The bipartisan commission, facilitated by USIP from 2008-2009, was tasked by Congress to "examine and make recommendations with respect to the long-term strategic posture of the United States."  The Commission issued its final report to Congress on May 6, 2009.

 

Quick Facts About the Commission 

  • The Commission consisted of twelve members nominated by Congress - 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans were selected by the House Armed Services Committee; 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans were selected by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
  • USIP contracted with the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), which provided substantive expertise and support for classified discussions and materials.
  • Fifty policy experts served in five Expert Working Groups that advised the Commission.  Working Groups examined: (1) national security strategy and policies; (2) deterrent force posture; (3) countering proliferation; (4) nuclear infrastructure; and (5) external conditions and threats.
  • There were 12 plenary meetings of the Commission from May 2008 to April 2009.
  • The Commission met with 75 people in and out of government as it prepared its report, including representatives of foreign governments.
  • The Commission and its supporting Expert Working Groups traveled to several key sites of the U.S. nuclear complex, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.

 

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In the fast-moving diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear program, the long-term interests of the country’s powerful neighbor China don’t make headlines. Yet behind China’s tactical moves such as President Xi Jinping’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month lie strategic questions about what China—vital to any resolution of the North Korea nuclear issue—envisions as a satisfactory end state for the Korean Peninsula.

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For an Afghan Peace, Work with China

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Defense Secretary James Mattis said in Kabul March 13 that, for U.S. policy in Afghanistan, “victory will be a political reconciliation” that includes the Taliban. Mattis’ statement sustains the public focus on an Afghan peace process following separate proposals for negotiations last month by the Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. If the United States is to maximize the chances of ending this 16-year war, it needs urgently to pull China into the process, according to David Rank, who headed both the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the State Department’s Office of Afghanistan Affairs during a 27-year diplomatic career.

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