Image credit: CNAS

February 06, 2019

Renewing the National Security Consensus in Congress

By Cole Stevens

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has announced a major new initiative, Renewing the National Security Consensus in Congress. The project will promote bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill by offering a series of practical policy proposals for lawmakers and staff, creating a productive engagement on complex foreign policy challenges, and focusing dialogue on Congress’s role in national security.

To launch the initiative, CNAS today inaugurated a policy brief series, Key National Security Issues for Congress, which will be a key element of the project. The first article in the series, “To Compete with China, Get the New U.S. Development Finance Corporation Right,” is authored by Dr. Daniel Kliman. Drawing upon his extensive research into China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy, Kliman offers a series of recommendations to Congress to direct and strengthen the USDFC, which Congress set in motion in 2018 via the Better Utilization of Investment Leading to Development (Build) Act. Kliman notes that the USDFC, once established later this year, could be a potential game changer in America’s competition with China. Kliman offers a series of practical steps through which Congress can use the USDFC to sharpen America’s strategic edge, including:

  • Encouraging the creation of an office for strategic investments.
  • Granting the USDFC a “surge financing” authority.
  • Providing the USDFC with political space for riskier projects.
  • Overseeing the linkage between USDFC lending and public diplomacy.
  • Appropriating funds for a cohort of “Development Finance Fellows.”

Kliman’s brief will be followed by additional policy briefs on issues including veterans’ healthcare, national security human capital, Russia sanctions, the defense budget, and intelligence oversight, each authored by CNAS experts. The briefs will be accompanied by CNAS-hosted roundtables for congressional staff, a series of major policy speeches at CNAS by Members of Congress over the course of 2019, and other educational platforms.

“America’s national security is best served when Congress provides smart, bipartisan oversight—asking tough and informed questions, demanding accountability, and promoting fresh thinking,” said Richard Fontaine, acting CEO of the Center for a New American Security. “With this initiative, CNAS will amplify its efforts to provide innovative ideas and analysis to leaders on the Hill and engage them in the national security debate.”

In addition to its policy brief series and events for and with congressional staff and Members, CNAS will dedicate a session at its annual conference on Congress’s role in national security.

For more information, please contact Cole Stevens at or call 202-695-8166.

Read the first briefing


  • Cole Stevens

    Former Communications Officer

    Cole Stevens is a former Communications Officer at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). In this role, he led the Center's press and public affairs strategy to advanc...