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.

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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.

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Featured reports


Experts react

Feb 15, 2024

Experts react: What to know about Russia’s apparent plans for a space-based nuclear weapon

By Atlantic Council experts

Reports that Russia is developing a space-based nuclear anti-satellite weapon have raised national security concerns in Washington.

Defense Policy National Security

New Atlanticist

Feb 14, 2024

Reading between the lines of the new US National Defense Industrial Strategy

By Kathryn Levantovscaia

The new strategy’s strength as a rallying cry for a robust industrial base is hampered by an absence of specifics on implementation.

Defense Industry Defense Policy


Feb 2, 2024

Requirements for nuclear deterrence and arms control in a two-nuclear-peer environment

By Greg Weaver and Amy Woolf

Gregory Weaver and Amy Woolf discuss the future of US nuclear posture and arms control, as the United States will soon face two adversaries with peer nuclear arsenals.

Arms Control China


Jan 16, 2024

Atlantic Council Commission on Defense Innovation Adoption: Final report

By Whitney M. McNamara, Peter Modigliani, Matthew MacGregor, and Eric Lofgren*

The DoD must accelerate defense innovation adoption from the leading edge of the private sector. This report has ten recommendations to do so and features eight vignettes that explore how these actions may play out in practice.

Artificial Intelligence Defense Policy

New Atlanticist

Jan 5, 2024

Overstretched and undersupplied: Can the US afford its global security blanket?

By Kathryn Levantovscaia

The hollowing out of the broader US manufacturing base has made defense companies dependent on supply chains originating in, of all places, China.

Defense Industry 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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