Cover: Defending Without Dominance

Defending Without Dominance

Accelerating the Transition to a New U.S. Defense Strategy

Published Sep 28, 2023

by Michael J. Mazarr

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This Perspective examines the gap between U.S. defense aspirations and the reality of current policy. In this Perspective, the author surveys grand strategy principles that call for a U.S. ability to project power to help deter major war in key regions, defines the U.S. defense strategic approach of the post–Cold War era and its key assumptions, and explains the reasons why these assumptions are no longer valid. The author suggests six leading barriers to reform—reasons why the U.S. Department of Defense’s responses have been unable to generate the degree of change required. The Perspective concludes with a description of principles of a new U.S. defense strategy.

This Perspective was sponsored by the Smith Richardson Foundation and conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Program of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This commentary is part of the RAND expert insight series. RAND Expert Insights present perspectives on timely policy issues. All RAND Expert Insights undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

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