The Truman Center is committed to advancing timely, principled, and innovative solutions to complex national security challenges. We believe that the United States must use a wide range of tools that bridge foreign and domestic policy, and go beyond military might, to strengthen national security. We use our voice and platform to advance this view.
Truman defines national security broadly and believes that issues ranging from climate change to immigration to democratic resilience and more all impact America’s national security. Because broader inputs into policymaking processes lead to better policy outcomes, Truman leverages its national network, unwavering commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging, and a growing body of work that extends throughout America to reshape the national security discourse. In short, we bring national security nationwide, and we bring the diverse viewpoints of the American people to national security policymaking.
Truman explores and demonstrates why national security matters to leaders, communities, and Americans nationwide. Governors, mayors, state legislators, and other local leaders all need to have a nuanced understanding of national security issues, from great power competition to regulating technology to managing migration. Moreover, global engagement benefits local communities, including through peer-learning and tangible economic benefits for constituents. U.S. foreign policy benefits as well because local leaders amplify America’s global influence.
The Truman Center weaves the connective tissue between communities nationwide and Washington through our programs and policy advocacy:
- We’re innovators in the growing field of city and state diplomacy, building the infrastructure for mayors and governors to engage with counterparts abroad and to inform U.S. foreign policy. In 2024, we’ll debut a detailed map of subnational diplomatic activity happening throughout the United States.
- We’re examining how local leaders view some of the most consequential national security issues, including U.S. relations with China and nuclear nonproliferation. We bring what we learn back to Washington policymakers to improve their decision-making.
- Federal immigration policy is in desperate need of reform but beholden to politics. We’re changing the narrative on immigration by facilitating conversations around the country about why humane immigration policy is essential to national security.
As we bridge the divide between Washington D.C. and the rest of the country, we’re reforming the institutions that govern national security. Too often, those institutions are resistant to change and lack the diversity of perspectives that enable innovation. To respond to contemporary national security threats - and grasp the opportunities - institutions must be more nimble, diverse and technologically savvy. The Truman Center advances that goal in several ways:
- We work closely with our sister organization, the Truman National Security Project, a membership organization composed of close to two thousand policymakers, veterans and political professionals, many of them serving in national security institutions. We build members’ skills and expand the resources available to them so they can be institutional change agents.
- We reform the structures and practices of institutions, including through our work to diversify the State Department and establish the State Department’s first Unit for Subnational Diplomacy.
- We identify institutional failures and design solutions. For example, we saw firsthand the inability of the public and private sectors to coordinate during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan; in response, we are developing a playbook for public-private coordination during crises.
We pursue our goals using tools ranging from task forces designed to address specific national security weaknesses, to public reports and statements, to behind-the-scenes advocacy, to convenings nationwide, including our flagship annual conference, TruCon. Join us as we build a national security ecosystem that serves all Americans.