May 24, 2021

CNAS Launches New Initiative: A New American Way of Training

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) today announced the launch of a new initiative on “A New American Way of Training.” Situated within CNAS’ “A New American Way of War” project, this initiative will draw on deep research, a private working group series, and outreach and engagement to:

  • Assess how the asymmetric threats posed by Russia and China challenge current training methods;
  • Identify training vulnerabilities and opportunities presented by disruptive technological change; and ultimately,
  • Provide recommendations for military training reform to better meet the exigencies of great-power competition and conflict.

“During the Cold War, protracted peacetime competition, sporadically interrupted by cycles of intense combat, inspired a series of paradigm shifts in the U.S. military’s approach to training,” said CNAS Defense Program Adjunct Senior Fellow Jennifer McArdle. “Cold War training innovations, like the Navy’s Top Gun School and the Air Force’s Red Flag exercise, helped to ensure American warfighters’ subsequent tactical and operational dominance. Today, the Defense Department must again rethink the way it trains its armed forces.”

“The strategies and military capabilities of China and Russia could largely invalidate the current American way of war, which is largely predicated on power projection, the ability to operate from sanctuaries, and overwhelming technological superiority,” said CNAS Defense Program Adjunct Senior Fellow Chris Dougherty. “This shift, coupled with innovative new training technologies, demands that the Pentagon reassess its training regimes.”

Dr. Stacie Pettyjohn, CNAS Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program, said, “As the U.S. military seeks to reform its present force structure, the centerpiece of those changes should be focused on its most critical asset—its workforce. This new CNAS initiative will help ensure that our future individual and collective training programs meet the needs of our warfighters, today and in the future.”