Preparing the President

The Papers for the President series is designed to assist the next president and his team in crafting a strong, pragmatic, and principled national security agenda. The series explores the most critical regions and topics that the next president will need to address early in his tenure and includes actionable recommendations designed to be implemented during the first few months of 2017.

Reports in this Series

Technology & National Security

Drone Proliferation

Executive Summary The U.S. monopoly on drones has ended. More than 30 nations already have or are developing armed drones, and at least 90 nations, as well as some non-state a...

Transatlantic Security

Transatlantic Security Cooperation in the Middle East

The Middle East presents a wide array of challenges that raise fundamental questions about how the transatlantic community should calibrate its approach to promote stability i...

Transatlantic Security

Defining Moment

The legacy of President Barack Obama’s handling of the transatlantic relationship will be one of complexity and mixed opinion. When Obama first entered office in 2009, Europea...

Transatlantic Security

The Future of U.S.-Russia Relations

The next president will inherit a relationship with Russia fraught with more tension than at any point since the Cold War. Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine sparked fear that ...

Technology & National Security

Surveillance Policy

Today, the United States faces a more diverse, more complex array of national security threats than ever before. With ever more human activity taking place on electronic netwo...


Business Reform in the Department of Defense

It is difficult to reform business practices at the Department of Defense (DoD). Senior officials who must lead reform efforts rightly focus their attention on warfighting mis...

Transatlantic Security

Transatlantic Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific

When the Obama administration announced its strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region in 2011, a number of European capitals initially worried that it would be followed b...

Energy, Economics & Security

Increasing Prosperity, Resource Stewardship, and National Security

On January 20, 2017, a new U.S. president will take the oath of office. He or she will assume responsibility for assuring the safe, reliable, and affordable provision of energ...

Energy, Economics & Security

The Next Generation of Sanctions

Economic sanctions have become a leading, bipartisan tool of American foreign policy. To quote U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, “Economic sanctions have become a powerful fo...

Indo-Pacific Security

Sustaining the Rebalance in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia’s global rise illustrates its promise and its pitfalls. As with growing global interdependence, there are pluses and minuses that President Barack Obama’s succe...

Middle East Security

Reset, Negotiate, Institutionalize

Since the start of the Arab revolutions five years ago, the Middle East has experienced unprecedented instability. In such an impossibly fluid situation, the initial response ...


Nine Lessons for Navigating National Security

Few periods in modern world history have been as complicated and tumultuous as the one the next U.S. administration will confront. A long list of international problems will c...

Military, Veterans & Society

Passing the Baton

As the 2016 election cycle moves into full swing, four CNAS experts lay out a comprehensive overview of issues facing the veteran and military community and a plan with substa...

Enabling Decision

Four CNAS experts - including three former National Security Council (NSC) staff - recommend changes to NSC management processes and structure to make it more agile and effect...

Videos in this Series

Strategic Choices for the President

From regional tensions in the Middle East and South China Sea, to the rise of non-state actors such as the Islamic State, to a resurgent Russia challenging Europe and western unity, these issues will require a deft combination of leadership, innovation, and the prudent use of all elements of national power.

Technology, Innovation, and the Future of Warfare

We are living in the midst of an information revolution that is changing how we communicate, do business, and make friends. It is also changing warfare. Even as the United States responds to this challenge, it must also posture itself to dominate in the next phase of the information revolution.

The National Security Transition

On January 20th, 2017, a new President will take the oath of office. It is one of the most quintessentially American moments, the peaceful transition of leadership in the world’s most powerful democracy. CNAS experts explore how to navigate the transition.