Saturday, February 7, 2015

The New NSS: Any Shift in U.S. National Security?

Excerpt::

This strategy, however, is not designed to provide answers to complex foreign policy questions. That task has nearly become impossible amid an almost implausible number of foreign tragedies and threats. In 2014 alone, an al-Qaida network the U.S. believed it had defeated in Iraq found new life in Syria and still controls massive swaths of that region now as the Islamic State group. Russia, considered an ally in 2013, invaded the sovereignty of Ukraine early last year and annexed the Crimean peninsula. Ebola swept through West Africa, and international cyberattacks became a reality for the American public. Throughout, China continues its mysterious march to superpower status with claims it will sail nuclear submarines to key points around the globe.
“It’s not a political document, it’s a strategic document that reflects a broader strategy of smart people within the U.S. government and how they see world issues,” says Johan Bergenas, deputy director of the Stimson Center's Managing Across Boundaries Initiative. “It’s really a reflection of a broader group of people who are in charge of U.S. policy.”
But the question is - Is it really a strategy?  (In defense of the Administration I do not think any administration has really produced a strategy for execution in any of the NSS's since 1987).


I do think that it is worth comparing the NSS with Reagan's NSDD 32 US National Security Strategy from 1982: 
http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsdd/nsdd-32.pdf

This is also an interesting document:  NSDD 277 National Policy and Strategy for Low Intensity Conflict at this link: http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsdd/nsdd-277.pdf


In defense the above documents were formerly classified documents but they were much more succinct with clear objectives and priorities and seem to be executable.  This is unlike every NSS since 1987 that has been more aspirational than strategy.  But I think the NSDD 277 has more application to today's world that one might think despite the use of the term Low Intensity Conflict.  It is too bad that the portions on support to resistance are redacted though I think what was not redacted is very instructive (we could certainly apply this to resistance movements we are trying to support or considering supporting around the world)








The New NSS: Any Shift in U.S. National Security?

New strategy offers much-needed perspective currently absent in Washington, says National Security Adviser Susan Rice.


White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice speaks at the Brookings Institution Feb. 6, 2015, in Washington, D.C. Rice participated in a discussion on "The United States National Security Strategy," which was release by the Obama administration on Friday.

White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice discusses the U.S. National Security Strategy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
By Feb. 6, 2015 | 4:00 p.m. EST+ More
Anyone looking for specific direction on what the U.S. government hopes to achieve abroad, and how it plans to achieve it, likely won't receive any more clarity as of Friday.
The administration released its National Security Strategy, a document that outlines the president's priorities but focuses more on broad and lofty goals for America's place in the world than on a specific plan for resolving today's crises.
The strategy, while reiterating oft-repeated themes from President Barack Obama's two terms in office, was issued amid widespread criticisms that White House foreign policies are, at best, vague.
During testimony last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, some of America's most influential military commanders of the last decade echoed the concern that the U.S. needs a “refreshed national security strategy.”
“We’ve disappointed a lot of friends out there, from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh, from Tel Aviv to Cairo,” said Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis, a former chief of U.S. Central Command, .
Obama was elected twice on a mandate of bringing American forces home from protracted Middle East wars and focusing instead on the Asia Pacific region. That narrative was the crux of his last National Security Strategy released in May 2010, just over a year after he first assumed office.
The commander-in-chief’s latest version, released Friday doesn’t stray much from those priorities: “Advance Our Rebalance to Asia and the Pacific” remains the top point under the key “International Order” section of the document. Strengthening alliances with Europe is the second, followed by security and stability in the Middle East and North Africa.
This strategy, however, is not designed to provide answers to complex foreign policy questions. That task has nearly become impossible amid an almost implausible number of foreign tragedies and threats. In 2014 alone, an al-Qaida network the U.S. believed it had defeated in Iraq found new life in Syria and still controls massive swaths of that region now as the Islamic State group. Russia, considered an ally in 2013, invaded the sovereignty of Ukraine early last year and annexed the Crimean peninsula. Ebola swept through West Africa, and international cyberattacks became a reality for the American public. Throughout, China continues its mysterious march to superpower status with claims it will sail nuclear submarines to key points around the globe.
(Continued at the link below)

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