The Next Defense Strategy

About this commentary series

Regardless of who wins the next presidential election, by statute the DoD must deliver a new National Defense Strategy (NDS) to Congress in 2022. And CNAS is here to help. From July to December 2020, CNAS will release new papers every week on the tough issues the next NDS should tackle. The goal of this project is to provide intellectual capital to the drafters of the 2022 NDS, focusing specifically on unfinished business from the past several defense strategies and areas where change is necessary but difficult.

Explore this series

Defense

Next Generation Defense Strategy: Missile Defense

The next administration needs to more fully consider missile defense in the context of strategic deterrence....

Defense

Making Critical Choices for Better Posture Approaches

The U.S. Department of Defense must make critical choices in the next NDS to better link strategic objectives with posture in support of U.S. interests....

Defense

Conventional-Nuclear Integration in the Next National Defense Strategy

The next NDS must build on the limited progress that has been made to integrate conventional and nuclear strategy, planning, doctrine, and capabilities....

Defense

Reshaping the U.S. Military with a New Force Planning Construct

The nation is falling short, and the Department of Defense (DoD) can and must do more to help close the gap....

Defense

Enhancing Forward Defense: The Role of Allies and Partners in the Indo-Pacific

An effective next NDS requires a clear plan for marshaling and organizing the efforts of U.S. allies and partners in new ways....

Defense

Harnessing Military Talent to Compete in the 21st Century

Developments in technology mean that the DoD must update its processes to attract, recruit, and harness talent to apply skill sets where they are most needed....

Defense

Enlisting NATO to Address the China Challenge

Moving forward, the DoD should enlist NATO in efforts to address the China challenge....

Defense

Sustaining the Future of Indo-Pacific Defense Strategy

The 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS) should sustain the Indo-Pacific as the priority theater....

Defense

A Resource-Sustainable Strategy for Countering Violent Extremist Organizations

The United States has been trying to pivot from counterterrorism to strategic interstate competition for almost a decade....

Defense

Overcoming the Tyranny of Time: The Role of U.S. Forward Posture in Deterrence and Defense

The next defense strategy has the opportunity to codify the critical role of forward posture....

Defense

The All-Volunteer Force: Civil-Military Relations Hit Home—and Abroad

Tensions in the civil-military relationship threaten national security from conflicts abroad to cities across the United States....

Defense

The Decline of Deterrence

Deterrence is not as stable as believed, and is becoming less so....

Defense

The Next National Defense Strategy Will Be Shaped by Post-BCA Budget Instability

The post-BCA world will lead to greater uncertainty for the federal budget....

Defense

Addressing Deepening Russia-China Relations

Russia-China cooperation increases the challenge that each country poses to the United States....

Defense

Defining DoD’s Role in Gray Zone Competition

Note: This paper offers a counterpoint to another in this series, “A Strategy for Competition" (forthcoming), by Melanie Sisson....

Defense

Navy Force Structure in the Next National Defense Strategy

The discussion of Navy force structure is both timely and urgent....

Defense

Next Generation Defense Strategy: Space

Without significant changes in defense policy, programs, and staffing, U.S. strategic competitors will transform the nation’s asymmetric advantage into an asymmetric vulnerabi...

Defense

Institutional Roadblocks to the Defense Department’s Adoption of AI

Bureaucratic inertia, stemming in part from deep-rooted institutional and cultural resistance, has hampered DoD’s ability to rapidly develop, acquire, and deploy AI capabiliti...

Defense

Make China the Explicit Priority in the Next NDS

The Bottom Line The new NDS is an opportunity for the next Secretary of Defense in January 2021 to do three things: Further deepen and explicitly state the current NDS’s sound...

Defense

The Defense Industrial Base of the Future

The next iteration of defense technologies will require much more overlap with commercial industry....

Defense

Demilitarizing U.S. Policy in the Middle East

The next NDS must detail a new approach to the Middle East....

Defense

Sharpening the U.S. Military’s Edge: Critical Steps for the Next Administration

The Bottom Line The United States is losing its military technological advantage vis-à-vis great power competitors such as China. Reversing this trend must be DoD leadership’...

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