Center on Military and Political Power
The Center on Military and Political Power (CMPP) at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) promotes understanding of the defense strategies, policies, and capabilities necessary to deter and defeat threats to the freedom, security, and prosperity of Americans and our allies by providing rigorous, timely, and relevant research and analysis.
Since 9/11, Congress and administrations from both parties have not provided the Department of Defense (DoD) the timely, predictable, and sufficient funding required to support ongoing operations, maintain readiness, and modernize forces.
Meanwhile, China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea have focused on perceived American vulnerabilities, modernized their forces, and expanded their capabilities. A range of actors have employed hybrid or gray-zone tactics; operated against the United States and allies in increasingly contested domains such as space and cyberspace; and employed new forms of economic, informational, and legal warfare. These efforts are often combined under sophisticated, asymmetrical strategies designed to accomplish objectives below the level that might elicit a concerted response.
As a result, U.S. military superiority has deteriorated or vanished in key defense capabilities, and the balance of power in strategic locations such as the Middle East, eastern Europe, and the western Pacific has shifted in a way that emboldens determined and often unscrupulous enemies, adversaries, and rivals.
These developments endanger our vital interests, undermine deterrence, invite aggression, and increase the likelihood of military conflict in which our enemies could impose tremendous costs and defeat the United States. In short, the ability of the United States and our allies to defend ourselves and our interests is in doubt, and we must act urgently.
To inform and catalyze this urgent action, CMPP focuses on defense policy and strategy, augmenting and integrating FDD’s existing expertise in sanctions, illicit finance, and cyber warfare, as well as FDD’s ongoing lines of effort related to Middle East regional security and terrorism.
CMPP focuses on military and political warfare elements of these threats and challenges, as well as the DoD strategies, policies, budgets, capabilities, capacities, and readiness levels necessary to overcome them. Areas of particular focus for CMPP include China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, as well as political-military affairs, America’s alliances, ballistic missile defense, conventional force modernization, freedom of navigation, gray-zone aggression, hybrid warfare, the national security innovation base, nuclear modernization, and U.S. military posture.
While great power competition has returned with a vengeance, the threat from Islamist terrorism will not dissipate anytime soon. Accordingly, CMPP features one of FDD’s long-standing premier projects: FDD’s Long War Journal, which provides original and accurate reporting and analysis of the Global War on Terror. CMPP also features professional development and research opportunities for active duty military personnel, including FDD’s National Security Fellows Program.
Lieutenant General (Ret.) H.R. McMaster, the 26th U.S. National Security Advisor, is the Chairman of CMPP’s Board of Advisors. Bradley Bowman serves as CMPP’s Senior Director. CMPP’s Board of Advisors includes former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former Senator Kelly Ayotte, Lieutenant General (Ret.) Edward C. Cardon, Ambassador Eric Edelman, Dr. David Kilcullen, Dr. Nadia Schadlow, Dr. Samantha Ravich, and John Hannah.
CMPP Visiting Military Officer Program
FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power (CMPP) offers fellowship opportunities for full-time active-duty U.S. military officers to gain research and publication experience on issues related to U.S. defense policy and strategy. The fellowship is open to officers with the rank of O-4 to O-6.
FDD's Long War Journal
FDD’s Long War Journal is dedicated to providing original and accurate reporting and analysis of the Long War (also known as the Global War on Terror). This is accomplished through its programs of embedded reporters, news and news aggregation, maps, podcasts, and other multimedia formats.
- Iran Sanctions
- Iran Human Rights
- Iran Missiles
- Iran Global Threat Network
- Iran-backed Terrorism
- Sanctions and Illicit Finance
- Iran Nuclear
LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster
Eric S. Edelman
RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery
- The Long War
- Iran Global Threat Network
CMPP Board of Advisors
NSN Military Alumni
Pizza, Policy, and Helicopters: A Conversation with Rep. Jason Crow
Expand existing task force to protect Red Sea from Houthi attacks
Defend Democracy or Prepare to Relive the 1930s
Israel suffers losses in Gaza and Lebanon border area amid fighting on multiple fronts
FDD's Long War Journal
IDF trains with infantry and tanks in Golan
The training took place in an open area between several hills and included a battalion-level exercise of hundreds of soldiers.
The Jerusalem Post
Duke Energy disconnects CATL batteries from Marine Corps base over security concerns
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas. Yet the group remains largely intact.
The Washington Post
US military base's green energy project with CCP ties disconnected over national security concerns
The first Chinese warships have docked at a newly expanded Cambodian naval base. Should the US be worried?
Latin America’s China Challenge: A Conversation with SOUTHCOM Commander General Laura Richardson
October 11, 2023 | 11:00 am
Extraordinary Threats and Opportunities: A Conversation with LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster and The Hon. Elaine Luria
September 20, 2023 | 12:00 pm