On Monday October 3rd the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative and the New America Foundation hosted an all-day roundtable workshop entitled Global Trends and US Grand Strategy: Towards a Necessary Synthesis. The workshop, which included the participation of government officials, business leaders, members of the intelligence community, and researchers, offered an early look at the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2030 report, and highlighted the need for the United States to develop and implement a grand strategy to strengthen its domestic socio-economic foundations and further redefine its role in the international community.

Fred Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, and Peter Bergen, director of the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation, opened the day with initial comments regarding the need to forge global partnerships in both the public and private sector across regions, and the importance of redefining American foreign policy in an age of austerity.

The workshop focused on a number of primary questions which are critical to strategic foresight analysis looking towards 2030. Participants discussed different long-term international scenarios that could unfold as a consequence of global trends, the varying speeds at which development is happening around the world, and the impact that long-term trends and international cooperation will have on global governance. The dialogue also integrated the disruptive potential of future shocks that could occur at any time, such as a global pandemic, the use of nuclear weapons by terrorist groups, or the implosion of North Korea and Pakistan.

The assessment of future trends reinforced the need to discuss the development of a new grand strategy for the United States that centers on strengthening the country’s socio-economic foundations while also asserting leadership in the military and foreign policy spheres in an age of austerity. This discussion also incorporated the participants’ opinions on the potential for a realigned US national strategy in the aftermath of the “Global War on Terror” and new approaches to counter-terrorism moving forward.

Participants agreed on the need both for the US and the international community to better adapt to a changing global environment through increased cooperation and public-private partnerships, push for a regional approach to development that takes into account the needs of different key countries, think about a more dynamic security framework, and consolidate a bipartisan approach to domestic challenges. Only then US leadership and global positioning will be strengthened in a way that allows for a better handling of the challenges of the future.


Introductory Remarks

  • Peter Bergen, Director, National Security Studies Program, New America Foundation
  • Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council

The World To Come And The Future Of Global Governance

  • Scene-setter:
    • Parag Khanna, Senior Research Fellow, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
  • Presenter:
    • Mathew J. Burrows, Counselor, National Intelligence Council
  • Commentator:
    • Rosemarie Forsythe, Director, International Political Strategy, Exxon Mobil Corporation

Security Implications Of Long-Term Trends And Unexpected Shocks

  • Presenters:
    • Barry Pavel, Director-Designate, The Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security; Director, International Security Program, Atlantic Council
    • Barry C. Lynn, Senior Fellow & Director, Markets, Enterprise, and Resilience Initiative, New America Foundation
  • Commentator:
    • Andrew H. Hoehn, Vice President, RAND Corporation

A New Grand Strategy For The United States

  • Scene-setter:
    • David F. Gordon, Head of Research & Director of Macro Analysis, Eurasia Group
  • Presenter:
    • Patrick C. Doherty, Deputy Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
  • Commentator:
    • Andrew P. N. Erdmann, Associate Principal, McKinsey & Co.

Luncheon Keynote

  • Jake Sullivan, Director of Policy Planning, US Department of State

The Aftermath Of The War On Terror: Realigning The US National Strategy

  • Scene-setter:
    • Juan C. Zarate, Senior Adviser, Transnational Threats Project and Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program, CSIS
  • Presenter:
    • Nathaniel C. Fick, CEO, Center for a New American Security
  • Commentator:
    • Mark “Puck” Mykleby, Strategist, LRN

Wrap-Up And Concluding Remarks

  • Commentators:
    • Carol Dumaine, Deputy Director for Global Foresight, Office of Transnational Issues, Central Intelligence Agency
    • John T. Hanley Jr., Chief, Strategy Development, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    • Christopher K. Tucker, Principal, Yale House Ventures
  • Moderator:
    • Banning Garrett, Director, Asia Program and Strategic Foresight Initiative, Atlantic Council

Related Experts: Mathew Burrows