National Defense Strategy 2008

 

Title: National Defense Strategy

Published: June, 2008

Administration: George W. Bush

Secretary of Defense: Robert M. Gates

Download: PDF

Text:

 

Department of Defense

United States of America

 

National Defense Strategy

June 2008

 

Introduction…………………………………………..1

The Strategic Environment ………………………………2

The Strategic Framework…………………………………5

Objectives…………………………………………….6

Defend the Homeland…………………………………….6

Win the Long War……………………………………….7

Promote Security……………………………………….9

Deter Conflict…………………………………………11

Win our Nation’s Wars…………………………………..13

Achieving Our Objectives………………………………..13

Shape the Choices of Key States………………………….13

Prevent Adversaries from Acquiring or Using Weapons of Mass Destruction

(WMD)…………………………………………………14

Strengthen and Expand Alliances and Partnerships…………..15

Secure U.S. strategic access and retain freedom of action…..16

Integrate and unify our efforts: A new “Jointness”…………17

DoD Capabilities and Means………………………………18

Managing Risk………………………………………….20

Operational Risk……………………………………….21

Future Challenges Risk………………………………….22

Force Management Risk…………………………………..22

Institutional Risk……………………………………..23

Conclusion…………………………………………….23

 

Foreword

 

The United States, its friends and allies face a world of complex challenges and great opportunities. Since the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania seven years ago, we have been engaged in a conflict unlike those that came before. The United States has worked with its partners to defeat the enemies of freedom and prosperity, assist those in greatest need, and lay the foundation for a better tomorrow.

Tackling our common challenges requires a clear assessment of the strategic environment and the tools available to construct a durable, flexible, and dynamic strategy. This National Defense Strategy outlines how we will contribute to achieving the National Security Strategy objectives and secure a safer, more prosperous world for the benefit of all.

This strategy builds on lessons learned and insights from previous operations and strategic reviews, including the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review. It represents the distillation of valuable experience across the spectrum of conflict and within the strategic environment. It emphasizes the critical role our partners play – both within the U.S. Government and internationally – in achieving our common goals.

The United States will soon have a new President and Commander-in-Chief, but the complex issues the United States faces will remain. This strategy is a blueprint to succeed in the years to come.

 

Robert M. Gates

Secretary of Defense

 

2008 National Defense Strategy

 

Introduction

A core responsibility of the U.S. Government is to protect the American people – in the words of the framers of our Constitution, to “provide for the common defense.” For more than 230 years, the U.S. Armed Forces have served as a bulwark of liberty, opportunity, and prosperity at home. Beyond our shores, America shoulders additional responsibilities on behalf of the world. For those struggling for a better life, there is and must be no stronger advocate than the United States. We remain a beacon of light for those in dark places, and for this reason we should remember that our actions and words signal the depth of our strength and resolve. For our friends and allies, as well as for our enemies and potential adversaries, our commitment to democratic values must be matched by our deeds. The spread of liberty both manifests our ideals and protects our interests.

The United States, our allies, and our partners face a spectrum of challenges, including violent transnational extremist networks, hostile states armed with weapons of mass destruction, rising regional powers, emerging space and cyber threats, natural and pandemic disasters, and a growing competition for resources. The Department of Defense must respond to these challenges while anticipating and preparing for those of tomorrow. We must balance strategic risk across our responses, making the best use of the tools at hand within the U.S. Government and among our international partners. To succeed, we must harness and integrate all aspects of national power and work closely with a wide range of allies, friends and partners. We cannot prevail if we act alone.

The President’s 2006 National Security Strategy (NSS) describes an approach founded on two pillars: promoting freedom, justice, and human dignity by working to end tyranny, promote effective democracies, and extend prosperity; and confronting the challenges of our time by leading a growing community of democracies. It seeks to foster a world of well-governed states that can meet the needs of their citizens and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system. This approach represents the best way to provide enduring security for the American people.

The National Defense Strategy (NDS) serves as the Department’s capstone document in this long-term effort. It flows from the NSS and informs the National Military Strategy. It also provides a framework for other DoD strategic guidance, specifically on campaign and contingency planning, force development, and

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intelligence. It reflects the results of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and lessons learned from on-going operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. It addresses how the U.S. Armed Forces will fight and win America’s wars and how we seek to work with and through partner nations to shape opportunities in the international environment to enhance security and avert conflict.

The NDS describes our overarching goals and strategy. It outlines how DoD will support the objectives outlined in the NSS, including the need to strengthen alliances and build new partnerships to defeat global terrorism and prevent attacks against us, our allies, and our friends; prevent our enemies from threatening us, our allies, and our friends with weapons of mass destruction (WMD); work with others to defuse regional conflicts, including conflict intervention; and transform national security institutions to face the challenges of the 21st century. The NDS acts on these objectives, evaluates the strategic environment, challenges, and risks we must consider in achieving them, and maps the way forward.

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 long-term, 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

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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, under-governed, 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

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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

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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.

The Strategic Framework

Since World War II, the United States has acted as the primary force to maintain international security and stability, leading first the West in the Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union and, more recently, international efforts to

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