Founded in 1984, the Institute for National Strategic Studies is the National Defense University’s dedicated research component.


About the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS)

Director:  Dr. Denise Natali

INSS Vision: INSS will create strategic advantages for joint warfighters and other national security leaders through cutting-edge research and analysis, academic support, and engagement with DoD stakeholders and the broader national security enterprise. 

INSS Mission: INSS produces cutting edge research and analysis on national security issues on behalf of the Department of Defense and U.S. government stakeholders and integrates research and scholarship across NDU to support joint warfighters and other national security leaders.  

Founded in 1984, the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) is the National Defense University’s dedicated research component. The INSS mission is to conduct research in support of NDU academics; provide strategic and research support to the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Services, and combatant commands; and engage with the broader national security community in service of the common defense. INSS and its three research centers provide timely, objective analysis and feedback and policy recommendations to senior decisionmakers and support NDU educational programs in the fields of international security, defense policy, and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) education.

INSS research faculty play a pivotal role in fulfilling NDU’s education mission by not only teaching and advising students but also conducting research, knowledge creation, and external engagement on security matters. This comprehensive approach aims to advance strategic thinking and cultivate the next generation of national security leaders. The work of INSS supports the development of informed and effective national security policies and strategies and helps to build the capacity of national security professionals to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing security environment. INSS consists of three research centers and NDU Press.

INSS Centers and Components

The Institute for National Strategic Studies serves as the principal focus for research at NDU and is composed of three research centers and the NDU Press.

Center for Strategic Research

The CSR mission is to conduct objective, rigorous, and timely research on key national security issues. CSR research and analysis responds to the needs of decisionmakers in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, combatant commands, Services, as well as other policy audiences. It also pays particular attention to emerging strategic trends that pose longer term challenges for U.S. national security.

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Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs

The congressionally mandated mission of CSCMA is to serve as a national focal point and resource center for multidisciplinary research and analytic exchanges on the national goals and strategic posture of the People’s Republic of China and the ability of that nation to develop, field, and deploy an effective military instrument in support of its national strategic objectives.

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Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction

CSWMD provides expertise on the full range of issues related to WMD and their potential use, from strategic deterrence to countering WMD activities. CSWMD conducts research, analysis, and policy support activities that contribute to decisionmakers’ understanding of the security implications of WMD; supports academic and leadership development programs; and engages with the broader national security community. With its interdisciplinary approach and partnerships with government agencies, academic institutions, and international organizations, CSWMD is a leader in advancing knowledge and understanding of WMD and their implications for national security. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff designated CSWMD as the focal point for WMD education in joint professional military education (JPME).

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NDU Press

NDU Press plays a central role in supporting NDU’s mission by disseminating knowledge intrinsic to advanced JPME and leader development. Through its publications, NDU Press provides expert insights, cutting-edge research, and innovative solutions that contribute to shaping the national security discourse and preparing the next generation of leaders in the field. NDU Press publishes Joint Force Quarterly, PRISM, INSS Strategic Perspectives, and INSS Strategic Forum, and other research products that include books and edited volumes, policy briefs, and monographs on a wide range of topics related to national security, defense policy, and military strategy. 

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