About Yorktown Institute

Founded in 2022, the Yorktown Institute focuses on great power competition and the U.S. naval and military supremacy that must undergird American grand strategy. This will require alliance-building, restoring economic and manufacturing potential, defending national institutions, and reorienting naval and military power toward the “supercontinent” of Eurasia.

Our Directors, Advisors, Staff, and Fellows are experts and leading scholars in such fields as military affairs, technology, government, and finance. All of them share the belief that America’s global leadership needs to address problems strategically and conduct the rigorous thought and problem-solving that will change minds at the highest levels of American government.

Why Yorktown?

Americans who grew up with the Cold War and its trappings—spy satellites, ideological struggle, nuclear missiles, propaganda—understand the importance of maintaining global American leadership. Our victory over the Soviet Union allowed a short respite of thirty relatively peaceful years. But new rivals have arisen, seeking to destroy the American-led order and reshape the world by the lights of a familiar authoritarian scheme.

Now we are called upon to defend America’s preeminence yet again—both from its foreign rivals and its domestic skeptics. American leadership must be thoughtful, effective, and consistent with the nation’s founding principles.

Three strategic principles can prepare our military, our diplomacy, and our national institutions for the realities of 21st-century geopolitics:

  1. Our alliances, economics and trade, and military resources must recognize that today’s great power competition is Eurasian—a struggle for supremacy over the world’s supercontinent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
  2. Maritime power is key to military power and undergirds all other elements of national strength, including economic access and free trade. America’s naval decline must be reversed to counter China at sea as well as Russian revanchism and armed Iranian ideology. 
  3. Grand Strategy should be the core of U.S. foreign policy. By accounting for such external forces as military and diplomatic power, and such internal forces as economic, technological, and socio-cultural trends, grand strategy marshals these elements during both war and peace in a connected world.

Yorktown Institute is named for the pivotal 1781 victory in which a Franco-American coalition used maritime and ground forces to surround Cornwallis’ army, forcing him to capitulate. This use of naval and land power in concert with allies was a microcosm of American strategy at its best.

Seth Cropsey

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