A U.S. soldier with an Afghan interpreter in Laghman province, Afghanistan, December 2014
Lucas Jackson / Reuters

The world is not getting safer, for the United States or for U.S. interests. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the 2017 National Defense Strategy described an international environment of increased global disorder, long-term strategic competition, rapid dispersion of technologies, and eroding U.S. military advantages. Protecting the United States requires a strategy of defense in depth—that is, of identifying and dealing with global problems where they occur rather than waiting for threats to reach American shores.

To achieve defense in depth, simply strengthening the U.S. military is not enough; nor the even more urgent task of strengthening U.

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