National Security Strategy of the United States

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The National Security Strategy is a document prepared periodically by the executive branch of the government of the United States for Congress which outlines the major national security concerns of the United States and how the administration plans to deal with them. The legal foundation for the document is spelled out in the Goldwater-Nichols Act. The document is purposely general in content (contrast with the National Military Strategy, NMS) and its implementation relies on elaborating guidance provided in supporting documents (including the NMS).


Previous National Security Strategies

The National Security Strategy issued on September 17, 2002 was released in the midst of controversy over the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war which is contained therein. It also contains the notion of military pre-eminence that was reflected in a Department of Defense paper of 1992, "Defense Policy Guidance", prepared by two principal authors (Paul Wolfowitz and I. Lewis Libby) working under then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. The NSS 2002 also repeats and re-emphasizes past initiatives aimed at providing substantial foreign aid to countries that are moving towards Western-style democracy, with the "ambitious and specific target" of "doubl[ing] the size of the world's poorest economies within a decade." [NSS 2002, p. 21].

The Bush doctrine emerges in the context of moving from the old Cold War doctrine of deterrence to a pro-active attempt to adjust policy to the realities of the current situation where the threat is just as likely to come from a terrorist group such as al-Qaeda as from a nation state such as Iraq or Iran.[1]

The document also treats AIDS as a threat to national security, promising substantial effort

The 2010 National Security Strategy

On May 26, 2010, the latest National Security Strategy was issued by President Barack Obama.[2] The new Strategy was referred to by United Nations ambassador Susan Rice as a "dramatic departure" from its predecessor.[3] The Strategy advocated increased engagement with Russia, China and India.[4] The Strategy also identified nuclear non-proliferation and climate change as priorities,[5] while noting that the United States's security depended on reviving its economy.[6] The drafters of the new Strategy made a conscious decision to remove terms such as "Islamic radicalism", instead speaking of terrorism generally.[7]

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