On December 9, the Atlantic Council hosted a conversation with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, moderated by Washington Post opinion writer David Ignatius.

Absent Congressional intervention, the failure of the bipartisan deficit reduction ‘supercommittee’ will trigger $600 billion in cuts to defense spending over a ten-year period, over and above the $450 billion in cuts agreed upon by the Congress this August. Much analytic work has been done in the Washington policy community on how the United States military can weather this new era of defense austerity, but little analysis has focused on how the United States can strengthen US and international security by bolstering existing alliances and forging new partnerships. General Dempsey addressed this important topic in his conversation with David Ignatius just days after returning from consultations in London with UK political and military leadership. This Commanders Series event builds on the work of the Atlantic Council’s task force “Defense in an Age of Austerity: Toward New Partnerships,” which will produce recommendations on this subject in early 2012.

General Martin E. Dempsey serves as the eighteenth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that capacity, he serves as the principal military adviser to the president, the secretary of defense, and the national security adviser. Prior to becoming chairman, the general served as the US Army’s thirty-seventh chief of staff. A 1974 graduate of the United States Military Academy and a career armor officer, General Dempsey possesses extensive international, combat, and command experience in Germany, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and elsewhere.



The Commanders Series and the Council’s Defense Austerity Task Force are generously sponsored by SAAB North America.