Think tank panels and papers frequently address it. People even talk about it on television. Loren DeJonge Schulman memorably said that it has become cool to talk about grand strategy at parties and happy hours over $8 PBR. As conversations about America's strategic choices become more frequent, and hopefully start to have more of an impact, practitioners and academics alike need to begin to question the assumptions they make about the tools at America's disposal.
One commonly made assumption is that the United States has for decades enjoyed conventional military dominance, the ability to defeat any other actor in a conventional fight. The assumption of historic military dominance, often understood as fact, is almost entirely unsupported by meaningful evidence. While the U.S. military is unquestionably powerful, dominance cannot be measured by defense spending or even training. Dominance can only be measured through performance, and the United States' history does not support a narrative of conventional military dominance. Because American conventional military dominance is an assumption rather than a fact, strategists need to question its validity and its importance for policy and strategy. If the common narrative proves to be unsupported, it will change America's strategic variables.