From “forever wars” to cyber operations, today’s national security challenges are proving vexingly complex for both Democrats and Republicans. Boosting budgets and restructuring security agencies has not helped surmount the challenges. But there’s one thing that could: improving gender diversity in leadership teams.
Heather Hurlburt runs the New Models of Policy Change project at New America, which partnered with the Global Gender Parity Initiative, the Compton Foundation and POLITICO Focus to perform the research. She has held foreign policy and national security positions in the White House, State Department and Congress.
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Whatever else 2019 turns out to be, it will enjoy a strong case for being remembered as the golden age of debate over American national security strategy. In the month of April alone, four publications published 14 articles in which more than 20 academics, practitioners and advocates weighed in on what the ends, means and themes of U.S. security policy should be. The thinkers included members of Congress and veterans as well as activists, academics, think-tankers and former diplomats.
How, exactly, should internationalists prepare to repair the damage of the Trump era? Many of us are rightly preoccupied with trying to limit or prevent damage in the moment, and longer-term challenges may not get the analytic attention they deserve. As Dan Byman wrote recently in Lawfare, repair is hard while destruction is easy. New leaders will need to come in with clear priorities and approaches in mind.
The next Administration faces a daunting list of challenges that combine military power and profound societal issues—from Mosul after ISIS, to another new strategy for Afghanistan, to preventing the further spread of violent extremism in North Africa, to limiting extremism’s appeal at home.
A growing body of academic literature and real-world experience suggests that an under-utilized tool to improve America’s disappointing performance in predicting, preventing, and ending conflict, extremism, and mass violence lies in plain sight.