Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the security and defense environment the United States faced was characterized by a range of sophisticated, evolving state and non-state threats and transnational challenges. The U.S. Department of Defense's 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) articulates goals for U.S. military planning, and identifies capabilities required to support the approach set forth in the broader National Security Strategy. The RAND Corporation, a non-profit, non-partisan research organization, supported the framing, shaping, and implementation of the NDS, which represented a noteworthy shift in focus for the Pentagon. In this article we offer a U.S. perspective on the evolution of threats from the recent past, and posit several considerations for the next NDS, expected sometime within the next year.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.