Brands studies U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy, focusing on the period between World War II and the present. His research deals with a variety of subjects: U.S.-Latin American relations during the Cold War and after, U.S. nuclear and arms control policies, U.S.-Middle East relations, and American grand strategy since the Cold War and 9/11. He also writes about contemporary security issues like organized crime and drug trafficking in Latin America. More broadly, his work focuses on determining what components go into a successful grand strategy, and how American leaders can better utilize all aspects of national power to achieve important goals abroad. He has explored these issues in work for the Army War College, the U.S. military, the RAND Corporation, the Institute for Defense Analyses, and other organizations.