The National Committee’s Track II Strategic Security Dialogue (at times called the Northeast Asia Strategic Security Dialogue) began in 1999 and stemmed from an earlier National Committee mil/mil program (see Military-Military Programs) and the joint Stanford-Harvard Preventive Defense Project (PDP), a research collaboration of Stanford University and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government set up by former Secretary of Defense William Perry and Assistant Secretary Ash Carter. "Preventive defense" is a concept for American defense strategy in the post-Cold War era, premised on the belief that the absence of an imminent, major, traditional military threat to American security presents today's leaders with an unaccustomed challenge and opportunity to prevent future Cold War-scale threats to international security from emerging.

Up until then, PDP had focused on forging productive security partnerships with Russia and its neighbors, but wanted to engage an emerging China. The partnership with the National Committee, now in its nineteenth year, has provided opportunities for sustained personal interaction with military and political leaders in mainland China and Taiwan. The non-governmental, off-the-record, Track II dialogue explores opportunities for innovative thinking, airing of views, and the discovery of areas of possible cooperation. This ongoing collaborative project has resulted in over a dozen separate programs, held alternately in China and the United States but all focused on various aspects of Northeast Asian security issues and now extended to other areas of the world.

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