U.S. National Security and Defense Policy Project
This is a discussion-based project to explore, develop, articulate, and test contrasting conceptual possibilities for future public policy regarding the United States’ national security and defense. It has produced a report for public discussion. The Interactivity Foundation will support at least initial discussions of it in different parts of the country.
About the Process
Two small working panels developed the ideas for the report, which describes conceptually contrasting policy possibilities pertaining to national security and defense. The specialist panel—consisting of people working in the area of national security—met in Washington D.C. The generalist panel—consisting of interested citizens—met in Wisconsin. Both panels began their discussions in late 2012. The two panels met separately, about once a month, over the course of a year for 3-hour discussions to explore concerns about national security and develop policy possibilities for addressing them. These discussions were confidential and follow the Chatham House Rule. They began with an exploration of different concepts and dimensions of national security. They then explored current and future concerns that people might have about national security. And then explored and developed different conceptual possibilities for addressing those concerns, together with their possible implementations and effects. The two panels met together toward the end of the project to meld the possibilities that they developed separately into the final report.
Context for the Project
One of the key duties of our government is to keep the nation safe and secure—or, in other words, to provide for our national security and defense. To do that the government continually uses its soft power, hard power, and intelligence assets to detect and fight various threats. Accelerating technological innovation, globalization, and our recent involvement in Afghanistan, the longest war in our history, have been teaching us about the changing nature of threats to our national security—from terrorism and irregular warfare to transnational crime—and are pushing us to rethink what the ‘readiness of a force’ means in the 21st century.
o What are some different ways of thinking about or describing national security?
o What could national security mean?
o What are the different dimensions of national security?
o What concerns might Americans have about national security?
o How might our public policies address these concerns?
o What does ‘readiness’ mean in the 21st century?
o What policy or societal goals might pertain to national security?
o What conceptual policy possibilities might we develop that might affect the future of national security?
o What are the emerging threats to our national security?
o What does it mean to keep our nation safe and secure?
o How can we go about preparing our defenses, when we fully understand that we cannot predict the future?
o What does it mean to preserve the quality of our force?
o How can we maintain our values while ensuring security?
o What is the connection between healthy economy and our national security?
o Is financial stability a necessary foundation to our security?
Project Update: the final report, U.S. National Security and Defense Policy, has now been published by the Interactivity Foundation. You can view it online by clicking on the cover image above or download a pdf copy (40 pages/1.5 MB) by clicking on the blue button in the sidebar to the right.