On Feb. 6, U.S. President Barack Obama issued his administration’s second National Security Strategy. The document was released without much fanfare — after all, a strategy document by the U.S. administration that is halfway into its second (and last) term is hardly a headline-maker. Nonetheless, the 2015 NSS provides a useful point of reference on what the Obama administration considers its top foreign policy challenges, and how it plans to tackle them.
One defining feature of the 2015 NSS is consistency. In many ways, the 2015 NSS inherits the national security challenges of its predecessor (the 2010 NSS), as well as the administration’s preferred approaches to address them. For instance, the 2015 NSS, like the 2010 NSS, identifies terrorism and the proliferation and potential use of weapons of mass destruction as two of the most imminent security challenges for the United States. It positions economic prosperity at home as the foundation of a robust national security policy. It also continues to argue that the United States needs to utilize its alliances and partnerships in addressing various diplomatic challenges. Finally, the 2015 NSS remains steadfast in its belief that the United States must meet its national security challenges with all of the elements of national power: military power, although important and critical, is not and should not be the first resort.
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Photo credit: Secretary of Defense via flickr