NSI’s Mission, Approach, Vision, and Values

The National Security Institute’s Mission

The National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School aims to be the intellectual powerhouse supporting a robust American national security posture—dedicated to incorporating a realistic assessment of the threats facing the United States and finding real-world answers to hard national security questions and providing them to policymakers in way they can easily consume.

We strive to educate future leaders and to shape the debate on critical issues by providing balance to the public discourse and identifying solutions that both enable a robust national defense and safeguard our constitutional liberties.


The National Security Institute’s Approach

NSI draws on the expertise of an all-volunteer group of experts who have held senior positions in the intelligence, defense, technology, and law sectors to produce research and actionable policy proposals.

We are different than other think tanks in that our experts have the diversity of experience, knowledge, and skills necessary to respond to the developing national security threat landscape, ensuring that our work is timely, fact-based, and geared towards informing and impacting policymakers in a way that works for them.


The National Security Institute’s Vision

Strong, consistent, and courageous American foreign policy leadership abroad supported at its core by firm alliances across the globe and a vigorous defense capability at home.


The National Security Institute’s Core Beliefs & Values

  • We believe in the enactment and enforcement of laws that support our national security and preserve the American way of life, including the rights and liberties set forth in the Constitution.
  • We believe in a strong military and a highly capable intelligence community because they are necessary safeguards for our Republic.
  • We believe that the wise use of diplomacy and economic tools, in addition to the military instrument of power, are vital to defending and advancing U.S. national security interests.
  • Given the strong voice Americans have in decision making at home and because our governmental structure strongly protects an individual’s economic, personal, and political freedoms, America has—and should continue to be a voice for the rights enshrined in the Constitution around the globe.
  • We believe that America is a force for good, freedom, and liberty and that the world is a safer place when America is actively engaged with the world and when we lead by action and example.
  • We believe that American national security is strengthened when we play an active role in international affairs, supporting our allies and making our enemies respect our strength.
  • We believe that America can and should deter foreign aggression against our nation, our national interests, our people, and our allies, and that this is best achieved through wise and clear redlines, demonstrated capabilities, and a willingness to act swiftly and with strength when those redlines are crossed.
  • We believe that the power of the President to preserve and defend the nation and the Constitution is strong but not absolute.
  • We believe Congress has a significant and constructive role to play in setting national security and foreign policy and conducting appropriate oversight over the executive branch.
  • We believe the judiciary has a limited role with regard to national security affairs in keeping with our constitutional structure and the judiciary’s relative competence in such matters.
  • We believe that America is and should be a peaceful nation, content to live alongside others, and that peace and freedom are best achieved when America is willing to defend freedom with appropriate and overwhelming force when necessary.
  • We believe that American national security and foreign policy decisions should be made principally in light of America’s own national security interests and those of its people.
  • We believe that individual personal and intellectual diversity is crucial to a well-informed society and foreign policy, that these values must be championed as we develop the next generation of national security leaders, and that an institution dedicated to these beliefs attracts support from a range of individuals with different backgrounds and political views, and can set an example of the type of cooperation and collaboration necessary to tackle America’s toughest national security problems.
  • We believe that the best way to support these values is to find concrete, actionable policy solutions grounded in these values and to champion those solutions across the government.
  • We believe that we can make a unique impact on the policy process, given our dedicated focus on national security matters, relationship with the private sector, and our clear values.



The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors or contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of other NSI faculty, fellows, or members of the board of advisors.