Preventing a crisis, protecting liberty, prosperity and national security

By Brinck Slattery, Executive Director

The federal government has a very short list of functions, outlined broadly in the Preamble to the Constitution. The most straightforward of those duties is to provide for the common defense. In the age of empires and armadas, that meant protecting America’s shores from foreign invaders and internal strife. In the 20th Century, it meant defeating fascism and fighting against the encroachment of the USSR and their Communist proxies seeking world domination.

But what does the “common defense” mean in the 21st Century, when bioweapons, artificial intelligence, and a whole set of threats not yet imagined are poised to assail Americans? This is the central question that led to the formation of a new organization called American Dream Federal Action (ADFA) that I am proud to be a part of.

ADFA is committed to finding the brightest minds that are tackling the toughest new challenges America will face in the 21st Century and working with those policy partners to develop sensible, limited-government solutions before these challenges turn into crises.

When thinking about the common defense, it’s important to recognize that the founders didn’t zero in on its importance to protect American lives alone. They knew it was also essential to protecting our God-given liberties. Wars, plagues, and environmental disasters don’t just present a threat to life and property — they present an opportunity for tyranny to rear its ugly, ancient head. Our founders were keenly aware of the story of Rome’s descent from Republic to Empire, as one leader after another seized emergency powers until the “dated” trappings of Republican government were abandoned entirely. So it goes in politics. Crises create the conditions for leaders to be handed absolute power, and as Lord Acton said, “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
There is no greater danger to our liberties and our nation’s prosperity than failures of common defense that throw society into turmoil. Just look at how COVID-19 has ravaged the country. In addition to the many lives lost, we’ve seen an unprecedented expansion of government power and an unprecedented explosion of federal spending over the past three years, contributing to historic inflation. It may take decades to recover. Politicians see crises as opportunities to enact policies that they wouldn’t get away with under normal circumstances — it’s as reliable as the sunrise. And this is just one of the first major crises of our young century.

As we barrel further into the 21st Century, it’s likely that the threats to America will increase. From diseases and bioweapons to artificial intelligence and natural disasters, the need for forward-looking policies to help predict threats and prevent potential crises is urgent.

We know it can be done. For centuries, cities burned to the ground with regularity. It doesn’t happen anymore because we changed the way we built cities. Earthquakes used to kill thousands and bring inescapable terror to Americans — a terror that people don’t have to live with today thanks to incredible improvements in engineering. In the 20th Century, over 300 million people died from smallpox — today, it doesn’t exist.

The Republic should not have to stand another shock like COVID-19. As Americans, it’s our duty to approach new threats to our freedoms and national security with the seriousness they deserve.

Looking ahead, we know it will take a coalition like ADFA that brings together different perspectives and backgrounds to advance solutions to these issues and seeks out strong champions who will fight for America’s security and prosperity. That’s why we are proud to support the campaigns of forward-looking Republican candidates who have demonstrated a desire to join us in our fight to address future challenges now — to avoid another crisis that puts Americans’ liberty and prosperity at risk. As we consider candidates to support, we will take input from our policy partners and use our own best judgment on candidates’ value, strength and ability to win.

We are working together to ignite a new era of conservative, bold leadership to safeguard the freedom, prosperity and security of America.

As an organization, we are guided by a series of key, conservative principles that govern the work we do and the candidates we support:

  • We believe in leveraging America’s technological edge and best scientific minds to forecast future national challenges and craft public policy solutions to address those challenges now.
  • We believe that public policy solutions can have a positive impact on people’s lives and play a vital role in protecting Americans’ freedoms and system of free enterprise.
  • We focus on the problems of the future which, if done correctly, should mitigate the problems of the present.
  • We support solutions that will protect the long-term economic prosperity and national security of the American people.

To learn more about our movement to support the long-term economic prosperity and national security of our great nation, visit