Foreign and Defense Policy Studies

Center for Defense Studies

All of AEI’s work on strategic and military affairs is showcased within the Center for Defense Studies, an initiative to promote and shape the debate about the ends, ways, and means of American military power. The Center’s dedicated website,, offers reports, frequently updated analysis, an ongoing blog, and aggregated links to daily news stories on defense issues. Thomas Donnelly and Gary Schmitt are leading a significant joint-effort to assess the state of American defense spending. The “Defending Defense Project” includes working groups, publications, public events, and briefings with members of Congress. Mr. Schmitt is directing a project that will assess the defense capabilities of U.S. allies and security partners and produce a “Hard Power Index.” Last year, AEI’s team contributed to an independent critique of the Defense Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review, which is the comprehensive assessment of American security commitments and defense requirements. Fred Kagan continues to assess the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and meet with military and civilian leaders.

Program on Advanced Strategic Studies

Since 9/11, America has adopted an ambitious grand security strategy that, to be successful, will require sufficient resources, effective institutions at home, robust alliances abroad, and policies that leverage America’s competitive advantages to exploit our adversaries’ weaknesses. Gary Schmitt leads a program that analyzes the long-term issues that will impact America’s security and its ability to lead in the world, covering topics like the state of transatlantic relations, the security structures necessary for addressing the “rise of China,” and the impact of recent reforms on the U.S. intelligence community. Mr. Schmitt and Dan Blumenthal launched a project to identify opportunities for enhanced strategic and defense industrial cooperation between America and Taiwan. Additionally, Mr. Schmitt is author of Safety, Liberty, and Islamic Terrorism, an AEI Press book that compares the domestic counterterrorism policies of the United States with key European allies–the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and France.

Middle East Studies

AEI’s Middle East Studies Program examines political, economic, and social developments in the region and, more broadly, the prospects and challenges of democratic reform. Encompassing the work of Ali Alfoneh, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Fred Kagan, Richard Perle, Danielle Pletka, and Michael Rubin, the program covers U.S. strategy in the region, Islamic radicalism and terrorism, lessons learned during the Iraq war and reconstruction, U.S.-Turkish relations, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and developments in Iran. Mr. Kagan leads the AEI Critical Threats Project (at, which provides unique, ongoing tracking and analysis of threats posed by al Qaeda’s global influence, as well as emerging threats from countries like Iran and Pakistan. The project hosts the website,, which features Mr. Rubin’s bilingual daily news round-up, as well as regular regional security briefs. The program’s upcoming books include Mr. Rubin’s Talking to the Enemy: The Promise and Peril of Engagement and Mr. Alfoneh’s Revolutionary Guards: Commanders, Commissars, and Collapse of Civilian Control

Asian Studies

AEI’s Asian Studies Program includes the work of foreign policy specialists Dan Blumenthal, Thomas Donnelly, Nicholas Eberstadt, Gary Schmitt, and our scholar in Japanese studies, Michael Auslin, as well as economists Claude Barfield and John Makin. The program looks beyond traditional questions to explore the prospects and uncertainties of the region. Current research focuses on the rise of China as an economic and political power; Taiwan’s security and economic agenda; and future U.S. policy toward the Indo-Pacific region. Messrs. Blumenthal, Donnelly, and Schmitt are engaged in a project aimed at designing a new U.S. military strategy for the region that takes into account these trends and interests. Mr. Auslin has launched a major new book project that will address the diplomatic, political, economic, security, and socio-cultural aspects of America’s relationship with the Asia-Pacific. Mr. Eberstadt is writing several papers on demographic trends in the region, covering topics like their implications for economic performance, social structure, and political development, and alternative “demographic futures” for China.

Latin American Studies

Roger Noriega studies the Western Hemisphere–a critical region to U.S. trade, security, and energy concerns–and offers constructive, practical policy recommendations. Ambassador Noriega writes AEI’s Latin American Outlook (published both in English and Spanish) and hosts regular sessions on regional issues, including democracy and the rule of law, poverty, energy policy, free trade and foreign aid, and U.S.–Latin American relations.

Russian Studies

After years of progress toward liberal democracy, capitalism, and international cooperation, Russia once again poses strategic challenges for the West. Leon Aron and Nicholas Eberstadt analyze Russia’s social, political, demographic, and economic trends. Their work focuses on the toll of Russia’s economic crisis, ongoing cultural shifts, and the country’s disastrous trends in demography. Mr. Aron writes AEI’s quarterly Russian Outlook and his forthcoming book, Roads to the Temple: Ideas and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987–1991, will examine how ideas inspired and shaped the revolt against the Soviet Communist regime. Mr. Eberstadt authored a monograph in 2010 entitled Russia’s Peacetime Demographic Crisis.

Development Studies

AEI’s research on international development comprises the work of Roger Bate, Mauro De Lorenzo, Nicholas Eberstadt, and Paul Wolfowitz. These scholars monitor international economic development agencies–such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and regional development banks–and study other global policies like foreign aid and world health. The program encourages greater organizational effectiveness and explores the intersection of development policy, entrepreneurship, democracy promotion, public health, and security. Current projects include Mr. Bate’s efforts to analyze the health and economic consequences of substandard and counterfeit drugs in developing countries, and the most cost-effective and sustainable methods of malaria control. Mr. Eberstadt, an esteemed demographer, is authoring pieces for AEI’s Working Paper Series on Development Policy that will examine development trends and failures in the modern era.

National Sovereignty and Global Governance

How the United States, Europe, and other regions in the world approach ventures in global governance has profound implications on national sovereignty and the strength of international institutions. Together, Claude Barfield, John Bolton, and John Yoo address topics such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, terrorism and the laws of war, and the growing influence of formal and informal international law. Ambassador Bolton, who leads AEI’s work in this area, published How Barack Obama Is Endangering Our National Sovereignty. Mr. Yoo’s most recent coauthored book is entitled Confronting Terror: 9/11 and the Future of American National Security.

Research Highlights

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