Smart Power Initiative

Seeks to engage in a national dialogue on the best way to draw to America's side the support of friends and allies in the pursuit of its national security interests

This program is no longer active.

America must revitalize its ability to inspire and persuade rather than merely rely on its military might. Despite the predominance of U.S. hard power, there are limits to its effectiveness in addressing the main foreign policy challenges facing America today. Many of the traditional instruments of soft power, such as public engagement and diplomacy, have been neglected and fallen into disrepair.

In addition, there remains a lack of strategic vision for how to integrate soft and hard power into "smart power" to address current and future challenges. The Smart Power Initiative seeks to engage in a national dialogue on the best way to draw to America's side the support of friends and allies in the pursuit of its national security interests.

Smart Power in U.S.-China Relations

The CSIS Commission on China, chaired by William S. Cohen and Maurice R. Greenberg, recently released its report: Smart Power in U.S.-China Relations. The report emphasizes that a U.S.-China partnership is indispensable for addressing many of the global challenges—global financial instability, proliferation and terrorism, climate change, and energy insecurity—that we face in the twenty-first century.  To see more on the CSIS Commission on China, click here.     

A New Multilateralism: A Smart Power Approach to the United Nations

This report suggests how using both old and new constituencies to support the United Nations in the United States can help sustain that organization as an instrument of smart power in the future. View the report here.

The CSIS Commission on Smart Power

Through the generous support of the Starr Foundation, CSIS has convened a high-level, bipartisan commission chaired by Richard Armitage and Joseph Nye that includes national leaders in government, elective office, the military, NGOs, media, academia and the private sector. The Commission developed a blueprint for revitalizing America's inspirational leadership and, drawing on the research and analysis of regional and functional experts at CSIS, it made recommendations for developing an integrated policy to strengthen U.S. influence, image, and effectiveness in the world.

A Smarter, More Secure America

CSIS released the Commission on Smart Power's final report, A Smarter, More Secure America. You can download and read the report, watch the video of the report launch, or listen to the report launch.


The Smart Power Speaker Series draws on national leaders in the military, corporate sector, the government, and the media to address a different set of issues critical to American smart power.  You can find more information about upcoming and past Smart Power Speaker Series events.