The Strategy and Policy Analysis (SPA) program is CNA’s locus for analyzing issues of national strategy. Our core competencies include:
- U.S. national strategy publications, specifically their maritime components
- The role of sea power in U.S. strategy
- Nuclear weapons policy
- Deterrence, compellence, and reassurance (theory and application)
- Real-world military operations
- Innovations in naval warfighting and naval warfare
- Futures planning and long-term trend analysis
- Modalities of implementing completed strategies
One of SPA’s primary responsibilities is to help the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense assess how naval, maritime, and national strategy is written, to improve the overall process of strategy development. Our Capstone Strategy Series is a central example of this work.
In addition to studying the process of strategy writing, SPA analysts are also deeply integrated in supporting the substance of strategic thought, providing warfighters, policymakers, and analysts with the subject matter expertise to address the Nation’s biggest questions. Our ongoing co-sponsorship of the Kiel International Seapower Symposium is one example of SPA’s commitment to shaping the dialogue on strategic issues.
SPA’s project approach is multidisciplinary, leveraging the diverse experiences of a team that includes:
- Naval historians
- Political scientists and international relations specialists
- Former CNA Field Representatives, part of CNA's unique field program
- Wargame and tabletop exercise designers
- Drafters of previous national and naval strategies
- Former practitioners, including Navy and Marine Corps Officers and DoD analysts
- Prevailing Under the Nuclear Shadow: A New Framework for US Escalation Management (2020)
- Diego Garcia: US and Allied Basing Rights in the Era of Great Power Competition (2020)
- Naval Integration through History: Five Case Studies (2020)
- Maritime Security and Great Power Competition: Maintaining the US-led International Order (2020)
- Great Power Competition: Assumptions Behind the Headlines (2020)
- Great Power Relations: What Makes Powers Great and Why Do They Compete? (2020)
- Basing Rights and Contested Sovereignty in Greenland and Diego Garcia (2019)
- Nuclear Arms Control Without a Treaty? Risk Options After New Start (2019)
- Hidden in Plain Sight: CNA and the Soviet Navy (2018)
- The Origins and Development of a Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower (2017)
- American Naval Policy, Strategy, Plans and Operations in the Second Decade of the Twenty-first Century (2017)
- Capstone Strategy Series (2009-2012)
- The Navy at a Tipping Point: Maritime Dominance at Stake? (2010)
- Deterrence and Influence: The Navy’s Role in Preventing War (2009)
- Click for more from the Strategy Library
- America and Grand Strategy
- Assessment of the Navy Strategic Enterprise: Integrating, Coordinating, and Aligning Navy Stakeholders to Develop, Communicate, and Assess Navy Strategy
- CNA Maritime Asia Project Workshop One: The Yellow and East China Seas
- CNA Maritime Asia Project Workshop Two: Naval Developments in Asia
- CNA Maritime Asia Project Workshop Three: Japan’s Territorial Disputes
- Grand Strategy Contending Contemporary Analyst Views and Implications for the U.S. Navy
- Improving U.S.-India HA/DR Coordination in the Indian Ocean
- Japan-U.S. Alliance Management: Natural Disaster Response Cooperation with the U.S. Forces in Japan
- The Israeli “Nuclear Alert” of 1973: Deterrence and Signaling in Crisis
- The Sino-Soviet Border Conflict Deterrence, Escalation, and the Threat of Nuclear War in 1969
- Understanding an Adversary’s Strategic and Operational Calculus: A Late Cold War Case Study with 21st Century Applicability, U.S. Views on Soviet Navy Strategy and Operations
- U.S.-India Security Burden-Sharing? The Potential for Coordinated Capacity-Building in the Indian Ocean
Nilanthi Samaranayake, Director, Strategy and Policy Analysis
Expertise in: Allies and partners analysis, naval engagement and capacity-building, maritime domain awareness, non-traditional security, Indian Ocean regional strategy.
Dr. Thomas Bowditch
Expertise in: Asia-Pacific maritime strategy; global force posture; Marine Corps headquarters staff architecture; national level grand strategy; unconventional warfare theory; sea power and sea control theory; concepts of deterrence.
Dr. Eleanore Douglas
Expertise in: National strategy and policy, defense planning, allied and partner relations, security cooperation, history of US strategy & policy (Interwar, Early Cold War), strategies of retrenchment, wargaming, red-teaming, scenarios and futures analysis, risk analysis.
Expertise in: Deterrence, extended deterrence, strategic stability, escalation, nuclear weapons, nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear arms control, and verification and monitoring.
Dr. Timothy McDonnell
Expertise in: National strategy and policy, history of US nuclear posture, deterrence, extended deterrence, escalation, arms control, proliferation and military operations.
Expertise in: Transatlantic relations, diplomatic history, and international relations theory.
CAPT Peter Swartz (USN, Ret)
Expertise in: Maritime strategy and policy, naval deployment history and strategy, joint and allied strategy and relationships.
Dr. Joshua Tallis
Expertise in: Maritime security, polar strategy, maritime strategy, seapower in US foreign policy, piracy, and maritime terrorism.
Expertise in: European studies, EU affairs, international affairs, international development cooperation, sustainable development, East African development, social policy, sociology, human trafficking/contemporary slavery, and human rights.
Dr. Steven Wills
Expertise in: Naval and military history; surface warfare and platforms; Cold War and post-Cold War Navy Strategy and Policy; and British Naval Strategy and Policy (1889-1941).