Abstract: This paper considers a key academic support of US geopolitics overseas, which I term the “military–strategic studies complex”. The paper begins by outlining the development of Strategic Studies in the US since the early 1980s. It then uses the example of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments to work through a discussion of the palpable agency of the military–strategic studies complex in advancing a dual military–economic securitization strategy for what it calls the contemporary American “leasehold empire”. This strategy is focused especially on the Persian Gulf and involves both an enduring US military presence and long-term neoliberal designs for the region. Finally, consideration is given to alternative military–strategic visions before attention is turned to the task of Geography in countering US geopolitical and geoeconomic scriptings of the Middle East, all expedited under a vernacular of “national security”.