Towards a Strategic Value Proposition: Redefining 21st Century Defense Priority Assessments

Abstract: U.S. strategic priorities are flawed. Measures of ‘strategic value’ are superficial and lack analytical depth. When asking academics, practitioners, and policymakers “What is the most strategically valuable region in the world?” we receive divergent answers. Then asking “How did you determine this value?” answers diverge further. We tend to assess strategic value on measures like gross domestic product and population. No doubt these are significant indicators, but are they the only indicators of relevance in determining the strategic value of one region relative to another? What other factors does the United States consider to inform strategic priorities? We argue that the U.S. applies more subjective than objective measure to assess strategic value and thus projects power on the basis of questionable logic. With that, we propose a new method to determine relative strategic value – the Strategic Value Proposition – that can reshape our military power projection thinking to address emerging security issues.

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