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Mon, Mar 1, 2021

How should the next National Defense Strategy balance terrorism, rogue regimes, and great-power competition?

Our experts explore how the United States can tackle terrorism, address the advances of rogue regimes, and establish a balance between competition and cooperation with other global powers.

Seizing the advantage by Matthew R. Crouch, Ronald C. Fairbanks

China Conflict

Wed, Feb 10, 2021

#22: Get Modernization Right and Prioritize Acquisition Reform

By: Ronald C. Fairbanks and Clementine Starling What is the kernel of the issue? Over the last three decades, the Department of Defense has modernized its forces under the idea that the US was the only great power in the world—unchallenged militarily by near-peer competitors. As a result, the defense acquisition process is outdated and […]

100 Ideas for the first 100 days

Tue, Feb 2, 2021

Crouch, Fairbanks, and Mulder in The National Interest: Above politics: the US military will always defend the constitution

The American people can have confidence that their servicemen and women will continue to serve regardless of who is president, as has been the case since Washington relinquished the presidency to Adams, with a total and unflagging commitment to the Constitution of the United States.


United States and Canada

Commander Ronald C. Fairbanks is currently the senior US Navy fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center.

Afloat, Commander Fairbanks completed his division officer tours aboard USS Port Royal (CG73) as the communications officer and gunnery officer and then aboard USS Dewey (DDG105) as the fire control officer. During his first two sea tours, he deployed to the Fifth Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Commander Fairbanks’ department head assignments were as the weapons officer and combat systems officer in USS William P Lawrence (DDG110) from March 2014 through March 2017. During his tours, he deployed to the Seventh Fleet area of operations as part of the John C Stennis carrier strike group, conducting multiple freedom of navigation operations, pacific presence operations, and the Oceania maritime support initiative (OMSI) mission.

His shore assignments include expeditionary fires officer in Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Atlantic (EWTGLANT) from January 2011 through January 2013, the training and readiness officer (N7) in Commander Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Pacific (COMNECCPAC) from March 2017 through May 2018, and as the executive assistant to the deputy commander, US Pacific Fleet from May 2018 through July 2020.

A native of San Diego, California, Commander Fairbanks attended the University of Southern California on a Naval ROTC scholarship, graduating in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), as well as multiple unit and service awards.