RELEASE: The First 100 Days: CAP Presents a Progressive National Security Agenda for the Next Administration

Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress has prepared an ambitious 100-day plan for foreign policy and national security that outlines how the next administration could begin to reverse many of the damaging policies of the past four years. The report contains nearly 250 actionable policy ideas, legislative initiatives, and speech and travel recommendations that can begin on the next administration’s first day in office.

Highlights of the plan include a decisive return to American diplomacy, a recalibration of the military’s role in foreign policy, a renewed fight to defend the democratic world, and the urgent restoration of trust in our national security institutions.

CAP’s plan puts democratic values at the center of U.S. foreign policy and prioritizes working with democratic allies and partners in the context of a dramatic reorientation of U.S. foreign policy toward addressing modern challenges—whether it is rising authoritarianism and democratic back-sliding, rapid technological change, or the complex economic and security challenges posed by China.

“These ideas reflect a clear alternative to today’s foreign policy,” said Katrina Mulligan, managing director for National Security and International Policy team at CAP. “Together, these ideas would significantly reorient U.S. foreign policy and national security, putting democratic values at the center. While it will take more than 100 days to end wars, reinvent institutions, tackle global challenges, reset relationships, and bolster democracy, this plan is designed to be a starting point for concrete and immediate action.”

CAP convened experts from across the national security policy, legislative, and advocacy community to examine the top policy challenges and opportunities that a national security team would likely confront and to consider concrete ways to advance progressive ideas in the first 100 days of the next administration.

The plan outlines more than 200 specific executive actions, policy signals, and diplomatic priorities that would advance a progressive agenda and reverse the damage from the past four years. It recommends actions to:

  • Rebalance national security tools: Over the past four years, the Trump administration has hollowed out U.S. national security tools and institutions and overused the military as a response to every problem. CAP’s plan would restore trust and independence in our national security institutions and signal a meaningful shift toward a diplomacy-first foreign policy, ending the cycle of overreliance on the armed forces to manage problems they can’t solve.
  • Live our democratic values: The next administration should recommit to living our values by restoring faith in democracy at home, reengaging and leveraging our democratic allies, tackling global corruption, and committing to respecting and promoting human rights both at home and abroad.
  • End the wars responsibly: Over two decades, the American national security enterprise has been dominated by counterterrorism, leaving the United States stuck in the “war on terror.” The next administration should set the conditions necessary to resolve these conflicts and avoid new wars by leading with diplomacy, and it must take better care of the generations that served in our wars.
  • Tackle global challenges: The current administration’s policies have essentially abandoned multilateralism, even as a series of urgent, transnational challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and migration have emerged. To effectively deal with these global issues, the next administration will have to take immediate steps to rebuild its relationships within international institutions and reform its policies at home. This includes putting climate change at the center of U.S. foreign policy, implementing a humane and global approach to mass migration, and making a new generational push on arms control and disarmament.
  • Recalibrate global relationships: The next administration will need to focus on rebuilding our most important global partnerships that have been abandoned and damaged during the past four years. This section offers strategies to repair the transatlantic relationship, invest in new relationships with the “global south,” start competing with China and Russia, and commit to productive U.S. engagement in international institutions.
  • The first 100 days during a global health crisis: The next administration will need to take decisive action in the first 100 days to tackle the coronavirus challenge, reassure the nation, and cooperate with global partners on vital emergency relief efforts.

Read the plan: “The First 100 Days: Toward a More Sustainable and Values-Based National Security Approach” by the CAP National Security and International Policy Team.

To explore the interactive database, sortable by topic, implementing agency or office, and more, click here.

For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at  or 202-478-6327.