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NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

II. A DEFENSE STRATEGY FOR THE 21st CENTURY

This National Defense Strategy outlines how DoD will support broader U.S. efforts to create conditions conducive to a secure international system as the President's National Security Strategy states, a balance of power that favors freedom. Such conditions include the effective and responsible exercise of sovereignty, representative governance, peaceful resolution of regional disputes, and open and competitive markets.

Our strategic circumstances are far different today from those of the Cold War.

Today, we enjoy significant advantages vis--vis prospective competitors, including an unprecedented capacity for constructive international leadership.

However, as described in Section I, we remain vulnerable to security challenges. We have learned that an unrivaled capacity to respond to traditional challenges is no longer sufcient. The consequences of even a single catastrophic attack, for example, are unthinkable. Therefore, we must confront challenges earlier and more comprehensively, before they are allowed to mature.

We aim, by various means, to preclude the emergence of the gravest dangers. The Defense Department's capabilities are only one component of a comprehensive national and international effort. For example, battlefield success is only one element of our long term, multi faceted campaign against terrorism. Our activities range from training and humanitarian efforts to major combat operations. Non military components of this campaign include diplomacy, strategic communications, law enforcement operations, and economic sanctions.

A. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

1. SECURE THE UNITED STATES FROM DIRECT ATTACK

The September 11th attacks caused the United States to recognize it was at war. Our enemy is a complex network of ideologically driven extremist actors. They have used various means-and some are working to develop catastrophic capabilities-to terrorize our population, undermine our partnerships, and erode our global influence. The danger of catastrophic violence dictates a new strategic imperative: we will actively confront-when possible, early and at safe distance-those who directly threaten us, employing all instruments of our national power.


We will give top priority to dissuading,
deterring, and defeating those who seek to
harm the United States directly, especially
extremist enemies with weapons of mass
destruction.

2. SECURE STRATEGIC ACCESS AND RETAIN GLOBAL FREEDOM OF ACTION

The United States cannot influence that which it cannot reach. Securing strategic access to key regions, lines of communication, and the global commons:

  • Promotes the security and prosperity of the United States;

  • Ensures freedom of action;

  • Helps secure our partners; and

  • Helps protect the integrity of the international economic system.


We will promote the security, prosperity and
freedom of action of the United States and its
partners by securing access to key regions,
lines of communication, and the global
commons.

3. STRENGTHEN ALLIANCES AND PARTNERSHIPS

A secure international system requires collective action. The United States has an interest in broad based and capable partnerships with like minded states. Therefore, we are strengthening security relationships with traditional allies and friends, developing new international partnerships, and working to increase the capabilities of our partners to contend with common challenges.


We will expand the community of nations that
share principles and interests with us, and we
will help partners increase their capacity to
defend themselves and collectively meet
challenges to our common interests.

4. ESTABLISH FAVORABLE SECURITY CONDITIONS

The United States will counter aggression or coercion targeted at our partners and interests. Further, where dangerous political instability, aggression, or extremism threatens fundamental security interests, the United States will act with others to strengthen peace.


We will create conditions conducive to a
favorable international system by
honoring our security commitments and
working with others to bring about a
common appreciation of threats; the steps
required to protect against these threats;
and a broad, secure, and lasting peace.




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