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Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities

The Principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense on National Security issues and Defense Strategy and the capabilities, forces and contingency plans necessary to implement the Defense Strategy.


  • Support the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in providing the Department of Defense (DoD) with guidance to align resources, activities and capabilities with National Security and Defense Strategy goals.

  • Provide DoD input to the National Security Strategy and associated national, regional and functional strategies.

  • Provide the Office of the Secretary of Defense  input to the National Military Strategy

  • Develop National Defense Strategy (NDS), Guidance for Development of the Force (GDF) and Guidance for Employment of the Force (GEF)

  • Review campaign and contingency plans, major force deployments and military operational plans

  • Evaluate the capability of forces to accomplish U.S. Defense and National Security Strategy.

  • Develop policy and strategy guidance to enhance partner capabilities and compatibility with DoD.

  • Develop Global Force Posture policy and strategy and oversee implementation

  • Lead the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR)


Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and  Capabilities James Anderson James Anderson

Dr. James H. Anderson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 28, 2018 as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities. Prior to this appointment, Dr. James H. Anderson served three years as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Marine Corps University. In this capacity, he supervised academic programs that educate thousands of Marines annually. From 2012 to 2015, he was Dean of Academics and Deputy Director at the Marine Corps War College. From 2009 to 2012, he worked as Professor of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies, where he directed the Program in Advanced Security Studies. Dr. Anderson served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2009, where he was Director of Middle East Policy in International Security Affairs, among other positions.

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Contact Information

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans & Capabilities

2000 Defense Pentagon, Room 3C852A

Washington DC 20032