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National Security Strategy 1991

Title: National Security Strategy of the United States

Published: Aug. 1, 1991

Administration: George H. W. Bush

Download: PDF

Summary: As with the 1990 national security strategy report, the 1991 report was delayed by the rapidly changing international environment, and this time by the events in the Persian Gulf. Following the events in Iraq and Kuwait, as well as coalition building and military preparations, took up much of the administrations attention, but other events often intruded. Among these were the continuously evolving relationship between the US and the Soviet Union, strategic and conventional weapons treaties, and the breakup of the Eastern Bloc. Due to these factors, while the major elements of the report were ready by February, the final draft was delayed until August. (Snider, p. 8).

As with its predecessors, the US-Soviet relationship was of necessity the starting point of any analysis of US strategic options. However, the 1991 report broadened the definition of national security, making a concerted effort to expand the concept of national security to include economic health, although it failed to include adequately discuss the implementation of this concept. The 1991 report also shifted the focus of military preparedness from direct confrontation with the Soviet Union to regional conflict.  It also raised the question of the shape of future nuclear deterrence, attempting to turn the axis of arms control efforts from east-west to north-south. (Snider, p. 9). In doing so, the report espoused four pillars: deterrence and defense; forward presence; crisis response; and the ability to quickly return to a threat-based system, if necessary.