USA — New National Strategy Takes ‘Whole-of-Government’ Approach

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2010 — The Oba­ma Admin­is­tra­tion has insti­tut­ed a “whole-of-gov­ern­ment” approach with­in the new Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Strat­e­gy pre­sent­ed to Con­gress today.

The secu­ri­ty strat­e­gy is the first pre­sent­ed by Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma, and it builds on the lessons learned from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and on the research con­duct­ed for the Qua­dren­ni­al Defense Review issued in February. 

The Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Strat­e­gy is used to for­mu­late the Nation­al Defense Strat­e­gy and the Nation­al Mil­i­tary Strategy. 

“Our strat­e­gy starts by rec­og­niz­ing that our strength and influ­ence abroad begins with the steps we take at home,” the pres­i­dent wrote in the fore­word to the strat­e­gy. “We must grow our econ­o­my and reduce our deficit. We must edu­cate our chil­dren to com­pete in an age where knowl­edge is cap­i­tal, and the mar­ket­place is global.” 

The nation must pur­sue clean ener­gy to pre­serve the plan­et and to cre­ate sus­tain­able jobs, the pres­i­dent said. “We must pur­sue sci­ence and research that enables dis­cov­ery, and unlocks won­ders unfore­seen to us today as the sur­face of the moon and the microchip were a cen­tu­ry ago,” he said. “Sim­ply put, we must see Amer­i­can inno­va­tion as a foun­da­tion of Amer­i­can pow­er,” he added. 

The strat­e­gy calls for inte­grat­ed gov­ern­ment agency par­tic­i­pa­tion to ensure nation­al secu­ri­ty, Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton said. 

“One of our goals com­ing into the admin­is­tra­tion was … to begin to make the case that defense, diplo­ma­cy and devel­op­ment were not sep­a­rate enti­ties, either in sub­stance or process, but that indeed they had to be viewed as part of an inte­grat­ed whole and that the whole of gov­ern­ment then had to be enlist­ed in their pur­suit,” Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton said at the Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion today. 

This does not mean that the need for the mil­i­tary will lessen, the pres­i­dent said in his fore­word. “Our armed forces will always be a cor­ner­stone of our secu­ri­ty, but they must be com­ple­ment­ed,” he said. “Our secu­ri­ty also depends on diplo­mats who can act in every cor­ner of the world, from grand cap­i­tals to dan­ger­ous out­posts; devel­op­ment experts who can strength­en gov­er­nance and sup­port human dig­ni­ty; and intel­li­gence and law enforce­ment that can unrav­el plots, strength­en jus­tice sys­tems and work seam­less­ly with oth­er coun­tries.” Oba­ma said the strat­e­gy calls for the Unit­ed States to main­tain mil­i­tary readi­ness and expand mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary con­tacts. He also calls for the coun­try to strength­en exist­ing alliances and to build new path­ways among nations. 

The strat­e­gy calls on the Unit­ed States to build its econ­o­my “and to shape the glob­al sys­tem so that it is more con­ducive to meet­ing our over­rid­ing objec­tives: secu­ri­ty, pros­per­i­ty, the expla­na­tion and spread of our val­ues, and a just and sus­tain­able inter­na­tion­al order,” Clin­ton said. 

The threats are diverse, the sec­re­tary of state con­tin­ued, and include ter­ror­ism, pro­lif­er­a­tion of weapons of mass destruc­tion and the means to deliv­er them, cli­mate change, cyber­se­cu­ri­ty, ener­gy secu­ri­ty and many oth­ers. Respond­ing to these threats, she said, also pro­duces oppor­tu­ni­ties, new modes of coop­er­a­tion, new capac­i­ties to improve lives and tan­gi­ble efforts to bridge great gaps in understanding. 

“We are in a race between the forces of inte­gra­tion and the forces of dis­in­te­gra­tion, and we see that every day,” Clin­ton said. “And part of our chal­lenge is to define Amer­i­can lead­er­ship in rel­e­vant terms to the world of today and tomor­row, and not mere­ly look­ing in the rearview mir­ror, which makes it very hard to dri­ve for­ward.” Final­ly, Oba­ma said in his fore­word, the strat­e­gy is based on Amer­i­can beliefs and values. 

“Our long-term secu­ri­ty will come not from our abil­i­ty to instill fear in oth­er peo­ples, but through our capac­i­ty to speak to their hopes,” he said. “And that work will best be done through the pow­er of the decen­cy and dig­ni­ty of the Amer­i­can peo­ple – our troops and diplo­mats, but also our pri­vate sec­tor, non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions and cit­i­zens. All of us have a role to play.” 

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

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