Advancing American Security: The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy

The most important function of the U.S. government is to secure our rights and liberties—in part, by providing for the common defense. Most Americans would therefore agree that our government should furnish a strong military—guided by a sound grand strategy—to defend our national sovereignty and domestic liberty. However, these fundamental priorities are often subsumed by competing interests that compel the global engagement of the U.S. military.

It’s important to consider the costs of this forward posture and how it impacts our strategic independence and financial future. A more constrained notion of grand strategy might not only cost less—it may well avoid unpleasant and unintended consequences abroad while strengthening America’s moral standing at home. The goals and aspirations of our current grand strategy are long overdue for a vigorous national debate.

Advancing American Security: The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy will examine current U.S. foreign and defense policies. Participants in this day-long conference will debate the strategic necessity and economic sustainability of these policies, showcasing some of the brightest minds working in the fields of international relations and national security today. Expert opinions will focus much-needed attention on the most urgent national security challenges and confront the unnecessary, counterproductive, and overly costly aspects of American overreach.

Please join the Charles Koch Institute on May 18 in Washington, DC, for an honest and open inquiry into our nation’s foreign policy, in the town where U.S. foreign policy takes shape.



Breakfast & Registration
(Remarks begin at 9:00 AM)
Has American Foreign Policy Since the End of the Cold War Made America Safer?
The United States has pursued a grand strategy of primacy since the end of the Cold War. This has included an active military policy in the Middle East and North Africa. Renowned military historian Andrew Bacevich surveys the recent history of American engagement in the world and assesses whether it has made America safer.


  • Andrew J. Bacevich
Evaluating U.S. Foreign Policy since the End of the Cold War
The U.S. emerged victorious from the Cold War and remains comfortably established as the most powerful country in human history. Yet, some 25 years hence, the costs of underwriting global security remain substantial. Kathleen Hicks and John Mearsheimer will debate our return on investment.


  • Kathleen Hicks,
  • John Mearsheimer
Practitioners on U.S. Foreign Policy: Views from the Field
Foreign policy is composed in Washington but, by design, it’s often applied abroad. This conversation will help separate theory from practice when it comes to the business end of U.S. grand strategy.


  • Daniel McCarthy


  • Chas W. Freeman, Jr.,
  • Gian Gentile
Challenging the Status Quo: An Alternative Approach to U.S. Foreign Policy
One of the academy’s foremost “realists” and a celebrated columnist, Stephen Walt analyzes the past and evaluates the present to inform the future of U.S. foreign policy. His lunch address will reconsider the goals and aspirations of America’s forward posture.


  • Stephen Walt
The Future of U.S. Grand Strategy
Building on Dr. Walt’s thoughts, our distinguished panelists will evaluate competing approaches to U.S. grand strategy and consider the prospects for strategic adjustment.


  • Michael Desch,
  • Eugene Gholz,
  • Michael O’Hanlon
Advice for the 45th President
A new president will be elected 175 days after #AdvancingSecurity. Looking ahead to the next administration, this session will emphasize the most urgent national security challenges facing U.S. foreign policymakers, and the enduring requirements of national security.


  • Richard K. Betts,
  • Heather Hurlburt,
  • Chris Preble,
  • Barry R. Posen
Closing Remarks & Cocktail Reception

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