The Missing, Irregular Half of Great Power Competition

The U.S. military has embraced great power competition as its organizing principle, but cannot seem to agree on what the term actually means.

While the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) has driven a monumental shift toward great power competition, the document failed to define the term in any meaningful fashion, nor did it build a common understanding across the US military regarding what it means to actually compete. Beyond the oblique directive to do more against China and less against terrorism, America’s military has been left to organize around a defining principle that gets defined differently in the eyes of each beholder.

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