Title: A National Security Strategy for a New Century
Published: Dec. 1, 1999
Administration: Bill Clinton
A NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY FOR A
THE WHITE HOUSE
Nearly 55 years ago, in his final inaugural address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt reflected on the lessons of the first half of the 20th Century. “We have learned,” he said, “that we cannot live alone at peace. We have learned that our own well being is dependent on the well being of other nations far away. We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.”
Those words have more resonance than ever as we enter the 21 century. America is at the height of its influence and prosperity. But, at a time of rapid globalization, when events halfway around the earth can profoundly affect our safety and prosperity, America must lead in the world to protect our people at home and our way of life. Americans benefit when nations come together to deter aggression and terrorism, to resolve conflicts, to prevent the spread of dangerous weapons, to promote democracy and human rights, to open markets and create financial stability, to raise living standards, to protect the environment – to face challenges that no nation can meet alone. The United States remains the world’s most powerful force for peace, prosperity and the universal values of democracy and freedom. Our nation’s central challenge – and our responsibility – is to sustain that role by seizing the opportunities of this new global era for the benefit of our own people and people around the world.
To do that, we are pursuing a forward-looking national security strategy for the new century. This report, submitted in accordance with Section 603 of the Goldwater – Nichols Defense Department Reorganization Act of 1986, sets forth that strategy. Its three core objectives are:
• To enhance America’s security.
• To bolster America’s economic prosperity.
• To promote democracy and human rights abroad.
The United States must have the tools necessary to carry out this strategy. We have worked to preserve and enhance the readiness of our armed forces while pursuing long-term modernization and providing quality of life improvements for our men and women in uniform. To better meet readiness challenges, I proposed, and Congress passed, a fiscal year 2000 defense budget that increased military pay and retirement benefits, and significantly increased funding for readiness and modernization. I have also proposed a $112 billion increase across fiscal years 2000 to 2005 for readiness, modernization, and other high priority defense requirements. This is the first long-term sustained increase in defense spending in over a decade.
Over the last six months, our military leaders and I have seen encouraging signs that we have turned the corner on readiness. Although our Armed Forces still face readiness challenges, particularly in recruiting and retaining skilled individuals, Administration initiatives are helping us achieve our readiness goals. I am confident that our military is – and will continue to be – capable of carrying out our national strategy and meeting America’s defense commitments around the world.
To be secure, we must not only have a strong military; we must also continue to lead in limiting the military threat to our country and the world. We continue to work vigilantly to curb the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missiles to deliver them. We are continuing the START process to reduce Russian and American nuclear arsenals, while discussing modification of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to allow for development of a national missile defense against potential rogue state attacks. And we remain committed to obtaining Senate advice and consent to ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and to bringing this crucial agreement into force.
Our national security strategy is designed to meet the fundamental purposes set out in the preamble to the Constitution:
…provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,…
Since the founding of the nation, certain requirements have remained constant. We must protect the lives and personal safety of Americans, both at home and abroad. We must maintain the sovereignty, political freedom and independence of the United States, with its values, institutions and territory intact. And, we must promote the well-being and prosperity of the nation and its people.
Opportunities and Challenges
The twenty-first Century will be an era of great promise. Globalization – the process of accelerating economic, technological, cultural and political integration – is bringing citizens from all continents closer together, allowing them to share ideas, goods and information in an instant. A growing number of nations around the world have embraced America’s core values of democratic governance, free-market economics and respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law, creating new opportunities to promote peace, prosperity and cooperation among nations. Many former adversaries now work with us for common goals. The dynamism of the global economy is transforming commerce, culture, communications and global relations, creating new jobs and opportunities for Americans.
Globalization, however, also brings risks. Outlaw states and ethnic conflicts threaten regional stability and progress in many important areas of the world. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD), terrorism, drug trafficking and other international crime are global concerns that transcend national borders. Other problems originating overseas – such as resource depletion, rapid population growth, environmental damage, new infectious diseases, pervasive corruption,