states or organizations are better positioned to act than we are. Even in these cases, however, the United States will be actively engaged with appropriate diplomatic, economic and military tools.
In every case, we will consider several critical questions before committing military force: Have we explored or exhausted non-military means that offer a reasonable chance of achieving our goals? Is there a clearly defined, achievable mission? What is the threat environment and what risks will our forces face? What level of effort will be needed to achieve our goals? What are the potential costs—human and financial—of the operation? What are the opportunity costs in terms of maintaining our capability to respond to higher-priority contingencies? Do we have milestones and a desired end state to guide a decision on terminating the mission?
Having decided that use of military forces is appropriate, the decision on how they will be employed is based on two guidelines. First, our forces will have a clear mission and the means to achieve their objectives decisively. Second, as much as possible, we will seek the support and participation of our allies, friends and relevant international institutions. When our vital interests are at stake, we are prepared to act alone. But in most situations, working with other nations increases the effectiveness of each nation’s actions and lessens everyone’s burden.
Sustaining our engagement abroad over the long term will require the support of the American people and the Congress to bear the costs of defending U.S. interests – including the risk of losing American lives. Some decisions to engage abroad with our military forces could well face popular opposition, but must ultimately be judged by whether they advance the interests of the American people in the long run. When it is judged to be in America’s interest to intervene, we must remain clear in our purposes and resolute in our actions.
Preparing for an Uncertain Future
We must prepare for an uncertain future even as we address today’s security problems. We need to look closely at our national security apparatus to ensure its effectiveness by adapting its institutions to meet new challenges. This means we must transform our capabilities and organizations – diplomatic, defense, intelligence, law enforcement, and economic – to act swiftly and to anticipate new opportunities and threats in today’s continually evolving, highly complex international security environment. Preparing for an uncertain future also means that we must have a strong, competitive, technologically superior, innovative and responsive industrial and research and development base.
Within the military, transformation requires that we strike a balance among funding three critical priorities: maintaining the ability of our forces to shape and respond today, modernizing to protect the long-term readiness of the force, and transforming our unparalleled capabilities to ensure we can effectively shape and respond in the future. Transformation also means taking prudent steps to position ourselves to effectively counter unlikely but significant future threats, particularly asymmetric threats. We also must work with Allies and coalition partners to help improve their defense capabilities and interoperability with our forces, in order to bolster the effectiveness of multinational operations across the full spectrum of potential military missions.
Transformation of our military forces is critical to meeting the military challenges of the next century. Exploiting the revolution in military affairs is fundamental if U.S. forces are to retain their dominance in an uncertain world. Investment in research and development while closely monitoring trends in likely future threats are important elements of our transformation effort. A carefully planned and focused modernization program will maintain our technological superiority and replace Cold War-era equipment with new systems and platforms capable of supporting the full spectrum of military operations.
Transformation extends well beyond the acquisition of new military systems – we seek to leverage technological, doctrinal, operational and organizational innovations to give U.S. forces greater capabilities and flexibility. Joint Forces Command and the Armed Services are pursuing an aggressive, wide-ranging innovation and experimentation program to achieve that transformation. The ongoing integration of the Active and Reserve components into a Total Force is another important element of the transformation. Despite the rapid pace of technological innovation, the human dimension of warfare remains timeless. In this era of multinational operations and complex threats involving ethnic, religious, and cultural strife, regional expertise, language proficiency, and cross-cultural communications skills have never been more important to the U.S. military. We will continue to transform and modernize our forces, ensure the quality of our personnel, and explore new ways of optimizing the Total Force for future missions.
To support the readiness, modernization and transformation of our military forces, we will work with the Congress to enact legislation to implement the Defense Reform Initiative, which will free up resources through a revolution in business affairs. This effort includes competitive sourcing, acquisition reform, transformation of logistics, and elimination of excess infrastructure through two additional base realignment and closure rounds. The Administration, in partnership with the Congress, will continue to assure we maintain the best-trained, best-equipped and best-led military force in the world for the twenty-first century.
In the area of law enforcement, the United States is already facing criminal threats that are much broader in scope and much more sophisticated than those we have confronted in the past. Ongoing technological and economic revolutions such as the Internet and globalization of markets offer extraordinary benefits, but will also continue to present new dangers. We must prepare for the law enforcement challenges arising from emerging technology, globalization of trade and finance, and other international dynamics. Our strategy for the future calls for the development of new investigative tools and approaches as well as increased integration of effort among law enforcement agencies at all levels of government, both in America and abroad.
We will continue efforts to construct appropriate twenty-first century national security programs and structures government-wide. We will continue to foster innovative approaches and organizational structures to better protect American lives, property and interests at home and abroad.
The second core objective of our national security strategy is to promote America’s prosperity through efforts at home and abroad. Our economic and security interests are inextricably linked. Prosperity at home depends on stability in key regions with which we trade or from which we import critical commodities, such as oil and natural gas. Prosperity also demands our leadership in international development, financial and trade institutions. In turn, the strength of our diplomacy, our ability to maintain an unrivaled military and the attractiveness of our values abroad depend in large part on the strength of our economy.
Strengthening Financial Coordination
As national economies become more integrated internationally, U.S. prosperity depends more than ever on economic developments abroad. Cooperation with other states and international organizations is vital to protecting the health of the global economic system and responding to financial crises.