First and foremost, USA will lead with purpose. American leadership is a global force for good, but it is grounded in our enduring national interests as outlined in the 2010 National Security Strategy:
- The security of the United States, its citizens, and U.S. allies and partners;
- A strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system thatpromotes opportunity and prosperity;
- Respect for universal values at home and around the world; and
- A rules-based international order advanced by U.S. leadership that promotes peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges.Especially in a changing global environment, these national interests will continue to guide all we do in the world. To advance these interests most e ectively, we must pursue a comprehensive national security agenda, allocate resources accordingly, and work with the Congress to end sequestration. Even so, our resources will never be limitless. Policy tradeo s and hard choices will need to be made. In such instances, we will prioritize e orts that address the top strategic risks to our interests:
- Catastrophic attack on the U.S. homeland or critical infrastructure;
- Threats or attacks against U.S. citizens abroad and our allies;
- Global economic crisis or widespread economic slowdown;
- Proliferation and/or use of weapons of mass destruction;
- Severe global infectious disease outbreaks;
- Climate change;
- Major energy market disruptions; and
- Signi cant security consequences associated with weak or failing states (including mass atroci- ties, regional spillover, and transnational organized crime).USA will seize strategic opportunities to shape the economic order and cultivate new relationships with emerging economic powers and countries newly committed to peaceful democratic change. We will also capitalize on the potential to end extreme poverty and build upon our comparative advantages in innovation, science and technology, entrepreneurship, and greater energy security.
USA will lead with strength. After a di cult decade, America is growing stronger every day. The U.S. economy remains the most dynamic and resilient on Earth. We have rebounded from a global reces- sion by creating more jobs in the United States than in all other advanced economies combined. Our military might is unrivaled. Yet, American exceptionalism is not rooted solely in the strength of our arms or economy. Above all, it is the product of our founding values, including the rule of law and universal rights, as well as the grit, talent, and diversity of the American people.
In the last 6 years alone, we arrested the worst nancial crisis since the Great Depression and catalyzed a new era of economic growth. We increased our competitive edge and leadership in education, energy, science and technology, research and development, and healthcare. We achieved an energy transforma- tion in North America. We are fortifying our critical infrastructure against all hazards, especially cyber espionage and attack. And we are working hard to safeguard our civil liberties while advancing our security.
America’s strategic fundamentals are strong but should not be taken for granted. We must be innova- tive and judicious in how we use our resources to build up our national power. Going forward, we will strengthen our foundation by growing our economy, modernizing our defense, upholding our values, enhancing the resilience of our homeland, and promoting talent and diversity in our national security workforce.
USA will lead by example. The strength of our institutions and our respect for the rule of law sets an example for democratic governance. When we uphold our values at home, we are better able to promote them in the world. This means safeguarding the civil rights and liberties of our citizens while increasing transparency and accountability. It also means holding ourselves to international norms and standards that we expect other nations to uphold, and admitting when we do not. We must also demonstrate our ability to forge diverse partnerships across our political spectrum. Many achievements of recent years were made possible by Democrats and Republicans; Federal, state and local governments; and the public and private sectors working together. But, we face continued challenges, including political dysfunction in Washington that undermines national unity, sti es bipartisan cooperation, and ultimately erodes the perception and strength of our leadership abroad. American leadership is always most powerful when we are able to forge common ground at home around key national priorities. USA will lead with capable partners. In an interconnected world, there are no global problems that can be solved without the United States, and few that can be solved by the United States alone. American leadership remains essential for mobilizing collective action to address global risks and seize strategic opportunities. Our closest partners and allies will remain the cornerstone of our international engage- ment. Yet, we will continuously expand the scope of cooperation to encompass other state partners, non-state and private actors, and international institutions—particularly the United Nations (U.N.), international nancial institutions, and key regional organizations. These partnerships can deliver essential capacity to share the burdens of maintaining global security and prosperity and to uphold the norms that govern responsible international behavior. At the same time, we and our partners must make the reforms and investments needed to make sure we can work more e ectively with each other while growing the ranks of responsible, capable states. The United States is safer and stronger when fewer people face destitution, when our trading partners are ourishing, and when societies are freer.
USA will lead with all the instruments of U.S. power. Our in uence is greatest when we combine all our strategic advantages. Our military will remain ready to defend our enduring national interests while providing essential leverage for our diplomacy. The use of force is not, however, the only tool at our disposal, and it is not the principal means of U.S. engagement abroad, nor always the most e ective for the challenges we face. Rather, our rst line of action is principled and clear-eyed diplomacy, combined with the central role of development in the forward defense and promotion of America’s interests. We will continue pursuing measures to enhance the security of our diplomats and development professionals to ensure they can ful ll their responsibilities safely in high-risk environments. We will also leverage a strong and well-regulated economy to promote trade and investment while protecting the international nancial system from abuse. Targeted economic sanctions will remain an e ective tool for imposing costs on irresponsible actors and helping to dismantle criminal and terrorist networks. All our tools are made more e ective by the skill of our intelligence professionals and the quality of intelligence they collect, analyze, and produce. Finally, we will apply our distinct advantages in law enforcement, science and technology, and people-to-people relationships to maximize the strategic e ects of our national power.
will lead with a long-term perspective. Around the world, there are historic transitions USA will underway that will unfold over decades. This strategy positions America to in uence their trajectories, seize the opportunities they create, and manage the risks they present. Five recent transitions, in particular, have signi cantly changed the security landscape, including since our last strategy in 2010.
First, power among states is more dynamic. The increasing use of the G-20 on global economic matters re ects an evolution in economic power, as does the rise of Asia, Latin America, and Africa. As the bal- ance of economic power changes, so do expectations about in uence over international a airs. Shifting power dynamics create both opportunities and risks for cooperation, as some states have been more willing than others to assume responsibilities commensurate with their greater economic capacity. In particular, India’s potential, China’s rise, and Russia’s aggression all signi cantly impact the future of major power relations.
Second, power is shifting below and beyond the nation-state. Governments once able to operate with few checks and balances are increasingly expected to be more accountable to sub-state and non-state actors—from mayors of mega-cities and leaders in private industry to a more empowered civil society. They are also contending with citizens enabled by technology, youth as a majority in many societies, and a growing global middle class with higher expectations for governance and economic opportunity. While largely positive, these trends can foster violent non-state actors and foment instability—especially in fragile states where governance is weak or has broken down—or invite backlash by authoritarian regimes determined to preserve the power of the state.
Third, the increasing interdependence of the global economy and rapid pace of technological change are linking individuals, groups, and governments in unprecedented ways. This enables and incentivizes new forms of cooperation to establish dynamic security networks, expand international trade and invest- ment, and transform global communications. It also creates shared vulnerabilities, as interconnected systems and sectors are susceptible to the threats of climate change, malicious cyber activity, pandemic diseases, and transnational terrorism and crime.
Fourth, a struggle for power is underway among and within many states of the Middle East and North Africa. This is a generational struggle in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war and 2011 Arab uprisings, which will rede ne the region as well as relationships among communities and between citizens and their governments. This process will continue to be combustible, especially in societies where religious extremists take root, or rulers reject democratic reforms, exploit their economies, and crush civil society.
Fifth, the global energy market has changed dramatically. The United States is now the world’s largest natural gas and oil producer. Our dependence on foreign oil is at a 20-year low—and declining—and we are leading a new clean energy economy. While production in the Middle East and elsewhere remains vitally important for the global market, increased U.S. production is helping keep markets well-supplied and prices conducive to economic growth. On the other hand, energy security concerns have been exacerbated by European dependence on Russian natural gas and the willingness of Russia to use energy for political ends. At the same time, developing countries now consume more energy than developed ones, which is altering energy ows and changing consumer relationships.
Today’s strategic environment is uid. Just as the United States helped shape the course of events in the last century, so must we in uence their trajectory today by evolving the way we exercise American leadership. This strategy outlines priorities based on a realistic assessment of the risks to our enduring national interests and the opportunities for advancing them. This strategy eschews orienting our entire foreign policy around a single threat or region. It establishes instead a diversi ed and balanced set of priorities appropriate for the world’s leading global power with interests in every part of an increasingly interconnected world.
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