Great Power Competition and Remote Warfare: Change or Continuity in Practice?

Project: Research

Project Details


The Trump administration is argued to have fundamentally altered the direction of American foreign policy through its focus on great power competition with "revisionist powers", most notably China. Nevertheless, we know comparatively little about how this key aspect of Trump’s presidential legacy has impacted the dynamics associated with change and continuity in American foreign policy.

Drawing from International Practice Theories, this study examines whether the Trump administration’s focus on great power competition has impacted American practices of developing and testing technologies associated with the concept of “remote warfare”, most notably artificial intelligence and uncrewed aerial systems. It also explores the relationships between: (1) great power competition and the Global War on Terror: (2) great power competition and American “imaginaries” of how war should be fought; and (3) the American foreign policy community’s embrace of great power competition as an organizing framework for US foreign policy despite widespread opposition to many of Trump’s other policies.

As part of a mixed method research design, this study combines a qualitative content analysis of a range of publicly available foreign policy and defense planning documents with semi-structured interviews with members of the US foreign policy community.
Effective start/end date1/11/2231/10/25

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • Remote warfare
  • Great Power Competition
  • Trump
  • US Foreign Policy