haiti. It focuses on how JTF-Haiti was organized, how it conducted OUR, and how the Army supported that effort. The analysis includes a review of existing authorities and organizations and explains how JTF-Haiti fit into the U.S. whole-of-government approach, as well as the international response.


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