USA — Biden: Strategy Pillars Will Ensure America’s Security

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The new U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Strat­e­gy, unveiled yes­ter­day, rec­og­nizes that America’s strength is based on all ele­ments of nation­al pow­er, and the pow­er of its exam­ple to the world, Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden said today at the U.S. Naval Acad­e­my here.

Speak­ing to the 2010 grad­u­at­ing class, Biden said the four pil­lars of the new strat­e­gy are designed to “guar­an­tee America’s con­tin­ued ascen­den­cy in the 21st cen­tu­ry [and] to guar­an­tee our secu­ri­ty.”

Biden out­lined these four basic prin­ci­ples: strength­en­ing the U.S. econ­o­my; mar­shalling non-mil­i­tary as well as mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties; build­ing and strength­en­ing U.S. alliances and part­ner­ships around the world; and remain­ing true to America’s foun­da­tion­al val­ues.

“A strong econ­o­my is the only foun­da­tion on which we can build a guar­an­tee for our nation­al secu­ri­ty,” he said, cit­ing broad eco­nom­ic ini­tia­tives under way. “Our strength and influ­ence all depends on our eco­nom­ic pros­per­i­ty and ele­va­tion.”

Biden reit­er­at­ed Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s recog­ni­tion dur­ing his grad­u­a­tion address last week at the U.S. Mil­i­tary Acad­e­my at West Point, N.Y.: “At no time in human his­to­ry has a nation of dimin­ished eco­nom­ic vital­i­ty main­tained its mil­i­tary or polit­i­cal pri­ma­cy.”

The new secu­ri­ty strat­e­gy also rec­og­nizes the impor­tance of using “all the arrows in the quiver” – apply­ing all instru­ments of U.S. nation­al pow­er — to main­tain secu­ri­ty, he not­ed.

“Our mil­i­tary capac­i­ty is absolute­ly nec­es­sary, but not in and of itself suf­fi­cient to guar­an­tee our secu­ri­ty,” he told the grad­u­ates.

Diplo­ma­cy, devel­op­ment, edu­ca­tion, and eco­nom­ic, intel­li­gence and law enforce­ment ini­tia­tives also are key in address­ing chal­lenges before they esca­late, he explained.

“Although we reserve the right to act pre­emp­tive­ly,” he said, “we will strive to stop crises before they start, to avoid when­ev­er we can the choice of last resort of the dan­ger in action.”

The strat­e­gy seeks to build on a long his­to­ry of estab­lish­ing strong mil­i­tary alliances and effec­tive inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions that Biden called crit­i­cal to deal­ing with glob­al chal­lenges.

“The threats we face, from pan­dem­ic dis­ease to ter­ror­ism, … have no respect for bor­ders,” he said. “To defeat them requires respon­si­ble nations to set down rules of con­duct for the 21st cen­tu­ry… [and to] insist that oth­er nations, along with us, enforce those rules of con­duct.”

In its pur­suit of nation­al secu­ri­ty, the Unit­ed States can’t lose sight of its val­ues that have sus­tained it since its found­ing, Biden empha­sized.

“Our own strength lies not in the exam­ple of our pow­er, but the pow­er of our exam­ple,” he told the grad­u­at­ing class.

Biden reject­ed the notion that the Unit­ed States has to choose between its safe­ty and its ideals in the face of those who seek to threat­en its way of life. “If we yield on our ideals, they will have already won,” he said.

The vice pres­i­dent not­ed that the vast major­i­ty of the world looks to the Unit­ed States for inspi­ra­tion. “That is why we can­not under­mine our strength by com­pro­mis­ing those val­ues in the name of secu­ri­ty,” he said. “They ulti­mate­ly are our secu­ri­ty.

“In the broad strug­gle against extrem­ism, uphold­ing our val­ues makes us stronger,” he con­tin­ued. “Com­pro­mis­ing them is what makes us weak­er and yield­ing.”

Biden rec­og­nized the val­ues instilled at the Naval Acad­e­my – hon­or, courage and com­mit­ment – and said they’re the same ideals that define Amer­i­ca. “Our ideals are what make us the great­est nation in the his­to­ry of mankind,” he said. “And ulti­mate­ly, they are a pow­er­ful incen­tive for the world to respond.”

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