President Obama’s National Security Strategy in 2015: Strong and Sustainable American Leadership

February 7, 2015

President Barack Obama released an updated national security strategy (NSS) on Friday that committed the United States to lead on pressing world issues but reflected his cautious policy toward foreign intervention. The 29-page memo to Congress, required under law, broadly outlined Obama’s foreign policy priorities for the final two years of his presidency.

Obama described the most pressing challenges of violent extremism, Russian aggression, cyber-attacks and climate change and said they were best addressed by mobilizing international coalitions. But he said the United States needed “strategic patience and persistence” as it does not have infinite resources and said many problems could not be resolved through military might. “We must always resist the overreach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear” Obama said.

„Strong and sustained American leadership remains essential, as ever. Think for a minute where the world would be today without decisive U.S. leadership. Ebola would be spreading throughout West Africa and likely to far corners of the world. Instead, America galvanized the world to roll back this horrible disease. Without us, Russia would be suffering no cost for its actions in Ukraine. Instead, the ruble is in a free fall, and Russia is paying dearly for flaunting the rules. Without us, there would be no military campaign or sixty countries countering ISIL’s advance. There would be no prospect for a global deal on climate change; no pressure for Iran to be at the negotiating table; and, no potential for trade that meets a higher standard for our workers and businesses„.

“President Obama’s 2015 National Security Strategy provides a comprehensive blueprint for defending and advancing America’s interests at home and around the world” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement. “It is clear-eyed about our nation’s challenges as well as our strategic opportunities”. “The strategy wisely calls for drawing on all the sources of our national power — including the unrivaled strength and resilience of America’s economy, diplomacy, and military, as well as our values — to strengthen and sustain America’s global leadership” he said.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also issued a statement. “The United States retains the world’s pre-eminent military, but we cannot take it for granted, given the complex threats we face in today’s turbulent world” he said.

Read the US President’s National Security Strategy 2015 here.

There are the 4 key ways by US will advance a strong and sustained American leadership: 

1. The security of the United States, its citizens, and U.S. allies and partners by: 

  1. Maintaining a national defense that is the best trained, equipped, and led force in the world
  2. Reinforcing our homeland security to protect Americans from terrorist attacks and natural hazards
  3. Striving for a world without nuclear weapons and ensuring nuclear materials don’t fall into the wrong hands
  4. Developing a global capacity to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to biological threats like Ebola through the Global Health Security Agenda

Read the other key ways the President’s plan enhances our security here

2. A strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system by: 

  1. Strengthening American energy security and increasing global access to reliable and affordable energy to bolster economic growth and development worldwide
  2. Advancing a trade agenda — including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – that creates good American jobs and shared prosperity
  3. Leading efforts to reduce extreme poverty, food insecurity, and preventable deaths with initiatives such as Feed the Future and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

Read the other key ways the President’s plan promotes economic opportunity and prosperity here

3. Respect for universal values at home and around the world by: 

  1. Holding ourselves to the highest possible standard by living our values at home even as we do what is necessary to keep our people safe and our allies secure
  2. Leading the way in confronting the corruption by promoting adherence to standards of accountable and transparent governance
  3. Leading the international community to prevent and respond to human rights abuses and mass atrocities as well as gender-based violence and discrimination against LGBT persons

Read the other key ways the President’s plan encourages respect for universal values here

4. An international order that promotes peace, security, and oppor­tunity through stronger cooperation by:

  1. Strengthening and growing our global alliances and partnerships, forging diverse coalitions, and leading at the United Nations and other multilateral organizations
  2. Pursuing a stable Middle East and North Africa by countering terrorism, preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and reducing the underlying sources of conflict
  3. Promoting a prosperous, secure, and democratic Western Hemisphere by expanding integration and leveraging a new opening to Cuba to expand our engagement

Read the other key ways the President’s plan promotes stronger partnerships and cooperation here.

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