About the Project

Exploring U.S. Strategy in a Changing World

Since 1945, the United States has pursued its international interests through creating and maintaining international economic institutions, bilateral and regional security organizations, and liberal political norms—mechanisms often referred to as the international order. The order can be viewed as a set of rules and norms—both written and unwritten—that guide organizational and economic relationships among states, organizations, and individuals as well as guide force and diplomacy.

In recent years, however, rising powers have begun to challenge aspects of this order. Some scholars argue that the international system may be entering a period in which major players are less inclined to abide by its basic rules and norms. As the world's leading guarantor of security and stability, such a development would have profound implications for U.S. grand strategy and national security.

Project Objectives

This project aims to understand the existing international order, assess current challenges to the order, and recommend future U.S. policies with respect to the order. More specifically, the project will explore the following questions:

  • What are the origins and foundations of the current international order?
  • What is the health of the international order and what are the best ways to measure it?
  • To what extent does a rule-based international order shape the preferences and behavior of states?
  • What are the perspectives of major countries toward the order?
  • Where are the major areas of alignment and conflict among major powers?
  • Is the viability and effectiveness of the system changing?
  • Where might the system by heading and what can be done about it?
  • What should be the focus of U.S. policy and grand strategy in the future?

The Research Team

RAND has assembled a large multidisciplinary research team consisting of political scientists, historians, economists, military strategists, and anthropologists to undertake this project.

Meet the team »

Communicating our Results

An important goal of this project is to encourage dialogue and debate among government officials and scholars over the future of the international order and to share our findings and recommendations through a variety of products to include reports, editorials, policy memoranda, and journal articles. These products will be posted to this site as they are released.

Project Publications »