Strengthening the Asia-Pacific Order

The Future of U.S. Alliances and Partnerships

For decades, American power in the Asia-Pacific has sustained a geopolitical order that has brought stability and prosperity to the entire region. In the coming years, a rapidly changing balance of power and persistent security threats will increase demand for American leadership. To address these challenges during a time of budgetary constraints at home, the United States will increasingly look to its allies and partners to play a more strategic role in provisioning public goods and maintaining regional stability. A nuanced and deft approach to these relationships—one that understands ally and partner calculations of interests, threats, and opportunities—will be essential to U.S. strategy in the Asia-Pacific.

The purpose of this project is to enhance understanding of the strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific and the dynamics affecting U.S. alliances and partnerships; evaluate the current state of U.S. relationships; and provide new strategic insight and forward-looking analysis that will enable the United States to strengthen its existing alliances, reinvigorate long-standing relationships, and seek out new and influential regional partners so as to better respond to emerging challenges to the stability and security of the Asia-Pacific.


  • Define the geopolitical order in the Asia-Pacific, identify how it benefits the region and the United States, and explore challenges to its long-term sustainability
  • Understand the implications of Asia’s rising power for U.S. strategy and the future of the regional order

  • Identify potential roles for alliances and partnerships in U.S. strategy toward the Asia-Pacific

  • Review theories that will explain the likely dynamics between the United States and its allies and partners within the context of intensifying security challenges, rising regional power, and constrained American power

  • Understand how allies and partners view engagement with the United States and how these relationships will be affected by ally and partner interests, strategic calculations, domestic politics, budgetary considerations, and operational military challenges

  • Develop a comprehensive engagement plan that identifies the interests and concerns of allies and partners, enables them to play a more significant strategic role in the Asia-Pacific, and sustains American leadership in the region