In chapter 2 of Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of US National Security, Mark Troutman “reviews the sources of US economic power, describes how the nation has chosen to harness its economic capacity, assesses current vulnerabilities, and makes recommendations for adjustments required to maintain its current place of global preeminence.”
Strategists and policy makers must consider multiple elements of economic capacity, performance, industry competitiveness, and future trends to effectively practice their craft. There are clearly vulnerabilities that the US must address if it is to continue to raise living standards and remain competitive on the world stage. Economic capacity resources national security. Clearly, competitor nations seek to challenge US economic performance and displace the leadership the nation has known for the past seven decades.
US citizens have become accustomed to increasing living standards, robust responses to crisis, and increasing investment in national defense. Recent threats to US industry and the global pandemic have struck at economic capacity. Currently, the nation faces slowing growth that threatens to derail the capabilities that have allowed it to exert influence. Economic growth is fundamental to satisfy these simultaneous demands and requires investments in infrastructure, immigration, education, research funding, and intellectual property protection. A stable and growing economy that operates on favorable terms in the international system allows for the use of fiscal and monetary tools to support strategic objectives. The nation has a near-term opportunity with low debt costs to make investments that foster growth, which will allow it to place fiscal and monetary policies on sustainable paths in the medium and long term. The US can leverage these investments by cultivating relationships with allies and trade partners to pool R&D funds, counterbalance competitor-nation pressures, and offer market-based alternatives to authoritarian economic approaches.
Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of US National Security by Susan Bryant and Mark Troutman is available in hardcover, paperback, and digital editions. It is part of the Cambria Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security (RCCS) Series (General Editor: Dr. Geoffrey R.H. Burn).
Mark Troutman is an educator, consultant, and retired colonel. He is Chief Operating Officer of Strategic Education International and teaches business and national security economics at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, and George Mason University. Dr. Troutman is the former Director of the Center for Infrastructure Protection (George Mason University) and former Dean of the Eisenhower School (National Defense University). His military career included assignments in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States. A SAMS and US Army War College graduate, he also holds a PhD in Economics from George Mason University and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University.