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Defense Education and Civilian University Research (DECUR)

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DECUR Project Title: Economic Interdependence and National Security in the 21st Century

More about DECUR

An unprecedented level of economic interdependence complicates development of any U.S. strategy for competition with rivals like China or Russia. This heightened economic interdependence between allies and competitors alike both shapes the costs of military conflict and makes available new tools of economic statecraft and coercion. How can the United States and its allies strategically manage their common commercial ties to avoid vulnerabilities and achieve leverage against strategic competitors? How can the United States coordinate use of economic power with its strategic partners to achieve key interests while minimizing the likelihood of armed conflict, or at the least, minimizing the likelihood of American casualties? More broadly, to what extent and under what conditions can tools of economic statecraft supplement or even supplant military power and reduce lethal risk to U.S. military personnel?

Our research aims to answer these questions by creating new insights focused on three areas: (1) exploring the ways in which asymmetric interdependence in investments and financial flows shape states’ power and vulnerability with respect to economic coercion; (2) defining the ways interdependence complicates cooperation and coordination among allies; and (3) creating a country-specific decision-guidance framework to help defense policy makers evaluate economic statecraft tools with respect to China and Russia.

Contributors to the Project

PME Principle Investigator:                                            
David Sacko, Professor, United States Air Force Academy

Civilian Principle Investigator: 
Erik Gartzke, Professor, University of California at San Diego

Jack Zhang, Assistant Professor, University of Kansas
Ben Graham, Associate Professor, University of Southern California
Neil Narang, Associate Professor, University of California at Santa Barbara
Paul Bolt, Department Head, Professor of Political Science, United States Air Force Academy