Great Power Competition's Resurgence

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (March 01, 2019) -- What's great power competition? It's when large nations vie for the greatest power and influence -- not just in their own parts of the world, but also farther out. The United States enjoys a lead there now, but other nations are nipping at its heels.

In the 1990s, the U.S. didn't have a peer competitor, economically, diplomatically, or militarily, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said during an event in Washington held as part of the NATO Atlantic Council's Commanders Series.

From a military perspective, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford said, the path of capability development both nations have pursued challenges the United States in a number of areas.

The U.S. military strategy considers the U.S. military network of allies and partners as one of its greatest strengths. The ability to project power, when and where needed, is another great strength, the chairman said.

"They both recognize those strengths," he said. "They both recognize the strength of our allies and partners. ... "Having carefully studied the U.S. ability to project power in 1991, 1992, and 2003, ... they recognize the competitive advantage we've had historically, and what they are seeking to do is undermine the credibility of our alliance structure in Europe and in the Pacific, as the case may be."

From a military perspective, Dunford said, those two nations are developing capabilities of their own to contest the U.S. ability to move to meet alliance commitments, or operate once there, in air, land, sea, space and cyberspace.