Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

Project on Defense Alternatives


Since its inception in 1991, the Project on Defense Alternatives has sought to adapt security policy to the challenges and opportunities of the post-Cold War era. Toward this end it promotes consideration of the broadest range of defense options. Central to its mission is the development of "transitional security policy," which would serve to create conditions favorable to the advent of regional and global cooperative security regimes. In the Project's perspective a transitional security policy would:

In its approach to security issues the Project seeks to uniquely combine pragmatism and vision. Although proceeding from a common security perspective, PDA pays careful attention to concerns about current military threats and requirements. The Project is premised on the belief that policy innovation can overcome the practical obstacles to progress toward more cooperative security postures — however, it sees the prerequisite of innovation to be a close and critical engagement in the mainstream security policy debate.

Although PDA emphasizes the reformulation of US defense policy, it has contributed since its inception to the development of defense alternatives for NATO and has pioneered proposals for the "defensive restructuring" of armed forces in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the developing world. As part of this latter effort, the Project has designed arms control measures that would reduce the offensive character of existing conventional armed forces and reorient military assistance programs along defensive lines.

Additional Materials from Project on Defense Alternatives: Working Papers

Policy Briefs

Title: Defense Sense – Fiscal Year 2014 Update: Options for National Security Savings
Date: June 2013

Title: Pentagon Base Budget to Get Bigger Share in 2013
Authors: Carl Conetta
Date: March 2013

Title: A Reasonable Alternative to Sequester of DoD Funding
Date: August 2012

Title: USA and Allies Outspend Potential Rivals on Military by Four-to-One; America Carries Much of the Defense Burden for its Allies
Authors: Carl Conetta
Date: July 2012

Authors: Carl Conetta, Charles Knight, Ethan Rosenkranz, Christopher Preble, Benjamin H. Friedman
Date: May 2012

Title: How Much Austerity in New Pentagon Budget?
Authors: Carl Conetta, Charles Knight
Date: February 2012

Title: Keep Pentagon Cuts in Perspective: What the administration proposes is hardly dramatic
Authors: Carl Conetta
Date: January 2012

Title: The Pentagon's New Mission Set: A Sustainable Choice?
Authors: Carl Conetta
Date: October 2011

Title: Strategic Adjustment to Sustain the Force: A survey of current proposals.
Authors: Charles Knight
Date: October 2011

Title: Pentagon cuts in context: No reason for "doomsday" hysteria
Authors: Carl Conetta
Date: October 2011

Title: Going for Broke: The Budgetary Consequences of Current US Defense Strategy.
Authors: Carl Conetta
Date: October 2011

Title: The Pentagon and Deficit Reduction: FY-2012 Budget Retains Exceptional Level of Defense Spending
Date: March 2011

Title: The Pentagon and Deficit Reduction FY-2012 Budget Retains Exceptional Level of Defense Spending
Date: March 2011

Title: Continuing Resolution: Congress Goes Easy on DoD Rebalances Budget in Pentagon's Favor
Date: March 2011

Title: Pentagon Resists Deficit Reduction: Rollback in Planned Budget Falls Far Short of Deficit Reduction Goals – Puts Fiscal Reform at Risk
Date: January 2011

Title: The President's Dilemma: Deficits, Debt, and US Defense Spending
Date: January 2010