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The Future of America’s Alliances

Given problems with burden-sharing and conflicting interests, U.S. policymakers should reevaluate the costs and benefits of the U.S.’s security commitments.


Stand Together Trust is pleased to launch this request for proposals for grants to support research and other activities on important foreign policy issues confronting the United States today.

Given the changing nature of the world around us, the United States needs a foreign policy that prioritizes our national interests and productive engagement with other countries. We are proud to support research that challenges status quo thinking and inspires fresh perspectives in the foreign policy debate.

Grant Info

Grant Details

The American-led global alliance system faces increasing stress and criticism. In Europe, allies’ conventional forces have been inadequate as their leaders openly discuss alternatives to NATO. American partners in the Middle East pursue their own priorities, often in opposition to American objectives. Failed attempts to unify disparate spokes of the U.S. alliance system in Asia reveal flawed assumptions in U.S. strategic thinking. Given problems with burden-sharing and conflicting interests, U.S. policymakers should reevaluate the costs and benefits of the U.S.’s security commitments. As a result, we are actively soliciting proposals for projects which:

  • Evaluate areas where U.S. interests converge or diverge from long-established allies and consider the challenges of maintaining alliances in different regions of the world.
  • Study the ways in which the U.S. can better promote burden-sharing and partners’ deterrent capabilities.
  • Explore the long-term future of the NATO alliance, including structural changes to the balance of power, divergent interests and threat assessments, and internal political challenges that will affect its mission in the coming decades.
  • Investigate the unintended consequences of alliances including entrapment, moral hazard, and principal-agent problems.
  • Explore advantages of different security arrangements, including buck-passing and other forms of military and diplomatic ties.
  • Analyze the consequences of NATO enlargement, including impacts on Russian-U.S. relations, NATO conventional deterrence, and the international politics of Eastern Europe.
  • Assess problems with foreign arms sales, including effects on military effectiveness, credibility, and escalation control.
  • Evaluate when the United States should commit to and withdraw from alliances and examine historical cases of alliance dissolution. Evaluate methods and cases of expelling alliance members or ending an alliance relationship productively.
  • Explore options for “transatlantic transformation,” including alternatives to NATO.

We are open to other research proposals that fit these general themes.

Grant Criteria

  • A one-to-two-page abstract of the project on behalf of your university, college, think tank, or other 501(c)(3) organization. The abstract should provide sufficient detail for reviewers to assess the nature and feasibility of the idea.*
  • A CV or résumé.*
  • A brief, itemized budget.*
  • Final projects should be original and meet the highest standards of their field, and must not have been previously published.

*Items are required in application.


Funding levels are commensurate with the requirements of the research and the potential for the research to advance an understanding of critical issues. Accepted proposals may also receive support to disseminate the research findings.