Furthermore, our international order must recognize the increasing influence of individuals in today’s world. There must be opportunities for civil society to thrive within nations and to forge connections among them. And there must be opportunities for individuals and the private sector to play a major role in addressing common challenges—whether supporting a nuclear fuel bank, promoting global health, fostering entrepreneurship, or exposing violations of universal rights. In the 21st century, the ability of individuals and nongovernment actors to play a positive role in shaping the international environment represents a distinct opportunity for the United States.
Within this context, we know that an international order where every nation upholds its rights and responsibilities will remain elusive. Force will sometimes be necessary to confront threats. Technology will continue to bring with it new dangers. Poverty and disease will not be completely abolished. Oppression will always be with us. But if we recognize these challenges, embrace America’s responsibility to confront them with its partners, and forge new cooperative approaches to get others to join us in overcoming them, then the international order of a globalized age can better advance our interests and the common interests of nations and peoples everywhere.
Strengthening National Capacity—A Whole of Government Approach
To succeed, we must update, balance, and integrate all of the tools of American power and work with our allies and partners to do the same. Our military must maintain its conventional superiority and, as long as nuclear weapons exist, our nuclear deterrent capability, while continuing to enhance its capacity to defeat asymmetric threats, preserve access to the global commons, and strengthen partners. We must invest in diplomacy and development capabilities and institutions in a way that complements and reinforces our global partners. Our intelligence capabilities must continuously evolve to identify and characterize conventional and asymmetric threats and provide timely insight. And we must integrate our approach to homeland security with our broader national security approach.
We are improving the integration of skills and capabilities within our military and civilian institutions, so they complement each other and operate seamlessly. We are also improving coordinated planning and policymaking and must build our capacity in key areas where we fall short. This requires close cooperation with Congress and a deliberate and inclusive interagency process, so that we achieve integration of our efforts to implement and monitor operations, policies, and strategies. To initiate this effort, the White House merged the staffs of the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council.
However, work remains to foster coordination across departments and agencies. Key steps include more effectively ensuring alignment of resources with our national security strategy, adapting the education and training of national security professionals to equip them to meet modern challenges, reviewing authorities and mechanisms to implement and coordinate assistance programs, and other policies and programs that strengthen coordination.