About our work

The Department of Defense needs a clear roadmap to counter today’s myriad security challenges—from strategic competitors and regional aggressors to violent extremist organizations and climate change. Strategic thinking is essential in order to align priorities and ensure US and allied national security.

Forward Defense explores this issue set through frank review of current defense policy, cogent expert analysis of the present security environment, and actionable recommendations for strategy to meet future defense challenges.

Featured projects

Forward Defense and Seizing the Advantage

Seizing the advantage: The next US National Defense Strategy

The Atlantic Council’s Forward Defense practice advances leading-edge commentary and key recommendations to help chart the course for the United States’ next National Defense Strategy.

Latest analysis

Featured reports


Strategic Insights Memo

Dec 20, 2023

Expanding NATO’s competitive mindset: Deterring and defending across physical and virtual domains

By Delharty Manson

In October 2023, the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s Forward Defense program, in partnership with NATO ACT, convened current and former practitioners for a private workshop on expanding NATO’s approach to multi-domain operations (MDO), identifying key challenges and opportunities to operationalizing MDO across the Alliance. This memo summarizes the workshop’s key takeaways and conclusions.

Crisis Management Defense Policy


Dec 20, 2023

Evolving cooperative security approaches for tomorrow’s realities

By John T. Watts

US security cooperation, which are military aid activities led or executed by the US Department of Defense, is immensely valuable if done right and can help the United States achieve its goal from the 2022 National Security Strategy (NSS) by building a strong coalition of allies to confront shared challenges.

Defense Policy National Security


Dec 12, 2023

A maritime blockade of Taiwan by the People’s Republic of China: A strategy to defeat fear and coercion

By Marek Jestrab

Marek Jestrab considers a naval blockade of Taiwan by the People’s Republic of China and advances recommendations for the United States, Taiwan, and likeminded nations to resist and respond to a blockade.

China Conflict
Image for Deliberate nuclear use in a war over Taiwan: Scenarios and considerations for the United States


Nov 30, 2023

Deliberate nuclear use in a war over Taiwan: Scenarios and considerations for the United States

By Matthew Kroenig

Matthew Kroenig argues the US and the PRC would have incentives to use nuclear weapons in a Taiwan war. The US must deter PRC nuclear use.

Arms Control China


Nov 25, 2023

Ten challenges to implementing Force Design 2030

By Bruce Stubbs

Bruce Stubbs points out key questions for the success of the US Marine Corps’s Force Design 2030.

China Defense Policy


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Forward Defense

Forward Defense, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, generates ideas and connects stakeholders in the defense ecosystem to promote an enduring military advantage for the United States, its allies, and partners. Our work identifies the defense strategies, capabilities, and resources the United States needs to deter and, if necessary, prevail in future conflict.


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