The Future of the Army in Great-Power Competition

May 17, 2019 - 11:00 am

1030 15th St NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC

Please join the Atlantic Council for a public conversation on “The Future of the Army in Great-Power Competition" with Dr. Mark T. Esper, Secretary of the United States Army, as part of the Council's Commanders Series. The event will take place on Friday, May 17, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Atlantic Council's Headquarters (1030 15th St NW, 12th Floor, West Tower Elevators, Washington, DC 20005).


The US National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy make clear that the United States is facing renewed and long-term great-power competition. The United States' military is now confronted by technologically sophisticated adversaries intent on undermining the US-led global order. Russia's military buildup and grey zone activities threaten European security and prosperity, while China's growing political, economic, technological, and military assertiveness challenge the US and its partners in Asia and beyond. Consequently, each of the US armed services must modernize its forces in order to provide the necessary capabilities to deter and, if necessary, defeat near-peer adversaries. The United States Army is working to define its role in this renewed era of great-power competition.

As 23rd Secretary of the Army, Dr. Esper is responsible for the recruitment, organization, training, equipping, and care of 1.4 million active duty, National Guard, Reserve Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians, and their families. Drawing on three decades of experience in the Army, the Department of Defense, Capitol Hill, and the private sector, Dr. Esper will join us to discuss how the Army will adapt to the era of great-power competition. In this conversation moderated by Defense & Aerospace Report's Vago Muradian, Dr. Esper will focus on Army modernization priorities and the implementation of Multi-Domain Operations.

The Commanders Series is the Atlantic Council's flagship speakers' forum for senior military and defense leaders. The series provides a platform to discuss current strategic issues with an impressive audience drawn from across Washington's policy community, including think tanks, media, industry, embassies, and the US government. In the last year, we have hosted General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., General John E. Hyten, Admiral John M. Richardson, and Admiral James G. Foggo, III.

On Twitter? Follow @Atlantic Council and @ACScowcroft and use #ACDefense to join the conversation.

This event is open to press and on the record.

This event is part of the Atlantic Council's Commanders Series, generously supported by Saab North America.

The Future of the Army in Great-Power Competition

A Conversation with:

Dr. Mark T. Esper

Secretary of the Army

Department of the Army

Moderated by:

Vago Muradian

Founder & Editor

Defense & Aerospace Report


Dr. Mark T. Esper was confirmed by the US Senate on November 15, 2017, and sworn in as the 23rd Secretary of the US Army on November 20, 2017. As secretary, he has statutory responsibility for all mattes relating to the US Army, to include the recruitment, organization, training, equipping, and care of 1.4 million active duty, National Guard, Reserve Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians, and their families. For the past seven years, Dr. Esper was a senior executive at the Raytheon Company as vice president for Government Relations. From 2009-2010, Dr. Esper served concurrently as executive vice president for the US Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center and as vice president for Europe and Eurasian Affairs. From 2006-2007 he served as COO and executive vice president of Defense and International Affairs at the Aerospace Industries Association. Dr. Esper also has extensive experience working on Capitol Hill. He served as national security advisor for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist; policy director for the House Armed Services Committee; and as a professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations and Government Affairs Committees where he was responsible for national security issues. Dr. Esper also served as the legislative director and senior policy advisor to Senator Chuck Hagel. His Pentagon experience includes serving as the deputy assistant secretary of defense (Negotiations Policy) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and earlier on the Army staff as a war planner. Dr. Esper was also chief of staff of the Heritage Foundation, and taught at Missouri State University's Department of Defense and Strategic Studies program in Fairfax, Virginia. Dr. Esper is a 1986 graduate of the US Military Academy and received his commission in the Infantry. Upon completion of Ranger and Pathfinder training, he served in the Regular Army for over a decade, including service in the 1900-1991 Gulf War with the 101st Airborne Division. He later commanded an airborne rifle company in Europe. Following active duty, he served in both the Virginia and District of Columbia National Guard, and Army Reserve before retiring in 2007. Dr. Esper holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a doctorate in Public Policy from George Washington University. He has received many awards, including the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

Vago Muradian is Founder & Editor of Defense & Aerospace Report. For nearly 25 years, defense and aerospace leaders in both the public and private sector have relied on Mr. Muradian's reporting and editorial opinions. His in-depth coverage and analysis of national and international security has made him a go-to authority on policy, strategy, innovation, and technology, as well as a trusted source for the news that matters most. As editor of Defense News for 14 years, Mr. Muradian developed a network of international correspondents in 21 countries. He founded and hosted Defense News with Vago Muradian, the world's first weekly TV program dedicated to defense issues, which aired in Washington, DC, and worldwide on the American Forces Network. Mr. Muradian also founded and served as managing editor of Defense Daily International in addition to his role as a business and international reporter for Defense Daily, a US newsletter covering the defense and aerospace industry. While at Defense Daily, Mr. Muradian won numerous awards including "best breaking news coverage" for his 1998 coverage of the US government's rejection of a proposed merger between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Prior to Defense Daily, Mr. Muradian served as Defense News' land warfare reporter and later covered global operations, including in Europe, Haiti, Somalia, and Zaire for the Air Force Times, the independent US publication covering the US Air Force. Mr. Muradian regularly appears on C-SPAN, CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC, and conducts radio interviews for international outlets such as the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Swiss TV. His reporting and commentary is cited in books and quoted in publications like The Economist. He is a frequent speaker, panelist, and moderator at international defense events, and he lectures at the Defense Acquisition University at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.