About the project

Warfare is changing. With the rapid rise of Chinese and Russian technological advancement, the United States and its allies and partners are at risk of losing their military edge on the global stage. This Forward Defense (FD) project advances outside-the-box thinking on the novel operational concepts and capabilities needed to keep pace with the security threats of tomorrow.

The global threat environment is evolving at pace, requiring the United States and its allies and partners to constantly learn and adapt. The ongoing development of new and advanced technologies, the rise of revisionist actors, and the militarization of emerging domains—to include space and cyberspace—are forcing a transformation in the way we think about warfare. To deter and defeat adversarial aggression, US and allied defense planners must develop novel operational concepts to link, combine, and employ existing military capabilities.

This project is generously supported by

Lockheed Martin

Forward Defense Forum

The Forward Defense Forum is designed for defense visionaries to put forth novel ideas for how the United States and its allies and partners can adapt, innovate, and win on the future battlefield. Built for creative thinking, this interactive public forum provides a space for the defense community to engage on issues core to the future of US and allied security.

Register for upcoming events

Read transcripts from past fora


May 2, 2022

The Pentagon needs a new technology strategy to deter Russia and China, says Lockheed Martin CEO

By Atlantic Council

Lockheed Martin Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer James Taiclet joined the Atlantic Council to talk about a security strategy for the twenty-first century.

Conflict Defense Industry


Oct 12, 2022

How the US can prepare to deter China and defend Taiwan in the 2020s

By Atlantic Council

Michèle Flournoy discussed how the United States can maintain a credible deterrent against China in the next decade and beyond as part of the Atlantic Council’s Forward Defense Forum.

China Conflict

Commentary and analysis

Engage with Forward Defense’s experts as we release new commentary and analyses on how the resolution of operational military problems can be translated into enhanced deterrence.


Jun 8, 2023

Operationalizing integrated deterrence: Applying joint force targeting across the competition continuum

By Gen James Cartwright, USMC (ret.), Lt Col Justin M. Conelli, USAF, Clementine G. Starling, and Julia Siegel

General James E. Cartwright, Lieutenant Colonel Justin M. Conelli, Clementine G. Starling, and Julia Siegel advance a framework for operationalizing integrated deterrence.

China Defense Industry

New Atlanticist

May 16, 2023

Money talks: Here’s what the president’s budget says about the US military edge

By Clementine G. Starling, Marek Jestrab, Julia Siegel

Biden’s $886-billion request for defense-related activities may be insufficient to meet the moment.

China Crisis Management

New Atlanticist

Jan 12, 2023

How the US and its allies should respond to evolving space threats

By Forward Defense experts

Adversaries are changing the ways they disrupt or destroy US and allied space operations. Our experts give their sense of the latest challenges to security.

China Russia

New Atlanticist

Nov 21, 2022

Our military insiders’ views of the new National Defense Strategy

By Atlantic Council military fellows

The Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s military fellows weighed in on the NDS, addressing potential gaps between budgets and strategy, and more.

Conflict Crisis Management

Related content on operational concepts

Related experts

Forward Defense, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, generates ideas and connects stakeholders in the defense ecosystem to promote an enduring military advantage for the United States, its allies, and partners. Our work identifies the defense strategies, capabilities, and resources the United States needs to deter and, if necessary, prevail in future conflict.