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Mr. Nathan P. Freier

Senior Fellow, International Security Program

Photo NATHAN P. FREIER is an Associate Professor of National Security Studies with the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI). He came to SSI in August 2013 after 5 years with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) where he was a senior fellow in the International Security Program. Mr. Freier joined CSIS in April 2008 after completing a 20-year career in the U.S. Army. His last military assignment was as Director of National Security Affairs at SSI. From August 2008 to July 2012, Mr. Freier also served as a visiting research professor in strategy, policy, and risk assessment at the U.S. Army War College’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI) under the provisions of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act. Mr. Freier is a veteran of numerous strategy development and strategic planning efforts at Headquarters, Department of the Army; the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and two senior-level military staffs in Iraq. Mr. Freier is widely published on a range of national security issues and continues to provide expert advice to the national security and defense communities. His areas of expertise are defense and military strategy and policy development and strategic net and risk assessment. He holds master’s degrees in both international relations and politics and is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College.

*The above information may not be current. It was current at the time when the individual worked for SSI or was published by SSI.

SSI books and monographs by Mr. Nathan P. Freier

  • At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World

    June 29, 2017

    Authored by Mr. Nathan P. Freier, Colonel (Ret.) Christopher M. Bado, Dr. Christopher J. Bolan, Colonel (Ret.) Robert S. Hume, Colonel J. Matthew Lissner.
    View the Executive Summary

    At Our Own Peril is the product of a year-long U.S. Army War College (USAWC) research effort focused on a single simple question: How should the Department of Defense (DoD) adapt its current risk identification and assessment conventions to accommodate an environment defined by persistent, disruptive change? Sponsored by Army G-3/5 (Strategy, Plans, and Policy Directorate), the Joint Staff, J-5 (Strategy Development Division), and the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development, the report recommends adoption of a post-primacy risk concept and its four governing principles of diversity, dynamism, persistent dialogue, and adaptation. The report adds significant texture and value to this summer’s strategy development debates.

  • Outplayed: Regaining Strategic Initiative in the Gray Zone, A Report Sponsored by the Army Capabilities Integration Center in Coordination with Joint Staff J-39/Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Branch

    June 07, 2016

    Authored by Mr. Nathan P. Freier, Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Burnett, Colonel William J. Cain, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel Christopher D. Compton, Lieutenant Colonel Sean M. Hankard, Colonel (Ret.) Robert S. Hume, Lieutenant Colonel Gary R. Kramlich, II, Colonel J. Matthew Lissner, Lieutenant Colonel Tobin A. Magsig, Colonel Daniel E. Mouton, Mr. Michael S. Muztafago, Colonel James M. Schultze, Professor John F. Troxell, Lieutenant Colonel Dennis G. Wille.
    View the Executive Summary

    This report concludes gray zone competition and conflict will persist as Department of Defense (DoD) pacers for the foreseeable future. It describes trends contributing to the emergence of gray zone challenges, major gray zone archetypes, and their defense implications and finally, specific recommendations for more activist and adaptive DoD responses to persistent gray zone provocation.

  • Toward a Risk Management Defense Strategy

    August 11, 2009

    Authored by Mr. Nathan P. Freier.
    The author outlines eight principles for a risk management defense strategy. He argues that these principles provide “measures of merit” for evaluating the new administration’s defense choices.

  • The New Balance: Limited Armed Stabilization and the Future of U.S. Landpower

    April 06, 2009

    Authored by Mr. Nathan P. Freier.
    The Department of Defense experienced revolutionary change in its strategic outlook over the past 8 years. As it transitions to new leadership in the White House and undertakes a historic Quadrennial Defense Review, it will be important for to examine the “first principles.” that guide its force planning.

  • Known Unknowns: Unconventional "Strategic Shocks" in Defense Strategy Development

    November 04, 2008

    Authored by Mr. Nathan P. Freier.
    Historically, defense strategy demonstrates three flaws: (1) it is generally reactive, (2) it lacks sufficient strategic imagination, and (3) as a result, it is vulnerable to surprise. The current administration confronted a game-changing “strategic shock” in its first 8 months in office. The next team would be well-advised to expect the same kind of unconventional and nonmilitary shock to DoD convention early in its first term.

  • Strategic Competition and Resistance in the 21st Century: Irregular, Catastrophic, Traditional, and Hybrid Challenges in Context

    May 24, 2007

    Authored by Mr. Nathan P. Freier.
    The concept of the “four challenges,” outlined in the 2005 National Defense Strategy, has long suffered from underdefinition. For three of the four challenges (traditional, irregular, and catastrophic) and a fourth new category (the “hybrid norm”), the wait is over. The author provides the reader with the conceptual foundations of the challenges as they were conceived at the working level during the strategy’s development.