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Trump Approves National Security Strategy

The Trump administration will release its initial national security strategy in the coming weeks, pending final polish edits. The release marks the beginning of what the administration calls “a tough new approach to confront a raft of global security challenges.” Trump has reportedly signed off on the core elements of the draft, which is almost completed, and all the principals, including Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, have agreed to the core tenets.

Designed to guide the Trump administration’s foreign policy and national security decisions, the National Security Strategy will explain how Trump’America First mantra applies to the range of threats America faces, including Chinese economic competition, Russian influence operations, and the weaponization of space.

The report’s principle author, Nadia Schadlow, a respected member of the National Security Council and trusted confidant of H.R. McMaster, spent months drafting the document, working with Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell and McMaster.

Sources familiar with the document call it “hard-nosed” and “realistic” — and less ambitious and idealistic than prior efforts. Others described it as a “corrective” to the past 16 years of American foreign policy. 

Sources familiar with the draft tell us to expect three things:
  1. More focus on homeland security and protecting the homeland than any prior NSS.
  2. A focus on economic competitiveness as a national security imperative, especially regarding China. That fits into Trump’s long-held belief that foreign countries have been taking advantage of America and stealing U.S. jobs.
  3. Emphasis on the emergence of technological threats, including — per Newt Gingrich, who has worked with Schadlow and Powell to draft the document — Russia’s hybrid warfare and new breakthroughs in the weaponization of space.

McMaster told the Reagan National Security Forum over the weekend that current national security challenges facing the US today, like those at the beginning of the Reagan’s administration, “also require a dramatic rethinking of American foreign policy from previous decades.” The strategy will be based on “principled realism,” and “will focus on protecting our homeland, advancing American prosperity, preserving peace through strength … and finally enhancing American influence.”

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