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. Samantha Ravich, and John Hannah.

CMPP is one of FDD’s centers on American power, which also include FDD’s Center on Economic and Financial Power and FDD’s Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation.

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.

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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.

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CMPP Board of Advisors

NSN Military Alumni



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