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National Security Strategy 1994

Title: A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement

Published: July 1, 1994

Administration: Bill Clinton

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Despite being published more than a year after the inauguration, this report is the first national security strategy report of the Clinton administration, and thus its first attempt to announce a comprehensive national security strategy. While a number of reasons were offered for the year-and-a-half delay, including a focus on domestic issues and difficulty in recruiting political appointees, the real cause of the delay was a lack of consensus within the administration.  This report went through an astounding 21 drafts before it found its final form, reflecting a lack of guidance, shifting priorities, too many goals, internal bureaucratic conflicts, and the exigencies of foreign affairs. However, more fundamental problems existed as well, most notably indecision on the basic principles upon which to found its foreign policy. (Snider, 10-11).

Clinton created national security strategy structure that allows for the input of each of the major Executive branch institutions, bringing together both competing and complementary points of view on national security. This reflects the Clinton administration’s vision of national security, which is remarkably different and much broader than that of his predecessors. First, with few if any military threats to the US, Clinton defined security as including “protecting … our way of life” in order to seize the new opportunities for prosperity presented in the post-Cold War environment. (Snider, 10-11).

The general approach of this strategy is “globalist” with “selective engagement” in areas and events in which the US has particular interest. Some criticisms of the strategy proffered in this report include an inadequate attention to more traditional aspects of national security, such as nuclear deterrence, and a failure to elucidate the mechanisms by which US leadership would be affected without direct engagement of its national power. (Snider, 13).