Chairman’s Corner: 2011 National Military Strategy

By Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2011 — Today, I released the 2011 Nation­al Mil­i­tary Strat­e­gy, which pro­vides a vision for how our Joint Force will pro­vide the mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ty to pro­tect the Amer­i­can Peo­ple, defend our Nation and allies, and con­tribute to our broad­er peace, secu­ri­ty and pros­per­i­ty.
While we con­tin­ue to refine how we counter vio­lent extrem­ism and deter aggres­sion, this strat­e­gy also right­ful­ly empha­sizes that our mil­i­tary pow­er is most effec­tive when employed in con­cert with oth­er ele­ments of pow­er. This whole-of-nation approach to for­eign pol­i­cy, with civil­ian lead­er­ship appro­pri­ate­ly at the helm, will be essen­tial as we address the com­plex secu­ri­ty chal­lenges before us.

This strat­e­gy also acknowl­edges that while tough near-term choic­es must be made dur­ing this era of broad­er eco­nom­ic con­straints, we will con­tin­ue to invest in our peo­ple and our fam­i­lies. Work­ing with our gov­ern­ment and inter­a­gency part­ners, and our friends and allies, they, most of all, will bring this strat­e­gy to life as we meet our 21st cen­tu­ry respon­si­bil­i­ties in a dynam­ic, yet uncer­tain, future. 

New Strat­e­gy Calls for Rede­fined Lead­er­ship

By Jim Gara­mone
Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice
WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2011 — The first revi­sion in sev­en years of the Nation­al Mil­i­tary Strat­e­gy calls for redefin­ing lead­er­ship in a chang­ing world. 

The doc­u­ment released here today is the first revi­sion since 2004 of the ways and means that the mil­i­tary will advance U.S. nation­al inter­ests. It builds on the 2010 Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Strat­e­gy and the objec­tives in the lat­est Qua­dren­ni­al Defense Review. 

“Our mil­i­tary pow­er is most effec­tive when employed in sup­port and in con­cert with oth­er ele­ments of pow­er as part of whole-of-nation approach­es to for­eign pol­i­cy,” Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in the strat­e­gy. “This strat­e­gy is designed to meet the expec­ta­tions of the Amer­i­can peo­ple that their mil­i­tary reflect the best of this great nation at home and abroad.” 

Chang­ing lead­er­ship in this whole-of-nation con­cept is key to the strat­e­gy. “This strat­e­gy acknowl­edges the need for mil­i­tary lead­er­ship that is rede­fined for an increas­ing­ly com­plex strate­gic envi­ron­ment,” it says. Mil­i­tary lead­er­ship will empha­size mutu­al respon­si­bil­i­ty and respect and will require a full spec­trum of lead­er­ship approach­es – facil­i­ta­tor, enabler, con­ven­er and guarantor. 

The Nation­al Mil­i­tary Objec­tives are designed to counter vio­lent extrem­ism, deter and defeat aggres­sion, strength­en inter­na­tion­al and region­al secu­ri­ty and shape the future force. Vio­lent extrem­ism direct­ly threat­ens Amer­i­cans, their way of life, and America’s vital inter­ests, the strat­e­gy says. Al-Qai­da is the main group, and it remains a threat. The mil­i­tary will con­tin­ue to work with NATO and allies in Afghanistan to pur­sue the Tal­iban, strength­en the Afghan gov­ern­ment, and train and equip Afghan secu­ri­ty forces. 

Vio­lent extrem­ists work in oth­er parts of the globe from Colom­bia to Indone­sia and Chech­nya to Soma­lia. The inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty must address the root cause of dri­ving peo­ple toward extrem­ism, the strat­e­gy says. Oper­a­tions to kill ter­ror­ists buy time but aren’t deci­sive, it says. 

“We must con­tin­ue to sup­port and facil­i­tate whole-of-nation approach­es to coun­ter­ing extrem­ism that seek and sus­tain region­al part­ner­ships with respon­si­ble states to erode ter­ror­ists’ sup­port and sources or legit­i­ma­cy,” the strat­e­gy says. 

Deter­rence is not just a strat­e­gy left over from the Cold War. As long as nuclear weapons exist, the Unit­ed States must main­tain a cred­i­ble deter­rence force against weapons of mass destruction. 

But deter­rence does­n’t always work, and the mil­i­tary mis­sion must remain to fight and win wars. The Unit­ed States must counter poten­tial adver­saries with anti-access and oth­er strate­gies that include defend­ing space and cyberspace. 

The biggest change in the strat­e­gy is the empha­sis on strength­en­ing inter­na­tion­al and region­al secu­ri­ty. Under the revi­sion, the Unit­ed States can stand alone if need­ed, but the strat­e­gy sees the future in coali­tions. U.S. forces will remain glob­al­ly posi­tioned, and be able to use for­eign bases, ports and airfields. 

The Unit­ed States will con­tin­ue to work with respon­si­ble coun­tries and in alliances. NATO will remain its bedrock alliance, but Amer­i­cans will work with the African Union, the Asso­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Nations and oth­er groups to pro­mote mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary relations. 

A senior mil­i­tary offi­cial speak­ing on back­ground said the Asia-Pacif­ic will be of greater impor­tance. “There are two ris­ing pow­ers – India and Chi­na – and a num­ber of region­al­ly pow­er­ful nations,” he said. 

There may be a migra­tion of U.S. capa­bil­i­ties in the region. “That may not nec­es­sar­i­ly mean more troops, but the dis­tri­b­u­tion may change,” he said. 

Peo­ple are the beat­ing heart that put sinews into the strat­e­gy. “To shape the future force, we must grow lead­ers who can tru­ly out-think and out-inno­vate adver­saries while gain­ing trust, under­stand­ing and coop­er­a­tion from our part­ners in an ever more com­plex and dynam­ic envi­ron­ment,” the strat­e­gy says. 

Lead­ers must be flex­i­ble, agile and adapt­able, it says. 

The strat­e­gy also reminds that nations incur a debt to those who serve. “Just as our ser­vice mem­bers com­mit to the nation when they vol­un­teer to serve, we incur an equal­ly bind­ing pledge to return them to soci­ety as bet­ter cit­i­zens,” it says. “We must safe­guard ser­vice mem­bers’ pay and ben­e­fits, pro­vide fam­i­ly sup­port and care for our wound­ed warriors.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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