ABOUT DEFENSE PRIORITIES
To inform citizens, thought leaders, and policy makers of the importance of a strong, dynamic military—used more judiciously to protect America's narrowly defined national interests—and promote a realistic grand strategy prioritizing restraint, diplomacy, and free trade to ensure American security.
FOREIGN POLICY VISION
The most important function of government is to secure the rights and liberties of individual citizens, in part by providing for the common defense. As such, the United States should maintain the strongest military in the world in order to defend our homeland, maintain our national security, and protect our cherished freedoms.
These vital interests must be weighed against the prevailing Beltway narrative that obliges U.S. military engagement in so many places and at so many times. Too often, these needless and exhausting ventures are undertaken absent thoughtful consideration of the consequences here at home and abroad.
In contrast, Defense Priorities believes U.S. actions around the globe should derive from a realistic grand strategy focused on protecting and securing our vital national interests. American power is built on our economic strength, and we must be mindful of the fiscal consequences of our foreign policy. Alternatives to military engagement, such as the softer yet powerful tools of diplomacy and economic leverage, might exist at our disposal.
Overall, the United States should pursue a more prudent, restrained foreign policy that assesses the world as it exists, carefully considering the numerous complexities and nuances of each situation. A principled, constitutional foreign policy would send our brave men and women into harm’s way only after the American people, through their duly elected representatives in Congress, have debated the merits of military action.
SENIOR ADVISOR & FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST
W. James Antle III is the Washington Examiner's politics editor. He was previously managing editor of the Daily Caller, associate editor of the American Spectator and senior writer for the American Conservative. Antle is the author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? (Regnery, 2013).
Rachel Bovard currently serves as Senior Director of Policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute. She has more than a decade of policy experience in Washington and has served in both the House and Senate in various roles, including as a legislative director and policy director for the Senate Steering Committee under the successive chairmanships of Sen. Pat Toomey and Sen. Mike Lee. She also served as director of policy services for The Heritage Foundation.
VICE PRESIDENT OF PUBLIC POLICY
Kurt Couchman comes to Defense Priorities after six years as a policy expert in congressional offices. Most recently, he was Legislative Director for a Republican member of the House of Representatives. He has developed initiatives and built coalitions in diverse fields such as foreign affairs, defense, trade, health care, transparency, housing finance, banking, and budget process, including two bipartisan balanced budget amendments with more than 60 co-sponsors each. He previously conducted Legislative Affairs for...
SENIOR FELLOW & MILITARY EXPERT
Daniel L. Davis retired from the US Army as a Lt. Col. after 21 years of active service, which included four deployments into combat zones—Iraq (1991, 2009) and Afghanistan (2005, 2011)—and service as a U.S. advisor to the Second Republic of Korea Army (SROKA). He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor at the Battle of 73 Easting in 1991 while serving under President Trump's National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, and awarded a Bronze Star Medal for service in Afghanistan in 2011.
FOREIGN POLICY FELLOW & DEFENSE SCHOLAR
Benjamin H. Friedman is an adjunct lecturer at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, a graduate of Dartmouth College, and a PhD candidate in political science at the MIT. He previously worked as a Defense Analyst at the Cato Institute and a Researcher at the Center for Defense Information. He's edited three books on defense policy and strategy, published academic essays in International Security and others, and published op-eds in The New York Times, USA Today, Politico, The Atlantic, and more.
FOREIGN POLICY FELLOW & NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERT
Rob Givens is a former Brigadier General who served in the USAF for 27 years before retiring and comes to Defense Priorities having recently served as the National Security Advisor for a Republican presidential and senatorial campaign. Rob has extensive expertise in senior executive level of the national security process, previously serving as the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations of U.S. Forces Korea.
Enea is a Master in Public Policy candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he is also a Belfer IGA Student Fellow. After graduating from Duke University in 2011 with a BA in Political Science and German, Enea worked as an aide in a congressional district office and in the New York City Council. He was also involved in multiple political campaigns at the state and local level in New York and Virginia. Prior to attending HKS, Enea was a policy analyst at the Charles Koch Institute...
PRESIDENT & FOUNDER
Recognizing the need to challenge the status quo in America's foreign policy, Edward founded the organization in 2015. Edward's worked for more than a decade to change public policy through issue advocacy, political activism, and campaign work. He most recently served as Chief Operating Officer for Concerned American Voters. He graduated from the University of Florida.
Bonnie is a columnist at Rare, a contributing writer at The Week, and a communications consultant for Young Americans for Liberty. Her writing has appeared in outlets, including TIME and Politico. You can find more of her work at www.bonniekristian.com or follow her on Twitter @bonniekristian.
Willis Krumholz is a fellow at Defense Priorities. He holds a JD and MBA degree from the University of St. Thomas and works in the financial services industry where he focuses on macroeconomic research. He has frequently written for The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter @willkrumholz.
Jeremy Lott is a senior fellow at Defense Priorities. He is the founder of three Real Clear Politics websites (on religion, books, and policy) and a small business owner. Lott has authored several books and was the recognized ghostwriter of former Maryland governor Marvin Mandel's autobiography. His work has appeared in hundreds of publications, including Barron's, The Financial Times, The New York Post, and USA Today.
Eleanor May most recently served as the National Press Secretary for Rand Paul's 2016 presidential campaign. Prior to that, she worked in the U.S. Senate under Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Richard Shelby (R-AL). Eleanor graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Mass Communications and English. Follow her on Twitter @_mayeleanor.
PUBLIC POLICY ADVISOR
Having spent nearly a decade working defense and foreign policy issues on Capitol Hill, Robert has extensive knowledge of, and experience with, the policy-making process, including how Congress shapes U.S. national security. He most recently served as the lead staffer for Sen. Mike Lee on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He also advised Sen. Lee on matters of foreign relations, intelligence, homeland security, and veterans affairs. He previously worked as part of Sen. Jim DeMint's national security team.
Gracy Olmstead is a writer and journalist located outside Washington, DC. She's written for The American Conservative, The Week, National Review, The Federalist, and The Washington Times, among others.
FOREIGN POLICY FELLOW & SCHOLAR
Charles Peña is the former Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute and has been a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute, and the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, as well as an advisor on the Straus Military Reform Project. He has more than 25 years experience as a defense policy and program expert and senior manager, supporting the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.
Akhilesh (Akhi) Pillalamarri is an international relations analyst, editor, and writer. He received his Master of Arts in Security Studies from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he concentrated in international security. His work has appeared at The Diplomat, The National Interest, The American Conservative, and Rising Powers in Global Governance. Follow him on Twitter @akhipill.
Matthew Purple is a fellow at Defense Priorities. He is the Deputy Editor for Rare Politics. Prior to Rare, he was the assistant managing editor of the American Spectator. His work has appeared in National Review, the National Interest, the Washington Times, the Daily Caller, and Townhall.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattpurple.
SENIOR ADVISOR & FOREIGN POLICY SCHOLAR
William Ruger is the Vice President of Research and Policy at the Charles Koch Institute. He earned his Ph.D. in politics from Brandeis University and an A.B. from the College of William and Mary. Ruger is co-author of "The State of Texas: Government, Politics, and Policy" and "Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom." His recent scholarly articles appeared in International Studies Quarterly, Armed Forces and Society, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly. Ruger is a veteran of the Afghanistan War.
FELLOW & MILITARY EXPERT
Danny Sjursen spent more than a decade in uniform as a U.S. Army officer. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. His work also regularly appears in The Hill, The National Interest, War on the Rocks, and elsewhere. He is a Ph.D. candidate in American History at the University of Kansas. Follow him on Twitter at @skepticalvet.