Strategic Initiatives Group

The Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG) 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 SIG’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, SIG 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 SIG’s commitment to shaping the dialogue on strategic issues.

SIG’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



CAPT Peter Swartz (USN, Ret), Director, Strategic Initiatives Group
Expertise in: Maritime strategy and policy, naval deployment history and strategy, joint and allied strategy and relationships.

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.

CDR Dr. Lukas Filler (USNR)
Expertise in: Maritime Strategy, Asia-Pacific/China Security and Strategy, Strategic Culture, Comparative Ethics in International Relations and War, C4ISR, military aviation, Special Operations (SOF), Intelligence Operations, Statistical Analysis of Decision-Making, Defense Innovation, Gray Zone.

Ryan W. French
Expertise in: Strategic stability, deterrence, escalation, wargaming, multilateral naval exercises, and South Asia.

CAPT Floyd (Ken) Kennedy (USNR, Ret)
Expertise in: Concept & Doctrine Development and Experimentation (Navy, Naval, Multi-Service, Joint, NATO); National Strategy; Wargaming; Soviet/Russian Studies; Open Source Literature Exploitation; Analytic Agenda; Intelligence/Counterintelligence; Lessons-Learned; Ballistic Missile Defense; Command & Control Architectures; Field Rep and Special Assistant to the Commander at Naval Doctrine Command, US Atlantic Command, Submarine Forces Command, US Joint Forces Command, Navy Warfare Development Command; retired Navy Intelligence Captain.

Catherine Lea
Expertise in: Wargaming, Japan, Okinawa, Asian maritime security, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR).

Dr. Mark Mandeles
Expertise in: Net assessment, force transformation, military revolutions, long-range and strategic planning, future military organization, defense reform and organizational innovation, doctrine development, military operations, command and control, information superiority/information warfare, network-centric warfare, nuclear weapons stockpile, biological warfare, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and counter-terrorism.

Vincent Manzo
Expertise in: Deterrence, extended deterrence, nuclear weapons, escalation, and arms control.

Dr. Joshua Tallis
Expertise in: Maritime security, maritime strategy, piracy, terrorism, illicit networks and trafficking, hybrid warfare, U.S. Coast Guard, homeland security, and the Middle East.

Dr. Scott Truver
Expertise in: Naval and maritime, strategy, policies, programs, operations; USN, USMC, USCG; mine warfare; naval aviation; surface warfare; submarine/anti-submarine; and ballistic missile defense.

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).