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 specializes in thinking about the future of warfare. As President Dwight Eisenhower observed, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” While it may be impossible to predict the future, thinking about the future is essential to formulate concepts and strategies that will be effective across the widest range of contingencies, and executable within projected resource limitations.
CSBA uses the methodology of net assessment to frame future military competitions. It evaluates the relative strengths and weaknesses of competitors and suggests sources of competitive advantage, while explicitly taking uncertainty into account. CSBA also utilizes scenario planning and wargaming to identify future trends and candidate operational concepts, understand emerging warfare regimes, and challenge preconceived notions of the future.
CSBA’s work has highlighted the increasingly non-permissive character of the security environment, such as the maturation and spread of anti-access/area-denial capabilities and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and disruption that threaten to negate the U.S. military’s traditional approach to power projection.
Based on insights gleaned through research, wargaming and exploration of future warfighting scenarios, CSBA has developed pathbreaking operational concepts to inform the U.S. military’s operational planning. These concepts serve as the “connective tissue” linking U.S. strategy with the defense program.
Today, states are pursuing an array of supposedly "disruptive" or "game-changing" technologies that could alter how they organize, train, equip, and employ their forces, including their nuclear forces. The 2022 National Defense Strategy emphasized the link between some of these technologies and the risk of nuclear use, noting that "a wide range of new or fast-evolving technologies and applications are complicating escalation dynamics and creating new challenges for strategic stability."