The increasing complexity and severity of service conditions in areas such as aerospace and marine industries, nuclear systems, microelectronics, batteries, and biomedical devices etc., imposes great challenge on the reliable performance of metal subjected to simultaneous surface stress and corrosion. However, the design of strong and corrosion-resistant alloys, especially those containing lightweight elements such as Al are challenged by the tradeoff between strength and corrosion resistance. Solute tends to have small equilibrium solubility limit in Al due to their relatively large negative enthalpy of mixing with Al. As a result, the formed precipitates strengthen the alloys, but compromises corrosion resistance due to their micro-galvanic coupling with the metal matrix. Two design strategies will be discussed to overcome this long-standing dilemma: by forming solid solution alloys and nanostructured multilayers. These studies provide insights for general design guidelines to engineer more robust, high-performance metals for use under harsh conditions.