Obama's New Security Goals Prize Nonmilitary Moves

Wednesday, 26 May 2010 01:28 PM

 

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The Obama administration's new national security strategy, in a formal break with the go-it-alone legacy of President George W. Bush, calls for the U.S. to use its massive military power in concert with friends and allies.

A summary of the U.S. National Security Strategy, obtained on Wednesday by The Associated Press, also makes the safety of Americans the highest security priority and calls for the U.S. to bolster its power through diplomatic and development efforts.

Presidents use the national security strategy document to set broad goals and priorities for keeping Americans safe. The document has far-reaching effects on spending, warcraft and security strategy and a rewrite can have significant consequences. For example, in 2002, President George W. Bush outlined a doctrine of pre-emptive war, a strategy that underpinned the war in Iraq.

The new strategy is expected to repudiate, at least implicitly, that doctrine.

Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said Wednesday that the administration will add homegrown terrorism to the strategy document. Terror attacks like the Fort Hood shooting and the failed Times Square bombing have thrust homegrown terrorism into the spotlight recently, and U.S. citizens like Najibullah Zazi and David Headley have been charged with plotting terror attacks.

Obama's revision would be the first time that homegrown terror threats were a pillar of the document. President Bill Clinton did not mention domestic terrorism in his 1998 revision after the Oklahoma City bombing three years earlier, and President George W. Bush made only passing reference to homegrown terrorism in the 2006 document.

The full document, the first written by the current administration, enshrines policies that President Barack Obama has advocated since his election campaign. It will be the foundation for a National Military Strategy document, due soon.

The AP obtained the summary ahead of the document's planned release by the White House this week.

The strategy makes it clear the United States intends to maintain the world's most powerful military, with unsurpassed reach and capability despite being stretched by two wars and other challenges.

The new security document says U.S. security goals should reflect universal values held by the United States since its founding.

Obama touched on many of the themes in the new strategy during a commencement address Saturday.

The U.S. must shape a world order relying as much on the persuasiveness of its diplomacy as the might of its military, he said.

Addressing nearly 1,000 graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, Obama said all hands are required to solve the world's newest threats: terrorism, the spread of nuclear weapons, climate change and feeding and caring for a growing population.

Obama said the men and women who wear America's uniform cannot bear that responsibility by themselves. "The rest of us must do our part," he said.

"The burdens of this century cannot fall on our soldiers alone. It also cannot fall on American shoulders alone."

——

Associated Press writer Matt Apuzzo contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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