Introduction The United States faces an era of increasing competition and declining material advantage in relation to its adversaries. For a nation that has historically relied upon material superiority, this trend demands a novel approach. To meet the demands of a shrinking competitive advantage, the United States must better employ its strategic advantages: an ability to make sense of the international environment, a global network of allies and partners, and intellectually agile and competent strategic leaders and organizations. In 2020, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff issued guidance for gaining and sustaining intellectual advantage over our adversaries by reforming how the United States educates those leaders. This book contributes to that effort but goes beyond a narrow focus on education. Rather, it supplies insights and analytical frameworks that policymakers, strategists, and warfighters will need to compete in this challenging environment and, if necessary, to prevail in armed conflict. If the nation is to thrive in the future security environment, the United States will need a better under- standing of the environment in which the United States competes, how to collaborate with allies and partners, and how to educate strategic leaders. This is a timely book given the increased pressures to reduce the U.S. military presence across the globe and to reinvest scarce financial resources at home. At the same time, American allies and partners are clamoring for more U.S. engagement and leadership, especially after the Russian inva- sion of Ukraine in 2022. With increasing competition for limited national resources, the United States will have to be smarter about how it addresses the challenges and opportunities it faces in the world. Wars in Afghanistan
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