Recommendations for future national defense strategy

U.S. soldiers from D Troop of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment walk on hill after finishing with a training exercise near forward operating base Gamberi in the Laghman province of Afghanistan

Executive summary

As the Defense Department puts the final touches on the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the Pentagon is wrestling with how to build a military that can fight and win wars today and in the future. It should focus on high-end conventional challenges while limiting the stresses of the current counterterrorism fight. Much is and will continue to be expected of the U.S. military. The last 15+ years of conflict have taken a real toll on the U.S. military and the broader defense community. For it to meet these expectations, the Defense Department should seriously examine its strategic guidance landscape, take advantage of the congressional requirement to routinely assess its strategy, and engage in a broad dialogue about roles and missions.