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Mr. Nathan P. Freier

Senior Fellow, International Security Program
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Nathan Freier assumed duties as an Associate Professor of National Security Studies with the Strategic Studies Institute in August 2013. Mr. Freier came to SSI after five 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. 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 under the provisions of the Inter-Governmental Personnel Act. His last military assignment was as director of national security affairs at SSI.

Mr. Freier is a veteran of numerous strategy development and strategic planning efforts at Headquarters, Department of the Army (DA); the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD); and two senior-level military staffs in Iraq. Prior to joining SSI, he served in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy. His principal responsibilities included development of the 2005 National Defense Strategy. Prior to that, he was a U.S. Army fellow/visiting scholar at the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies (CISSM) and a strategist with DA's Strategic Plans, Concepts, and Doctrine Directorate. At CISSM, he examined strategic risk and terrorism. At DA, his duties included army preparation for, participation in, and response to the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review and army and joint strategic planning for the war on terrorism.

Mr. Freier twice deployed to Iraq as a military officer. From January to July 2005, he served in the Strategy, Plans, and Assessments Directorate of Headquarters, Multi-National Force–Iraq, and from May to August 2007, he served as a special assistant to the commander, Multi-National Corps–Iraq. Prior to his service as an army strategist, Freier held various leadership and staff positions as a field artillery officer in the United States, Europe, and the first Persian Gulf War. He continues to provide expert advice to the national security and defense communities on a range of issues. Among his research interests and areas of expertise are defense and military strategy and policy development; strategic net and risk assessment; unconventional and hybrid threats and conflicts; and anti-access/area denial challenges. He holds masters’ 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

  • 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.

SSI articles, editorial, and briefs by Mr. Nathan P. Freier