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The ability to adjust one's behavioral strategy in complex environments is at the core of cognition. Doing so efficiently requires monitoring the reliability of the ongoing strategy and, when appropriate, switching away from it to evaluate alternatives. Studies in humans and non-human primates have uncovered signals in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) that reflect the pressure to switch away from the ongoing strategy, whereas other ACC signals relate to the pursuit of alternatives. However, whether these signals underlie computations that actually underpin strategy switching or merely reflect tracking of related variables remains unclear. Here we provide causal evidence that the rodent ACC actively arbitrates between persisting with the ongoing behavioral strategy and temporarily switching away to re-evaluate alternatives. Furthermore, by individually perturbing distinct output pathways, we establish that the two associated computations-determining whether to switch strategy and committing to the pursuit of a specific alternative-are segregated in the ACC microcircuitry.