June 15, 2024


The Legal System

Understanding a New Era of Strategic Competition

Understanding a New Era of Strategic Competition

The U.S. strategic focus has increasingly turned to major-power competition, but there is currently no framework for understanding U.S. competition with near-peer rivals China and Russia. Drawing on extensive research on the economic, military, and geopolitical dimensions of U.S. strategic competition with these countries, RAND researchers assembled high-level findings and recommendations to support immediate policy decisions to ensure the U.S. competitive advantage. In the process, they developed a framework for assessing a competition between major powers in four dimensions: (1) overall context for the competition, (2) national power and competitiveness, (3) international position and influence, and (4) shape and standing of bilateral contests. This guide to understanding and succeeding in the new era of strategic competition brings together historical lessons and the latest data on global alliances, economic interdependencies, technological and military advantages, national interests, and more, highlighting broad sets of priorities for U.S. policy and investment.

This research was sponsored by the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development and Strategy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. It was conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND’s publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.