About the National Security and Defense Program

About the Program

The National Security and Defense program aims to enhance the peace and prosperity of the United States and its allies by helping policymakers and the public better understand the threats the United States faces and the options it and its allies have for responding to them. In the post–9/11 world, threats to the national interest come from a greater variety of sources than ever before: traditional nation-states—not least the "rogue" variety—remain potential adversaries in conventional conflicts, while non-state actors—especially transnational terrorist organizations, insurgencies, and drug cartels—have become more effective than ever in asymmetrical warfare. CFR's national security fellows work to develop the policies, strategies, and tactics needed to minimize security vulnerabilities in our rapidly changing global environment.

The stakes are high. Both Russia and China are increasingly challenging the United States and its allies. Iran is ramping up its nuclear program.  North Korea can now hit the United States with nuclear-tipped missiles.  Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups may step into the vacuum created by the U.S. departure from Afghanistan. Nations like Libya and Yemen are in chaos.  The U.S. military faces the twin challenge of maintaining its combat advantage in the information age while facing looming budget constraints.  

Dealing with these threats and many others requires informed policymakers and an informed electorate. The National Security and Defense program works to enrich the public debate  through books, articles, op-eds, blog posts, interviews, congressional testimony, roundtables, and briefings.