September 27, 2021 | War on the Rocks

What To Expect When You’re Expecting A National Defense Strategy

September 27, 2021 | War on the Rocks

What To Expect When You’re Expecting A National Defense Strategy


In July, Rear Adm. Mike Studeman, director of intelligence for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, warned that “it’s only a matter of time” until China resorts to military force and suggested that U.S. forces are not ready for that “very bad day.” Meanwhile, Russia continues to maneuver its forces aggressively on NATO’s eastern flank, Iran inches toward a nuclear weapons capability, North Korea builds its missile arsenal, and the Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan.

The new National Defense Strategy that the Biden administration is writing should reckon with these challenges and the ramifications of rapidly expanding global threats. It should assess core U.S. strategic objectives and delineate the necessary Department of Defense capabilities, capacities, and forward posture required. This new strategy should be adequately resourced, or it will be destined for irrelevance.

Conservatives and progressives alike share the goal of better securing the United States and its interests. Here are some of our ideas for how the National Defense Strategy should do this.

Thomas Spoehr is a retired Army lieutenant general who serves as the Heritage Foundation’s director for national defense research. While in uniform, he held a number of assignments related to the defense budget, including the Army’s director for Program Analysis and Evaluation; and director, Force Development.

Bradley Bowman (@Brad_L_Bowman) is the senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). He spent nearly nine years working in the U.S. Senate and has also served as a U.S. Army officer, Black Hawk pilot, and assistant professor at West Point.

Bryan Clark is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Defense Concepts and Technology at Hudson Institute. A career enlisted and officer U.S. Navy submariner, he studies in naval operations, electromagnetic warfare, autonomous systems, military competitions, and wargaming.

Mackenzie Eaglen (@MEaglen) is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where she works on defense strategy, defense budgets, and military readiness. She has also served as a staff member on the 2018 National Defense Strategy Commission, worked on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon.


Afghanistan China Iran Military and Political Power North Korea Russia U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy