2008 National Defense Strategy
|Reading - Military|
|August 04 2008|
Page 2 of 5
The Strategic Environment
For the foreseeable future, this environment will be defined by a global struggle against a violent extremist ideology that seeks to overturn the international state system. Beyond this transnational struggle, we face other threats, including a variety of irregular challenges, the quest by rogue states for nuclear weapons, and the rising military power of other states. These are long-term challenges. Success in dealing with them will require the orchestration of national and international power over years or decades to come.
Violent extremist movements such as al-Qaeda and its associates comprise a complex and urgent challenge. Like communism and fascism before it, today’s violent extremist ideology rejects the rules and structures of the international system. Its adherents reject state sovereignty, ignore borders, and attempt to deny self-determination and human dignity wherever they gain power. These extremists opportunistically exploit respect for these norms for their own purposes, hiding behind international norms and national laws when it suits them, and attempting to subvert them when it does not. Combating these violent groups will require longterm, innovative approaches.
The inability of many states to police themselves effectively or to work with their neighbors to ensure regional security represents a challenge to the international system. Armed sub-national groups, including but not limited to those inspired by violent extremism, threaten the stability and legitimacy of key states. If left unchecked, such instability can spread and threaten regions of interest to the United States, our allies, and friends. Insurgent groups and other non-state actors frequently exploit local geographical, political, or social conditions to establish safe havens from which they can operate with impunity. Ungoverned, undergoverned, misgoverned, and contested areas offer fertile ground for such groups to exploit the gaps in governance capacity of local regimes to undermine local stability and regional security. Addressing this problem will require local partnerships and creative approaches to deny extremists the opportunity to gain footholds.
Rogue states such as Iran and North Korea similarly threaten international order. The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism and is attempting to disrupt the fledgling democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology and enrichment capabilities poses a serious challenge to security in an already volatile region. The North Korean regime also poses a serious nuclear and missile proliferation concern for the U.S. and other responsible international stakeholders. The regime threatens the Republic of Korea with its military and its neighbors with its missiles. Moreover, North Korea creates instability with its illicit activity, such as counterfeiting U.S. currency and trafficking in narcotics, and brutal treatment of its own people.
We must also consider the possibility of challenges by more powerful states. Some may actively seek to counter the United States in some or all domains of traditional warfare or to gain an advantage by developing capabilities that offset our own. Others may choose niche areas of military capability and competition in which they believe they can develop a strategic or operational advantage. That some of these potential competitors also are partners in any number of diplomatic, commercial, and security efforts will only make these relationships more difficult to manage.
China is one ascendant state with the potential for competing with the United States. For the foreseeable future, we will need to hedge against China’s growing military modernization and the impact of its strategic choices upon international security. It is likely that China will continue to expand its conventional military capabilities, emphasizing anti-access and area denial assets including developing a full range of long-range strike, space, and information warfare capabilities.
Our interaction with China will be long-term and multi-dimensional and will involve peacetime engagement between defense establishments as much as fielded combat capabilities. The objective of this effort is to mitigate near term challenges while preserving and enhancing U.S. national advantages over time.
Russia’s retreat from openness and democracy could have significant security implications for the United States, our European allies, and our partners in other regions. Russia has leveraged the revenue from, and access to, its energy sources; asserted claims in the Arctic; and has continued to bully its neighbors, all of which are causes for concern. Russia also has begun to take a more active military stance, such as the renewal of long-range bomber flights, and has withdrawn from arms control and force reduction treaties, and even threatened to target countries hosting potential U.S. anti-missile bases. Furthermore, Moscow has signaled an increasing reliance on nuclear weapons as a foundation of its security. All of these actions suggest a Russia exploring renewed influence, and seeking a greater international role.
U.S. dominance in conventional warfare has given prospective adversaries, particularly non-state actors and their state sponsors, strong motivation to adopt asymmetric methods to counter our advantages. For this reason, we must display a mastery of irregular warfare comparable to that which we possess in conventional combat. Our adversaries also seek to develop or acquire catastrophic capabilities: chemical, biological, and especially nuclear weapons. In addition, they may develop disruptive technologies in an attempt to offset U.S. advantages. For example, the development and proliferation of anti-access technology and weaponry is worrisome as it can restrict our future freedom of action. These challenges could come not only in the obvious forms we see today but also in less traditional forms of influence such as manipulating global opinion using mass communications venues and exploiting international commitments and legal avenues. Meeting these challenges require better and more diverse capabilities in both hard and soft power, and greater flexibility and skill in employing them. These modes of warfare may appear individually or in combination, spanning the spectrum of warfare and intertwining hard and soft power. In some instances, we may not learn that a conflict is underway until it is well advanced and our options limited. We must develop better intelligence capabilities to detect, recognize, and analyze new forms of warfare as well as explore joint approaches and strategies to counter them.
Increasingly, the Department will have to plan for a future security environment shaped by the interaction of powerful strategic trends. These trends suggest a range of plausible futures, some presenting major challenges and security risks. Over the next twenty years physical pressures – population, resource, energy, climatic and environmental – could combine with rapid social, cultural, technological and geopolitical change to create greater uncertainty. This uncertainty is exacerbated by both the unprecedented speed and scale of change, as well as by the unpredictable and complex interaction among the trends themselves. Globalization and growing economic interdependence, while creating new levels of wealth and opportunity, also create a web of interrelated vulnerabilities and spread risks even further, increasing sensitivity to crises and shocks around the globe and generating more uncertainty regarding their speed and effect.
Current defense policy must account for these areas of uncertainty. As we plan, we must take account of the implications of demographic trends, particularly population growth in much of the developing world and the population deficit in much of the developed world. The interaction of these changes with existing and future resource, environmental, and climate pressures may generate new security challenges. Furthermore, as the relative balance of economic and military power between states shifts, some propelled forward by economic development and resource endowment, others held back by physical pressures or economic and political stagnation, new fears and insecurities will arise, presenting new risks for the international community.
These risks will require managing the divergent needs of massively increasing energy demand to maintain economic development and the need to tackle climate change. Collectively, these developments pose a new range of challenges for states and societies. These trends will affect existing security concerns such as international terrorism and weapons proliferation. At the same time, overlaying these trends will be developments within science and technology, which, while presenting some potential threats, suggest a range of positive developments that may reduce many of the pressures and risks suggested by physical trends. How these trends interact and the nature of the shocks they might generate is uncertain; the fact that they will influence the future security environment is not.
Whenever possible, the Department will position itself both to respond to and reduce uncertainty. This means we must continue to improve our understanding of trends, their interaction, and the range of risks the Department may be called upon to respond to or manage. We should act to reduce risks by shaping the development of trends through the decisions we make regarding the equipment and capabilities we develop and the security cooperation, reassurance, dissuasion, deterrence, and operational activities we pursue. The Department should also develop the military capability and capacity to hedge against uncertainty, and the institutional agility and flexibility to plan early and respond effectively alongside interdepartmental, non-governmental and international partners.
|Last Updated ( August 04 2008 )|
|Aerospace Manufacturing and Design|
|Beverage World Magazine|
|Supply & Demand Chain Executive|
|NASA Tech Briefs|
|Renewable Energy World|
|Free Download Film|
|Sex for Dummies|
|The Old Man and The Sea|
|Kraft Foods Magazine|