November 17, 2016

CNAS Press Note: What Does a Trump Administration Mean for Defense?

Washington, November 17 – As the transition to the Trump administration begins and markets predict a growth in defense spending, Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Defense Strategies and Assessments Program Senior Fellow Paul Scharre has written a new Press Note: “What Does a Trump Administration Mean for Defense?”

The full Press Note is below:

Defense stocks are up as investors adapt to the reality of an incoming Trump administration. What does a Trump administration mean for defense? Donald Trump has pledged to rebuild America’s military, and he’ll find ample need for investment in readiness and modernization. The U.S. military has been hurt by cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA), and one of the administration’s first priorities should be to get a budget deal with Congress that yields stable, predictable funding above BCA levels. The military also needs to adapt to a changing strategic reality – an increasingly assertive Russia and China, the proliferation of dangerous technologies to non-state groups, and anti-access capabilities that threaten U.S. military dominance.

Increased investments are needed, but money won’t solve all of the Pentagon’s problems. The U.S. military will need to develop new concepts for warfighting in order to adapt to this strategic reality. Experimentation will be key to developing innovative ideas. As the Trump team begins to fill key positions in a new administration, they should look for defense leaders willing to push the Pentagon in new directions to adapt to emerging threats.

Finally, the Pentagon’s bureaucracy is in need of serious reform. An outsider like Trump has an opportunity to shake up the defense establishment to accelerate innovation, cut waste, and reduce unnecessary overhead. As President Trump looks to make his mark on reforming government bureaucracy, he’ll find plenty of opportunities for improvement in the Defense Department. 

Scharre is available for interviews. To arrange one, please contact Neal Urwitz at 202-457-9409 or


  • Paul Scharre

    Executive Vice President and Director of Studies

    Paul Scharre is the Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at CNAS. He is the award-winning author of Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence...