Fifteen senators are looking to add an amendment to the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act that would create a commission tasked with formulating a “grand strategy” to avoid conflict with China while allowing the United States to pursue its national interests.
The bipartisan group, led by Senators Angus King (I-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) announced legislation to establish an 18-member China Grand Strategy Commission. This commission would be given two years to come up with a whole-government strategy that would guide Washington’s relations with Beijing.
The three senators and their 12co-sponsors, mostly from the Senate Armed Services Committee, hope to include this legislation as an amendment to the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act being debated this month.
In a statement in late September, Senator King said the commission would “harness the smartest public and private sector minds” to study and evaluate how to strike a balance “between avoiding conflict and fully pursuing our national interest.”
In summarizing the legislation, Senator King’s office said the commission will develop “a holistic approach” across the federal government while “defining specific steps necessary to build a stable international order that accounts for the People’s Republic of China’s participation in that order.”
King maintains that the work of the commission would not be to simply produce a report that goes nowhere.
Instead, the commission “will make actionable recommendations” developing a strategy “across the entire government.”
King compared the proposed commission to the 2-year Cyberspace Solarium Commission that was established in the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act which put forward 80recommendations on bolstering US cybersecurity, 85 percent of which were fully or partially implemented.
The China Grand Strategy Commission and the Cyberspace Solarium Commission were both modeled after former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Project Solarium which developed the US’s grand strategy for the Soviet Union.