The Rewards and Risks of Multi-Domain Strategic Competition: A Workshop Summary

February 2019 No Comments

“The Rewards and Risks of Multi-Domain Strategic Competition: A Workshop Summary”

Speaker: Roberts, B. (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

Date: 5 February 2019

Speaker Session Preview

SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Dr. Brad Roberts (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) as a part of its Future of Great Power Competition & Conflict Speaker Series. During his presentation, Dr. Roberts focused on the primary findings from the Center for Global Security Research’s (CGSR) November 2018 workshop, hosted in conjunction with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He stated that the purpose of this workshop was to address the following question: What does strategic competition mean to various groups? Four panel discussions occurred over two days, and each panel was provided a series of questions to focus on. The four core questions addressed were as follows: 1) How do the US, China, and Russia approach strategic competition in their defense strategies?; 2) How should the US and its allies integrate their efforts to improve strategic competitiveness with efforts to strengthen deterrence?; 3) What impact might new forms of strategic competition have on strategic stability?; and 4) How can the US and its allies reap the disruptive and deterrence benefits of new technologies while avoiding the unintended consequences? Dr. Roberts then discussed the primary findings from the workshop. He relayed that some workshop attendees argued that there has been a mismatch (until now) of strategic focus. Russia and China define competition in far broader terms than does the US, and there is uncertainty in the US approach to defining long-term goals. Accordingly, he noted that there was an expressed need for the US to clarify its goals, and presented the workshop attendees’ thoughts about both crisis stability and arms race stability. He then explained the difficulty of reaping the benefits of new technologies in multi-domain strategic competition while also avoiding the risks of using such technologies. To conclude, Dr. Roberts stated that some of the workshop attendees believe that the Trump administration is looking to out-think, out-partner, and out-innovate Russia and China, but it seems to be putting most of its focus on out-innovating. The workshop attendees agreed that the US instead needs to shift more resources towards out-thinking.

To access an audio recording of this presentation, please email Ms. Nicole Peterson (

Download Dr. Roberts’s Biography and Workshop Summary


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