Image credit: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

January 11, 2023

Sharper: Integrated Deterrence

Analysis from CNAS experts on the most critical challenges for U.S. foreign policy.

By Anna Pederson and Michael Akopian

The belated 2022 National Defense Strategy—released in October of last year—identified integrated deterrence as the cornerstone of the strategy. Integrated deterrence calls for integrating all tools of national power with the robust network of allies and partners that the U.S. has to credibly deter aggression. However, how this concept will actually be implemented remains to be seen. CNAS experts are sharpening the conversation around how the United States can effectively implement integrated deterrence with allies and partners to deter aggression in Europe, the Indo-Pacific, and beyond. Continue reading this edition of Sharper to explore their analysis, commentary, and policy recommendations


No I in Team: Integrated Deterrence with Allies and Partners

The U.S. Department of Defense has advanced the concept of integrated deterrence in the 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS). Integrated deterrence seeks to integrate all tools of national power across domains, geography, and spectrum of conflict, while working with allies and partners. But what integrated deterrence entails in practical terms remains unclear, particularly to the very allies and partners Washington wants more from. This ambiguity raises the risk that integrated deterrence may find itself dead on arrival—and along with it, the ally and partner line of effort in the NDS. A new report from Stacie Pettyjohn and Hannah Dennis developed a framework to help the department think about and implement its strategy of integrated deterrence with allies and partners.

Precision and Posture: Defense Spending Trends and the FY23 Budget Request

According to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, “the cornerstone of integrated deterrence” is “combat credibility” or the ability of “the U.S. military to fight and win.” The analysis of a recent report from Stacie Pettyjohn and Hannah Dennis focuses on two factors—high-end munitions stockpiles and overseas posture—that past studies have indicated are critical for strengthening deterrence against China and Russia in the near term. This report concludes that while the FY23 request makes some strides on both issues, more must be done today to improve the United States’ chances of deterring and, if necessary, defeating the adversary tomorrow.

Analyzing the 2022 National Defense Strategy

The 2022 National Defense Strategy explicitly states: "Integrated deterrence means using every tool at the Department’s disposal, in close collaboration with our counterparts across the U.S. Government and with Allies and partners, to ensure that potential foes understand the folly of aggression." Following the release of the strategy document, CNAS experts analyze the priorities outlined in the document and assess the path to implementation.


No I in Team

The United States faces a strategic landscape unlike anything it has encountered in its recent history. It faces a rising great power in China, a diminished but still dangerou...


Precision and Posture: Defense Spending Trends and the FY23 Budget Request

This report examines the fiscal year (FY) 2023 defense budget request and assesses whether it sufficiently resources what was known of the Biden administration’s national defe...

CNAS Responds: Analyzing the 2022 National Defense Strategy

Following the release of the 2022 National Defense Strategy, CNAS experts analyze the priorities outlined in the document and assess the path to implementation. All quotes may...


A Conversation with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan

On October 12, 2022, CNAS and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service hosted White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to launch the Biden administration's first National Security Strategy. The strategy document underpins the administration's resolve to implement integrated deterrence across departments and through diplomatic and military means.


Taking On China and Russia

"The solution proposed most often is to work with allies and partners," argues Richard Fontaine in Foreign Affairs. "China and Russia’s economic weight and military strength are formidable, but the combined might of the United States and its allies is greater still. The U.S. alliance structure, augmented by new and non-allied partners, represents a central advantage for Washington. Russia has Belarus, and China has North Korea; the United States has NATO, five Pacific allies, the G-7, and more. If there are sides in these contests, the world’s most powerful democracies are on the American one. A key to the success of this strategy is not only to work with partners but also to acquire new ones and make the ties among them stronger."

The Kadena Conundrum: Developing a Resilient Indo-Pacific Posture

"This new model will only truly work if the United States socializes it with our allies and partners," write Stacie Pettyjohn, Andrew Metrick and Becca Wasser in War on the Rocks. "These activities must be paired with thoughtful diplomatic efforts to explain their value to key U.S. allies and partners — including Japan — and get them on board with the new approach. Ultimately, it will take the United States and its allies and partners working together to deter China, the goal of integrated deterrence. That means Japanese Air Self-Defense forces may take primary role defending their airspace from threats, freeing up U.S. aircraft to conduct other missions. Temporary access to additional bases for dispersed operations is also needed in Japan as well as access for American ground-based missile units. Further afield, developments to infrastructure at bases in the Philippines and Australia must be made in order to provide additional bases for dispersal and add resiliency to U.S. distributed operations."

Indo-Pacific Security

Taking on China and Russia

Today Washington has chosen, perhaps by default, to compete with—and if necessary, confront—both Russia and China simultaneously and indefinitely....


The Kadena Conundrum: Developing a Resilient Indo-Pacific Posture

This article originally appeared in War on The Rocks. The long-standing debate over whether the United States is prioritizing China and the Indo-Pacific region has reignited o...

In the News

Featuring commentary from Richard Fontaine, Stacie Pettyjohn, and Becca Wasser.


The Biden Administration’s Grand Strategy in Three Documents, with Richard Fontaine

Scott R. Anderson sat down with Richard Fontaine, chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security, who is himself also a former National Security Council off...


The Pentagon’s New Defense Strategy Is Out. Now the Real Work Begins, Experts Say

Stacie Pettyjohn, director of defense programs at the Center for a New American Security, agreed that the strategy lays out a “sound vision,” but will require the Biden admini...


In Romania, U.S. Troops Train Close to Russia’s War, in Signal to Moscow

Having a division commander and staff so close to the border with Ukraine is more than symbolic, said Becca Wasser, a war analyst at the Center for a New American Security, a ...


Three Key Takeaways from the Biden Administration’s National Security Strategy

While an unclassified version of the National Defense Strategy has not been released yet, Pentagon officials — including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a statement on the N...


US Air Force to Deploy Nuclear-Capable B-52 Bombers to Australia as Tensions with China Grow

The United States is preparing to deploy up to six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to northern Australia, a provocative move experts say is aimed squarely at China. An investigat...

About the Sharper Series

The CNAS Sharper series features curated analysis and commentary from CNAS experts on the most critical challenges in U.S. foreign policy. From the future of America's relationship with China to the state of U.S. sanctions policy and more, each collection draws on the reports, interviews, and other commentaries produced by experts across the Center to explore how America can strengthen its competitive edge.


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