Military Operational Art & Design

U.S. ARMY SERGEANTS MAJOR ACADEMY
Sergeants Major Course (SMC)

J400: Strategic Estimate

Lesson J400
Strategic Estimate

Reading D
National Security Strategy

I

My fellow Americans:

� e American people elected me to make America great again. I promised that my Administration would
put the safe� , interests, and well-being of our citizens fi rst. I pledged that we would revitalize the American
economy, rebuild our military, defend our borders, protect our sovereignty, and advance our values.

During my first year in office, you have witnessed my America First foreign policy in action. We are
prioritizing the interests of our citizens and protecting our sovereign rights as a nation. America is
leading again on the world stage. We are not hiding from the challenges we face. We are confronting
them head-on and pursuing opportunities to promote the securi� and prosperi� of all Americans.

� e United States faces an extraordinarily dangerous world, fi lled with a wide range of threats that have
intensified in recent years. When I came into office, rogue regimes were developing nuclear weapons
and missiles to threaten the entire planet. Radical Islamist terror groups were fl ourishing. Terrorists had
taken control of vast swaths of the Middle East. Rival powers were aggressively undermining American
interests around the globe. At home, porous borders and unenforced immigration laws had created a host
of vulnerabilities. Criminal cartels were bringing drugs and danger into our communities. Unfair trade
practices had weakened our economy and exported our jobs overseas. Unfair burden-sharing with our allies
and inadequate investment in our own defense had invited danger from those who wish us harm. Too many
Americans had lost trust in our government, faith in our future, and confidence in our values.

Nearly one year later, although serious challenges remain, we are charting a new and very di� erent course.

We are rallying the world against the rogue regime in North Korea and confronting the danger posed
by the dictatorship in Iran, which those determined to pursue a f lawed nuclear deal had neglected. We
have renewed our friendships in the Middle East and partnered with regional leaders to help drive out
terrorists and extremists, cut off their f inancing, and discredit their wicked ideology. We crushed
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, and will continue
pursuing them until they are destroyed. America’s allies are now contributing more to our common
defense, strengthening even our strongest alliances. We have also continued to make clear that the United
States will no longer tolerate economic aggression or unfair trading practices.

At home, we have restored con f idence in A merica’s pu r pose. We have recom m itted ou rselves to
our founding principles and to the values that have made our families, communities, and society so
successful. Jobs are coming back and our economy is growing. We are making historic investments in
the United States military. We are enforcing our borders, building trade relationships based on fairness
and reciprocity, and defending America’s sovereignty without apolog y.

T H E W H I T E H O U S E

W A S H I N G T O N , D C

N A T I O N A L S E C U R I T Y S T R A T E G Y

II

The whole world is lifted by America’s renewal and the reemergence of American leadership. After one
year, the world knows that America is prosperous, America is secure, and America is strong. We will bring
about the be� er future we seek for our people and the world, by confronting the challenges and dangers
posed by those who seek to destabilize the world and threaten America’s people and interests.

My Administration’s National Security Strategy lays out a strategic vision for protecting the American
people and preserving our way of life, promoting our prosperity, preserving peace through strength,
a nd adva ncing A mer ica n in f luence in t he world . We w i l l pu rsue t h is beauti f u l v ision—a world
of strong, sovereign, and independent nations, each with its own cultures and dreams, thriving side-
by-side in prosperity, freedom, and peace—throughout the upcoming year.

In pursuit of that future, we will look at the world with clear eyes and fresh thinking. We will promote
a balance of power that favors the United States, our allies, and our partners. We will never lose sight of
our values and their capacity to inspire, uplift, and renew.

Most of all, we will serve the American people and uphold their right to a government that prioritizes
their security, their prosperity, and their interests. This National Security Strategy puts America First.

President Donald J. Trump

� e White House
December 2017

V

Table of Contents

Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1

P I L L A R I : Protect the American People, the Homeland,
and the American Way of Life ………………………………………………………………………. 7
Secure U.S. Borders and Territory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8

Defend Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) ………………………………………………………………………………………. 8

Combat Biothreats and Pandemics ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9
Strengthen Border Control and Immigration Policy …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 9

Pursue � reats to � eir Source ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….10
Defeat Jihadist Terrorists ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….10

Dismantle Transnational Criminal Organizations ………………………………………………………………………………………………11
Keep America Safe in the Cyber Era ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 12
Promote American Resilience …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….14

P I L L A R I I : Promote American Prosperity ………………………………………………….17
Rejuvenate the Domestic Economy ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18
Promote Free, Fair, and Reciprocal Economic Relationships ……………………………………………………………………..19
Lead in Research, Technology, Invention, and Innovation …………………………………………………………………………. 20
Promote and Protect the U.S. National Securi� Innovation Base …………………………………………………………….21
Embrace Energy Dominance …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 22

P I L L A R I I I : Preserve Peace through Strength ……………………………………….25
Renew America’s Competitive Advantages ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26
Renew Capabilities …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 28

Military ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 28

Defense Industrial Base ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 29

Nuclear Forces ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 30

Space ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..31

Cyberspace ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………31

Intelligence …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 32

N A T I O N A L S E C U R I T Y S T R A T E G Y

VI

Diplomacy and Statecraft ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 33
Competitive Diplomacy ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 33

Tools of Economic Diplomacy………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 34

Information Statecra� ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 34

P I L L A R I V : Advance American Influence ……………………………………………………37
Encourage Aspiring Partners ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 38
Achieve Be� er Outcomes in Multilateral Forums …………………………………………………………………………………………… 40
Champion American Values ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 41

The Strategy in a Regional Context ……………………………………………………….45
Indo-Pacifi c …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 45
Europe …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….47
Middle East …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 48
South and Central Asia …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 50
Western Hemisphere ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………51
Africa …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 52

Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 55

1

Introduction

An America that is safe, prosperous, and free at home is an America with the
strength, confi dence, and will to lead abroad. It is an America that can pre-
serve peace, uphold liber� , and create enduring advantages for the American
people. Pu� ing America fi rst is the du� of our government and the foun-
dation for U.S. leadership in the world.

A strong America is in the vital interests of not only the American people, but
also those around the world who want to partner with the United States in
pursuit of shared interests, values, and aspirations.

� is National Securi� Strategy puts America fi rst.

A n A m e r ic a Fi r s t Nat ion a l S e c u r it y Strateg y is based on A mer ica n pr in-ciples, a clear-eyed assessment of U.S.
interests, and a determination to tackle the chal-
lenges that we face. It is a strategy of principled
realism that is guided by outcomes, not ideology.
It is based upon the view that peace, securi� , and
prosperity depend on strong, sovereign nations
that respect their citizens at home and cooper-
ate to advance peace abroad. And it is grounded
in the realization that American principles are
a la s t i n g forc e for goo d i n t he world .

“We the People” is America’s source of strength.

� e United States was born of a desire for life, lib-
erty, and the pursuit of happiness—and a convic-
tion that unaccountable politica l power is t y r-
anny. For these reasons, our Founders crafted and
ratified the Constitution, establishing the repub-
lica n for m of govern ment we enjoy today. T he
Constitution grants our national government not
on ly specif ied powers necessar y to protect our
God-given rights and liberties but also safeguards
them by limiting the government’s size and scope,

sepa rating Federa l powers, a nd protecting the
rights of individuals through the rule of law. All
political power is ultimately delegated from, and
accou nt able to, t he people.

We protect American sovereignty by defending
these institutions, traditions, and principles that
have allowed us to live in freedom, to build the nation
that we love. And we prize our national heritage, for
the rare and fragile institutions of republican gov-
ernment can only endure if they are sustained by a
culture that cherishes those institutions.

Liber� and independence have given us the fl our-
ishing society Americans enjoy today—a vibrant
a nd con f ident Nation , welcom ing of d isag ree-
ment a nd differences, but united by the bonds
of h istor y, cu lture, beliefs, a nd principles that
define who we are.

We are proud of our roots and honor the wisdom of
the past. We are commi� ed to protecting the rights
and digni� of every citizen. And we are a nation of
laws, because the rule of law is the shield that pro-
tects the individual from government corruption

N A T I O N A L S E C U R I T Y S T R A T E G Y

2

and abuse of power, allows families to live with-
out fear, and permits markets to thrive.

Our founding principles have made the United
States of America among the greatest forces for
good in h istor y. But we a re a lso awa re that we
must protect a nd bu i ld upon ou r accompl ish-
ments, always conscious of the fact that the inter-
ests of the American people constitute our true
Nor t h St a r.

America’s achievements and standing in the world
were neither inevitable nor accidental. On many
occasions, Americans have had to compete with
adversarial forces to preser ve and advance our
security, prosperity, and the principles we hold
dear. At home, we fought the Civil War to end slav-
er y a nd preser ve ou r Un ion in the long str ug-
gle to extend equal rights for all Americans. In
the course of the bloodiest century in human his-
tor y, m i l l ion s of A mer ic a n s foug ht , a nd hu n-
dreds of thousands lost their lives, to defend lib-
er� in two World Wars and the Cold War. America,
with our allies and partners, defeated fascism,
imperialism, and Soviet communism and elimi-
nated any doubts about the power and durability
of republican democracy when it is sustained by
a free, proud, and unif ied people.

T h e Un it e d St at e s c on s ol id at e d it s m i l it a r y
victories with political and economic triumphs
built on market economies and fair trade, dem-
ocratic principles, and shared security partner-
ships. American political, business, and military
leaders worked together with their counterparts
in Europe and Asia to shape the post-war order
through the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and
other institutions designed to advance our shared
interests of securi� , freedom, and peace. We recog-
nize the invaluable advantages that our strong rela-
tionships with allies and partners deliver.

Following the remarkable victory of free nations in
the Cold War, America emerged as the lone super-

power with enormous advantages and momen-
tum in the world. Success, however, bred com-
placency. A belief emerged, a mong ma ny, that
American power would be unchallenged and self–
sustaining. The United States began to drift. We
experienced a crisis of conf idence a nd surren-
dered our adva ntages in key a reas. As we took
ou r p ol it ic a l , econom ic , a nd m i l it a r y adva n-
tages for g ra nted , other actors stead ily imple-
mented their long-term plans to challenge America
and to advance agendas opposed to the United
States, our allies, and our partners.

We stood by while countries exploited the interna-
tional institutions we helped to build. � ey subsi-
dized their industries, forced technology transfers,
and distorted markets. These and other actions
challenged America’s economic securi� . At home,
excessive regulations and high taxes stifl ed growth
a nd wea kened free enter prise —h istor y ’s great-
est a ntidote to povert y. Each time govern ment
encroached on the productive activities of private
commerce, it threatened not only our prosperity
but also the spirit of creation and innovation that
has been key to our national greatness.

A Competitive World
The United States will respond to the growing
political, economic, and military competitions we
face around the world.

China and Russia challenge American power, infl u-
ence, and interests, a� empting to erode American
security and prosperity. They are determined to
make economies less free and less fair, to grow
their militaries, and to control information and
data to repress their societies and expand their
inf luence. At the same time, the dictatorships of
the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the
Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to desta-
bilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies,
a nd bruta lize their own people. Tra nsnationa l

3

I N T R O D U C T I O N

threat groups, from jihadist terrorists to transna-
tional criminal organizations, are actively trying
to harm Americans. While these challenges dif-
fer in nature and magnitude, they are fundamen-
ta lly contests between those who va lue human
d ig n it y a nd f re e dom a nd t hose who oppre ss
i n d iv idu a l s a n d en for c e u n i for m it y.

T hese competitions requ ire t he Un ited St ates
to rethink the policies of the past two decades—poli-
cies based on the assumption that engagement with
rivals and their inclusion in international insti-
tutions and globa l commerce would turn them
into benign actors and trustworthy partners. For
the most part, this premise turned out to be false.

Rival actors use propaganda and other means to try
to discredit democracy. � ey advance anti-Western
views and spread false information to create divi-
sions among ourselves, our allies, and our partners.
In addition, jihadist terrorists such as ISIS and
al-Qa’ida continue to spread a barbaric ideology
that calls for the violent destruction of governments
and innocents they consider to be apostates. � ese
jihadist terrorists attempt to force those under
their inf luence to submit to Sharia law.

America’s military remains the strongest in the
world. However, U.S. advantages are shrinking
as rival states modernize and build up their con-
ventiona l a nd nuclea r forces. Ma ny actors ca n
now f ield a broad arsenal of advanced missiles,
including variants that can reach the American
homeland. Access to technology empowers and
emboldens otherwise weak states. North Korea—a
countr y that sta r ves its own people —has spent
hundreds of millions of dollars on nuclear, chem-
ical, and biological weapons that could threaten
ou r homela nd . I n add it ion , m a ny actors have
become sk i l led at operating below the th resh-
old of military conf lict—challenging the United
States, our allies, and our partners with hostile
actions cloaked in deniabili� . Our task is to ensure
that American military superiority endures, and

in combination with other elements of national
power, is ready to protec t A mer ica n s aga i n st
soph isticated cha l lenges to nationa l secu r it y.

The contest over information accelerates these
political, economic, and military competitions.
Data, like energy, will shape U.S. economic prosper-
ity and our future strategic position in the world.
The ability to harness the power of data is fun-
damental to the continuing growth of America’s
economy, prevailing against hostile ideologies,
a nd building a nd deploy ing the most effective
military in the world.

We learned the di� cult lesson that when America
does not lead, malign actors fi ll the void to the dis-
advantage of the United States. W hen America
does lead, however, from a position of strength
and confi dence and in accordance with our inter-
ests and values, all benefi t.

Competition does not always mean hostility, nor
does it inevitably lead to conf lict—although none
should doubt our commitment to defend our inter-
ests. An America that successfully competes is the
best way to prevent confl ict. Just as American weak-
ness invites challenge, American strength and con-
fidence deters war and promotes peace.

An America First
National Securi� Strategy
The competitions and rivalries facing the United
States are not passing trends or momentary prob-
lems. They are intertwined, long-term challenges
that demand our sustained national a� ention and
commitment.

A mer ic a possesses u n m atched pol it ic a l , eco –
nomic, military, and technological advantages.
But to maintain these advantages, build upon our
strengths, and unleash the talents of the American
people, we must protect four vital national inter-
ests in this competitive world.

N A T I O N A L S E C U R I T Y S T R A T E G Y

4

F i r s t , ou r f u n d a m e n t a l r e s p on s i b i l it y i s t o
protect the A mer ican people, the homeland,
and the American way of life. We will strengthen
control of our borders and reform our immigra-
tion system. We will protect our critical infrastruc-
ture and go after malicious cyber actors. A layered
missile defense system will defend our homeland
against missile a� acks. And we will pursue threats
to t hei r sou rce, so t h at ji h ad ist ter ror ist s a re
stopped before they ever reach our borders.

Second, we will promote American prosperity.
We w ill rejuvenate the A merica n economy for
the benefit of American workers and companies.
We will insist upon fair and reciprocal economic
relationships to address trade imbalances. The
United States must preserve our lead in research
and technolog y and protect our economy from
competitors who unfairly acquire our intellec-
tua l proper t y. A nd we w ill embrace A merica’s
energy dominance because unleashing abundant
energy resources stimulates our economy.

Third, we will preserve peace through strength
by rebuilding our military so that it remains pre-
eminent, deters our adversaries, and if necessary,
is able to fight and win. We will compete with all
tools of national power to ensure that regions of
the world are not dominated by one power. We
will strengthen America’s capabilities—includ-
ing in space and cyberspace—and revitalize oth-
ers that have been neglected. Allies and partners
mag n if y ou r power. We ex pect them to shou l-
der a fa i r sh a re of t he bu rden of res pon sibi l-
ity to protect against common threats.

Fourth, we will advance A mer ican in f luence
because a world that supports American inter-
ests and ref lects our values makes America more
secure and prosperous. We will compete and lead
in multilateral organizations so that American
interests and principles are protected. America’s
commitment to liber� , democracy, and the rule of
law serves as an inspiration for those living under

� ranny. We can play a catalytic role in promoting
private-sector-led economic growth, helping aspir-
ing partners become future trading and security
partners. And we will remain a generous nation,
even as we expect others to share responsibili� .

Strengthening our sovereignty—the first duty of
a government is to serve the interests of its own
people—is a necessar y condition for protecting
these four national interests. And as we strengthen
our sovereignty we will renew confidence in our-
selves as a nation. We are proud of our histor y,
optimistic about America’s future, and confident
of the positive example the United States o� ers to
the world. We are also realistic and understand
that the American way of life cannot be imposed
upon others, nor is it the inevitable culmination
of progress. Together with our a llies, partners,
and aspiring partners, the United States will pur-
sue cooperation w ith reciprocit y. Cooperation
mea n s sh a r i ng res pon sibi l it ies a nd bu rden s .
In trade, fair and reciproca l relationships ben-
ef it a l l w ith equa l levels of ma rket access a nd
opportunities for economic growth. An America
First National Security Strategy appreciates that
America will catalyze conditions to unleash eco-
nomic success for America and the world.

In the United States, free men and women have
created the most just and prosperous nation in
h istor y. O u r generat ion of A mer ic a n s is now
ch a rged w it h preser v i n g a nd defend i n g t h at
preciou s i n her it a nce. T h is Nat ion a l Secu r it y
Strategy shows the way.

7

P I L L A R I

Protect the American People,
the Homeland, and

the American Way of Life

“We will defend our country, protect our communities,

and put the safe� of the American people fi rst.”

P R E S I D E N T D O N A L D J . T R U M P | J U L Y 2 0 1 7

T h is Nationa l Securit y Strateg y begins w ith the determ ination to protect the A mer ic a n people, t he A mer ic a n way
of life, and American interests. Americans have
long recognized the benefi ts of an interconnected
world, where in for mation a nd com merce f low
freely. Engaging with the world, however, does
not mean the United States should abandon its
rights and duties as a sovereign state or compro-
mise its security. Openness a lso imposes costs,
si nce adversa r ies ex ploit ou r f ree a nd demo –
cratic system to harm the United States.

North Korea seeks the capabili� to kill millions of
Americans with nuclear weapons. Iran supports
terrorist groups and openly calls for our destruc-
tion. Jihadist terrorist organizations such as ISIS
and al-Qa’ida are determined to a� ack the United
States and radicalize Americans with their hate-
ful ideology. Non-state actors undermine social
order through drug and human traff icking net-
works, which they use to commit violent crimes
and kill thousands of American each year.

Adversaries target sources of American strength,
including our democratic system and our econ-

omy. They steal and exploit our intellectual prop-
erty and personal data, interfere in our political
processes, target our aviation and maritime sec-
tors, and hold our critical infrastructure at risk.
All of these actions threaten the foundations of
the American way of life. Reestablishing lawful
control of our borders is a first step toward pro-
tecting the American homeland and strengthen-
i n g A mer ic a n sovereig nt y.

We must prevent nuclear, chemical, radiological,
and biological a� acks, block terrorists from reach-
ing our homeland, reduce drug and human traf-
f icking, and protect our critical infrastructure.
We must a lso deter, disrupt, a nd defeat poten-
tial threats before they reach the United States.
We w ill ta rget jihad ist terrorists a nd tra nsna-
tional criminal organizations at their source and
dismantle their networks of support.

We must also take steps to respond quickly to meet
the needs of the American people in the event of
natural disaster or attack on our homeland. We
must build a culture of preparedness and resilience
across our governmental functions, critical infra-
structure, and economic and political systems.

N A T I O N A L S E C U R I T Y S T R A T E G Y

8

Secure U.S. Borders
and Territory
State and non-state actors place the safety of the
A mer ic a n p e ople a nd t he Nat ion’s e c onom ic
v it a l it y at r i …

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