Diagnostic paper: national security

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1)  Write three (3-4) pages double space on whether you agree with the article and why; or why you disagree

2)  Outside references can be used and should be cited in a consistent format of your choice 


U.S. Defense Strategy Casts China as Greatest Danger to American Security

Biden administration warns that Beijing is trying to undermine U.S. alliances and presents threat to homeland

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin unveiled the Biden administration’s new defense strategy on Thursday, and identified China as a country “with both the intent to reshape the international order and increasingly the power to do so.”


Michael R. Gordon


Brett Forrest

Updated Oct. 27, 2022 4:42 pm ET

The Biden administration unveiled a new defense strategy Thursday, casting China as 

the greatest danger to American security
 and calling for an urgent, concerted effort to build the military capabilities to deter Beijing in the decades to come.

The strategy document warns that China is seeking to undermine U.S. alliances in the Indo-Pacific, is engaging in 

coercive activity on Taiwan
 and is posing a potential threat to the U.S. homeland through 

its ability to mount cyberattacks
 against the U.S. industrial base and the system used to mobilize American forces.

“The PRC remains our most consequential strategic competitor for the coming decades,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote in the introduction to the strategy, referring to the People’s Republic of China. “I have reached this conclusion based on the PRC’s increasingly coercive actions to reshape the Indo-Pacific region and the international system to fit its authoritarian preferences, alongside a keen awareness of the PRC’s clearly stated intentions and the rapid modernization and expansion of its military.”

The national defense strategy, which is mandated by Congress, is issued every four years as the Pentagon plans what forces to develop for the future and sets priorities among a multitude of potential threats.

The document was released along with two companion reviews: one on the U.S.’s nuclear doctrine and programs, the other on efforts to protect American territory and forces from enemy missiles. It follows on the heels of the White House’s national-security strategy, which was issued earlier this month and underscored the broad theme that 

China is the major competitor to the U.S.
 as Washington seeks to navigate what the White House called a “decisive decade” ahead.

The defense strategy describes Russia as an “acute” threat because of 

its invasion of Ukraine
 and bellicose hints that 

it could employ nuclear weapons
. The formulation suggests that Russia is a major worry but a more transitory danger than a rising China with its large economy and growing military.

Both China and Russia, the document notes, pose a greater threat to the U.S. homeland than foreign terrorists because of their cyberwarfare and space capabilities, which the strategy document said could threaten the defense industrial base, the military mobilization system and Global Positioning System technology “that support military power and daily civilian life.”

The Trump administration’s national defense strategy, issued in January 2018, similarly presented China and Russia as the two principal threats confronting the U.S. But Biden administration officials said their document took the Trump-era strategy as a starting point and is giving greater emphasis to China’s ambitions.

President Biden discussing national security this week with senior defense officials at the White House. PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

An array of former officials from Democratic and Republican administrations, as well as lawmakers, are questioning whether the Pentagon is moving quickly enough to restructure the armed forces and prepare for the decade ahead.

“The issue confronting the Defense Department now is less about strategy formulation than strategy execution,” said Jim Mitre, who helped prepare the 2018 defense strategy and now serves as director of the International Security and Defense Policy Program at Rand Corp., a nonpartisan research organization. “The principal problem is whether the department can make the necessary changes to execute its strategy in time.”

At issue isn’t only whether the Pentagon will field the new cutting-edge weapons it says will transform the U.S. military’s ability to defend allies and partners in the Pacific by the 2030s. There is also concern among the former officials and military-affairs specialists about the Pentagon’s ability to deter Chinese aggression over the next five years—when 

China’s military
 is projected to be more capable but before the U.S. fields those new technologies and armaments and strengthens its regional posture.

“A critical piece of the deterrence puzzle is still missing: a focused Department of Defense-wide effort to dramatically accelerate and scale the fielding of new capabilities needed to deter China over the next five years,” Michèle Flournoy, the top policy official at the Pentagon during the Obama administration, and Michael A. Brown, a former senior Defense Department official from 2018 to 2022, wrote last month in Foreign Affairs.

U.S. vs. China: Military Bases and Commercial Ports Reveal Strategies to Extend Global Reach


U.S. vs. China: Military Bases and Commercial Ports Reveal Strategies to Extend Global ReachPlay video: U.S. vs. China: Military Bases and Commercial Ports Reveal Strategies to Extend Global Reach

The U.S. operates hundreds of foreign military bases. China has only one, but military experts say Beijing is also leveraging over 90 commercial ports. WSJ unpacks what’s on these sites and the countries’ differing strategies to expand their global footprint. Illustration: David Fanner

“The Pentagon is developing both offensive and defensive capabilities that will take decades to design, build, and deploy. But emerging dual-use technologies are changing the character of warfare much faster than that,” they wrote.

A senior Defense Department official, in a briefing to reporters Thursday, rejected that criticism, saying that the billions of dollars the Pentagon is spending on military readiness shows that it is attentive to the need to “manage risk in the near term.”

A classified version of the defense strategy was distributed internally in March at the Pentagon for budgeting and planning purposes and was shared with Congress then. It was held back from being made public until the White House premiered its broader national security strategy.

The nuclear-posture review, which sets forth U.S. nuclear doctrine and plans on nuclear-weapons program, has also stirred debate in defense circles. That review generally endorses the continuing effort to modernize the U.S. nuclear triad of land, sea and air forces. It also reiterated the longstanding U.S. doctrine of using the threat of a nuclear response to deter conventional and other nonnuclear attacks, in addition to nuclear ones.

President Biden, when campaigning for the presidency, had promised to move to a doctrine under which the “sole purpose” of nuclear weapons would be to deter or respond to an enemy nuclear attack. 

Mr. Biden stepped back from that position
 in March after allied nations expressed concern that such a shift could weaken deterrence against a Russian conventional attack.

Instead, the nuclear-posture review repeats language from the Obama administration that the fundamental role of nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack and that Washington would only consider using nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the U.S., its allies and partners.

Another point of controversy is the review’s decision to scrap the program to build a nuclear-armed, sea-launched cruise missile, which was to be deployed in 2035. Advocates of the program say it would give the U.S. another option for more modest nuclear strikes and, thus, help deter Russia from thinking it could carry out a limited nuclear war.

U.S. vs. China: The Race to Build Hypersonic Missiles


U.S. vs. China: The Race to Build Hypersonic MissilesPlay video: U.S. vs. China: The Race to Build Hypersonic Missiles

The U.S. and China are developing hypersonic missiles, hard-to-detect weapons that can reach at least five times the speed of sound. WSJ compares the missiles’ design differences as the race to test and deploy them changes the global balance of military power. Photo illustration: Sharon Shi

Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, noted that military officials have supported the program and said lawmakers would push to fund it. “Our nation faces unprecedented nuclear threats from China, Russia and North Korea,” Mr. Rogers said.

Mr. Austin, in a news conference Thursday, said that the U.S. already possesses a sizable nuclear arsenal and that the weapon isn’t needed.

The separate missile-defense review, also issued Thursday, comes as 

China’s development of hypersonic missiles
 and Russia’s extensive use of cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and drones in Ukraine have focused renewed attention on 

the potential role of defensive systems

Tom Karako of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank said the review represented a “step forward in better aligning our missile-defense efforts with the threat from China and Russia as opposed to just rogue states.”

Mr. Karako, however, said this review is vague about the timetable for developing new missile-defense capabilities. Budget documents, he said, “suggest key capabilities like hypersonic defense and cruise-missile defense of the homeland appear to be pushed to the 2030s.”

Write to Michael R. Gordon at 

[email protected]

Breaking Defense

The Pentagon’s new defense strategy is out. Now the real work begins, experts say

“The issue is, can the department execute this strategy and really do it in time?” said Jim Mitre, he director of the international security and defense policy program at the RAND Corporation. “In particular can it do so on a timeline that’s sufficient to deter war with China, not just in some far-off future, but in the next few years?”


on October 28, 2022 at 2:09 PM

WASHINGTON — After months of delays, the unclassified version of the 

National Defense Strategy
 hit the streets 

on Thursday
, pledging a renewed focus on 

 and including not much in the way of surprises.

Now, experts say, is time to answer the big question: Can the Defense Department actually execute it?

“Bottom line, regarding the strategy writ large, I’d say it’s fundamentally sound and logically supported. The department did a good job of thinking through what problem it needs the military to focus on, and has a sensible, coherent approach to getting after it,” said Jim Mitre, who served as executive director of the 2018 NDS.

“The issue is, can the department execute this strategy and really do it in time?” Mitre, currently the director of the international security and defense policy program at the RAND Corporation, told Breaking Defense. “Can it modernize its forces, establish greater resilience to adversary attack, develop a more tech savvy workforce, et cetera, with alacrity? … In particular can it do so on a timeline that’s sufficient to deter war with China, not just in some far-off future, but in the next few years?”

Stacie Pettyjohn, director of defense programs at the Center for a New American Security, agreed that the strategy lays out a “sound vision,” but will require the Biden administration to make difficult choices to allocate resources to prioritize threats — in particular, managing the immediate threat posed by Russia without “derailing efforts” to compete against China.

The need to deter China is the single biggest theme of the NDS, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said yesterday during a briefing on the new strategy. China is “the only competitor out there with both the intent to reshape the international order and increasingly, the power to do so,” he said. In contrast, 

 represents an 

“acute threat”
 that poses an immediate threat to US interests, as seen in its invasion of Ukraine, the NDS states.

“Immediate needs have a tendency of overwhelming future threats, and the Pentagon has repeatedly deferred making changes to its force structure and posture necessary to bolster deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region,” Pettyjohn said in a written statement.

On the technology side, the NDS lists command, control and communications systems, long-range strike, and space as key investment priorities, said Seamus Daniels, the defense budget analysis fellow for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

However, “I think the strategy lacks a discussion of sort of the main trade offs when we’re talking about force structure versus modernization versus readiness,” he said. “Are they going to try and free up funds by limiting the day-to-day deployments? Or is that going to come in the form of force structure cuts?”

One missed opportunity, Mitre said, was that the strategy did not focus enough on how the department plans to overcome the well-established barriers that keep it from moving as quickly as it needs to accomplish its goals.

For example, the strategy notes a need for the Pentagon to forge closer ties with academia and industry — particularly with companies outside its typical roster of defense firms. It states that the department will be a “fast follower” on technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomy and microelectronics, where commercial firms are driving innovation. The NDS also vows to increase collaboration with the commercial space industry, a space it believes it can leverage “[industry’s] technological advancements and entrepreneurial spirit to enable new capabilities.”

But all those ideas have been well agreed upon for years, with a serious push for commercial technology starting with 

former Defense Secretary Ash Carter
 in 2015. While it’s positive that the NDS signals the Pentagon’s desire to work more closely with the private sector, Mitre noted that the strategy falls short in that it does not spell out why that has historically been difficult, and how the department will overcome those impediments this time.

“We know that that’s been a challenge, there’s been some important progress there. But the department’s still grappling with the 

‘valley of death.’
 And the strategy doesn’t have a clear solution to how the department should address the valley of death problem,” he said, using a phrase that describes the funding gap between the research and development phase and a program of record, where technologies often wither and die.

During a Thursday background briefing on the NDS, a journalist asked how the strategy would lead to faster technology adoption. A senior defense official acknowledged that “this is a refrain you have no doubt been subjected to before,” but said they had greater hope of success after seeing how the Pentagon mobilized to provide weaponry for Ukraine, including existing systems that have been used in new ways on the battlefield.

“So it does tell me … that this can be more more feasible going forward, because we’ve had this experience,” the official said.

The fiscal 2024 budget could shed further light on how serious the Pentagon is about funding its strategic priorities, as well as the tradeoffs it is willing to make, Daniels said. One key indicator to look at is the size of the FY24 budget request next spring, specifically whether the department is able to keep defense spending from dropping below the rate of inflation.

“The still a significant and expensive strategy, similar to 2018,” he said. “It will still require a significant level of investment, at least keeping pace, if not above inflation.”

Daniels added he would be interested in seeing how the Pentagon “balance[s] the procurement platforms for the fight today versus [long-term] modernization investments.”

Mitre added that the responsibility for implementing the defense strategy doesn’t fall squarely on the Defense Department’s shoulders. Congress must also allow the Pentagon to take calculated risks in order to fund its strategic priorities.

“There’s too many programs that are sacred cows. Too many times people claim that any reduction in US forces anywhere is assuming unacceptable risk,” he said. “As people critique what the department is trying to do, what happens is that the trade space gets narrower, and as its trade space narrows, its progress slows down.”

China Poses ‘Most Comprehensive and Serious Challenge’ to America, New Defense Strategy Says

Samantha Aschieris / October 28, 2022

The Pentagon identifies China as the No. 1 threat to U.S. national security in the latest version of the 
National Defense Strategy, released just days after the leader of the communist regime secured a third five-year term.

“The key theme … is the need to sustain and strengthen U.S. deterrence with the People’s Republic of China as our pacing challenge,” 
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday during a press conference on the new document.

Austin noted that 
President Joe Biden’s National Security Strategy, released earlier this month, describes China as, in the defense secretary’s words, “the only competitor out there with both the intent to reshape the international order and increasingly the power to do so.”



: “The key theme of the [National Defense Strategy] is the need to sustain and strengthen U.S. deterrence with […] China. […] The PRC is the only competitor out there with both the intent to reshape the international order and increasingly the power to do so.” 


— The Hill (@thehill) 

October 28, 2022

In Beijing last Saturday, the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party finished its weeklong, twice-a-decade meeting. President Xi Jinping further tightened his grip by 
securing an unprecedented third term Sunday as the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

“The third term was not a surprise at all, [but] the extent to which he consolidated his power was,” Michael Cunningham, a research fellow on China in The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, 
said of Xi’s leadership of the 
Chinese Communist Party. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

Xi “managed to get to force people to retire prematurely, who were not his proteges, and to replace them with proteges, his own handpicked people,” Cunningham said. “So now he controls, essentially, the entire Politburo Standing Committee.”

The National Defense Strategy, revised every four years, provides insights into the challenges the U.S. is expected to face in coming years, as well as a plan to address those challenges. 

The first National Defense Strategy under the Biden administration also calls on the Defense Department to “act urgently to sustain and strengthen U.S. deterrence” of China.

The strategy says:

The most comprehensive and serious challenge to U.S. national security is [China’s] coercive and increasingly aggressive endeavor to refashion the Indo-Pacific region and the international system to suit its interests and authoritarian preferences.

[China] seeks to undermine U.S. alliances and security partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, and leverage its growing capabilities, including its economic influence and the People’s Liberation Army’s growing strength and military footprint, to coerce its neighbors and threaten their interests.

Tom Spoehr, a retired Army lieutenant general who directs the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation, criticized the new National Defense Strategy for “lacking on details how the U.S. will deter Chinese aggression, particularly an invasion of Taiwan.”

“While calling for additional ‘asymmetric’ weapons, the strategy says nothing about the pressing need to increase the size of the U.S. Navy and Air Forces to counter China’s growing capacity for military operations,” Spoehr told The Daily Signal. “The strategy is similarly silent on the subject of increasing our stockpiles of precision weapons, a need which the Ukraine conflict has brought into sharp focus.”

The new strategy notes that China’s aggressive activity and rhetoric toward 
Taiwan “are destabilizing, risk miscalculation, and threaten the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” which are part of China’s larger “pattern of [destabilization and coercion]” in the South China and East China seas and along the Line of Actual Control.

The Line of Actual Control, as 
CNN reported, is an “inhospitable piece of land where the disputed border between India and China is roughly demarcated.”

The People’s Liberation Army, China’s main military force and the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party, has been “expanded and modernized” with the intent of undermining U.S. military advantages, the report says.

The Pentagon’s strategy also notes that China’s military has swiftly advanced and integrated its “space, counterspace, cyber, electronic, and informational warfare capabilities to support its holistic approach to joint warfare.”

In addressing threats to the U.S. homeland, the National Defense Strategy highlights that both China and Russia “now pose more dangerous challenges to safety and security at home, even as terrorist threats persist.” The strategy says:

Both states are already using non-kinetic means against our defense industrial base and mobilization systems, as well as deploying counterspace capabilities that can target our Global Positioning System and other space-based capabilities that support military power and daily civilian life.

[China] or Russia could use a wide array of tools in an attempt to hinder U.S. military preparation and response in a conflict, including actions aimed at undermining the will of the U.S. public, and to target our critical infrastructure and other systems.

The National Defense Strategy also cites additional threats to the U.S., including North Korea, Iran, and violent extremist organizations, or VEOs. 

“North Korea continues to expand its nuclear and missile capability to threaten the U.S. homeland, deployed U.S. forces, and [South Korea] and Japan, while seeking to drive wedges between the [U.S.-South Korea] and United States-Japan alliances,” the strategy warns. 

Iran, the strategy says, “is taking actions that would improve its ability to produce a nuclear weapon should it make the decision to do so, even as it builds and exports extensive missile forces, uncrewed aircraft systems, and advanced maritime capabilities that threaten chokepoints for the free flow of energy resources and international commerce.”

In the same vein, Iran undercuts stability in the Middle East with its support of “terrorist groups and military proxies, employing its own paramilitary forces, engaging in military provocations, and conducting malicious cyber and information operations,” the strategy says.

It adds: “Global terrorist groups—including [al-Qaeda], Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and their affiliates—have had their capabilities degraded, but some may be able to reconstitute them in short order, which will require monitoring indications and warning against the [violent extremist organizations’] threat.”

Defense Department priorities, according to the strategy, include:

Defending the homeland, paced to the growing multi-domain threat posed by [China].

Deterring strategic attacks against the United States, Allies, and partners.

Deterring aggression, while being prepared to prevail in conflict when necessary—prioritizing the [China] challenge in the Indo-Pacific region, then the Russia challenge in Europe.

Building a resilient Joint Force and defense ecosystem.

Heritage’s Spoehr also said the National Defense Strategy fails to address “the biggest recruiting crisis” since the start of the nation’s all-volunteer force, in which the Army must “cut its end strength below what is needed.”

Spoehr argued that the Pentagon’s strategy “says nothing about how it will bring new thinking to the challenge of attracting young volunteers.”

“Further disappointing,” he said, “is that even though [China] has embarked on what has been referred to as a ‘breathtaking’ expansion of its nuclear weapons stockpile, there is nothing in either the National Defense Strategy or the accompanying Nuclear Posture Review to describe how the administration plans to deal with these new developments—other than to continue the status quo.”

Breaking Defense

The new National Defense Strategy keeps the Pentagon’s focus locked on China

The 2018 strategy “said we are worried about Russia and we’re worried about [China]. And I think one of the things we did as we were going through our assessment of the security environment was actually see that those needed to be looked at a little bit differently,” a Pentagon official said.


on October 27, 2022 at 11:39 AM

WASHINGTON — After six months of delays, the Biden administration today released the

version of its National Defense Strategy — and despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the department remains confident the long-term threat lies not in Moscow, but in Beijing.

The focus on China as the larger threat — as opposed to a joint focus on China and Russia — is one of the biggest ways the latest National Defense Strategy diverges from its predecessor, a senior defense official told reporters ahead of the official rollout.

The 2018 strategy “said we are worried about Russia and we’re worried about the PRC [People’s Republic of China]. And I think one of the things we did as we were going through our assessment of the security environment was actually see that those needed to be looked at a little bit differently,” the official said. “What that means is that as we are looking at our investments, our activities, our exercises, our posture, we’re going to be thinking in that vein.”

The 2018 National Defense Strategy marked a major shift for the Pentagon as it pivoted toward the challenge of great power competition against China and Russia after more than a decade of being focused on counterterrorism in the Middle East.

Largely, the 2022 NDS doubles down on that framework, naming China as the “pacing challenge” for the department, with Russia 

ranked as an “acute threat”

 that is “immediate and sharp,” as seen in its ongoing war with Ukraine and nuclear saber rattling. North Korea, Iran, and violent extremist organizations followed on the list of threats.

However, the official added that there are areas of overlap in how the US military would need to resource and structure itself to defeat either China or Russia, such as increasing investments in areas such as cyber, space and undersea capabilities. “I like to think of it as sort of the two for one,” the official said.

To accomplish its goal of staying ahead of China, the document lays out three priorities, each linked to a somewhat opaque concept.

The first, 

integrated deterrence

, is the bedrock of the Defense Department’s strategy. It calls for the military to work within all domains, theaters and spectrums of conflict seamlessly with other US government agencies and international allies and partners, in the hopes of shoring up multiple options to deter enemy aggression.

“Integrated deterrence means using every tool at the Department’s disposal, in close collaboration with our counterparts across the U.S. Government and with Allies and partners, to ensure that potential foes understand the folly of aggression,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote in a memo accompanying the strategy.

The second priority — campaigning — involves military actions and initiatives meant to advance the department’s strategic priorities over time, such as exercises that allow the US military to train how it will mobilize and conduct logistics during a conflict.

Finally, the strategy calls for “building enduring advantages.” This includes internal Pentagon reforms such as investments in the Pentagon’s workforce, improvements to acquisition processes and making US military infrastructure more resilient in the face of climate change.

For the first time ever, the Pentagon created the NDS in parallel with the Nuclear Posture Review and Missile Defense Review, two other strategy documents that help shape the department’s force posture and future budgets.

“That led to substantive coherence, a more integrated and seamless approach to issues like deterrence and risk management and it resulted in a very tight strategy resources linkage,” the defense official said.

Today’s release of the unclassified version of the NDS — along with the NPR and MDR  — comes two weeks after the Biden administration finally revealed its 

National Security Strategy,
 a broader document that helps inform thinking at the Defense and State departments, along with other interagency organizations.

RELATED: Three key takeaways from the Biden Administration’s National Security Strategy

However, the classified version of the NDS was sent to Capitol Hill in tandem with the president’s budget request in late March, a decision that department officials said then was meant to assure lawmakers that the department’s fiscal 2023 budget was shaped by the strategy, not created in a vacuum.

The senior defense official remarked that classified version of the strategy hadn’t changed the months since it was first released, in part because the Biden Administration had foreseen Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine and had “baked that into our thinking” as it devised the strategy.

However, the official noted that  “that some of the core ideas within the reviews have proven to be even more salient as this war has continued,” such as the role of allies and partners who have supported Ukraine by providing military and humanitarian aid.

‘Anti-Access Area Denial’ Is Back

While defense strategies typically say little about technologies needed in the future — and even less about specific defense programs — the official laid out a list of operational challenges that all have implications for the defense industry: information advantage; command, control and communications; detection and targeting; mitigating anti access area denial capability; and logistics and sustainment.

During the Obama administration, the Pentagon frequently used the term “anti-access/area denial” or “A2/AD” to describe how an adversary could seek to prevent US forces from operating in a battlespace — a problem especially posed by China, given the long distance between islands in the Indo-Pacific region and China’s proliferation of long-range missile systems. Although the term fell out of fashion during the Trump administration, it’s back in the Biden administration’s NDS.

“Competitor strategies seek to exploit perceived vulnerabilities in the American way of war, including by creating anti-access/area-denial environments,” the strategy states. In a section on force planning, the strategy calls for the military to develop concepts and capabilities that can mitigate an enemy’s A2/AD capability, including weapons “that can penetrate adversary defenses at range.”

Another sign of shifting jargon is the absence of the “joint all domain command and control” — the Pentagon’s concept to connect the military’s sensors, allowing platforms to share information that cannot currently be directly transmitted.

But although JADC2 is not referenced explicitly in the strategy,  it contains several calls to “build strength and capability” in the realm of resilient command and control, space-based surveillance technology and information technology — speeding up the US military’s timeline for detecting and striking a target.

“To maintain information advantage, the Department will improve our ability to integrate, defend, and reconstitute our surveillance and decision systems to achieve warfighting objectives, particularly in the space domain, and despite adversaries’ means of interference or deception,” the strategy states. “To preserve command, control, and communications in a fast-paced battlefield, we will make our network architectures more resilient against system-level exploitation and disruption so as to ensure effective coordination of distributed forces.”

Innovative ways of doing logistics and sustainment also remain a priority, particularly capabilities that will allow the military to mobilize and keep fighting even after enemy attacks.

The Pentagon needs to take steps to increase the speed of defense acquisition, with the strategy stating that the Defense Department will double down on rapid experimentation and fielding efforts to get technologies to troops more quickly. In particular, the department is placing a premium on open systems that can adopt improved tech as it becomes available.

The Pentagon “will fuel research and development for advanced capabilities,” including in directed energy, hypersonics, integrated sensing, and cyber, as well as providing seed funding for biotechnology, quantum science, advanced materials, and clean-energy technology.

“We will be a fast-follower where market forces are driving commercialization of militarily-relevant capabilities in trusted artificial intelligence and autonomy, integrated network system-of-systems, microelectronics, space, renewable energy generation and storage, and human-machine interfaces,” the strategy states.

The department also wants to forge a closer partnership with the commercial technology companies, particularly the burgeoning commercial space industry,  to leverage “its technological advancements and entrepreneurial spirit to enable new capabilities.”


Department of Defense

Department of Defense Releases its 2022 Strategic Reviews – National Defense Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review, and Missile Defense Review

Oct. 27, 2022 | 

Today, the Department of Defense released the unclassified National Defense Strategy (NDS), Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), and Missile Defense Review (MDR).

For the first time in its history, the Department conducted all major strategic reviews in an integrated way, aligned with the National Security Strategy. By weaving these documents together, the entire Department is matching resources to goals. 

The 2022 NDS sets the Department’s strategic direction and priorities for the Joint Force, identifying how the U.S. military will meet growing threats to U.S. national security interests and to a stable and open international system. 

The 2022 NDS identifies four top-level defense priorities that the Department must pursue to strengthen deterrence:

· Defending the homeland, paced to the growing multi-domain threat posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC);

· Deterring strategic attacks against the United States, Allies, and partners;

· Deterring aggression, while being prepared to prevail in conflict when necessary – prioritizing the PRC challenge in the Indo-Pacific region, then the Russia challenge in Europe, and;

· Building a resilient Joint Force and defense ecosystem.

The 2022 NDS also identifies three ways in which the Department will achieve its priorities – integrated deterrence, campaigning, and building enduring advantage.

The 2022 NPR reaffirms that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the fundamental role of U.S. nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack on the United States, our Allies, and our partners. The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its Allies and partners. The NPR takes a comprehensive and balanced approach to defending vital national security interests and reducing nuclear risks while affirming a continuing commitment to a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent and strong and credible extended deterrence.

The 2022 MDR underscores that missile defense contributes to integrated deterrence by undermining a potential foe’s confidence in its ability to mount a successful attack.

Information on the strategic reviews can be found at 


The National Defense Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review, and Missile Defense Review can be found at 


national defense strategy 
nuclear posture review 
missile defense review

National Defense Strategy 2022 Fact Sheet

Posted on April 20,2022

Fact Sheet:  2022 National Defense Strategy

Today, the Department of Defense transmitted to Congress the
classified 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS).  

For the first time, the Department conducted its strategic reviews in a fully integrated way – incorporating the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and Missile Defense Review (MDR) in the NDS – ensuring tight linkages between our strategy and our resources. The unclassified NDS will be forthcoming.  

Consistent with the President’s Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, the classified NDS sets out how the Department of Defense will contribute to advancing and safeguarding vital U.S. national interests – protecting the American people, expanding America’s prosperity, and realizing and defending our democratic values.  

The Defense priorities are: 

Defending the homeland, paced to the growing multi-domain threat posed by the PRC

Deterring strategic attacks against the United States, Allies, and partners

Deterring aggression, while being prepared to prevail in conflict when necessary, prioritizing the PRC challenge in the Indo-Pacific, then the Russia challenge in Europe 

Building a resilient Joint Force and defense ecosystem.

The Department will act urgently to sustain and strengthen deterrence, with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as our most consequential strategic competitor and the pacing challenge for the Department. 

Russia poses acute threats, as illustrated by its brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. We will collaborate with our NATO Allies and partners to reinforce robust deterrence in the face of Russian aggression. 

The Department will remain capable of managing other persistent threats, including those from North Korea, Iran, and violent extremist organizations.  

Changes in global climate and other dangerous transboundary threats, including pandemics, are transforming the context in which the Department operates. We will adapt to these challenges, which increasingly place pressure on the Joint Force and the systems that support it.

Recognizing growing kinetic and non-kinetic threats to the United States’ homeland from our strategic competitors, the Department will take necessary actions to increase resilience – our ability to withstand, fight through, and recover quickly from disruption.

Mutually-beneficial Alliances and partnerships are an enduring strength for the United States, and are critical to achieving our objectives, as the unified response to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated. Answering this “call to action,” the Department will incorporate ally and partner perspectives, competencies, and advantages at every stage of defense planning.   

The Department will advance our goals through three primary ways: integrated deterrence, campaigning, and actions that build enduring advantages.


Integrated deterrence entails developing and combining our strengths to maximum effect, by working seamlessly across warfighting domains, theaters, the spectrum of conflict, other instruments of U.S. national power, and our unmatched network of Alliances and partnerships. Integrated deterrence is enabled by combat-credible forces, backstopped by a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent.


Campaigning will strengthen deterrence and enable us to gain advantages against the full range of competitors’ coercive actions. The United States will operate forces, synchronize broader Department efforts, and align Department activities with other instruments of national power, to undermine acute forms of competitor coercion, complicate competitors’ military preparations, and develop our own warfighting capabilities together with Allies and partners.


Building enduring advantages for the future Joint Force involves undertaking reforms to accelerate force development, getting the technology we need more quickly, and making investments in the extraordinary people of the Department, who remain our most valuable resource.

The Department will develop, design, and manage our forces – linking our operational concepts and capabilities to achieve strategic objectives. This requires a Joint Force that is lethal, resilient, sustainable, survivable, agile, and responsive.  

Defense News

Russia, first in the headlines, is Pentagon’s No. 2 challenge


Joe Gould

Megan Eckstein

 Mar 29, 2022 11:53 AM


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
 is dominating the news, but the Biden administration’s new defense strategy makes clear China is still the Pentagon’s top focus.

A classified version of the updated National Defense Strategy was briefed to lawmakers to justify the Defense Department’s new

 $773 billion budget request for fiscal 2023

. The undersecretary of defense for policy,

 Colin Kahl

, said in a tweet Monday night that the unclassified version “will be out in the coming months.” But a public summary calls China “our most consequential strategic competitor,” while saying Russia poses “acute threats.”

Deputy Defense Secretary 

Kathleen Hicks
 and other defense officials echoed that distinction in remarks Monday, saying “the people of Ukraine are foremost in our minds” while emphasizing China’s “military, economic and technological potential to challenge the international system and our interests.”

“Russia poses an acute threat to the world order, as illustrated by its unprovoked invasion and vicious tactics,” Hicks told reporters at the defense budget rollout Monday. “Even as we confront Russia’s malign activities, the defense strategy describes how the department will act urgently to sustain and strengthen deterrence with the PRC [People’s Republic of China] as our most consequential strategic competitor and pacing challenge.”

As defense officials briefed reporters on the budget, they often mentioned Russia and China together. They cautioned that both continue to develop advanced capabilities, like hypersonic missiles and anti-satellite weapons, and that the Pentagon must be ready to deter them with its own developing weaponry.


the Trump administration’s 2018 National Defense Strategy

, the new document prioritizes homeland defense with China in mind; deterring strategic attacks against the U.S. and allies; deterring aggression while preparing to prevail in a conflict when necessary; and “prioritizing the PRC challenge in the Indo-Pacific, then the Russia challenge in Europe,” according to the summary.

North Korea, Iran and violent extremist organizations are described as “persistent threats.”

The Trump administration’s strategy, spearheaded by then-Defense Secretary 

Jim Mattis
, marked a shift from principally fighting militant groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State to strategic competition with authoritarian powers Russia and China.

That focus has since driven defense budgets ever higher, even amid the shrinking American troop presence in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

The new strategy comes as Russia shocked the globe by invading Ukraine, sparking Europe’s biggest land war since 1945. That’s galvanized the West behind military aid for Kyiv, crippling sanctions for Moscow and lifting allied defense spending, all while the invasion has exposed deep flaws in Russia’s military.

Meanwhile, U.S. national security officials have warned China is engaged in its largest-ever nuclear force expansion and arsenal diversification effort in its history, that it wants to match or exceed American capabilities in space, and that it presents a significant cyberespionage threat to the United States.

The National Interest

March 30, 2022

Pentagon Completes 2022 National Defense Strategy

The summary highlighted the challenge posed by China, describing Beijing as “our most consequential strategic competitor.”

The Department of Defense 
announced on Tuesday that it had completed the 2022 National Defense Strategy, or NDS, and submitted it to Congress for review.

The NDS is a document 
prepared by the Defense Department every year that details its priorities and describes the United States’ broad strategic objectives. The Pentagon summarized those objectives in the statement, saying that the 2022 NDS “sets out how the Department of Defense will contribute to advancing and safeguarding vital U.S. national interests—protecting the American people, expanding America’s prosperity, and realizing and defending our democratic values.”

The statement added that the NDS was the “capstone strategic guidance document” for the Department of Defense and would “translate … national security priorities into guidance for military planning and activities.” It linked the drafting of the NDS to President Joe Biden’s “Interim National Security Strategic Guidance,” a document released in March 2021 that outlined the Biden administration’s broad strategic objectives.

The NDS submitted to Congress contains classified information and is not made available to the public. Following a review and redactions, an unclassified version will be published for general use, alongside the National Security Strategy, a similar document also prepared by the Department of Defense.

Although the unclassified NDS has not yet been released, the Pentagon’s statement included a two-page “
fact sheet” that broadly described its contents. The fact sheet highlighted four main objectives of U.S. defense strategy in 2022: defending the American homeland, deterring attacks against the United States and its foreign allies, deterring foreign aggression, and strengthening America’s “Joint Force” and defense ecosystem. It indicated that the military would advance those goals through “integrated deterrence,” “campaigning,” and “actions that build

The summary highlighted the 
challenge to the United States from the People’s Republic of China, describing it as “our most consequential strategic competitor” and naming it as the “pacing challenge” for the U.S. military. It also identified Russia as an “acute threat” and emphasized the role of NATO in countering Moscow.

Although Iran and North Korea were also mentioned as “persistent threats,” the summary devoted more attention to less conventional threats to U.S. national security, including 
climate change and the dangers of another global pandemic, which it noted had “transform[ed] the context in which the Department operates.”

“We will adapt to these challenges,” the document read, adding that the Pentagon would “take necessary actions to increase resilience—our ability to withstand, fight through, and recover quickly from disruption.”

Trevor Filseth is a current and foreign affairs writer for the National Interest.

Defense One

The Pentagon Must ‘Campaign’ Against China, Not Hope for a Goal-Line Stand

To dissuade aggression, the U.S. military must continuously persuade its adversaries to doubt their chances of success.





APRIL 10, 2022

During the lead-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration 


 an unprecedented amount of classified intelligence regarding Russian plans, even revealing insider knowledge of Vladimir Putin’s intentions. This attempt at 

deterrence by detection

 failed; Putin invaded anyway. But the quality of allied intelligence-gathering and the new 

National Defense Strategy

 point toward a potentially better way to dissuade adversaries, through what the Pentagon calls “campaigning.” 

Most discussion of the new NDS centers on its approach of 

Integrated Deterrence

, in which all instruments of national power are orchestrated to prevent aggression. But the mixed results, at best, from the West’s combination of sanctions, intelligence revelations, and diplomacy suggests that capable, nuclear-armed adversaries like Russia and, more importantly, China may not be stopped by Integrated Deterrence’s threats of last-minute denial or punishment. 

The new defense strategy’s inclusion of campaigning as one of its three main lines of effort provides a way for the Pentagon to break from simply trying to deny or punish aggression. Drawn from Marine Corps 


, campaigning refers to the orchestration of military activities alongside economic, diplomatic, and information actions to achieve specific goals. Through campaigning, U.S. forces would attempt to undermine adversary attempts at coercion, complicate enemy planning, and develop U.S. warfighting capabilities. 

Campaigning may seem like another word for what the U.S. military does every day but is intended to convey a deliberate and methodical approach to cause specific results in a particular context, rather than generally support U.S. allies or deter opponents. 

Russia demonstrated a form of campaigning during the lead-up to its invasion of Ukraine and in the months thereafter. In combination with 

building up

 foreign exchange reserves to insulate the country from sanctions, Russian leaders threatened 

cyber attacks

energy warfare

, and 

nuclear escalation

 to suppress Western retaliation. Partly in response, U.S. leaders 

 putting boots in the ground or conducting large 

cyber operations
 to protect Ukraine. 

Another relevant example is the Cold War, when strategists devised a 

 to undermine Soviet leaders’ confidence in their plans and capabilities. Rather than relying solely on forces in the Fulda Gap to stop a Warsaw Pact invasion, U.S. and allied militaries developed new capabilities like the Tomahawk missile to 

 the Soviet periphery, sent submarines to the Barents Sea to 

 Soviet nuclear missile subs at risk, pursued “

Star Wars
” missile defenses, and 

 stealth fighters and precision-guided weapons to imperil Soviet reinforcements. 

Many of these new technologies did not reach the field before the Cold War ended, and some—like Star Wars—never achieved their ambitions. But the combination of concepts and capability development with persistent U.S. and allied forward operations arguably kept leaders in Moscow off-balance and less likely to initiate aggression.

China is in most ways a more formidable opponent than the Cold War Soviet Union or today’s Russia. If threats of denial or punishment did not stop Putin from invading Ukraine, they are even less likely to deter leaders in Beijing from attacking Taiwan. Instead, the United States and its allies will need to pursue a long-term effort at 


, or an effort to reduce the likelihood of an adversary taking an undesirable action.  

Campaigning could operationalize dissuasion by creating a feedback loop between U.S. or allied actions and Chinese decision-making. U.S. military posture changes, experiments or demonstrations, exercises, and new tactics and concepts should sway Chinese leaders’ assessments of how easily the People’s Liberation Army could defeat China’s neighbors and at what cost. A well-orchestrated series of U.S. and allied actions could convince officials in Beijing to defer hostilities until they are more confident of success on acceptable terms. 

If the U.S. intelligence community’s insight into China’s internal decision-making is on par with what it demonstrated with Russia, Pentagon planners could use Chinese assessments of U.S. actions to develop and refine a dissuasion campaign over months or years. And if U.S. intelligence lacks the level of penetration it has in Russia, leaders could still rely on observable responses to build a model of Chinese decision-making that would help shape the campaign. 

However, analysis is only half the battle. Whether it depends on direct intelligence, models, or both, campaigning requires sustained action to generate surprise and create measurable responses. Persistent engagement has paid off in cyberspace for U.S. 
Cyber Command and in the media for Ukrainian president 
Volodymyr Zelensky. The Pentagon could apply persistent engagement across other domains in a campaign against China if U.S. leaders are willing to accept a modest risk of escalation. 

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command leaders are 
concerned China could attempt to forcibly reunite with Taiwan during this decade. Moreover, the failure of deterrence against Russia shows threats of denial or punishment may not be credible against peer militaries fighting in their own back yards. The U.S. military should quickly launch a new approach toward preventing hostilities against allies and partners. With its emphasis on campaigning, the new defense strategy offers a path to dissuading China rather than waiting to mount a goal-line stand that is unlikely to succeed. 

Bryan Clark are Dan Patt is Senior Fellows at the Hudson Institute.






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