Cover image for: Reality Check #14: An educated American public can mitigate military misuse

Reality Check

Sep 23, 2022

Reality Check #14: An educated American public can mitigate military misuse

By Jasmine Deleon, Andrea Hebel, Shweta Parthasarathy, and Jackalyn Ballard

Better understanding the military’s role would allow citizens to become more informed about the responsibilities of their elected representatives on defense issues.

Security & Defense United States and Canada

Reality Check

Jul 22, 2022

Reality Check #13: Great-power competition threatens climate disaster response

By Evan Cooper and Alec Evans

Today’s military planners must contend with two potentially conflicting demands: growing requirements for the US military to respond to climate-driven disasters and the effort to restructure the force for great-power competition.

China Climate Change & Climate Action

Reality Check

May 17, 2022

Reality Check #12 — Russia, the West, and the rest: The hard choices the US must make to reinforce its global leadership

By Ferial Saeed

Washington needs to make hard choices now to blunt the global consequences of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions regime while delivering a decisive strategic setback to Russian President Vladimir Putin necessary to reinforce US global leadership. 

China Conflict

Reality Check

Apr 6, 2022

Reality Check #11: America’s Indo-Pacific strategy requires tough choices

By Kelly A. Grieco

The Biden administration will need to scrutinize key assumptions and confront hard decisions regarding how to keep ends and means in balance in the Indo-Pacific.

Africa Conflict

Reality Check

Feb 18, 2022

Reality Check #10: China will not invade Taiwan

By Harlan Ullman

Key points Despite Beijing’s longstanding desire to invade and conquer Taiwan and achieve “one China,” China simply lacks the military capability and capacity to launch a full-scale amphibious invasion of Taiwan for the foreseeable future. With a potential defending force of 450,000 Taiwanese today, using the traditional three-to-one ratio of attackers to defenders taught at […]

Africa Conflict

Reality Check

Aug 4, 2021

Reality Check #9: Ensure US security sector assistance serves US interests and values

By Aude Darnal, Evan Cooper

The United States must review its security sector assistance strategy, which frequently assist security forces that commit abuses against the people they are supposed to be serving, contradicting the United State's espoused mission to promote human rights and democracy.

Africa Conflict

Reality Check

Jun 24, 2021

Reality Check #8: Rethinking US military policy in the Greater Middle East

By Robert A. Manning, Christopher Preble

The core assumptions underpinning US policy in the Middle East—ensuring oil flows, maintaining Israel’s security, preventing the rise of a dominant hegemon, and countering terrorism—have been upended by new realities.

Conflict Defense Policy

Reality Check

Jun 14, 2021

Reality Check #7: Red-teaming the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance

By Emma Ashford

The Biden administration has released an Interim National Security Strategic Guidance (INSSG), a stepping-stone to a full National Security Strategy (NSS). Although this document presents a more realistic vision of the world than the Trump administration’s NSS did, the INSSG still contains some questionable assumptions.

China Middle East

Reality Check

May 14, 2021

Reality Check #6: The consequences of an ‘America First’ vaccine policy

By Evan Cooper, Mathew Burrows

The Biden administration has been slow to distribute surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need or to facilitate foreign manufacturing of vaccines, squandering a diplomatic opportunity and potentially endangering US security.

China Coronavirus
Korean DMZ Joint Security Area

Reality Check

Apr 26, 2021

Reality Check #5: Learning to live with a nuclear North Korea

By Robert A. Manning

North Korea's nuclear program is firmly established. Living with a de facto nuclear North Korea may be the least-bad option for now, requiring continued pressure and stronger deterrence measures.

Arms Control Defense Policy