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NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

I. AMERICA'S SECURITY IN THE 21st CENTURY

A. AMERICA'S ROLE IN THE WORLD

America is a nation at war. We face a diverse set of security challenges.

Yet, we still live in an era of advantage and opportunity. We also possess uniquely effective military capabilities that we are seeking to transform to meet future challenges.

As directed by the President in his 2002 National Security Strategy, we will use our position "to build a safer, better world that favors human freedom, democracy, and free enterprise." Our security and that of our international partners-our allies and friends-is based on a common commitment to peace, freedom, and economic opportunity. In cooperation with our international partners, we can build a more peaceful and secure international order in which the . sovereignty of nations is respected.

The United States and its allies and partners have a strong interest in protecting the sovereignty of nation states. In the secure international order that we seek, states must be able to effectively govern themselves and order their affairs as their citizens see fit. Nevertheless, they must exercise their sovereignty responsibly, in conformity with the customary principles of international law, as well as with any additional obligations that they have freely accepted.

It is unacceptable for regimes to use the principle of sovereignty as a shield behind which they claim to be free to engage in activities that pose enormous threats to their citizens, neighbors, or the rest of the international community.

While the security threats of the 20'h century arose from powerful states that embarked on aggressive courses, the key dimensions of the 21st century-globalization and the potential proliferation of weapons of mass destruction-mean great dangers may arise in and emanate from relatively weak states and ungoverned areas. The U.S., its allies, and partners must remain vigilant to those states that lack the capacity to govern activity within their borders. Sovereign states are obligated to work to ensure that their territories are not used as bases for attacks on others.

Despite our strategic advantages, we are vulnerable to challenges ranging from external attacks to indirect threats posed by aggression and dangerous instability. Some enemies may seek to terrorize our population and destroy our way of life, while others will try to 1) limit our global freedom to act, 2) dominate key regions, or 3) attempt to make prohibitive the costs of meeting various U.S. international commitments.

The United States follows a strategy that aims to preserve and extend peace, freedom; and prosperity throughout the world. The attacks of 9/11 gave us greater clarity on the challenges that confront us. U.S. officials and the public saw then that, without resolute action, even more harmful attacks would likely occur in the future. A reactive or defensive approach would not allow the United States to secure itself and preserve our way of life as a free and open society. Thus, the United States is committed to an active defense of the nation and its interests. This new approach is evident in the war on terrorism.

The United States and its partners have made progress in the war on terrorism through an unprecedented level of international cooperation. More than 170 countries are engaged in activities ranging from freezing terrorist assets to sharing intelligence to providing combat forces for coalition operations. In Afghanistan, a multinational coalition defeated a regime that provided one of the world's principal havens for terrorists. In Iraq, an American led effort toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein a tyrant who used WMD, supported terrorists, terrorized his population, and threatened his neighbors.

Experience in the war on terrorism has underscored the need for a changed defense establishment one postured both for extended conflict and continuous transformation. This demands an adaptive strategy, predicated on creating and seizing opportunities and contending with challenges through an active, layered defense of the nation and its interests.




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