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The NSC Staff: New Choices for a New Administration November 15, 2016 — Early in every new administration, the President and his national security team are inundated with studies offering advice on how to organize for national security. Many propose sweeping changes in the size, structure, and mission of the National Security Council (NSC) staff, the fulcrum of national security decisionmaking. However attractive superficially, organizational tinkering is unlikely to drive better performance. This paper argues that structure and process are less important than leadership and the quality of NSC staffing. No duty rises higher than the President’s call to defend the Constitution and the people and territory it nourishes. That duty will be tested early and often. An NSC staff that is up to the task will play an enormous role in keeping the United States safe. MORE

The Grand Strategy of the United States October 1, 2014 — From the earliest days of the Republic, the outlines of an evolving American grand strategy have been evident in our foreign and domestic policy. Much of that history continues to inform our strategic conduct, and therefore American grand strategy rests today on traditional foundations. Despite a welter of theory and debate, grand strategy as a practical matter is remarkably consistent from decade to decade, with its means altering as technology advances and institutions evolve but its ends and ways showing marked continuity. MORE

The Nightmare Years to Come? March 1, 2014 — We have entered a particularly dangerous era in the Near East and South Asia— that is, the Greater Middle East. The context of today’s situation is more alarming than respective current crises—as bad as they may be. Rather, there is an increasingly radicalized and violent sectarian environment made up of crosscutting crises occurring in the midst of proliferation; precision weapons; cyber war; increased ungoverned territory vulnerable to global, regional, and local jihadist exploitation; majoritarian authoritarianism; uncompromising sectarianism; ethnic, tribal, and sectarian-driven civil wars; massive popular anger and frustration over the lack of essential services and a diminishing quality of life, particularly in areas such as water, electricity, health, education, employment, and economic collapse; water wars and environmental endangerment; and the vulnerability of sensitive infrastructure targeted by state and nonstate actors, or an empowered lone wolf in the service of a state or nonstate actors. MORE