U.S. foreign policy is likely to be wracked by crises in the coming years. Yet crises are often symptoms of deeper structural transformations, and the fundamental fact of international politics today is that the post-Cold War era has reached its end. That period was defined by uncontested U.S. and Western primacy, a marked decline in ideological struggle and great-power conflict, and a historically remarkable degree of global cooperation in addressing international disorder. Today, however, the international system has reverted to a more contested state. The core characteristics of the emerging era are the gradual but unmistakable erosion of U.S. and Western primacy, the return of sharp great-power competition across all three key regions of Eurasia, the revival of global ideological struggle, and the empowerment of the agents of international strife and disorder. Moreover, the impact of these forces is magnified by growing uncertainty about whether the traditional defenders of the post-Cold War system will be able and willing to play that role in the future. Dealing with the dangers and dilemmas posed by the new global politics will be a generational task. Yet understanding the basic nature of the age is the critical first step.
CSBA’s research on the most pressing issues in US national security continues to shape the defense agenda. CSBA’s research focuses on four main areas:
CSBA plays an essential role in facilitating a more informed debate on defense budgeting and resourcing.
The perennial question for U.S. policymakers is: How much is enough? Following a long military buildup, the U.S. military confronts increasing pressures for cuts in defense spending in light of the United States’ deteriorating fiscal situation. The Defense Department is entering what may be a protracted period of austerity which will require difficult budgetary and resourcing decisions.
CSBA’s research program provides an independent source of budgetary analysis to help those both in and out of government understand budgetary trends; the near-and long-term implications of prospective trade-offs; the second-order consequences of changes to the defense program; and how they fit within the overall context of U.S. defense policy and strategy.
DOWNLOAD: Strategic Choices Tool Information Sheet (PDF)
President Trump’s FY 2018 defense budget promises a “historic” defense buildup. At $603 billion in the base national defense budget, some $54 billion over the Budget Control Act caps, it grows the size of military slightly and boosts RDT&E efforts, but doesn’t move the needle on procurement. Does the FY 2018 budget request build the military the U.S. needs? Will Congress succeed in funding more for defense?