US launches new National Security Strategy

On Monday 18 December the Trump Administration published its new National Security Strategy (NSS), which will largely frame US foreign policy objectives during this Administration and builds upon the President’s emphasis of an ‘America First’ strategic policy direction. In the context of the current, ongoing UK Government National Security Capability Review and the close, critical relationship between the UK and US on national security matters, I provide a summary of the US NSS below.

The NSS is built around four central ‘pillars’:

  • Protect the homeland, the American people, and American way of life

The NSS highlights that ‘revisionist powers’ such as Russia and China use various means, including propaganda and information tools, to shape a world antithetical to American values. Significant challenges to US national security are also posed by regional dictators, jihadist terrorists and transnational criminal organisations.

In order to counter these threats, the US aims to target them at their source and away from US borders, while redouble efforts to protect critical infrastructure and digital networks in response to rapidly evolving adversaries and technologies, including through cooperation with private sector industry.

  • Promote American prosperity

The NSS focuses heavily on economic prosperity, which it directly links to US national security, and highlights that it will no longer tolerate ‘chronic’ trade abuses or ‘economic aggressions’, instead focusing on fair and reciprocal trade. The NSS acknowledges the importance of being world-leaders in research, technology and innovation, while highlighting the threat from malicious practices such as the theft of intellectual property. In terms of interaction with private industry, the US recognises that it must improve collaboration with both industry and academia in order to recruit the best technical talent. Additionally, the US intends to use its ‘dominance’ in energy markets, including through domestic resources, to ensure that the markets remain open. The NSS does not highlight climate change as a threat to national security.

  • Preserve peace through strength

The NSS highlights the Administration’s intention to retain its global military dominance, while developing additional capabilities in rapidly-evolving areas, such as space and cyber, and demonstrates the expectation that US allies do more to assume the cost of tackling shared threats. The NSS makes clear the Administration’s willingness to use a variety of means, including diplomatic, information, military and economic, to defend and promote US interests in the current area of strategic competitiveness.

  • Advance American influence

The NSS makes clear that overseas efforts, both diplomatic and developmental, will be in the interests of defending American interests, finding new opportunities for the US or challenging the US’s competitors. While championing American values, the US plans to seek alliances and partnerships to promote free-market economies and private sector growth.

To read the full NSS please click here.