About our work

Forward Defense explores the nexus of public-private partnerships critical to the success of US defense. Through our Commission on Breaking and Remaking the US Defense Innovation System and our Arsenals of Democracy event series, FD brings together the institutional bodies that create strategies and policies with the defense and technology companies that build advanced capabilities for defense and deterrence.

Commission on Breaking and Remaking the US Defense Innovation System

The Atlantic Council’s landmark Commission on Improving DoD Engagement with New Companies and Innovators contends that now is the time to reform the defense innovation ecosystem. Co-chaired by 27th US Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper and 23rd US Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, and comprised of a distinguished group of Commissioners, the Commission will develop recommendations to better enable the Department of Defense to rapidly absorb technological advancements from the leading edge of the innovative commercial sector.

Commission on Defense Innovation Adoption

An Atlantic Council commission on improving DoD engagement with new companies and innovators

Arsenals of Democracy

The Arsenals of Democracy, including the Captains of Industry Series and the Defense-Industrial Policy Series, is the Atlantic Council’s longstanding event series on the trends and issues confronting the US and allied defense-industrial base. The series aims to convene key policymakers, executives, and strategists to solve major challenges at the interface of geostrategic imperatives, public policies, and defense markets.

Latest analysis


New Atlanticist

Mar 14, 2023

What’s next for the US-UK-Australia submarine partnership?

By Atlantic Council experts

Dive into the details of the AUKUS submarine partnership just announced in San Diego by US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Australia Defense Technologies

New Atlanticist

Feb 27, 2023

How a fleet of private satellites can help secure the US military’s future

By Aidan Poling

The US military’s satellites are “fat juicy targets.” Working with commercial satellite owners on creating a reserve fleet will help the United States bolster itself against attacks.

Defense Technologies National Security

New Atlanticist

Feb 24, 2023

The arsenal of democracy has hit a snag. Congress needs to step in.

By Thomas S. Warrick

Weapons deliveries to Ukraine are delayed because the Pentagon cannot process procurement contracts fast enough. Congress needs to get the defense industry on wartime footing.

Conflict Defense Industry

New Atlanticist

Jan 6, 2023

Experts react: Can new French and German weapons turn the tide in Ukraine?

By Atlantic Council experts

What do these additions mean for the battlefield? What do they signal about the positioning of France, Germany, and Europe as a whole in this protracted conflict?

Conflict Defense Technologies
U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.

Hybrid Conflict Project

Dec 22, 2022

Scoping the gray zone: Defining terms and policy priorities for engaging competitors below the threshold of conflict

By Atlantic Council’s Gray Zone Task Force

This Strategic Insights Memo, produced by Forward Defense’s Gray Zone Task Force, considers the scope of modern gray zone activity and the implications for US and allies strategy.

China Defense Policy


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Forward Defense

Forward Defense, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, shapes the debate around the greatest military challenges facing the United States and its allies, and creates forward-looking assessments of the trends, technologies, and concepts that will define the future of warfare.


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