This text was originally published as part of the Fifth Annual Ernest May Memorial Lecture and excerpted from The Future of American Defense, a publication of The Aspen Strategy Group at the Aspen Institute, edited by

Any defense strategy must be nested in a broader grand strategy that articulates a set of assumptions about the US role in the world and how best to safeguard the security, prosperity, and well-being of the United States and the American people. At this time of challenge and change, the United States is in dire need of a new strategic narrative that clarifies how we should use our power and influence internationally to protect and advance American interests and values.
The United States will continue with its pivot—or better—its rebalancing of strategic equities to Asia. But it is in America’s profound interests, as well as Asia’s, that this process be undertaken responsibly. A paradox then of the pivot: American attempts to grow its power and prestige in Asia will be judged in part by how it honors both enduring American and Asian interests in the Middle East.
The White House has just released its 2015 budget and though some have noted it is less "austere" than predicted, the Department of Defense still has many difficulties ahead. The DoD has requested a $496 billion budget for 2015. Secretary Chuck Hagel previewed what the budget meant for the Pentagon last week noting that the United States Army would shrink to its smallest size since 1940. Meanwhile, the DoD will increase spending on technology and equipment. These are certainly difficult trade-offs that carry risk. Managing these risks will remain a key focus for the Defense Department in the years ahead. Top brass will constantly have to do more with less.
Filed in Blog Topics: aspen strategy group

Above, watch a video playlist of important moments from the Washington Ideas Roundtable Series event with the bipartisan group No Labels. 

Filed in Blog Topics: The Washington Ideas Roundtable Series

Above, members of the Partners for a New Beginning North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity delegation meeting with the US ambassaor to Libya. (Photo Credit: Chris Westling)

Russell Beard is vice president of information resources and CIO at Bellevue College in Bellevue, Washington. Here he writes about his experience as part of the Aspen Institute Partners for a New Beginning North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity delegation to Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia (including a visit from a Libyan contingent), where he spoke about partnerships and opportunities to advance these countries' higher education sectors. 

Filed in Blog Topics: Partners for a New Beginning, Middle East Programs, College Excellence Program
This week, the Aspen Institute Franklin Project team took to the airwaves in New York, joining HuffPost Live and Bloomberg TV to discuss civic responsibility, the benefits of national service, and the Franklin Project mission.
Filed in Blog Topics: The Franklin Project
Collector, curator, and Aspen Institute Trustee Melva Bucksbaum recently launched her art exhibition catalogue, The Distaff Side, at the Institute in Aspen, Colorado. Following a cocktail reception, guests gathered in the Doerr-Hosier Center to hear Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, the Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO and Director of the Aspen Art Museum, join Bucksbaum in a lively conversation about the catalogue’s development and significance.

From addressing climate change through "smart agriculture" to dispelling myths about poverty to a five-year plan proposed by young Native Americans for tackling community issues such as suicide and substance abuse, Aspen Institute programs have been scouring their respective issue areas to find and share the most insightful and informative links with their Twitter followers.

Scroll down to see tweets from across the Institute with links to what's topical right now. Follow our @AspenInstitute list on Twitter for updates and to keep up with each program's events, video, and experts, and let us know what you're reading in the comments section below.

On February 27, the Aspen Institute and The Advisory Board Company teamed up to present the Care Innovation Summit 2014. The Summit featured a slew of health care's top policymakers, providers, and experts including United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.