Launched in 2006, the National Security initiative was founded on the belief that innovative scholarly research, enriched with new theories and collaborations, was needed to inform and shape public policy and broader public discourse on national security. The Tobin Project’s earliest work in National Security, between 2006 and 2008, addressed a broad range of issues, from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2009, the Tobin Project launched a program on “Power Through its Prudent Use,” which examined the role of nonkinetic, or nonmilitary, power in American national security strategy. This program tested the intellectual underpinnings of a shift in the United States toward a strategy that put greater emphasis on diplomacy, negotiation, and the judicious use of military power as tools for advancing the national interest. Through this initiative, scholars examined the efficacy of nonkinetic tools of statecraft and the implications of a national security strategy that made greater use of nonkinetic power, both for the United States and for the world. The research in this area, which became the focus of two conferences in 2009 and 2010 as well as a book project, raised a set of complementary questions on the political and economic costs of national security strategy. The Tobin Project’s current research effort attempts to address these questions by exploring the foundations of a sustainable national security strategy for the United States.
In 2011, the Tobin Project convened three early-stage research workshops focused around the Sustainable National Security Strategy inquiry. This research program, situated at the intersection of national security strategy, political economy, and foreign policy, was further developed at the December 2012 conference and will culminate in an edited volume.
The Tobin Project National Security initiative has been supported in large part by a generous multi-year grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.