New National Strategy Takes 'Whole-of-Government' Approach
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 27, 2010 – The Obama Administration has instituted a “whole-of-government” approach within the new National Security Strategy presented to Congress today.
The security strategy is the first presented by President Barack Obama, and it builds on the lessons learned from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and on the research conducted for the Quadrennial Defense Review issued in February.
The National Security Strategy is used to formulate the National Defense Strategy and the National Military Strategy.
“Our strategy starts by recognizing that our strength and influence abroad begins with the steps we take at home,” the president wrote in the foreword to the strategy. “We must grow our economy and reduce our deficit. We must educate our children to compete in an age where knowledge is capital, and the marketplace is global.”
The nation must pursue clean energy to preserve the planet and to create sustainable jobs, the president said. “We must pursue science and research that enables discovery, and unlocks wonders unforeseen to us today as the surface of the moon and the microchip were a century ago,” he said. “Simply put, we must see American innovation as a foundation of American power,” he added.
The strategy calls for integrated government agency participation to ensure national security, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said.
“One of our goals coming into the administration was … to begin to make the case that defense, diplomacy and development were not separate entities, either in substance or process, but that indeed they had to be viewed as part of an integrated whole and that the whole of government then had to be enlisted in their pursuit,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said at the Brookings Institution today.
This does not mean that the need for the military will lessen, the president said in his foreword. “Our armed forces will always be a cornerstone of our security, but they must be complemented,” he said. “Our security also depends on diplomats who can act in every corner of the world, from grand capitals to dangerous outposts; development experts who can strengthen governance and support human dignity; and intelligence and law enforcement that can unravel plots, strengthen justice systems and work seamlessly with other countries.”
Obama said the strategy calls for the United States to maintain military readiness and expand military-to-military contacts. He also calls for the country to strengthen existing alliances and to build new pathways among nations.
The strategy calls on the United States to build its economy “and to shape the global system so that it is more conducive to meeting our overriding objectives: security, prosperity, the explanation and spread of our values, and a just and sustainable international order,” Clinton said.
The threats are diverse, the secretary of state continued, and include terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, climate change, cybersecurity, energy security and many others. Responding to these threats, she said, also produces opportunities, new modes of cooperation, new capacities to improve lives and tangible efforts to bridge great gaps in understanding.
“We are in a race between the forces of integration and the forces of disintegration, and we see that every day,” Clinton said. “And part of our challenge is to define American leadership in relevant terms to the world of today and tomorrow, and not merely looking in the rearview mirror, which makes it very hard to drive forward.”
Finally, Obama said in his foreword, the strategy is based on American beliefs and values.
“Our long-term security will come not from our ability to instill fear in other peoples, but through our capacity to speak to their hopes,” he said. “And that work will best be done through the power of the decency and dignity of the American people – our troops and diplomats, but also our private sector, nongovernmental organizations and citizens. All of us have a role to play.”
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