To inform citizens, thought leaders, and policymakers 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 U.S. 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 Washington narrative that compels U.S. military entanglement in so many places and at so many times. Too often, these needless and exhausting ventures are undertaken absent thoughtful consideration of the costs and consequences here at home and abroad.
In contrast, Defense Priorities believes U.S. engagement 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 editor of The American Conservative. He recently managed a stable of reporters as Politics Editor at the Washington Examiner. He is the author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? (Regnery, 2013). Antle has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and NPR, among other outlets, and has written for a wide variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Politico, The Week, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Daily Beast, and others.
FELLOW & MILITARY ANALYST
Gil Barndollar is a fellow at Defense Priorities, the Director of Middle East Studies at the Center for the National Interest, and the Military Fellow-in-Residence at the Catholic University of America’s Center for the Study of Statesmanship. From 2009 to 2016 he served as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps, deploying to Afghanistan twice, to Guantanamo Bay, and to the Persian Gulf. He holds an AB in history from Bowdoin College and MPhil and PhD degrees in history from the University of Cambridge.
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.
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.
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
Committed to challenging the status quo and rationalizing U.S. foreign policy, Edward founded the Defense Priorities in December 2015. Edward has 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, a conservative Super PAC. He graduated from the University of Florida.
Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at Defense Priorities and weekend editor at The Week. Her writing has also appeared at TIME Magazine, CNN, Politico, USA Today, Defense One, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, Relevant Magazine, The Hill, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.
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.
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.
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.