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National Security Strategy Archive
Overview of National Security StrategyAt the dawn of the 21st century, the United States of America faces a broad and complex array of chal-lenges to our national security. Just as America helped to determine the course of the 20th century, we must now build the sources of American strength and influence, and shape an international order capable of overcoming the challenges of the 21st century.
The World as It Is, A Strategy for the World We Seek To succeed, we must face the world as it is. The two decades since the end of the Cold War have been marked by both the promise and perils of change. The circle of peaceful democracies has expanded; the specter of nuclear war has lifted; major powers are at peace; the global economy has grown; commerce has stitched the fate of nations together; and more individuals can determine their own destiny. Yet these advances have been accompanied by persistent problems. Wars over ideology have given way to wars over religious, ethnic, and tribal identity; nuclear dangers have proliferated; inequality and economic instability have intensified; damage to our environment, food insecurity, and dangers to public health are increasingly shared; and the same tools that empower individuals to build enable them to destroy.
The dark side of this globalized world came to the forefront for the American people on September 11, 2001. The immediate threat demonstrated by the deadliest attacks ever launched upon American soil demanded strong and durable approaches to defend our homeland. In the years since, we have launched a war against al-Qaida and its affiliates, decided to fight a war in Iraq, and confronted a sweep-ing economic crisis. More broadly, though, we have wrestled with how to advance American interests in a world that has changed - a world in which the international architecture of the 20th century is buckling under the weight of new threats, the global economy has accelerated the competition facing our people and businesses, and the universal aspiration for freedom and dignity contends with new obstacles.
Our country possesses the attributes that have supported our leadership for decades - sturdy alliances, an unmatched military, the world's largest economy, a strong and evolving democracy, and a dynamic citizenry. Going forward, there should be no doubt: the United States of America will continue to underwrite global security - through our commitments to allies, partners, and institutions; our focus on defeating al-Qaida and its affiliates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and around the globe; and our determina-tion to deter aggression and prevent the proliferation of the world's most dangerous weapons. As we do, we must recognize that no one nation - no matter how powerful - can meet global challenges alone. As we did after World War II, America must prepare for the future, while forging cooperative approaches among nations that can yield results.
Our national security strategy is, therefore, focused on renewing American leadership so that we can more effectively advance our interests in the 21st century. We will do so by building upon the sources of our strength at home, while shaping an international order that can meet the challenges of our time. This strategy recognizes the fundamental connection between our national security, our national competitiveness, resilience, and moral example. And it reaffirms America's commitment to pursue our interests through an international system in which all nations have certain rights and responsibilities.
This will allow America to leverage our engagement abroad on behalf of a world in which individuals enjoy more freedom and opportunity, and nations have incentives to act responsibly, while facing consequences when they do not.
Renewing American Leadership - Building at Home, Shaping Abroad Our approach begins with a commitment to build a stronger foundation for American leadership, because what takes place within our borders will determine our strength and influence beyond them. This truth is only heightened in a world of greater interconnection - a world in which our prosperity is inextricably linked to global prosperity, our security can be directly challenged by developments across an ocean, and our actions are scrutinized as never before.
At the center of our efforts is a commitment to renew our economy, which serves as the wellspring of American power. The American people are now emerging from the most devastating recession that we have faced since the Great Depression. As we continue to act to ensure that our recovery is broad and sustained, we are also laying the foundation for the long term growth of our economy and competitive-ness of our citizens. The investments that we have made in recovery are a part of a broader effort that will contribute to our strength: by providing a quality education for our children; enhancing science and innovation; transforming our energy economy to power new jobs and industries; lowering the cost of health care for our people and businesses; and reducing the Federal deficit.
Each of these steps will sustain America's ability to lead in a world where economic power and individual opportunity are more diffuse. These efforts are also tied to our commitment to secure a more resilient nation. Our recovery includes rebuilding an infrastructure that will be more secure and reliable in the face of terrorist threats and natural disasters. Our focus on education and science can ensure that the breakthroughs of tomorrow take place in the United States. Our development of new sources of energy will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Our commitment to deficit reduction will discipline us to make hard choices, and to avoid overreach. These steps complement our efforts to integrate homeland security with national security; including seamless coordination among Federal, state, and local govern-ments to prevent, protect against, and respond to threats and natural disasters.
Finally, the work to build a stronger foundation for our leadership within our borders recognizes that the most effective way for the United States of America to promote our values is to live them. America's commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law are essential sources of our strength and influence in the world. They too must be cultivated by our rejection of actions like torture that are not in line with our values, by our commitment to pursue justice consistent with our Constitution, and by our steady determination to extend the promise of America to all of our citizens. America has always been a beacon to the peoples of the world when we ensure that the light of America's example burns bright.
Building this stronger foundation will support America's efforts to shape an international system that can meet the challenges of our time. In the aftermath of World War II, it was the United States that helped take the lead in constructing a new international architecture to keep the peace and advance prosperity - from NATO and the United Nations, to treaties that govern the laws and weapons of war; from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to an expanding web of trade agreements. This architecture, despite its flaws, averted world war, enabled economic growth, and advanced human rights, while facilitating effective burden sharing among the United States, our allies, and partners.
Today, we need to be clear-eyed about the strengths and shortcomings of international institutions that were developed to deal with the challenges of an earlier time and the shortage of political will that has at times stymied the enforcement of international norms. Yet it would be destructive to both American national security and global security if the United States used the emergence of new challenges and the shortcomings of the international system as a reason to walk away from it. Instead, we must focus American engagement on strengthening international institutions and galvanizing the collective action that can serve common interests such as combating violent extremism; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; achieving balanced and sustainable economic growth; and forging cooperative solutions to the threat of climate change, armed conflict, and pandemic disease.
The starting point for that collective action will be our engagement with other countries. The cornerstone of this engagement is the relationship between the United States and our close friends and allies in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East - ties which are rooted in shared interests and shared values, and which serve our mutual security and the broader security and prosperity of the world. We are working to build deeper and more effective partnerships with other key centers of influence - includ-ing China, India, and Russia, as well as increasingly influential nations such as Brazil, South Africa, and Indonesia - so that we can cooperate on issues of bilateral and global concern, with the recognition that power, in an interconnected world, is no longer a zero sum game. We are expanding our outreach to emerging nations, particularly those that can be models of regional success and stability, from the Americas to Africa to Southeast Asia. And we will pursue engagement with hostile nations to test their intentions, give their governments the opportunity to change course, reach out to their people, and mobilize international coalitions.
This engagement will underpin our commitment to an international order based upon rights and responsibilities. International institutions must more effectively represent the world of the 21st century, with a broader voice - and greater responsibilities - for emerging powers, and they must be modernized to more effectively generate results on issues of global interest. Constructive national steps on issues ranging from nuclear security to climate change must be incentivized, so nations that choose to do their part see the benefits of responsible action. Rules of the road must be followed, and there must be consequences for those nations that break the rules - whether they are nonproliferation obligations, trade agreements, or human rights commitments.
This modernization of institutions, strengthening of international norms, and enforcement of inter-national law is not a task for the United States alone - but together with like-minded nations, it is a task we can lead. A key source of American leadership throughout our history has been enlightened self-interest. We want a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity. The belief that our own interests are bound to the interests of those beyond our borders will continue to guide our engagement with nations and peoples.
Advancing Top National Security Priorities Just as our national security strategy is focused on renewing our leadership for the long term, it is also facilitating immediate action on top priorities. This Administration has no greater responsibility than the safety and security of the American people. And there is no greater threat to the American people than weapons of mass destruction, particularly the danger posed by the pursuit of nuclear weapons by violent extremists and their proliferation to additional states.
That is why we are pursuing a comprehensive nonproliferation and nuclear security agenda, grounded in the rights and responsibilities of nations. We are reducing our nuclear arsenal and reliance on nuclear weapons, while ensuring the reliability and effectiveness of our deterrent. We are strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT ) as the foundation of nonproliferation, while working through the NPT to hold nations like Iran and North Korea accountable for their failure to meet international obligations. We are leading a global effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials from terrorists. And we are pursuing new strategies to protect against biological attacks and challenges to the cyber networks that we depend upon.
As we secure the world's most dangerous weapons, we are fighting a war against a far-reaching network of hatred and violence. We will disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and its affiliates through a com-prehensive strategy that denies them safe haven, strengthens front-line partners, secures our homeland, pursues justice through durable legal approaches, and counters a bankrupt agenda of extremism and murder with an agenda of hope and opportunity. The frontline of this fight is Afghanistan and Pakistan, where we are applying relentless pressure on al-Qaida, breaking the Taliban's momentum, and strength-ening the security and capacity of our partners. In this effort, our troops are again demonstrating their extraordinary service, making great sacrifices in a time of danger, and they have our full support.
In Iraq, we are transitioning to full Iraqi sovereignty and responsibility - a process that includes the removal of our troops, the strengthening of our civilian capacity, and a long-term partnership to the Iraqi Government and people. We will be unwavering in our pursuit of a comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbors, including a two-state solution that ensures Israel's security, while fulfilling the Palestinian peoples' legitimate aspirations for a viable state of their own. And our broader engagement with Muslim communities around the world will spur progress on critical political and security matters, while advancing partnerships on a broad range of issues based upon mutual interests and mutual respect.
As we rebuild the economic strength upon which our leadership depends, we are working to advance the balanced and sustainable growth upon which global prosperity and stability depends. This includes steps at home and abroad to prevent another crisis. We have shifted focus to the G-20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation, and are working to rebalance global demand so that America saves more and exports more, while emerging economies generate more demand. And we will pursue bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that advance our shared prosperity, while accelerat-ing investments in development that can narrow inequality, expand markets, and support individual opportunity and state capacity abroad.
These efforts to advance security and prosperity are enhanced by our support for certain values that are universal. Nations that respect human rights and democratic values are more successful and stronger partners, and individuals who enjoy such respect are more able to achieve their full potential. The United States rejects the false choice between the narrow pursuit of our interests and an endless campaign to impose our values. Instead, we see it as fundamental to our own interests to support a just peace around the world - one in which individuals, and not just nations, are granted the fundamental rights that they deserve.
In keeping with the focus on the foundation of our strength and influence, we are promoting universal values abroad by living them at home, and will not seek to impose these values through force. Instead, we are working to strengthen international norms on behalf of human rights, while welcoming all peaceful democratic movements. We are supporting the development of institutions within fragile democracies, integrating human rights as a part of our dialogue with repressive governments, and sup-porting the spread of technologies that facilitate the freedom to access information. And we recognize economic opportunity as a human right, and are promoting the dignity of all men and women through our support for global health, food security, and cooperatives responses to humanitarian crises.
Finally, our efforts to shape an international order that promotes a just peace must facilitate cooperation capable of addressing the problems of our time. This international order will support our interests, but it is also an end that we seek in its own right. New challenges hold out the prospect of opportunity, but only if the international community breaks down the old habits of suspicion to build upon common interests. A global effort to combat climate change must draw upon national actions to reduce emis-sions and a commitment to mitigate their impact. Efforts to prevent conflicts and keep the peace in their aftermath can stop insecurity from spreading. Global cooperation to prevent the spread of pandemic disease can promote public health.
Implementing this agenda will not be easy. To succeed, we must balance and integrate all elements of American power and update our national security capacity for the 21st century. We must maintain our military's conventional superiority, while enhancing its capacity to defeat asymmetric threats. Our diplomacy and development capabilities must be modernized, and our civilian expeditionary capac-ity strengthened, to support the full breadth of our priorities. Our intelligence and homeland security efforts must be integrated with our national security policies, and those of our allies and partners. And our ability to synchronize our actions while communicating effectively with foreign publics must be enhanced to sustain global support.
However, America's greatest asset remains our people. In an era that will be shaped by the ability to seize the opportunities of a world that has grown more interconnected, it is the American people who will make the difference - the troops and civilians serving within our government; businesses, foundations, and educational institutions that operate around the globe; and citizens who possess the dynamism, drive, and diversity to thrive in a world that has grown smaller. Because for all of its dangers, globalization is in part a product of American leadership and the ingenuity of the American people. We are uniquely suited to seize its promise.
Our story is not without imperfections. Yet at each juncture that history has called upon us to rise to the occasion, we have advanced our own security, while contributing to the cause of human progress. To continue to do so, our national security strategy must be informed by our people, enhanced by the contributions of the Congress, and strengthened by the unity of the American people. If we draw on that spirit anew, we can build a world of greater peace, prosperity, and human dignity.
Strategic approach "More than at any point in human history - the interests of nations and peoples are shared. The religious convictions that we hold in our hearts can forge new bonds among people, or tear us apart. The technology we harness can light the path to peace, or forever darken it. The energy we use can sustain our planet, or destroy it. What happens to the hope of a single child - anywhere - can enrich our world, or impoverish it." - President Barack Obama, United Nations General Assembly, September 22, 2009 - The United States must renew its leadership in the world by building and cultivating the sources of our strength and influence. Our national security depends upon America's ability to leverage our unique national attributes, just as global security depends upon strong and responsible American leadership. That includes our military might, economic competitiveness, moral leadership, global engagement, and efforts to shape an international system that serves the mutual interests of nations and peoples. For the world has changed at an extraordinary pace, and the United States must adapt to advance our interests and sustain our leadership.
American interests are enduring. They are:
The security of the United States, its citizens, and U.S. allies and partners;
A strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity;
Respect for universal values at home and around the world; and
An international order advanced by U.S. leadership that promotes peace, security, and oppor-tunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges.
Currently, the United States is focused on implementing a responsible transition as we end the war in Iraq, succeeding in Afghanistan, and defeating al-Qaida and its terrorist affiliates, while moving our economy from catastrophic recession to lasting recovery. As we confront these crises, our national strategy must take a longer view. We must build a stronger foundation for American leadership and work to better shape the outcomes that are most fundamental to our people in the 21st century.
The Strategic Environment - The World as It Is In the two decades since the end of the Cold War, the free flow of information, people, goods and services has accelerated at an unprecedented rate. This interconnection has empowered individuals for good and ill, and challenged state based international institutions that were largely designed in the wake of World War II by policymakers who had different challenges in mind. Nonstate actors can have a dramatic influence on the world around them. Economic growth has alleviated poverty and led to new centers of influence. More nations are asserting themselves regionally and globally. The lives of our citizens - their safety and prosperity - are more bound than ever to events beyond our borders.
Within this environment, the attacks of September 11, 2001, were a transformative event for the United States, demonstrating just how much trends far beyond our shores could directly endanger the personal safety of the American people. The attacks put into sharp focus America's position as the sole global superpower, the dangers of violent extremism, and the simmering conflicts that followed the peaceful conclusion of the Cold War. And they drew a swift and forceful response from the United States and our allies and partners in Afghanistan. This response was followed by our decision to go to war in Iraq, and the ensuing years have seen America's forces, resources, and national security strategy focused on these conflicts.
The United States is now fighting two wars with many thousands of our men and women deployed in harm's way, and hundreds of billions of dollars dedicated to funding these conflicts. In Iraq, we are sup -porting a transition of responsibility to the sovereign Iraqi Government. We are supporting the security and prosperity of our partners in Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of a broader campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and its violent extremist affiliates.
Yet these wars - and our global efforts to successfully counter violent extremism - are only one ele -ment of our strategic environment and cannot define America's engagement with the world. Terrorism is one of many threats that are more consequential in a global age. The gravest danger to the American people and global security continues to come from weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons. The space and cyberspace capabilities that power our daily lives and military operations are vulnerable to disruption and attack. Dependence upon fossil fuels constrains our options and pollutes our environment. Climate change and pandemic disease threaten the security of regions and the health and safety of the American people. Failing states breed conflict and endanger regional and global security. Global criminal networks foment insecurity abroad and bring people and goods across our own borders that threaten our people.
The global economy is being reshaped by innovation, emerging economies, transition to low-carbon energy, and recovery from a catastrophic recession. The convergence of wealth and living standards among developed and emerging economies holds out the promise of more balanced global growth, but dramatic inequality persists within and among nations. Profound cultural and demographic tensions, rising demand for resources, and rapid urbanization could reshape single countries and entire regions. As the world grows more interconnected, more individuals are gaining awareness of their universal rights and have the capacity to pursue them. Democracies that respect the rights of their people remain successful states and America's most steadfast allies. Yet the advance of democracy and human rights has stalled in many parts of the world.
More actors exert power and influence. Europe is now more united, free, and at peace than ever before. The European Union has deepened its integration. Russia has reemerged in the international arena as a strong voice. China and India - the world's two most populous nations - are becoming more engaged globally. From Latin America to Africa to the Pacific, new and emerging powers hold out opportunities for partnership, even as a handful of states endanger regional and global security by flouting interna-tional norms. International institutions play a critical role in facilitating cooperation, but at times cannot effectively address new threats or seize new opportunities. Meanwhile, individuals, corporations, and civil society play an increasingly important role in shaping events around the world.
The United States retains the strengths that have enabled our leadership for many decades. Our society is exceptional in its openness, vast diversity, resilience, and engaged citizenry. Our private sector and civil society exhibit enormous ingenuity and innovation, and our workers are capable and dedicated. We have the world's largest economy and most powerful military, strong alliances and a vibrant cultural appeal, and a history of leadership in economic and social development. We continue to be a destination that is sought out by immigrants from around the world, who enrich our society. We have a transparent, accountable democracy and a dynamic and productive populace with deep connections to peoples around the world. And we continue to embrace a set of values that have enabled liberty and opportunity at home and abroad.
Now, the very fluidity within the international system that breeds new challenges must be approached as an opportunity to forge new international cooperation. We must rebalance our long-term priorities so that we successfully move beyond today's wars, and focus our attention and resources on a broader set of countries and challenges. We must seize on the opportunities afforded by the world's interconnection, while responding effectively and comprehensively to its dangers. And we must take advantage of the unparalleled connections that America's Government, private sector, and citizens have around the globe.
The Strategic Approach - The World We Seek In the past, the United States has thrived when both our nation and our national security policy have adapted to shape change instead of being shaped by it. For instance, as the industrial revolution took hold, America transformed our economy and our role in the world. When the world was confronted by fascism, America prepared itself to win a war and to shape the peace that followed. When the United States encountered an ideological, economic, and military threat from communism, we shaped our practices and institutions at home - and policies abroad - to meet this challenge. Now, we must once again position the United States to champion mutual interests among nations and peoples.
Building Our Foundation Our national security begins at home. What takes place within our borders has always been the source of our strength, and this is even truer in an age of interconnection.
First and foremost, we must renew the foundation of America's strength. In the long run, the welfare of the American people will determine America's strength in the world, particularly at a time when our own economy is inextricably linked to the global economy. Our prosperity serves as a wellspring for our power. It pays for our military, underwrites our diplomacy and development efforts, and serves as a leading source of our influence in the world. Moreover, our trade and investment supports millions of American jobs, forges links among countries, spurs global development, and contributes to a stable and peaceful political and economic environment.
Yet even as we have maintained our military advantage, our competitiveness has been set back in recent years. We are recovering from underinvestment in the areas that are central to America's strength. We have not adequately advanced priorities like education, energy, science and technology, and health care - all of which are essential to U.S. competitiveness, long-term prosperity, and strength. Years of rising fiscal and trade deficits will also necessitate hard choices in the years ahead.
That is why we are rebuilding our economy so that it will serve as an engine of opportunity for the American people, and a source of American influence abroad. The United States must ensure that we have the world's best-educated workforce, a private sector that fosters innovation, and citizens and busi-nesses that can access affordable health care to compete in a globalized economy. We must transform the way that we use energy - diversifying supplies, investing in innovation, and deploying clean energy technologies. By doing so, we will enhance energy security, create jobs, and fight climate change.
Rebuilding our economy must include putting ourselves on a fiscally sustainable path. As such, imple -menting our national security strategy will require a disciplined approach to setting priorities and mak-ing tradeoffs among competing programs and activities. Taken together, these efforts will position our nation for success in the global marketplace, while also supporting our national security capacity - the strength of our military, intelligence, diplomacy and development, and the security and resilience of our homeland.
We are now moving beyond traditional distinctions between homeland and national security. National security draws on the strength and resilience of our citizens, communities, and economy. This includes a determination to prevent terrorist attacks against the American people by fully coordinating the actions that we take abroad with the actions and precautions that we take at home. It must also include a com-mitment to building a more secure and resilient nation, while maintaining open flows of goods and people. We will continue to develop the capacity to address the threats and hazards that confront us, while redeveloping our infrastructure to secure our people and work cooperatively with other nations.
America's example is also a critical component of our foundation. The human rights which America has stood for since our founding have enabled our leadership, provided a source of inspiration for peoples around the world, and drawn a clear contrast between the United States and our democratic allies, and those nations and individuals that deny or suppress human rights. Our efforts to live our own values, and uphold the principles of democracy in our own society, underpin our support for the aspirations of the oppressed abroad, who know they can turn to America for leadership based on justice and hope.
Our moral leadership is grounded principally in the power of our example - not through an effort to impose our system on other peoples. Yet over the years, some methods employed in pursuit of our security have compromised our fidelity to the values that we promote, and our leadership on their behalf. This undercuts our ability to support democratic movements abroad, challenge nations that violate international human rights norms, and apply our broader leadership for good in the world. That is why we will lead on behalf of our values by living them. Our struggle to stay true to our values and Constitution has always been a lodestar, both to the American people and to those who share our aspiration for human dignity.
Our values have allowed us to draw the best and brightest to our shores, to inspire those who share our cause abroad, and to give us the credibility to stand up to tyranny. America must demonstrate through words and deeds the resilience of our values and Constitution. For if we compromise our values in pur-suit of security, we will undermine both; if we fortify them, we will sustain a key source of our strength and leadership in the world - one that sets us apart from our enemies and our potential competitors.
Pursuing Comprehensive Engagement Our foundation will support our efforts to engage nations, institutions, and peoples around the world on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect.
Engagement is the active participation of the United States in relationships beyond our borders. It is, quite simply, the opposite of a self-imposed isolation that denies us the ability to shape outcomes. Indeed, America has never succeeded through isolationism. As the nation that helped to build our international system after World War II and to bring about the globalization that came with the end of the Cold War, we must reengage the world on a comprehensive and sustained basis.
Engagement begins with our closest friends and allies - from Europe to Asia; from North America to the Middle East. These nations share a common history of struggle on behalf of security, prosperity, and democracy. They share common values and a common commitment to international norms that recog-nize both the rights and responsibilities of all sovereign nations. America's national security depends on these vibrant alliances, and we must engage them as active partners in addressing global and regional security priorities and harnessing new opportunities to advance common interests. For instance, we pursue close and regular collaboration with our close allies the United Kingdom, France, and Germany on issues of mutual and global concern.
We will continue to deepen our cooperation with other 21st century centers of influence - including China, India, and Russia - on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect. We will also pursue diplomacy and development that supports the emergence of new and successful partners, from the Americas to Africa; from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. Our ability to advance constructive coopera-tion is essential to the security and prosperity of specific regions, and to facilitating global cooperation on issues ranging from violent extremism and nuclear proliferation, to climate change, and global economic instability - issues that challenge all nations, but that no one nation alone can meet.
To adversarial governments, we offer a clear choice: abide by international norms, and achieve the political and economic benefits that come with greater integration with the international community; or refuse to accept this pathway, and bear the consequences of that decision, including greater isolation. Through engagement, we can create opportunities to resolve differences, strengthen the international community's support for our actions, learn about the intentions and nature of closed regimes, and plainly demonstrate to the publics within those nations that their governments are to blame for their isolation.
Successful engagement will depend upon the effective use and integration of different elements of American power. Our diplomacy and development capabilities must help prevent conflict, spur eco-nomic growth, strengthen weak and failing states, lift people out of poverty, combat climate change and epidemic disease, and strengthen institutions of democratic governance. Our military will continue strengthening its capacity to partner with foreign counterparts, train and assist security forces, and pursue military-to-military ties with a broad range of governments. We will continue to foster economic and financial transactions to advance our shared prosperity. And our intelligence and law enforcement agencies must cooperate effectively with foreign governments to anticipate events, respond to crises, and provide safety and security.
Finally, we will pursue engagement among peoples - not just governments - around the world. The United States Government will make a sustained effort to engage civil society and citizens and facilitate increased connections among the American people and peoples around the world - through efforts ranging from public service and educational exchanges, to increased commerce and private sector partnerships. In many instances, these modes of engagement have a powerful and enduring impact beyond our borders, and are a cost-effective way of projecting a positive vision of American leadership. Time and again, we have seen that the best ambassadors for American values and interests are the American people - our businesses, nongovernmental organizations, scientists, athletes, artists, military service members, and students.
Facilitating increased international engagement outside of government will help prepare our country to thrive in a global economy, while building the goodwill and relationships that are invaluable to sus-taining American leadership. It also helps leverage strengths that are unique to America - our diversity and diaspora populations, our openness and creativity, and the values that our people embody in their own lives.
Promoting a Just and Sustainable International Order Our engagement will underpin a just and sustainable international order - just, because it advances mutual interests, protects the rights of all, and holds accountable those who refuse to meet their responsibilities; sustainable because it is based on broadly shared norms and fosters collective action to address common challenges.
This engagement will pursue an international order that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all nations. As we did after World War II, we must pursue a rules-based international system that can advance our own interests by serving mutual interests. International institutions must be more effective and representative of the diffusion of influence in the 21st century. Nations must have incentives to behave responsibly, or be isolated when they do not. The test of this international order must be the cooperation it facilitates and the results it generates - the ability of nations to come together to confront common challenges like violent extremism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, and a changing global economy.
That is precisely the reason we should strengthen enforcement of international law and our commit-ment to engage and modernize international institutions and frameworks. Those nations that refuse to meet their responsibilities will forsake the opportunities that come with international cooperation. Credible and effective alternatives to military action - from sanctions to isolation - must be strong enough to change behavior, just as we must reinforce our alliances and our military capabilities. And if nations challenge or undermine an international order that is based upon rights and responsibilities, they must find themselves isolated.
We succeeded in the post-World War II era by pursuing our interests within multilateral forums like the United Nations - not outside of them. We recognized that institutions that aggregated the national inter-ests of many nations would never be perfect; but we also saw that they were an indispensable vehicle for pooling international resources and enforcing international norms. Indeed, the basis for international
cooperation since World War II has been an architecture of international institutions, organizations, regimes, and standards that establishes certain rights and responsibilities for all sovereign nations.
In recent years America's frustration with international institutions has led us at times to engage the United Nations (U.N.) system on an ad hoc basis. But in a world of transnational challenges, the United States will need to invest in strengthening the international system, work ing from inside interna -tional institutions and frameworks to face their imperfections head on and to mobilize transnational cooperation.
We must be clear-eyed about the factors that have impeded effectiveness in the past. In order for collec-tive action to be mobilized, the polarization that persists across region, race, and religion will need to be replaced by a galvanizing sense of shared interest. Swift and effective international action often turns on the political will of coalitions of countries that comprise regional or international institutions. New and emerging powers who seek greater voice and representation will need to accept greater responsibility for meeting global challenges. When nations breach agreed international norms, the countries who espouse those norms must be convinced to band together to enforce them.
We will expand our support to modernizing institutions and arrangements such as the evolution of the G-8 to the G-20 to reflect the realities of today's international environment. Working with the institutions and the countries that comprise them, we will enhance international capacity to prevent conflict, spur economic growth, improve security, combat climate change, and address the challenges posed by weak and failing states. And we will challenge and assist international institutions and frameworks to reform when they fail to live up to their promise. Strengthening the legitimacy and authority of international law and institutions, especially the U.N., will require a constant struggle to improve performance.
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 responsibil-ity 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 coopera-tion 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.
Defense: We are strengthening our military to ensure that it can prevail in today's wars; to prevent and deter threats against the United States, its interests, and our allies and partners; and prepare to defend the United States in a wide range of contingencies against state and nonstate actors. We will continue to rebalance our military capabilities to excel at counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, stability operations, and meeting increasingly sophisticated security threats, while ensuring our force is ready to address the full range of military operations. This includes preparing for increasingly sophisticated adversaries, deterring and defeating aggression in anti-access environments, and defending the United States and supporting civil authorities at home. The most valuable component of our national defense is the men and women who make up America's all-volunteer force. They have shown tremendous resilience, adapt-ability, and capacity for innovation, and we will provide our service members with the resources that they need to succeed and rededicate ourselves to providing support and care for wounded warriors, veterans, and military families. We must set the force on a path to sustainable deployment cycles and preserve and enhance the long-term viability of our force through successful recruitment, retention, and recognition of those who serve.
Diplomacy: Diplomacy is as fundamental to our national security as our defense capability. Our diplo -mats are the first line of engagement, listening to our partners, learning from them, building respect for one another, and seeking common ground. Diplomats, development experts, and others in the United States Government must be able to work side by side to support a common agenda. New skills are needed to foster effective interaction to convene, connect, and mobilize not only other governments and international organizations, but also nonstate actors such as corporations, foundations, nongovern-mental organizations, universities, think tanks, and faith-based organizations, all of whom increasingly have a distinct role to play on both diplomatic and development issues. To accomplish these goals our
diplomatic personnel and missions must be expanded at home and abroad to support the increasingly transnational nature of 21st century security challenges. And we must provide the appropriate authori-ties and mechanisms to implement and coordinate assistance programs and grow the civilian expedi-tionary capacity required to assist governments on a diverse array of issues.
Economic: Our economic institutions are crucial components of our national capacity and our economic instruments are the bedrock of sustainable national growth, prosperity and influence. The Office of Management and Budget, Departments of the Treasury, State, Commerce, Energy, and Agriculture, United States Trade Representative, Federal Reserve Board, and other institutions help manage our currency, trade, foreign investment, deficit, inflation, productivity, and national competitiveness. Remaining a vibrant 21st century economic power also requires close cooperation between and among developed nations and emerging markets because of the interdependent nature of the global economy. America - like other nations - is dependent upon overseas markets to sell its exports and maintain access to scarce commodities and resources. Thus, finding overlapping mutual economic interests with other nations and maintaining those economic relationships are key elements of our national security strategy.
Development: Development is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative. We are focusing on assist-ing developing countries and their people to manage security threats, reap the benefits of global economic expansion, and set in place accountable and democratic institutions that serve basic human needs. Through an aggressive and affirmative development agenda and commensurate resources, we can strengthen the regional partners we need to help us stop conflicts and counter global criminal networks; build a stable, inclusive global economy with new sources of prosperity; advance democracy and human rights; and ultimately position ourselves to better address key global challenges by growing the ranks of prosperous, capable, and democratic states that can be our partners in the decades ahead. To do this, we are expanding our civilian development capability; engaging with international financial institutions that leverage our resources and advance our objectives; pursuing a development budget that more deliberately reflects our policies and our strategy, not sector earmarks; and ensuring that our policy instruments are aligned in support of development objectives.
Homeland Security: Homeland security traces its roots to traditional and historic functions of govern-ment and society, such as civil defense, emergency response, law enforcement, customs, border patrol, and immigration. In the aftermath of 9/11 and the foundation of the Department of Homeland Security, these functions have taken on new organization and urgency. Homeland security, therefore, strives to adapt these traditional functions to confront new threats and evolving hazards. It is not simply about government action alone, but rather about the collective strength of the entire country. Our approach relies on our shared efforts to identify and interdict threats; deny hostile actors the ability to operate within our borders; maintain effective control of our physical borders; safeguard lawful trade and travel into and out of the United States; disrupt and dismantle transnational terrorist, and criminal organiza-tions; and ensure our national resilience in the face of the threat and hazards. Taken together, these efforts must support a homeland that is safe and secure from terrorism and other hazards and in which American interests, aspirations, and way of life can thrive.
Intelligence: Our country's safety and prosperity depend on the quality of the intelligence we collect and the analysis we produce, our ability to evaluate and share this information in a timely manner, and our ability to counter intelligence threats. This is as true for the strategic intelligence that informs executive decisions as it is for intelligence support to homeland security, state, local, and tribal govern-
ments, our troops, and critical national missions. We are working to better integrate the Intelligence Community, while also enhancing the capabilities of our Intelligence Community members. We are strengthening our partnerships with foreign intelligence services and sustaining strong ties with our close allies. And we continue to invest in the men and women of the Intelligence Community.
Strategic Communications: Across all of our efforts, effective strategic communications are essential to sustaining global legitimacy and supporting our policy aims. Aligning our actions with our words is a shared responsibility that must be fostered by a culture of communication throughout government. We must also be more effective in our deliberate communication and engagement and do a better job understanding the attitudes, opinions, grievances, and concerns of peoples - not just elites - around the world. Doing so allows us to convey credible, consistent messages and to develop effective plans, while better understanding how our actions will be perceived. We must also use a broad range of meth-ods for communicating with foreign publics, including new media.
The American People and the Private Sector: The ideas, values, energy, creativity, and resilience of our citizens are America's greatest resource. We will support the development of prepared, vigilant, and engaged communities and underscore that our citizens are the heart of a resilient country. And we must tap the ingenuity outside government through strategic partnerships with the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and community-based organizations. Such partnerships are critical to U.S. success at home and abroad, and we will support them through enhanced opportuni-ties for engagement, coordination, transparency, and information sharing.
Advancing Our Interests To achieve the world we seek, the United States must apply our strategic approach in pursuit of four enduring national interests:
Security: The security of the United States, its citizens, and U.S. allies and partners.
Prosperity: A strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity.
Values: Respect for universal values at home and around the world.
International Order: An international order advanced by U.S. leadership that promotes peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges.
Each of these interests is inextricably linked to the others: no single interest can be pursued in isolation, but at the same time, positive action in one area will help advance all four. The initiatives described below do not encompass all of America's national security concerns. However, they represent areas of particular priority and areas where progress is critical to securing our country and renewing American leadership in the years to come.
Security"We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken - you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you." - President Barack Obama, Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009
The threats to our people, our homeland, and our interests have shifted dramatically in the last 20 years. Competition among states endures, but instead of a single nuclear adversary, the United States is now threatened by the potential spread of nuclear weapons to extremists who may not be deterred from using them. Instead of a hostile expansionist empire, we now face a diverse array of challenges, from a loose network of violent extremists to states that flout international norms or face internal collapse. In addition to facing enemies on traditional battlefields, the United States must now be prepared for asymmetric threats, such as those that target our reliance on space and cyberspace.
This Administration has no greater responsibility than protecting the American people. Furthermore, we embrace America's unique responsibility to promote international security - a responsibility that flows from our commitments to allies, our leading role in supporting a just and sustainable international order, and our unmatched military capabilities.
The United States remains the only nation able to project and sustain large-scale military operations over extended distances. We maintain superior capabilities to deter and defeat adaptive enemies and
to ensure the credibility of security partnerships that are fundamental to regional and global security. In this way, our military continues to underpin our national security and global leadership, and when we use it appropriately, our security and leadership is reinforced. But when we overuse our military might, or fail to invest in or deploy complementary tools, or act without partners, then our military is overstretched, Americans bear a greater burden, and our leadership around the world is too narrowly identified with military force. And we know that our enemies aim to overextend our Armed Forces and to drive wedges between us and those who share our interests.
Therefore, we must continue to adapt and rebalance our instruments of statecraft. At home, we are inte-grating our homeland security efforts seamlessly with other aspects of our national security approach, and strengthening our preparedness and resilience. Abroad, we are strengthening alliances, forging new partnerships, and using every tool of American power to advance our objectives - including enhanced diplomatic and development capabilities with the ability both to prevent conflict and to work alongside our military. We are strengthening international norms to isolate governments that flout them and to marshal cooperation against nongovernmental actors who endanger our common security.
Strengthen Security and Resilience at HomeAt home, the United States is pursuing a strategy capable of meeting the full range of threats and hazards to our communities. These threats and hazards include terrorism, natural disasters, large-scale cyber attacks, and pandemics. As we do everything within our power to prevent these dangers, we also recognize that we will not be able to deter or prevent every single threat. That is why we must also enhance our resilience - the ability to adapt to changing conditions and prepare for, withstand, and rapidly recover from disruption. To keep Americans safe and secure at home, we are working to:
Enhance Security at Home: Security at home relies on our shared efforts to prevent and deter attacks by identifying and interdicting threats, denying hostile actors the ability to operate within our borders, protecting the nation's critical infrastructure and key resources, and securing cyberspace. That is why we are pursuing initiatives to protect and reduce vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure, at our borders, ports, and airports, and to enhance overall air, maritime, transportation, and space and cyber security. Building on this foundation, we recognize that the global systems that carry people, goods, and data around the globe also facilitate the movement of dangerous people, goods, and data. Within these systems of transportation and transaction, there are key nodes - for example, points of origin and transfer, or border crossings - that represent opportunities for exploitation and interdiction. Thus, we are working with partners abroad to confront threats that often begin beyond our borders. And we are developing lines of coordination at home across Federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, nongovernmental, and private-sector partners, as well as individuals and communities.
Effectively Manage Emergencies: We are building our capability to prepare for disasters to reduce or eliminate long-term effects to people and their property from hazards and to respond to and recover from major incidents. To improve our preparedness, we are integrating domestic all hazards planning at all levels of government and building key capabilities to respond to emergencies. We continue to collaborate with communities to ensure preparedness efforts are integrated at all levels of government with the private and nonprofit sectors. We are investing in operational capabilities and equipment, and improving the reliability and interoperability of communications systems for first responders. We are encouraging domestic regional planning and integrated preparedness programs and will encourage government at all levels to engage in long-term recovery planning. It is critical that we continually test and improve plans using exercises that are realistic in scenario and consequences.
Empowering Communities to Counter Radicalization: Several recent incidences of violent extremists in the United States who are committed to fighting here and abroad have underscored the threat to the United States and our interests posed by individuals radicalized at home. Our best defenses against this threat are well informed and equipped families, local communities, and institutions. The Federal Government will invest in intelligence to understand this threat and expand community engagement and development programs to empower local communities. And the Federal Government, drawing on the expertise and resources from all relevant agencies, will clearly communicate our policies and intentions, listening to local concerns, tailoring policies to address regional concerns, and making clear that our diversity is part of our strength - not a source of division or insecurity.
Improve Resilience Through Increased Public-Private Partnerships: When incidents occur, we must show resilience by maintaining critical operations and functions, returning to our normal life, and learning from disasters so that their lessons can be translated into pragmatic changes when necessary. The private sector, which owns and operates most of the nation's critical infrastructure, plays a vital role in preparing for and recovering from disasters. We must, therefore, strengthen public-private partnerships by developing incentives for government and the private sector to design structures and systems that can withstand disruptions and mitigate associated consequences, ensure redundant systems where necessary to maintain the ability to operate, decentralize critical operations to reduce our vulnerability to single points of disruption, develop and test continuity plans to ensure the ability to restore critical capabilities, and invest in improvements and maintenance of existing infrastructure.
Engage with Communities and Citizens: We will emphasize individual and community preparedness and resilience through frequent engagement that provides clear and reliable risk and emergency information to the public. A key part of this effort is providing practical steps that all Americans can take to protect themselves, their families, and their neighbors. This includes transmitting information through multiple pathways and to those with special needs. In addition, we support efforts to develop a nationwide public safety broadband network. Our efforts to inform and empower Americans and their communities recognize that resilience has always been at the heart of the American spirit.
Disrupt, Dismantle, and Defeat Al-Qaida and its Violent Extremist Affiliates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Around the WorldThe United States is waging a global campaign against al-Qaida and its terrorist affiliates. To disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida and its affiliates, we are pursuing a strategy that protects our homeland, secures the world's most dangerous weapons and material, denies al-Qaida safe haven, and builds positive partnerships with Muslim communities around the world. Success requires a broad, sustained, and integrated campaign that judiciously applies every tool of American power - both military and civilian - as well as the concerted efforts of like-minded states and multilateral institutions.
We will always seek to delegitimize the use of terrorism and to isolate those who carry it out. Yet this is not a global war against a tactic - terrorism or a religion - Islam. We are at war with a specific network, al-Qaida, and its terrorist affiliates who support efforts to attack the United States, our allies, and partners.
Prevent Attacks on and in the Homeland: To prevent acts of terrorism on American soil, we must enlist all of our intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security capabilities. We will continue to inte -grate and leverage state and major urban area fusion centers that have the capability to share classified information; establish a nationwide framework for reporting suspicious activity ; and implement an integrated approach to our counterterrorism information systems to ensure that the analysts, agents, and officers who protect us have access to all relevant intelligence throughout the government. We are improving information sharing and cooperation by linking networks to facilitate Federal, state, and local capabilities to seamlessly exchange messages and information, conduct searches, and collaborate. We are coordinating better with foreign partners to identify, track, limit access to funding, and prevent terrorist travel. Recognizing the inextricable link between domestic and transnational security, we will collaborate bilaterally, regionally, and through international institutions to promote global efforts to prevent terrorist attacks.
Strengthen Aviation Security: We know that the aviation system has been a particular target of al-Qaida and its affiliates. We must continue to bolster aviation security worldwide through a focus on increased information collection and sharing, stronger passenger vetting and screening measures, the develop -ment and development of advanced screening technologies, and cooperation with the international community to strengthen aviation security standards and efforts around the world.
Deny Terrorists Weapons of Mass Destruction: To prevent acts of terrorism with the world's most danger-ous weapons, we are dramatically accelerating and intensifying efforts to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials by the end of 2013, and to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. We will also take actions to safeguard knowledge and capabilities in the life and chemical sciences that could be vulnerable to misuse.
Deny Al-Qaida the Ability to Threaten the American People, Our Allies, Our Partners and Our Interests Overseas: Al-Qaida and its allies must not be permitted to gain or retain any capacity to plan and launch international terrorist attacks, especially against the U.S. homeland. Al Qaida's core in Pakistan remains the most dangerous component of the larger network, but we also face a growing threat from the group's allies worldwide. We must deny these groups the ability to conduct operational plotting from any locale, or to recruit, train, and position operatives, including those from Europe and North America.
Afghanistan and Pakistan: This is the epicenter of the violent extremism practiced by al Qaida. The danger from this region will only grow if its security slides backward, the Taliban controls large swaths of Afghanistan, and al-Qaida is allowed to operate with impunity. To prevent future attacks on the United States, our allies, and partners, we must work with others to keep the pressure on al-Qaida and increase the security and capacity of our partners in this region.
In Afghanistan, we must deny al-Qaida a safe haven, deny the Taliban the ability to overthrow the gov-ernment, and strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan's security forces and government so that they can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan's future. Within Pakistan, we are working with the government to address the local, regional, and global threat from violent extremists.
We will achieve these objectives with a strategy comprised of three components.
First, our military and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) partners within Afghanistan are targeting the insurgency, working to secure key population centers, and increasing efforts to train Afghan security forces. These military resources will allow us to create the conditions to transition to Afghan responsibility. In July 2011, we will begin reducing our troops responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. We will continue to advise and assist Afghanistan's Security Forces so that they can succeed over the long term.
Second, we will continue to work with our par tners, the United Nations, and the Afghan Government to improve accountable and effective governance. As we work to advance our strategic partnership with the Afghan Government, we are focusing assistance on supporting the President of Afghanistan and those ministries, governors, and local leaders who combat corruption and deliver for the people. Our efforts will be based upon performance, and we will measure progress. We will also target our assistance to areas that can make an immediate and enduring impact in the lives of the Afghan people, such as agriculture, while supporting the human rights of all of Afghanistan's people - women and men. This will support our long-term commitment to a relationship between our two countries that supports a strong, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan.
Third, we will foster a relationship with Pakistan founded upon mutual interests and mutual respect. To defeat violent extremists who threaten both of our countries, we will strengthen Pakistan's capacity to target violent extremists within its borders, and continue to provide security assistance to support those efforts. To strengthen Pakistan's democracy and develop -ment, we will provide substantial assistance responsive to the needs of the Pakistani people, and sustain a long-term partnership committed to Pakistan's future. The strategic partnership that we are developing with Pakistan includes deepening cooperation in a broad range of areas, addressing both security and civilian challenges, and we will continue to expand those ties through our engagement with Pakistan in the years to come.
Deny Safe Havens and Strengthen At-Risk States: Wherever al-Qaida or its terrorist affiliates attempt to establish a safe haven - as they have in Yemen, Somalia, the Maghreb, and the Sahel - we will meet them with growing pressure. We also will strengthen our own network of partners to disable al-Qaida's financial, human, and planning networks; disrupt terrorist operations before they mature; and address potential safe-havens before al-Qaida and its terrorist affiliates can take root. These efforts will focus on information-sharing, law enforcement cooperation, and establishing new practices to counter evolving adversaries. We will also help states avoid becoming terrorist safe havens by helping them build their capacity for responsible governance and security through development and security sector assistance.
Deliver Swift and Sure Justice: To effectively detain, interrogate, and prosecute terrorists, we need durable legal approaches consistent with our security and our values. We adhere to several principles: we will leverage all available information and intelligence to disrupt attacks and dismantle al-Qaida and affiliated terrorist organizations; we will bring terrorists to justice; we will act in line with the rule of law and due process; we will submit decisions to checks and balances and accountability; and we will insist that matters of detention and secrecy are addressed in a manner consistent with our Constitution and laws.To deny violent extremists one of their most potent recruitment tools, we will close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Resist Fear and Overreaction: The goal of those who perpetrate terrorist attacks is in part to sow fear. If we respond with fear, we allow violent extremists to succeed far beyond the initial impact of their attacks, or attempted attacks - altering our society and enlarging the standing of al-Qaida and its terrorist affiliates far beyond its actual reach. Similarly, overreacting in a way that creates fissures between America and certain regions or religions will undercut our leadership and make us less safe.
Contrast Al-Qaida's Intent to Destroy with Our Constructive Vision: While violent extremists seek to destroy, we will make clear our intent to build. We are striving to build bridges among people of different faiths and regions. We will continue to work to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, which has long been a source of tension. We will continue to stand up for the universal rights of all people, even for those with whom we disagree. We are developing new partnerships in Muslim communities around the world on behalf of health, education, science, employment, and innovation. And through our broader emphasis on Muslim engagement, we will communicate our commitment to support the aspirations of all people for security and opportunity. Finally, we reject the notion that al-Qaida represents any religious author-ity. They are not religious leaders, they are killers; and neither Islam nor any other religion condones the slaughter of innocents.
Use of Force
Military force, at times, may be necessary to defend our country and allies or to preserve broader peace and security, including by protecting civilians facing a grave humanitarian crisis. We will draw on diplo -macy, development, and international norms and institutions to help resolve disagreements, prevent conflict, and maintain peace, mitigating where possible the need for the use of force. This means credibly underwriting U.S. defense commitments with tailored approaches to deterrence and ensuring the U.S. military continues to have the necessary capabilities across all domains - land, air, sea, space, and cyber. It also includes helping our allies and partners build capacity to fulfill their responsibilities to contribute to regional and global security.
While the use of force is sometimes necessary, we will exhaust other options before war whenever we can, and carefully weigh the costs and risks of action against the costs and risks of inaction. When force is neces-sary, we will continue to do so in a way that reflects our values and strengthens our legitimacy, and we will seek broad international support, working with such institutions as NATO and the U.N. Security Council.
The United States must reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend our nation and our inter-ests, yet we will also seek to adhere to standards that govern the use of force. Doing so strengthens those who act in line with international standards, while isolating and weakening those who do not. We will also outline a clear mandate and specific objectives and thoroughly consider the consequences - intended and unintended - of our actions. And the United States will take care when sending the men and women of our Armed Forces into harm's way to ensure they have the leadership, training, and equipment they require to accomplish their mission.
Reverse the Spread of Nuclear and Biological Weapons and Secure Nuclear Materials The American people face no greater or more urgent danger than a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon. And international peace and security is threatened by proliferation that could lead to a nuclear exchange. Indeed, since the end of the Cold War, the risk of a nuclear attack has increased. Excessive Cold War stockpiles remain. More nations have acquired nuclear weapons. Testing has continued. Black markets trade in nuclear secrets and materials. Terrorists are determined to buy, build, or steal a nuclear weapon. Our efforts to contain these dangers are centered in a global nonproliferation regime that has frayed as more people and nations break the rules.
That is why reversing the spread of nuclear weapons is a top priority. Success depends upon broad consensus and concerted action, we will move forward strategically on a number of fronts through our example, our partnerships, and a reinvigorated international regime. The United States will:
Pursue the Goal of a World Without Nuclear Weapons: While this goal will not be reached during this Administration, its active pursuit and eventual achievement will increase global security, keep our commitment under the NPT, build our cooperation with Russia and other states, and increase our cred-ibility to hold others accountable for their obligations. As long as any nuclear weapons exist, the United States will sustain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal, both to deter potential adversaries and to assure U.S. allies and other security partners that they can count on America's security commitments. But we have signed and seek to ratify a landmark New START Treaty with Russia to substantially limit our deployed nuclear warheads and strategic delivery vehicles, while assuring a comprehensive monitoring regime. We are reducing the role of nuclear weapons in our national security approach, extending a negative security assurance not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against those nonnuclear nations that are in compliance with the NPT and their nuclear nonproliferation obligations, and investing in the modernization of a safe, secure, and effective stockpile without the production of new nuclear weapons. We will pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. And we will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in nuclear weapons.
Strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: The basic bargain of the NPT is sound: countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament; countries without nuclear weapons will forsake them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy. To strengthen the NPT, we will seek more resources and authority for international inspections. We will develop a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation. As members of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership have agreed, one important ele -ment of an enhanced framework could be cradle-to-grave nuclear fuel management. We will pursue a broad, international consensus to insist that all nations meet their obligations. And we will also pursue meaningful consequences for countries that fail to meet their obligations under the NPT or to meet the requirements for withdrawing from it.
Present a Clear Choice to Iran and North Korea: The United States will pursue the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and work to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. This is not about singling out nations - it is about the responsibilities of all nations and the success of the nonproliferation regime. Both nations face a clear choice. If North Korea eliminates its nuclear weapons program, and Iran meets its international obligations on its nuclear program, they will be able to proceed on a path to greater political and economic integration with the international community. If they ignore their international obligations, we will pursue multiple means to increase their isolation and bring them into compliance with international nonproliferation norms.
Secure Vulnerable Nuclear Weapons and Material: The Global Nuclear Security Summit of 2010 rallied 47 nations behind the goal of securing all nuclear materials from terrorist groups. By the end of 2013, we will seek to complete a focused international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world through enhanced protection and accounting practices, expanded cooperation with and through international institutions, and new partnerships to lock down these sensitive materials. To detect and intercept nuclear materials in transit, and to stop the illicit trade in these technologies, we will work to turn programs such as the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism into durable international efforts. And we will sustain broad-based cooperation with other nations and international institutions to ensure the continued improvements necessary to protect nuclear materials from evolving threats.
Support Peaceful Nuclear Energy : As countries move increasingly to tap peaceful nuclear energy to provide power generation while advancing climate goals, the world must develop an infrastructure in the countries that seek to use nuclear energy for their energy security needs and climate goals to ensure that nuclear energy is developed in a safer manner. We will do so by promoting safety through regulatory bodies and training of operators, promoting physical security to prevent terrorist acts, and assuring safe and secure handling of fuel at the front and back ends of the nuclear fuel cycle.
Counter Biological Threats: The effective dissemination of a lethal biological agent within a population center would endanger the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and have unprecedented eco-nomic, societal, and political consequences. We must continue to work at home with first responders and health officials to reduce the risk associated with unintentional or deliberate outbreaks of infectious disease and to strengthen our resilience across the spectrum of high-consequence biological threats. We will work with domestic and international partners to protect against biological threats by promot-ing global health security and reinforcing norms of safe and responsible conduct; obtaining timely and accurate insight on current and emerging risks; taking reasonable steps to reduce the potential for exploitation; expanding our capability to prevent, attribute, and apprehend those who carry out attacks; communicating effectively with all stakeholders; and helping to transform the international dialogue on biological threats.
Advance Peace, Security, and Opportunity in the Greater Middle East The United States has important interests in the greater Middle East. They include broad cooperation on a wide range of issues with our close friend, Israel, and an unshakable commitment to its security; the achievement of the Palestinian people's legitimate aspirations for statehood, opportunity, and the real-ization of their extraordinary potential; the unity and security of Iraq and the fostering of its democracy and reintegration into the region; the transformation of Iranian policy away from its pursuit of nuclear weapons, support for terrorism, and threats against its neighbors; nonproliferation; and counterterrorism cooperation, access to energy, and integration of the region into global markets.
At the same time, our engagement must be both comprehensive and strategic. It should extend beyond near-term threats by appealing to peoples' aspirations for justice, education, and opportunity and by pursuing a positive and sustainable vision of U.S. partnership with the region. Furthermore, our relation-ship with our Israeli and Arab friends and partners in the region extends beyond our commitment to its security and includes the continued ties we share in areas such as trade, exchanges, and cooperation on a broad range of issues.
Complete a Responsible Transition as We End the War in Iraq: The war in Iraq presents a distinct and important challenge to the United States, the international community, the Iraqi people, and the region. America's servicemen and women, along with our coalition partners, have performed remarkably in fighting determined enemies and have worked with our civilians to help the Iraqi people regain control of their own destiny. Going forward, we have a responsibility, for our own security and the security of the region, to successfully end the war through a full transition to Iraqi responsibility. We will cultivate an enduring relationship with Iraq based on mutual interests and mutual respect.
Our goal is an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant. To achieve that goal, we are continuing to promote an Iraqi Government that is just, representative, and accountable and that denies support and safe haven to terrorists. The United States will pursue no claim on Iraqi territory or resources, and we will keep our commitments to Iraq's democratically elected government. These efforts will build new ties of trade and commerce between Iraq and the world, enable Iraq to assume its rightful place in the community of nations, and contribute to the peace and security of the region.
We are pursuing these objectives with a strategy that has three core components.
Transition Security: First, we are transitioning security to full Iraqi responsibility. We will end the combat mission in Iraq by the end of August 2010. We will continue to train, equip, and advise Iraqi Security Forces; conduct targeted counterterrorism missions; and protect ongoing civilian and military efforts in Iraq. And, consistent with our commitments to the Iraqi Government, including the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement, we will remove all of our troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.
Civilian Support: Second, as the security situation continues to improve, U.S. civilian engage -ment will deepen and broaden. We will sustain a capable political, diplomatic, and civilian effort to help the Iraqi people as they resolve outstanding differences, integrate those refugees and displaced persons who can return, and continue to develop accountable democratic institu-tions that can better serve their basic needs. We will work with our Iraqi partners to implement the Strategic Framework Agreement, with the Department of State taking the lead. This will include cooperation on a range of issues including defense and security cooperation, political and diplomatic cooperation, rule of law, science, health, education, and economics.
Regional Diplomacy and Development: Third, we will continue to pursue comprehensive engagement across the region to ensure that our drawdown in Iraq provides an opportunity to advance lasting security and sustainable development for both Iraq and the broader Middle East. The United States will continue to retain a robust civilian presence commensurate with our strategic interests in the country and the region. We are transforming our relationship to one consistent with other strategic partners in the region.
Pursue Arab-Israeli Peace: The United States, Israel, the Palestinians, and the Arab States have an interest in a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict - one in which the legitimate aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and dignity are realized, and Israel achieves a secure and lasting peace with all of its neighbors.
The United States seeks two states living side by side in peace and security - a Jewish state of Israel, with true security, acceptance, and rights for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestine with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and realizes the potential of the Palestinian people. We will continue to work regionally and with like-minded partners in order to advance negotiations that address the permanent-status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians; borders, refugees, and Jerusalem. We also seek international support to build the institutions upon which a Palestinian state will depend, while supporting economic development that can bring opportunity to its people.
Any Arab-Israeli peace will only be lasting if harmful regional interference ends and constructive regional support deepens. As we pursue peace between Israelis and Palestinians, we will also pursue peace between Israel and Lebanon, Israel and Syria, and a broader peace between Israel and its neighbors. We will pursue regional initiatives with multilateral participation, alongside bilateral negotiations.
Promote a Responsible Iran: For decades, the Islamic Republic of Iran has endangered the security of the region and the United States and failed to live up to its international responsibilities. In addition to its illicit nuclear program, it continues to support terrorism, undermine peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and deny its people their universal rights. Many years of refusing to engage Iran failed to reverse these trends; on the contrary, Iran's behavior became more threatening. Engagement is some -thing we pursue without illusion. It can offer Iran a pathway to a better future, provided Iran's leaders are prepared to take it. But that better pathway can only be achieved if Iran's leaders change course, act to restore the confidence of the international community, and fulfill their obligations. The United States seeks a future in which Iran meets its international responsibilities, takes its rightful place in the community of nations, and enjoys the political and economic opportunities that its people deserve. Yet if the Iranian Government continues to refuse to live up to its international obligations, it will face greater isolation.
Invest in the Capacity of Strong and Capable Partners Where governments are incapable of meeting their citizens' basic needs and fulfilling their responsibili-ties to provide security within their borders, the consequences are often global and may directly threaten the American people. To advance our common security, we must address the underlying political and economic deficits that foster instability, enable radicalization and extremism, and ultimately undermine the ability of governments to manage threats within their borders and to be our partners in addressing common challenges. To invest in the capacity of strong and capable partners, we will work to:
Foster Security and Reconstruction in the Aftermath of Conflict: The United States and the international community cannot shy away from the difficult task of pursuing stabilization in conflict and post-conflict environments. In countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, building the capacity necessary for security, eco -nomic growth, and good governance is the only path to long term peace and security. But we have also learned that the effectiveness of these efforts is profoundly affected by the capacity of governments and the political will of their leaders. We will take these constraints into account in designing appropriate assistance strategies and will facilitate the kind of collaboration that is essential - within our government and with international organizations - in those instances when we engage in the difficult work of helping to bring conflicts to an end.
Pursue Sustainable and Responsible Security Systems in At-Risk States: Proactively investing in stronger societies and human welfare is far more effective and efficient than responding after state collapse. The United States must improve its capability to strengthen the security of states at risk of conflict and violence. We will undertake long-term, sustained efforts to strengthen the capacity of security forces to guarantee internal security, defend against external threats, and promote regional security and respect for human rights and the rule of law. We will also continue to strengthen the administrative and oversight capability of civilian security sector institutions, and the effectiveness of criminal justice.
Prevent the Emergence of Conflict: Our strategy goes beyond meeting the challenges of today, and includes preventing the challenges and seizing the opportunities of tomorrow. This requires investing now in the capable partners of the future; building today the capacity to strengthen the foundations of our common security, and modernizing our capabilities in order to ensure that we are agile in the face of change. We have already begun to reorient and strengthen our development agenda; to take stock of and enhance our capabilities; and to forge new and more effective means of applying the skills of our military, diplomats, and development experts. These kinds of measures will help us diminish military risk, act before crises and conflicts erupt, and ensure that governments are better able to serve their people.
Secure Cyberspace Cybersecurity threats represent one of the most serious national security, public safety, and economic challenges we face as a nation. The very technologies that empower us to lead and create also empower those who would disrupt and destroy. They enable our military superiority, but our unclassified govern-ment networks are constantly probed by intruders. Our daily lives and public safety depend on power and electric grids, but potential adversaries could use cyber vulnerabilities to disrupt them on a massive scale. The Internet and e-commerce are keys to our economic competitiveness, but cyber criminals have cost companies and consumers hundreds of millions of dollars and valuable intellectual property.
The threats we face range from individual criminal hackers to organized criminal groups, from terrorist networks to advanced nation states. Defending against these threats to our security, prosperity, and personal privacy requires networks that are secure, trustworthy, and resilient. Our digital infrastruc-ture, therefore, is a strategic national asset, and protecting it - while safeguarding privacy and civil liberties - is a national security priority. We will deter, prevent, detect, defend against, and quickly recover from cyber intrusions and attacks by:
Investing in People and Technology: To advance that goal, we are working across the government and with the private sector to design more secure technology that gives us the ability to better protect and to improve the resilience of critical government and industry systems and networks. We will continue to invest in the cutting-edge research and development necessary for the innovation and discovery we need to meet these challenges. We have begun a comprehensive national campaign to promote cybersecurity awareness and digital literacy from our boardrooms to our classrooms and to build a digital workforce for the 21st century.
Strengthening Partnerships: Neither government nor the private sector nor individual citizens can meet this challenge alone - we will expand the ways we work together. We will also strengthen our interna-tional partnerships on a range of issues, including the development of norms for acceptable conduct in cyberspace; laws concerning cybercrime; data preservation, protection, and privacy; and approaches for network defense and response to cyber attacks. We will work with all the key players - including all levels of government and the private sector, nationally and internationally - to investigate cyber intrusion and to ensure an organized and unified response to future cyber incidents. Just as we do for natural disasters, we have to have plans and resources in place beforehand.
Prosperity "The answers to our problems don't lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth. Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more." - President Barack Obama, Address to Joint Session of Congress, February 24, 2009
The foundation of American leadership must be a prosperous American economy. And a growing and open global economy serves as a source of opportunity for the American people and a source of strength for the United States. The free flow of information, people, goods, and services has also advanced peace among nations, as those places that have emerged more prosperous are often more stable. Yet we have also seen how shocks to the global economy can precipitate disaster - including the loss of jobs, a decline in standards of living in parts of our country, and instability and a loss of U.S. influence abroad. Meanwhile, growing prosperity around the world has made economic power more diffuse, creating a more competitive environment for America's people and businesses.
To allow each American to pursue the opportunity upon which our prosperity depends, we must build a stronger foundation for economic growth. That foundation must include access to a complete and competitive education for every American; a transformation of the way that we produce and use energy, so that we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and lead the world in creating new jobs and industry; access to quality, affordable health care so our people, businesses, and government are not constrained by rising costs; and the responsible management of our Federal budget so that we balance our priorities and are not burdened by debt. To succeed, we must also ensure that America stays on the cutting edge of the science and innovation that supports our prosperity, defense, and international technological leadership.
This new foundation must underpin and sustain an international economic system that is critical to both our prosperity and to the peace and security of the world. We must reinvigorate and fortify it for the 21st century: by preventing cycles of boom and bust with new rules of the road at home and abroad; by saving more and spending less; by resisting protectionism and promoting trade that is free and fair; by coordinating our actions with other countries, and reforming international institutions to give emerging economies a greater voice and greater responsibility; and by supporting development that promotes good governance, unleashes the potential of different populations, and creates new markets overseas. Taken together, these actions can ensure inclusive growth that is balanced and sustained.
Strengthen Education and Human CapitalIn a global economy of vastly increased mobility and interdependence, our own prosperity and leader-ship depends increasingly on our ability to provide our citizens with the education that they need to succeed, while attracting the premier human capital for our workforce. We must ensure that the most innovative ideas take root in America, while providing our people with the skills that they need to compete. That means we must:
Improve Education at All Levels: The United States has lost ground in education, even as our competi-tiveness depends on educating our children to succeed in a global economy based on knowledge and innovation. We are working to provide a complete and competitive education for all Americans, to include supporting high standards for early learning, reforming public schools, increasing access to higher education and job training, and promoting high-demand skills and education for emerging industries. We will also restore U.S. leadership in higher education by seeking the goal of leading the world in the proportion of college graduates by 2020.
Invest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education (STEM): America's long-term leader-ship depends on educating and producing future scientists and innovators. We will invest more in STEM education so students can learn to think critically in science, math, engineering, and technology; improve the quality of math and science teaching so American students are no longer outperformed by those in other nations; and expand STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women and girls. We will work with partners - from the private-sector and nonprofit organizations to universities - to promote education and careers in science and technology.
Increase International Education and Exchange: The pervasiveness of the English language and American cultural influence are great advantages to Americans traveling, working, and negotiating in foreign countries. But we must develop skills to help us succeed in a dynamic and diverse global economy. We will support programs that cultivate interest and scholarship in foreign languages and intercultural affairs, including international exchange programs. This will allow our citizens to build connections with peoples overseas and to develop skills and contacts that will help them thrive in the global economy. We must also welcome more foreign exchange students to our shores, recognizing the benefits that can result from deeper ties with foreign publics and increased understanding of American society.
Pursue Comprehensive Immigration Reform: The United States is a nation of immigrants. Our ability to innovate, our ties to the world, and our economic prosperity depend on our nation's capacity to welcome and assimilate immigrants, and a visa system which welcomes skilled professionals from around the world. At the same time, effective border security and immigration enforcement must keep the country safe and deter unlawful entry. Indeed, persistent problems in immigration policy consume valuable resources needed to advance other security objectives and make it harder to focus on the most danger-ous threats facing our country. Ultimately, our national security depends on striking a balance between security and openness. To advance this goal, we must pursue comprehensive immigration reform that effectively secures our borders, while repairing a broken system that fails to serve the needs of our nation.
Enhance Science, Technology, and Innovation Reaffirming America's role as the global engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation has never been more critical. Challenges like climate change, pandemic disease, and resource scarcity demand new innovation. Meanwhile, the nation that leads the world in building a clean energy economy will enjoy a substantial economic and security advantage. That is why the Administration is investing heavily in research, improving education in science and math, promoting developments in energy, and expanding international cooperation.
Transform our Energy Economy: As long as we are dependent on fossil fuels, we need to ensure the security and free flow of global energy resources. But without significant and timely adjustments, our energy dependence will continue to undermine our security and prosperity. This will leave us vulnerable to energy supply disruptions and manipulation and to changes in the environment on an unprecedented scale.
The United States has a window of opportunity to lead in the development of clean energy technology. If successful, the United States will lead in this new Industrial Revolution in clean energy that will be a major contributor to our economic prosperity. If we do not develop the policies that encourage the private sector to seize the opportunity, the United States will fall behind and increasingly become an importer of these new energy technologies.
We have already made the largest investment in clean energy in history, but there is much more to do to build on this foundation. We must continue to transform our energy economy, leveraging private capital to accelerate deployment of clean energy technologies that will cut greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, increase use of renewable and nuclear power, reduce the dependence of vehicles on oil, and diversify energy sources and suppliers. We will invest in research and next-generation technology, modernize the way we distribute electricity, and encourage the usage of transitional fuels, while moving towards clean energy produced at home.
Invest in Research: Research and development is central to our broader national capacity. Incidents like the outbreak of H1N1 influenza and the challenge of identifying new, renewable sources of energy highlight the importance of research in basic and applied science. We are reversing the decades-long decline in federal funding for research, including the single largest infusion to basic science research in American history. Research and innovation is not something government can do on its own, which is why we will support and create incentives to encourage private initiatives. The United States has always excelled in our ability to turn science and technology into engineering and products, and we must continue to do so in the future.
Expand International Science Partnerships: America's scientific leadership has always been widely admired around the world, and we must continue to expand cooperation and partnership in science and technology. We have launched a number of Science Envoys around the globe and are promoting stronger relationships between American scientists, universities, and researchers and their counterparts abroad. We will reestablish a commitment to science and technology in our foreign assistance efforts and develop a strategy for international science and national security.
Employ Technology to Protect our Nation: Our renewed commitment to science and technology - and our ability to apply the ingenuity of our public and private sectors toward the most difficult foreign policy and security challenges of our time - will help us protect our citizens and advance U.S. national security priorities. These include, for example, protecting U.S. and allied forces from asymmetric attacks; support-ing arms control and nonproliferation agreements; preventing terrorists from attacking our homeland; preventing and managing widespread disease outbreaks; securing the supply chain; detecting weapons of mass destruction before they reach our borders; and protecting our information, communication, and transportation infrastructure.
Leverage and Grow our Space Capabilities: For over 50 years, our space community has been a catalyst for innovation and a hallmark of U.S. technological leadership. Our space capabilities underpin global commerce and scientific advancements and bolster our national security strengths and those of our allies and partners. To promote security and stability in space, we will pursue activities consistent with the inherent right of self-defense, deepen cooperation with allies and friends, and work with all nations toward the responsible and peaceful use of space. To maintain the advantages afforded to the United States by space, we must also take several actions. We must continue to encourage cutting-edge space technology by investing in the people and industrial base that develops them. We will invest in the research and development of next-generation space technologies and capabilities that benefit our commercial, civil, scientific exploration, and national security communities, in order to maintain the viability of space for future generations. And we will promote a unified effort to strengthen our space industrial base and work with universities to encourage students to pursue space-related careers.
Achieve Balanced and Sustainable GrowthBalanced and sustainable growth, at home and throughout the global economy, drives the momentum of the U.S. economy and underpins our prosperity. A steadily growing global economy means an expand-ing market for exports of our goods and services. Over time, deepening linkages among markets and businesses will provide the setting in which the energies and entrepreneurship of our private sector can flourish, generating technologies, business growth, and job creation that will boost living standards for Americans. United States economic leadership now has to adapt to the rising prominence of emerging economies; the growing size, speed, and sophistication of financial markets; the multiplicity of market participants around the globe; and the struggling economies that have so far failed to integrate into the global system.
To promote prosperity for all Americans, we will need to lead the international community to expand the inclusive growth of the integrated, global economy. At the same time, we will need to lead international efforts to prevent a recurrence of economic imbalances and financial excesses, while managing the many security threats and global challenges that affect global economic stability. To promote growth that can be balanced and sustained, we will:
Prevent Renewed Instability in the Global Economy: The recent crisis taught us the very high cost of the boom and bust cycle that has plagued the global economy and has served neither the United States nor our international partners. Once Americans found themselves in debt or out of work, our demand for foreign goods fell sharply. As foreign economies weakened, their financial institutions and public finances came under stress too, reinforcing the global slowdown. We must prevent the reemergence of imbalanced growth, with American consumers buying and borrowing, and Asian and other export-ing countries selling and accumulating claims. We must pursue reform of the U.S. financial system to strengthen the health of our economy and encourage Americans to save more. And we must prevent the reemergence of excesses in our financial institutions based on irresponsible lending behavior, and abetted by lax and uncoordinated regulation.
Save More And Export More: Striking a better balance at home means saving more and spending less, reforming our financial system, and reducing our long-term budget deficit. With those changes, we will see a greater emphasis on exports that we can build, produce, and sell all over the world, with the goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2014. This is ultimately an employment strategy, because higher exports will support millions of well-paying American jobs, including those that service innovative and profit-able new technologies. As a part of that effort, we are reforming our export controls consistent with our national security imperatives.
Shift To Greater Domestic Demand Abroad: For the rest of the world, especially in some emerging market and developing countries, a better balance means placing greater emphasis on increasing domestic demand as the leading driver of growth and opening markets. Those countries will be able to import the capital and technologies needed to sustain the remarkable productivity gains already underway. Rebalancing will provide an opportunity for workers and consumers over time to enjoy the higher standards of living made possible by those gains. As balanced growth translates into sustained growth, middle-income, and poor countries, many of which are not yet sufficiently integrated into the global economy, can accelerate the process of convergence of living standards toward richer countries - a process that will become a driver of growth for the global economy for decades to come.
Open Foreign Markets to Our Products and Services: The United States has long had one of the most open markets in the world. We have been a leader in expanding an open trading system. That has underwritten the growth of other developed and emerging markets alike. Openness has also forced our companies and workers to compete and innovate, and at the same time, has offered market access crucial to the success of so many countries around the world. We will maintain our open investment environment, consistent with our national security goals. In this new era, opening markets around the globe will promote global competition and innovation and will be crucial to our prosperity. We will pursue a trade agenda that includes an ambitious and balanced Doha multilateral trade agreement, bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that reflect our values and interests, and engagement with the transpacific partnership countries to shape a regional agreement with high standards.
As we go forward, our trade policy will be an important part of our effort to capitalize on the opportuni-ties presented by globalization, but will also be part of our effort to equip Americans to compete. To make trade agreements work for Americans, we will take steps to restore confidence, with realistic programs to deal with transition costs, and promote innovation, infrastructure, healthcare reform and education. Our agreements will contain achievable enforcement mechanisms to ensure that the gains we negotiate are in fact realized and will be structured to reflect U.S. interests, especially on labor and environment.
Build Cooperation with Our International Partners: The United States has supported the G-20's emer-gence as the premier forum for international economic cooperation. This flows from the recognition that we need a broader and more inclusive engagement with the countries responsible for most of global output and trade. U.S. leadership in the G-20 will be focused on securing sustainable and balanced growth, coordinating reform of financial sector regulation, fostering global economic development, and promoting energy security. We also need official international financial institutions to be as modern and agile as the global economy they serve. Through the G-20, we will pursue governance reform at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. We will also broaden our leadership in other international financial institutions so that the rapidly growing countries of the world see their repre-sentation increase and are willing to invest those institutions with the authority they need to promote the stability and growth of global output and trade.
Deterring Threats to the International Financial System: Today's open and global financial system also exposes us to global financial threats. Just as we work to make the most of the opportunities that glo -balization brings, the actors that pose a threat to our national security - terrorists, proliferators, narcotics traffickers, corrupt officials, and others - are abusing the global financial system to raise, move, and safe-guard funds that support their illicit activities or from which they derive profit. Their support networks have global reach and are not contained by national borders. Our strategy to attack these networks must respond in kind and target their illicit resources and access to the global financial system through financial measures, administration and enforcement of regulatory authorities, outreach to the private sector and our foreign partners, and collaboration on international standards and information sharing.
Accelerate Sustainable DevelopmentThe growth of emerging economies in recent decades has lifted people out of poverty and forged a more interconnected and vibrant global economy. But development has been uneven, progress is fragile, and too many of the world's people still live without the benefits that development affords. While some countries are growing, many lag behind - mired in insecurity, constrained by poor governance, or overly dependent upon commodity prices. But sustained economic progress requires faster, sustainable, and more inclusive development. That is why we are pursuing a range of specific initiatives in areas such as food security and global health that will be essential to the future security and prosperity of nations and peoples around the globe.
Increase Investments in Development: The United States has an interest in working with our allies to help the world's poorest countries grow into productive and prosperous economies governed by capable, democratic, and accountable state institutions. We will ensure a greater and more deliberate focus on a global development agenda across the United States Government, from policy analysis through policy implementation. We are increasing our foreign assistance, expanding our investments in effective multilateral development institutions, and leveraging the engagement of others to share the burden.
Invest in the Foundations of Long-Term Development: The United States will initiate long-term invest-ments that recognize and reward governments that demonstrate the capacity and political will to pursue sustainable development strategies and ensure that all policy instruments at our disposal are harnessed to these ends. And we will provide our support in multiple ways - by strengthening the ability of gov-ernments and communities to manage development challenges and investing in strong institutions that foster the democratic accountability that helps sustain development. This will expand the circle of nations - particularly in Africa - who are capable of reaping the benefits of the global economy, while contributing to global security and prosperity.
Exercise Leadership in the Provision of Global Public Goods: Our approach needs to reflect the fact that there are a set of development challenges that strongly affect the likelihood of progress, but cannot be addressed by individual countries acting alone. Particularly in Africa, these challenges - such as adap -tation to global warming, the control of epidemic disease, and the knowledge to increase agricultural productivity - are not adequately addressed in bilateral efforts. We will shape the international archi-tecture and work with our global partners to address these challenges, and increase our investments and engagement to transition to a low-carbon growth trajectory, support the resilience of the poorest nations to the effects of climate change, and strengthen food security. We must also pursue potential "game changers" for development such as new vaccines, weather-resistant seed varieties, and green energy technologies.
Spend Taxpayers' Dollars WiselyThe United States Government has an obligation to make the best use of taxpayer money, and our ability to achieve long-term goals depends upon our fiscal responsibility. A responsible budget involves mak-ing tough choices to live within our means; holding departments and agencies accountable for their spending and their performance; harnessing technology to improve government performance; and being open and honest with the American people. A responsible budget also depends upon working with our global partners and institutions to share burdens and leverage U.S. investments to achieve global goals. Our national security goals can only be reached if we make hard choices and work with international partners to share burdens.
Reduce the Deficit: We cannot grow our economy in the long term unless we put the United States back on a sustainable fiscal path. To begin this effort, the Administration has proposed a 3-year freeze in nonsecurity discretionary spending, a new fee on the largest financial services companies to recoup taxpayer losses for the Troubled Asset Relief Program ( TARP), and the closing of tax loopholes and unnecessary subsidies. The Administration has created a bipartisan fiscal commission to suggest further steps for medium-term deficit reduction and will work for fiscally responsible health insurance reform that will bring down the rate of growth in health care costs, a key driver of the country's fiscal future.
Reform Acquisition and Contracting Processes: Wasteful spending, duplicative programs, and contracts with poor oversight have no place in the United States Government. Cost-effective and efficient pro -cesses are particularly important for the Department of Defense, which accounts for approximately 70 percent of all Federal procurement spending. We will scrutinize our programs and terminate or restructure those that are outdated, duplicative, ineffective, or wasteful. The result will be more relevant, capable, and effective programs and systems that our military wants and needs. We are also reforming Federal contracting and strengthening contracting practices and management oversight with a goal of saving Federal agencies $40 billion dollars a year.
Increase Transparency: Americans have a right to know how their tax dollars are spent, but that informa-tion can be obscured or unavailable. In some instances, incomplete accounting of the budget has been used to conceal the reality of our fiscal situation. To uphold our commitment to a transparent budget process, we are simultaneously requesting both base budget and overseas contingency operations costs, with the same amount of justification and explanatory material for each, so that Americans can see the true cost of our war efforts and hold leaders accountable for decisions with all of the facts.
Values "We uphold our most cherished values not only because doing so is right, but because it strengthens our country and keeps us safe. Time and again, our values have been our best national security asset - in war and peace, in times of ease, and in eras of upheaval. Fidelity to our values is the reason why the United States of America grew from a small string of colonies under the writ of an empire to the strongest nation in the world." - President Barack Obama, National Archives, May 21, 2009
The United States believes certain values are universal and will work to promote them worldwide. These include an individual's freedom to speak their mind, assemble without fear, worship as they please, and choose their own leaders; they also include dignity, tolerance, and equality among all people, and the fair and equitable administration of justice. The United States was founded upon a belief in these values. At home, fidelity to these values has extended the promise of America ever more fully, to ever more people. Abroad, these values have been claimed by people of every race, region, and religion. Most nations are parties to international agreements that recognize this commonality. And nations that embrace these values for their citizens are ultimately more successful - and friendly to the United States - than those that do not.
Yet after an era that saw substantial gains for these values around the world, democratic develop -ment has stalled in recent years. In some cultures, these values are being equated with the ugly face of modernity and are seen to encroach upon cherished identities. In other countries, autocratic rulers have repressed basic human rights and democratic practices in the name of economic development and national unity. Even where some governments have adopted democratic practices, authoritarian rulers have undermined electoral processes and restricted the space for opposition and civil society, imposing a growing number of legal restrictions so as to impede the rights of people to assemble and to access information. And while there has been substantial progress in combating poverty in many parts of the world, too many of the world's people still lack the dignity that comes with the opportunity to pursue a better life.
The United States supports those who seek to exercise universal rights around the world. We promote our values above all by living them at home. We continue to engage nations, institutions, and peoples in pursuit of these values abroad. And we recognize the link between development and political progress. In doing so, our goals are realistic, as we recognize that different cultures and traditions give life to these values in distinct ways. Moreover, America's influence comes not from perfection, but from our striving to overcome our imperfections. The constant struggle to perfect our union is what makes the American story inspiring. That is why acknowledging our past shortcomings - and highlighting our efforts to remedy them - is a means of promoting our values.
America will not impose any system of government on another country, but our long-term security and prosperity depends on our steady support for universal values, which sets us apart from our enemies, adversarial governments, and many potential competitors for influence. We will do so through a variety of means - by speaking out for universal rights, supporting fragile democracies and civil society, and supporting the dignity that comes with development.
Strengthen the Power of Our ExampleMore than any other action that we have taken, the power of America's example has helped spread freedom and democracy abroad. That is why we must always seek to uphold these values not just when it is easy, but when it is hard. Advancing our interests may involve new arrangements to confront threats like terrorism, but these practices and structures must always be in line with our Constitution, preserve our people's privacy and civil liberties, and withstand the checks and balances that have served us so well. To sustain our fidelity to our values - and our credibility to promote them around the world - we will continue to:
Prohibit Torture without Exception or Equivocation: Brutal methods of interrogation are inconsistent with our values, undermine the rule of law, and are not effective means of obtaining information. They alienate the United States from the world. They serve as a recruitment and propaganda tool for terror-ists. They increase the will of our enemies to fight against us, and endanger our troops when they are captured. The United States will not use or support these methods.
Legal Aspects of Countering Terrorism: The increased risk of terrorism necessitates a capacity to detain and interrogate suspected violent extremists, but that framework must align with our laws to be effective and sustainable. When we are able, we will prosecute terrorists in Federal courts or in reformed military commissions that are fair, legitimate, and effective. For detainees who cannot be prosecuted - but pose a danger to the American people - we must have clear, defensible, and lawful standards. We must have fair procedures and a thorough process of periodic review, so that any prolonged detention is carefully evaluated and justified. And keeping with our Constitutional system, it will be subject to checks and balances. The goal is an approach that can be sustained by future Administrations, with support from both political parties and all three branches of government.
Balance the Imperatives of Secrecy and Transparency: For the sake of our security, some information must be protected from public disclosure - for instance, to protect our troops, our sources and methods of intelligence-gathering or confidential actions that keep the American people safe. Yet our democ-racy depends upon transparency, and whenever possible, we are making information available to the American people so that they can make informed judgments and hold their leaders accountable. For instance, when we invoke the State Secrets privilege, we will follow clear procedures so as to provide greater accountability and to ensure the privilege is invoked only when necessary and in the narrowest way possible. We will never invoke the privilege to hide a violation of law or to avoid embarrassment to the government.
Protect Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Oversight: Protecting civil liberties and privacy are integral to the vibrancy of our democracy and the exercise of freedom. We are balancing our solemn commitments to these virtues with the mandate to provide security for the American people. Vigorous oversight of national security activities by our three branches of government and vigilant compliance with the rule of law allow us to maintain this balance, affirm to our friends and allies the constitutional ideals we uphold.
Uphold the Rule of Law: The rule of law - and our capacity to enforce it - advances our national security and strengthens our leadership. At home, fidelity to our laws and support for our law enforcement com-munity safeguards American citizens and interests, while protecting and advancing our values. Around the globe, it allows us to hold actors accountable, while supporting both international security and the stability of the global economy. America's commitment to the rule of law is fundamental to our efforts to build an international order that is capable of confronting the emerging challenges of the 21st century.
Draw Strength from Diversity: The United States has benefited throughout our history when we have drawn strength from our diversity. While those who advocate on behalf of extremist ideologies seek to sow discord among ethnic and religious groups, America stands as an example of how people from different backgrounds can be united through their commitment to shared values. Within our own communities, those who seek to recruit and radicalize individuals will often try to prey upon isolation and alienation. Our own commitment to extending the promise of America will both draw a contrast with those who try to drive people apart, while countering attempts to enlist individuals in ideological, religious, or ethnic extremism.
Promote Democracy and Human Rights Abroad The United States supports the expansion of democracy and human rights abroad because governments that respect these values are more just, peaceful, and legitimate. We also do so because their success abroad fosters an environment that supports America's national interests. Political systems that protect universal rights are ultimately more stable, successful, and secure. As our history shows, the United States can more effectively forge consensus to tackle shared challenges when working with governments that reflect the will and respect the rights of their people, rather than just the narrow interests of those in power. The United States is advancing universal values by:
Ensuring that New and Fragile Democracies Deliver Tangible Improvements for Their Citizens: The United States must support democracy, human rights, and development together, as they are mutually reinforcing. We are working closely with citizens, communities, and political and civil society leaders to strengthen key institutions of democratic accountability - free and fair electoral processes, strong legislatures, civilian control of militaries, honest police forces, independent and fair judiciaries, a free and independent press, a vibrant private sector, and a robust civil society. To do so, we are harnessing our bilateral and multilateral capabilities to help nascent democracies deliver services that respond to the needs and preferences of their citizens, since democracies without development rarely survive.
Practicing Principled Engagement with Non-Democratic Regimes: Even when we are focused on interests such as counterterrorism, nonproliferation, or enhancing economic ties, we will always seek in parallel to expand individual rights and opportunities through our bilateral engagement. The United States is pursuing a dual-track approach in which we seek to improve government-to-government relations and use this dialogue to advance human rights, while engaging civil society and peaceful political opposition, and encouraging U.S. nongovernmental actors to do the same. More substantive government-to-government relations can create permissive conditions for civil society to operate and for more extensive people-to-people exchanges. But when our overtures are rebuffed, we must lead the international community in using public and private diplomacy, and drawing on incentives and disincentives, in an effort to change repressive behavior.
Recognizing the Legitimacy of All Peaceful Democratic Movements: America respects the right of all peaceful, law-abiding, and nonviolent voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. Support for democracy must not be about support for specific candidates or movements. America will welcome all legitimately elected, peaceful governments, provided they govern with respect for the rights and dignity of all their people and consistent with their international obligations. Those who seek democracy to obtain power, but are ruthless once they do, will forfeit the support of the United States. Governments must maintain power through consent, not coercion, and place legitimate political processes above party or narrow interest.
Supporting the Rights of Women and Girls: Women should have access to the same opportunities and be able to make the same choices as men. Experience shows that countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal rights and opportunity. When those rights and opportunities are denied, countries often lag behind. Furthermore, women and girls often dispropor-tionally bear the burden of crises and conflict. Therefore the United States is working with regional and international organizations to prevent violence against women and girls, especially in conflict zones. We are supporting women's equal access to justice and their participation in the political process. We are promoting child and maternal health. We are combating human trafficking, especially in women and girls, through domestic and international law enforcement. And we are supporting education, employment, and micro-finance to empower women globally.
Strengthening International Norms Against Corruption: We are working within the broader international system, including the U.N., G-20, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the international financial institutions, to promote the recognition that pervasive corruption is a violation of basic human rights and a severe impediment to development and global security. We will work with governments and civil society organizations to bring greater transparency and accountability to government budgets, expenditures, and the assets of public officials. And we will institutionalize transparent practices in international aid flows, international banking and tax policy, and private sec-tor engagement around natural resources to make it harder for officials to steal and to strengthen the efforts of citizens to hold their governments accountable.
Building a Broader Coalition of Actors to Advance Universal Values: We are working to build support for democracy, rule of law, and human rights by working with other governments, nongovernmental organizations, and multilateral fora. The United States is committed to working to shape and strengthen existing institutions that are not delivering on their potential, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council. We are working within the broader U.N. system and through regional mechanisms to strengthen human rights monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, so that individuals and countries are held accountable for their violation of international human rights norms. And we will actively support the leadership of emerging democracies as they assume a more active role in advancing basic human rights and democratic values in their regions and on the global stage.
Marshalling New Technologies and Promoting the Right to Access Information: The emergence of tech-nologies such as the Internet, wireless networks, mobile smart-phones, investigative forensics, satellite and aerial imagery, and distributed remote sensing infrastructure has created powerful new opportuni-ties to advance democracy and human rights. These technologies have fueled people-powered political movements, made it possible to shine a spotlight on human rights abuses nearly instantaneously, and increased avenues for free speech and unrestricted communication around the world. We support the dissemination and use of these technologies to facilitate freedom of expression, expand access to infor-mation, increase governmental transparency and accountability, and counter restrictions on their use. We will also better utilize such technologies to effectively communicate our own messages to the world.
Promote Dignity by Meeting Basic Needs The freedom that America stands for includes freedom from want. Basic human rights cannot thrive in places where human beings do not have access to enough food, or clean water, or the medicine they need to survive. The United States has embraced the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals and is working with others in pursuit of the eradication of extreme poverty - efforts that are particularly critical to the future of nations and peoples of Africa. And we will continue to promote the dignity that comes through development efforts such as:
Pursuing a Comprehensive Global Health Strategy: The United States has a moral and strategic interest in promoting global health. When a child dies of a preventable disease, it offends our conscience; when a disease goes unchecked, it can endanger our own health; when children are sick, development is stalled. That is why we are continuing to invest in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Through the Global Health Initiative, we will strengthen health systems and invest in interventions to address areas where progress has lagged, including maternal and child health. And we are also pursuing the goal of reducing the burden of malaria and tuberculosis and seeking the elimination of important neglected tropical diseases.
Promoting Food Security: The United States is working with partners around the world to advance a food security initiative that combats hunger and builds the capacity of countries to feed their people. Instead of simply providing aid for developing countries, we are focusing on new methods and technologies for agricultural development. This is consistent with an approach in which aid is not an end in itself - the purpose of our foreign assistance will be to create the conditions where it is no longer needed.
Leading Efforts to Address Humanitarian Crises: Together with the American people and the international community, we will continue to respond to humanitarian crises to ensure that those in need have the protection and assistance they need. In such circumstances, we are also placing a greater emphasis on fostering long-term recovery. Haiti's devastating earthquake is only the most recent reminder of the human and material consequences of natural disasters, and a changing climate portends a future in which the United States must be better prepared and resourced to exercise robust leadership to help meet critical humanitarian needs.
International Order "As President of the United States, I will work tirelessly to protect America's security and to advance our interests. But no one nation can meet the challenges of the 21st century on its own, nor dictate its terms to the world. That is why America seeks an international system that lets nations pursue their interests peacefully, especially when those interests diverge; a system where the universal rights of human beings are respected, and violations of those rights are opposed; a system where we hold ourselves to the same standards that we apply to other nations, with clear rights and responsibilities for all." - President Barack Obama, Moscow, Russia, July 7, 2009
The United States will protect its people and advance our prosperity irrespective of the actions of any other nation, but we have an interest in a just and sustainable international order that can foster collec-tive action to confront common challenges. This international order will support our efforts to advance security, prosperity, and universal values, but it is also an end that we seek in its own right. Because without such an international order, the forces of instability and disorder will undermine global secu-rity. And without effective mechanisms to forge international cooperation, challenges that recognize no borders - such as climate change, pandemic disease, and transnational crime - will persist and potentially spread.
International institutions - most prominently NATO and the United Nations - have been at the center of our international order since the mid 20th century. Yet, an international architecture that was largely forged in the wake of World War II is buckling under the weight of new threats, making us less able to seize new opportunities. Even though many defining trends of the 21st century affect all nations and peoples, too often, the mutual interests of nations and peoples are ignored in favor of suspicion and self-defeating competition.
What is needed, therefore, is a realignment of national actions and international institutions with shared interests. And when national interests do collide - or countries prioritize their interests in different ways - those nations that defy international norms or fail to meet their sovereign responsibilities will be denied the incentives that come with greater integration and collaboration with the international community.
No international order can be supported by international institutions alone. Our mutual interests must be underpinned by bilateral, multilateral, and global strategies that address underlying sources of insecurity and build new spheres of cooperation. To that end, strengthening bilateral and multilateral
cooperation cannot be accomplished simply by working inside formal institutions and frameworks. It requires sustained outreach to foreign governments, political leaderships, and other critical constituen-cies that must commit the necessary capabilities and resources to enable effective, collective action. And it means building upon our traditional alliances, while also cultivating partnerships with new centers of influence. Taken together, these approaches will allow us to foster more effective global cooperation to confront challenges that know no borders and affect every nation.
Ensure Strong AlliancesThe foundation of United States, regional, and global security will remain America's relations with our allies, and our commitment to their security is unshakable. These relationships must be constantly cultivated, not just because they are indispensible for U.S. interests and national security objectives, but because they are fundamental to our collective security. Alliances are force multipliers: through multinational cooperation and coordination, the sum of our actions is always greater than if we act alone. We will continue to maintain the capacity to defend our allies against old and new threats. We will also continue to closely consult with our allies as well as newly emerging partners and organizations so that we revitalize and expand our cooperation to achieve common objectives. And we will continue to mutually benefit from the collective security provided by strong alliances.
Although the United States and our allies and partners may sometimes disagree on specific issues, we will act based upon mutual respect and in a manner that continues to strengthen an international order that benefits all responsible international actors.
Strengthening Security Relationships: Our ability to sustain these alliances, and to build coalitions of support toward common objectives, depends in part on the capabilities of America's Armed Forces. Similarly, the relationships our Armed Forces have developed with foreign militaries are a critical com-ponent of our global engagement and support our collective security.
We will continue to ensure that we can prevail against a wide range of potential adversaries - to include hostile states and nonstate actors - while broadly shaping the strategic environment using all tools to advance our common security. We will continue to reassure our allies and partners by retaining our abil-ity to bring precise, sustained, and effective capabilities to bear against a wide range of military threats and decisively defeat the forces of hostile regional powers. We will work with our allies and partners to enhance the resilience of U.S. forward posture and facilities against potential attacks. Finally, we will strengthen our regional deterrence postures - for example, through phased, adaptive missile defense architectures - in order to make certain that regional adversaries gain no advantages from their acquisi-tion of new, offensive military capabilities.
European Allies: Our relationship with our European allies remains the cornerstone for U.S. engage-ment with the world, and a catalyst for international action. We will engage with our allies bilaterally, and pursue close consultation on a broad range of security and economic issues. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the pre-eminent security alliance in the world today. With our 27 NATO allies, and the many partners with which NATO cooperates, we will strengthen our collective ability to promote security, deter vital threats, and defend our people. NATO's new Strategic Concept will provide an opportunity to revitalize and reform the Alliance. We are committed to ensuring that NATO is able to address the full range of 21st century challenges, while serving as a foundation of European security. And we will continue to anchor our commitment in Article V, which is fundamental to our collective security.
Building on European aspirations for greater integration, we are committed to partnering with a stronger European Union to advance our shared goals, especially in promoting democracy and prosperity in Eastern European countries that are still completing their democratic transition and in responding to pressing issues of mutual concern. We will remain dedicated to advancing stability and democracy in the Balkans and to resolving conflicts in the Caucasus and in Cyprus. We will continue to engage with Turkey on a broad range of mutual goals, especially with regard to pursuit of stability in its region. And we will seek to strengthen existing European institutions so that they are more inclusive and more effective in building confidence, reducing tensions, and protecting freedom.
Asian Allies: Our alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand are the bedrock of security in Asia and a foundation of prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. We will continue to deepen and update these alliances to reflect the dynamism of the region and strategic trends of the 21st century. Japan and South Korea are increasingly important leaders in addressing regional and global issues, as well as in embodying and promoting our common democratic values. We are modernizing our security relationships with both countries to face evolving 21st century global security challenges and to reflect the principle of equal partnership with the United States and to ensure a sustainable founda-tion for the U.S. military presence there. We are working together with our allies to develop a positive security agenda for the region, focused on regional security, combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, climate change, international piracy, epidemics, and cybersecurity, while achieving balanced growth and human rights.
In partnership with our allies, the United States is helping to offer a future of security and integration to all Asian nations and to uphold and extend fundamental rights and dignity to all of its people. These alliances have preserved a hard-earned peace and strengthened the bridges of understanding across the Pacific Ocean in the second half of the 20th century, and it is essential to U.S., Asian, and global security that they are as dynamic and effective in the 21st century.
North America: The strategic partnerships and unique relationships we maintain with Canada and Mexico are critical to U.S. national security and have a direct effect on the security of our homeland. With billions of dollars in trade, shared critical infrastructure, and millions of our citizens moving across our common borders, no two countries are more directly connected to our daily lives. We must change the way we think about our shared borders, in order to secure and expedite the lawful and legitimate flow of people and goods while interdicting transnational threat that threaten our open societies.
Canada is our closest trading partner, a steadfast security ally, and an important partner in regional and global efforts. Our mutual prosperity is closely interconnected, including through our trade rela-tionship with Mexico through NAFTA. With Canada, our security cooperation includes our defense of North America and our efforts through NATO overseas. And our cooperation is critical to the success of international efforts on issues ranging from international climate negotiations to economic cooperation through the G-20.
With Mexico, in addition to trade cooperation, we are working together to identify and interdict threats at the earliest opportunity, even before they reach North America. Stability and security in Mexico are indispensable to building a strong economic partnership, fighting the illicit drug and arms trade, and promoting sound immigration policy.
Build Cooperation with Other 21st Century Centers of Influence The United States is part of a dynamic international environment, in which different nations are exerting greater influence, and advancing our interests will require expanding spheres of cooperation around the word. Certain bilateral relationships - such as U.S. relations with China, India, and Russia - will be critical to building broader cooperation on areas of mutual interest. And emerging powers in every region of the world are increasingly asserting themselves, raising opportunities for partnership for the United States.
Asia: Asia's dramatic economic growth has increased its connection to America's future prosperity, and its emerging centers of influence make it increasingly important. We have taken substantial steps to deepen our engagement in the region, through regional organizations, new dialogues, and high-level diplomacy. The United States has deep and enduring ties with the countries of the region, including trade and investment that drive growth and prosperity on both sides of the Pacific, and enhancing these ties is critical to our efforts to advance balanced and sustainable growth and to doubling U.S. exports. We have increasing security cooperation on issues such as violent extremism and nuclear proliferation. We will work to advance these mutual interests through our alliances, deepen our relationships with emerging powers, and pursue a stronger role in the region's multilateral architecture, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the East Asia Summit.
We will continue to pursue a positive, constructive, and comprehensive relationship with China. We welcome a China that takes on a responsible leadership role in working with the United States and the international community to advance priorities like economic recovery, confronting climate change, and nonproliferation. We will monitor China's military modernization program and prepare accordingly to ensure that U.S. interests and allies, regionally and globally, are not negatively affected. More broadly, we will encourage China to make choices that contribute to peace, security, and prosperity as its influ-ence rises. We are using our newly established Strategic and Economic Dialogue to address a broader range of issues, and improve communication between our militaries in order to reduce mistrust. We will encourage continued reduction in tension between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. We will not agree on every issue, and we will be candid on our human rights concerns and areas where we differ. But disagreements should not prevent cooperation on issues of mutual interest, because a pragmatic and effective relationship between the United States and China is essential to address the major challenges of the 21st century.
The United States and India are building a strategic partnership that is underpinned by our shared interests, our shared values as the world's two largest democracies, and close connections among our people. India's responsible advancement serves as a positive example for developing nations, and provides an opportunity for increased economic, scientific, environmental, and security partnership. Working together through our Strategic Dialogue and high-level visits, we seek a broad-based relation-ship in which India contributes to global counterterrorism efforts, nonproliferation, and helps promote poverty-reduction, education, health, and sustainable agriculture. We value India's growing leadership on a wide array of global issues, through groups such as the G-20, and will seek to work with India to promote stability in South Asia and elsewhere in the world.
Russia: We seek to build a stable, substantive, multidimensional relationship with Russia, based on mutual interests. The United States has an interest in a strong, peaceful, and prosperous Russia that respects international norms. As the two nations possessing the majority of the world's nuclear weap -ons, we are working together to advance nonproliferation, both by reducing our nuclear arsenals and by cooperating to ensure that other countries meet their international commitments to reducing the spread of nuclear weapons around the world. We will seek greater partnership with Russia in confronting violent extremism, especially in Afghanistan. We also will seek new trade and investment arrangements for increasing the prosperity of our peoples. We support efforts within Russia to promote the rule of law, accountable government, and universal values. While actively seeking Russia's cooperation to act as a responsible partner in Europe and Asia, we will support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia's neighbors.
Emerging Centers of Influence: Due to increased economic growth and political stability, individual nations are increasingly taking on powerful regional and global roles and changing the landscape of international cooperation. To achieve a just and sustainable order that advances our shared security and prosperity, we are, therefore, deepening our partnerships with emerging powers and encouraging them to play a greater role in strengthening international norms and advancing shared interests.
The rise of the G-20, for example, as the premier international economic forum, represents a distinct shift in our global international order toward greater cooperation between traditional major economies and emerging centers of influence. The nations composing the G-20 - from South Korea to South Africa, Saudi Arabia to Argentina - represent at least 80 percent of global gross national product, making it an influential body on the world stage. Stabilizing our global economy, increasing energy efficiency around the globe, and addressing chronic hunger in poor countries are only three examples of the broad global challenges that cannot be solved by a few countries alone.
Indonesia - as the world's fourth most populous country, a member of the G-20, and a democracy - will become an increasingly important partner on regional and transnational issues such as climate change, counterterrorism, maritime security, peacekeeping, and disaster relief. With tolerance, resilience, and multiculturalism as core values, and a flourishing civil society, Indonesia is uniquely positioned to help address challenges facing the developing world.
In the Americas, we are bound by proximity, integrated markets, energy interdependence, a broadly shared commitment to democracy, and the rule of law. Our deep historical, familial, and cultural ties make our alliances and partnerships critical to U.S. interests. We will work in equal partnership to advance economic and social inclusion, safeguard citizen safety and security, promote clean energy, and defend universal values of the people of the hemisphere.
We welcome Brazil's leadership and seek to move beyond dated North-South divisions to pursue progress on bilateral, hemispheric, and global issues. Brazil's macroeconomic success, coupled with its steps to narrow socioeconomic gaps, provide important lessons for countries throughout the Americas and Africa. We will encourage Brazilian efforts against illicit transnational networks. As guardian of a unique national environmental patrimony and a leader in renewable fuels, Brazil is an important partner
in confronting global climate change and promoting energy security. And in the context of the G-20 and the Doha round, we will work with Brazil to ensure that economic development and prosperity is broadly shared.
We have an array of enduring interests, longstanding commitments and new opportunities for broaden-ing and deepening relationships in the greater Middle East. This includes maintaining a strong partner-ship with Israel while supporting Israel's lasting integration into the region. The U.S. also will continue to develop our key security relationships in the region with such Arab states as with Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries - partnerships that enable our militaries and defense systems to work together more effectively.
We have a strategic interest in ensuring that the social and economic needs and political rights of people in this region, who represent one of the world's youngest populations, are met. We will continue to press governments in the region to undertake political reforms and to loosen restrictions on speech, assembly and media. We will maintain our strong support for civil society groups and those individuals who stand up for universal rights. And we will continue to foster partnerships in areas like education, economic growth, science, and health to help expand opportunity. On a multilateral basis, we seek to advance shared security interests, such as through NATO's Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with the GCC, and common interests in promoting governance and institutional reform through participating in the Forum for the Future and other regional dialogues.
The diversity and complexity of the African continent offer the United States opportunities and chal-lenges. As African states grow their economies and strengthen their democratic institutions and gov-ernance, America will continue to embrace effective partnerships. Our economic, security, and political cooperation will be consultative and encompass global, regional, and national priorities including access to open markets, conflict prevention, global peacekeeping, counterterrorism, and the protection of vital carbon sinks. The Administration will refocus its priorities on strategic interventions that can promote job creation and economic growth; combat corruption while strengthening good governance and account-ability; responsibly improve the capacity of African security and rule of law sectors; and work through diplomatic dialogue to mitigate local and regional tensions before they become crises. We will also reinforce sustainable stability in key states like Nigeria and Kenya that are essential subregional linchpins.
The United States will work to remain an attractive and influential partner by ensuring that African priorities such as infrastructure development, improving reliable access to power, and increased trade and investment remain high on our agenda. South Africa's inclusion in the G-20 should be followed by a growing number of emerging African nations who are charting a course toward improved governance and meaningful development. South Africa's vibrant democracy, combined with its regional and global leadership roles, is a critical partner. From peacemaking to climate change to capacity-building, South Africa brings unique value and perspective to international initiatives. With its strong, diversified, well-managed economy, it often serves as a springboard to the entire African continent, and we will work to pursue shared interests in Africa's security, growth, and the development of Africa's human capital.
Strengthen Institutions and Mechanisms for CooperationJust as U.S. foresight and leadership were essential to forging the architecture for international coopera-tion after World War II, we must again lead global efforts to modernize the infrastructure for international cooperation in the 21st century. Indeed, our ability to advance peace, security, and opportunity will turn on our ability to strengthen both our national and our multilateral capabilities. To solve problems, we will pursue modes of cooperation that reflect evolving distributions of power and responsibility. We need to assist existing institutions to perform effectively. When they come up short, we must seek meaningful changes and develop alternative mechanisms.
Enhance Cooperation with and Strengthen the United Nations: We are enhancing our coordination with the U.N. and its agencies. We need a U.N. capable of fulfilling its founding purpose - maintaining international peace and security, promoting global cooperation, and advancing human rights. To this end, we are paying our bills. We are intensifying efforts with partners on and outside the U.N. Security Council to ensure timely, robust, and credible Council action to address threats to peace and security. We favor Security Council reform that enhances the U.N.'s overall performance, credibility, and legitimacy. Across the broader U.N. system we support reforms that promote effective and efficient leadership and management of the U.N.'s international civil service, and we are working with U.N. personnel and mem-ber states to strengthen the U.N.'s leadership and operational capacity in peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, post-disaster recovery, development assistance, and the promotion of human rights. And we are supporting new U.N. frameworks and capacities for combating transnational threats like proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, infectious disease, drug-trafficking, and counterterrorism.
Pursue Decisions though a Wide Range of Frameworks and Coalitions: We need to spur and harness a new diversity of instruments, alliances, and institutions in which a division of labor emerges on the basis of effectiveness, competency, and long-term reliability. This requires enhanced coordination among the United Nations, regional organizations, international financial institutions, specialized agencies, and other actors that are better placed or equipped to manage certain threats and challenges. We are attempting to forge new agreement on common global challenges among the world's leading and emerging powers to ensure that multilateral cooperation reflects the sustained commitment of influen-tial countries. While we are pursuing G-8 initiatives with proven and long-standing partners, have begun to shift the focus of our economic coordination to the G-20, which is more reflective of today's diffusion of power and the need to enlist the efforts of a broader spectrum of countries across Asia to Europe, Africa to the Middle East, and our neighbors in the Americas. We are also renewing U.S. leadership in the multilateral development banks and the IMF, and leveraging our engagement and investments in these institutions to strengthen the global economy, lift people out of poverty, advance food security, address climate and pandemics, and secure fragile states such as Afghanistan and Haiti.
Invest in Regional Capabilities: Regional organizations can be particularly effective at mobilizing and legitimating cooperation among countries closest to the problem. Regional organizations - whether NATO, the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the African Union, Organization of American States, or ASEAN, and the Gulf Cooperation Council - vary widely in their membership, constitutions, histories, orientation, and operational capabilities. That variety needs to inform a strategic approach to their evolving roles and relative contributions to global security.
The United States is encouraging continued innovation and development of enhanced regional capabili-ties in the context of an evolving division of labor among local, national, and global institutions that seeks to leverage relative capacities. Where appropriate, we use training and related programs to strengthen regional capacities for peacekeeping and conflict management to improve impact and share burdens. We will also encourage a more comprehensive approach to regional security that brings balanced focus to issues such as food security, global health, and education; access to more affordable and greener forms of energy; access to fair and efficient justice; and a concerted effort to promote transparency at all levels and to fight the corrosive effect of corruption.
Sustain Broad Cooperation on Key Global Challenges Many of today's challenges cannot be solved by one nation or even a group of nations. The test of our international order, therefore, will be its ability to facilitate the broad and effective global cooperation necessary to meet 21st century challenges. Many of these challenges have been discussed previously, including violent extremism, nuclear proliferation, and promotion of global prosperity. In addition, other key challenges requiring broad global cooperation include:
Climate Change: The danger from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of land across the globe. The United States will therefore confront climate change based upon clear guidance from the science, and in cooperation with all nations - for there is no effective solution to climate change that does not depend upon all nations taking responsibility for their own actions and for the planet we will leave behind.
Home: Our effort begins with the steps that we are taking at home. We will stimulate our energy economy at home, reinvigorate the U.S. domestic nuclear industry, increase our efficiency standards, invest in renewable energy, and provide the incentives that make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. This will allow us to make deep cuts in emissions - in the range of 17 percent by 2020 and more than 80 percent by 2050. This will depend in part upon comprehen-sive legislation and its effective implementation.
Abroad: Regionally, we will build on efforts in Asia, the Americas, and Africa to forge new clean energy partnerships. Globally, we will seek to implement and build on the Copenhagen Accord, and ensure a response to climate change that draws upon decisive action by all nations. Our goal is an effective, international effort in which all major economies commit to ambitious national action to reduce their emissions, nations meet their commitments in a transparent manner, and the necessary financing is mobilized so that developing countries can adapt to climate change, mitigate its impacts, conserve forests, and invest in clean energy technologies. We will pursue this global cooperation through multiple avenues, with a focus on advancing cooperation that works. We accept the principle of common but differentiated responses and respective capabilities, but will insist that any approach draws upon each nation taking responsibility for its own actions.
Peacekeeping and Armed Conflict: The untold loss of human life, suffering, and property damage that results from armed conflict necessitates that all responsible nations work to prevent it. No single nation can or should shoulder the burden for managing or resolving the world's armed conflicts. To this end, we will place renewed emphasis on deterrence and prevention by mobilizing diplomatic action, and use development and security sector assistance to build the capacity of at-risk nations and reduce the appeal of violent extremism. But when international forces are needed to respond to threats and keep the peace, we will work with international partners to ensure they are ready, able, and willing. We will continue to build support in other countries to contribute to sustaining global peace and stability operations, through U.N. peacekeeping and regional organizations, such as NATO and the African Union. We will continue to broaden the pool of troop and police contributors, working to ensure that they are properly trained and equipped, that their mandates are matched to means, and that their missions are backed by the political action necessary to build and sustain peace.
In Sudan, which has been marred by violent conflict for decades, the United States remains committed to working with the international community to support implementation of outstanding elements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and ensure that the referendum on the future of Southern Sudan in 2011 happens on time and that its results are respected. In addition, we will continue to engage in the efforts necessary to support peace and stability after the referendum, and continue to work to secure peace, dignity, and accountability in Darfur.
Prevent Genocide and Mass Atrocities: The United States and all member states of the U.N. have endorsed the concept of the "Responsibility to Protect." In so doing, we have recognized that the primary responsibility for preventing genocide and mass atrocity rests with sovereign governments, but that this responsibility passes to the broader international community when sovereign governments themselves commit genocide or mass atrocities, or when they prove unable or unwilling to take necessary action to prevent or respond to such crimes inside their borders. The United States is committed to working with our allies, and to strengthening our own internal capabilities, in order to ensure that the United States and the international com-munity are proactively engaged in a strategic effort to prevent mass atrocities and genocide. In the event that prevention fails, the United States will work both multilaterally and bilaterally to mobilize diplomatic, humanitarian, financial, and - in certain instances - military means to prevent and respond to genocide and mass atrocities.
International Justice: From Nuremberg to Yugoslavia to Liberia, the United States has seen that the end of impunity and the promotion of justice are not just moral imperatives; they are stabilizing forces in international affairs. The United States is thus working to strengthen national justice systems and is maintaining our support for ad hoc international tribunals and hybrid courts. Those who intentionally target innocent civilians must be held accountable, and we will continue to support institutions and prosecutions that advance this important interest. Although the United States is not at present a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and will always protect U.S. personnel, we are engaging with State Parties to the Rome Statute on issues of concern and are supporting the ICC's prosecution of those cases that advance U.S. interests and values, consistent with the requirements of U.S. law.
Pandemics and Infectious Disease: The threat of contagious disease transcends political boundaries, and the ability to prevent, quickly detect and contain outbreaks with pandemic potential has never been so important. An epidemic that begins in a single community can quickly evolve into a multinational health crisis that causes millions to suffer, as well as spark major disruptions to travel and trade. Addressing these transnational risks requires advance preparation, extensive collaboration with the global community, and the development of a resilient population at home.
Recognizing that the health of the world's population has never been more interdependent, we are improving our public health and medical capabilities on the front lines, including domestic and international disease surveillance, situational awareness, rapid and reliable development of medical countermeasures to respond to public health threats, preparedness education and training, and surge capacity of the domestic health care system to respond to an influx of patients due to a disaster or emergency. These capabilities include our ability to work with international partners to mitigate and contain disease when necessary.
We are enhancing international collaboration and strengthening multilateral institutions in order to improve global surveillance and early warning capabilities and quickly enact control and containment measures against the next pandemic threat. We continue to improve our understanding of emerging diseases and help develop environments that are less conducive to epidemic emergence. We depend on U.S. overseas laboratories, relationships with host nation governments, and the willingness of states to share health data with nongovernmental and international organizations. In this regard, we need to continue to work to overcome the lack of openness and a general reluctance to share health information. Finally, we seek to mitigate other problem areas, including limited global vaccine production capacity, and the threat of emergent and reemergent disease in poorly governed states.
Transnational Criminal Threats and Threats to Governance: Transnational criminal threats and illicit trafficking networks continue to expand dramatically in size, scope, and influence - posing significant national security challenges for the United States and our partner countries. These threats cross borders and continents and undermine the stability of nations, subverting government institutions through corruption and harming citizens worldwide. Transnational criminal organizations have accumulated unprecedented wealth and power through trafficking and other illicit activities, penetrating legitimate financial systems and destabilizing commercial markets. They extend their reach by forming alliances with government officials and some state security services. The crime-terror nexus is a serious concern as terrorists use criminal networks for logistical support and funding. Increasingly, these networks are involved in cyber crime, which cost consumers billions of dollars annually, while undermining global confidence in the international financial system.
Combating transnational criminal and trafficking networks requires a multidimensional strategy that safeguards citizens, breaks the financial strength of criminal and terrorist networks, disrupts illicit traffick-ing networks, defeats transnational criminal organizations, fights government corruption, strengthens the rule of law, bolsters judicial systems, and improves transparency. While these are major challenges, the United States will be able to devise and execute a collective strategy with other nations facing the same threats.
Safeguarding the Global Commons: Across the globe, we must work in concert with allies and partners to optimize the use of shared sea, air, and space domains. These shared areas, which exist outside exclu-sive national jurisdictions, are the connective tissue around our globe upon which all nations' security and prosperity depend. The United States will continue to help safeguard access, promote security, and ensure the sustainable use of resources in these domains. These efforts require strong multilateral cooperation, enhanced domain awareness and monitoring, and the strengthening of international norms and standards.
We must work together to ensure the constant flow of commerce, facilitate safe and secure air travel, and prevent disruptions to critical communications. We must also safeguard the sea, air, and space domains from those who would deny access or use them for hostile purposes. This includes keeping strategic straits and vital sea lanes open, improving the early detection of emerging maritime threats, denying adversaries hostile use of the air domain, and ensuring the responsible use of space. As one key effort in the sea domain, for example, we will pursue ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Many of these goals are equally applicable to cyberspace. While cyberspace relies on the digital infra-structure of individual countries, such infrastructure is globally connected, and securing it requires global cooperation. We will push for the recognition of norms of behavior in cyberspace, and otherwise work with global partners to ensure the protection of the free flow of information and our continued access. At all times, we will continue to defend our digital networks from intrusion and harmful disruption.
Arctic Interests: The United States is an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests in the Arctic region, where we seek to meet our national security needs, protect the environment, responsibly manage resources, account for indigenous communities, support scientific research, and strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of issues.
"It's easy to forget that, when this war began, we were united, bound together by the fresh memory of a horrific attack and by the determination to defend our homeland and the values we hold dear. I refuse to accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity again. I believe with every fiber of my being that we, as Americans, can still come together behind a common purpose, for our values are not simply words written into parchment. They are a creed that calls us together and that has carried us through the darkest of storms as one nation, as one people." - President Barack Obama, West Point, New York, December 2, 2009
This strategy calls for a comprehensive range of national actions, and a broad conception of what con-stitutes our national security. Above all, it is about renewing our leadership by calling upon what is best about America - our innovation and capacity; our openness and moral imagination.
Success will require approaches that can be sustained and achieve results. One of the reasons that this nation succeeded in the second half of the 20th century was its capacity to pursue policies and build institutions that endured across multiple Administrations, while also preserving the flexibility to endure setbacks and to make necessary adjustments. In some instances, the United States has been able to carry forward this example in the years since the Cold War. But there are also many open questions, unfinished reforms, and deep divisions - at home and abroad - that constrain our ability to advance our interests and renew our leadership.
To effectively craft and implement a sustainable, results-oriented national security strategy, there must be effective cooperation between the branches of government. This Administration believes that we are strong when we act in line with our laws, as the Constitution itself demands. This Administration is also committed to active consultation with Congress, and welcomes robust and effective oversight of its national security policies. We welcome Congress as a full partner in forging durable solutions to tough challenges, looking beyond the headlines to take a long view of America's interests. And we encour-age Congress to pursue oversight in line with the reforms that have been enacted through legislation, particularly in the years since 9/11.
The executive branch must do its part by developing integrated plans and approaches that leverage the capabilities across its departments and agencies to deal with the issues we confront. Collaboration across the government - and with our partners at the state, local, and tribal levels of government, in industry, and abroad - must guide our actions.
This kind of effective cooperation will depend upon broad and bipartisan cooperation. Throughout the Cold War, even as there were intense disagreements about certain courses of action, there remained a belief that America's political leaders shared common goals, even if they differed about how to reach them. In today's political environment, due to the actions of both parties that sense of common purpose is at times lacking in our national security dialogue. This division places the United States at a strategic disadvantage. It sets back our ability to deal with difficult challenges and injects a sense of anxiety and polarization into our politics that can affect our policies and our posture around the world. It must be replaced by a renewed sense of civility and a commitment to embrace our common purpose as Americans.
Americans are by nature a confident and optimistic people. We would not have achieved our position of leadership in the world without the extraordinary strength of our founding documents and the capability and courage of generations of Americans who gave life to those values - through their service, through their sacrifices, through their aspirations, and through their pursuit of a more perfect union. We see those same qualities today, particularly in our young men and women in uniform who have served tour after tour of duty to defend our nation in harm's way, and their civilian counterparts.
This responsibility cannot be theirs alone. And there is no question that we, as a nation, can meet our responsibility as Americans once more. Even in a world of enormous challenges, no threat is bigger than the American peoples' capacity to meet it, and no opportunity exceeds our reach. We continue to draw strength from those founding documents that established the creed that binds us together. We, too, can demonstrate the capability and courage to pursue a more perfect union and - in doing so - renew American leadership in the world.
Today, the United States is stronger and better positioned to seize the opportunities of a still new century and safeguard our interests against the risks of an insecure world. America's growing economic strength is the foundation of our national security and a critical source of our influence abroad. Since the Great Recession, we have created nearly 11 million new jobs during the longest private sector job growth in our history. Unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in 6 years. We are now the world leader in oil and gas production. We continue to set the pace for science, technology, and innovation in the global economy.We also benefit from a young and growing workforce, and a resilient and diversified economy. The entrepreneurial spirit of our workers and businesses undergirds our economic edge. Our higher education system is the finest in the world, drawing more of the best students globally every year. We continue to attract immigrants from every corner of the world who renew our country with their energy and entrepreneurial talents.Globally, we have moved beyond the large ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that defined so much of American foreign policy over the past decade. Compared to the nearly 180,000 troops we had in Iraq and Afghanistan when I took office, we now have fewer than 15,000 deployed in those countries. We possess a military whose might, technology, and geostrategic reach is unrivaled in human history. We have renewed our alliances from Europe to Asia. Now, at this pivotal moment, we continue to face serious challenges to our national security, even as we are working to shape the opportunities of tomorrow. Violent extremism and an evolving terrorist threat raise a persistent risk of attacks on America and our allies. Escalating challenges to cybersecurity, aggression by Russia, the accelerating impacts of climate change, and the outbreak of infectious diseases all give rise to anxieties about global security. We must be clear-eyed about these and other challenges and recognize the United States has a unique capability to mobilize and lead the international community to meet them.Any successful strategy to ensure the safety of the American people and advance our national security interests must begin with an undeniable truth - America must lead. Strong and sustained American leadership is essential to a rules-based international order that promotes global security and prosperity as well as the dignity and human rights of all peoples. The question is never whether America should lead, but how we lead. Abroad, we are demonstrating that while we will act unilaterally against threats to our core interests, we are stronger when we mobilize collective action. That is why we are leading international coalitions to confront the acute challenges posed by aggression, terrorism, and disease. We are leading over 60 partners in a global campaign to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria, including by working to disrupt the flow of foreign fighters to those countries, while keeping pressure on al-Qaida. We are leading a global effort to stop the deadly spread of the Ebola virus at its source. In lockstep with our European allies, we are enforcing tough sanctions on Russia to impose costs and deter future aggression. Even as we meet these pressing challenges, we are pursuing historic opportunities. Our rebalance to Asia and the Pacific is yielding deeper ties with a more diverse set of allies and partners. When complete, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will generate trade and investment opportunities - and create high-quality jobs at home - across a region that represents more than 40 percent of global trade. We are primed to unlock the potential of our relationship with India. The scope of our cooperation with China is unprecedented, even as we remain alert to China's military modernization and reject any role for intimidation in resolving territorial disputes. We are deepening our investment in Africa, accelerating access to energy, health, and food security in a rapidly rising region. Our opening to Cuba will enhance our engagement in our own hemisphere, where there are enormous opportunities to consolidate gains in pursuit of peace, prosperity, democracy, and energy security. Globally, we are committed to advancing the Prague Agenda, including by stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials. We are currently testing whether it is possible to achieve a comprehensive resolution to assure the international community that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful, while the Joint Plan of Action has halted the progress of Iran's program. We are building on our own energy security - and the ground-breaking commitment we made with China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - to cement an international consensus on arresting climate change. We are shaping global standards for cybersecurity and building international capacity to disrupt and investigate cyber threats. We are playing a leading role in defining the international community's post-2015 agenda for eliminating extreme poverty and promoting sustainable development while prioritizing women and youth. Underpinning it all, we are upholding our enduring commitment to the advancement of democracy and human rights and building new coalitions to combat corruption and to support open governments and open societies. In doing so, we are working to support democratic transitions, while also reaching out to the drivers of change in this century: young people and entrepreneurs.Finally, I believe that America leads best when we draw upon our hopes rather than our fears. To succeed, we must draw upon the power of our example - that means viewing our commitment to our values and the rule of law as a strength, and not an inconvenience. That is why I have worked to ensure that America has the capabilities we need to respond to threats abroad, while acting in line with our values - prohibiting the use of torture; embracing constraints on our use of new technologies like drones; and upholding our commitment to privacy and civil liberties. These actions are a part of our resilience at home and a source of our influence abroad. On all these fronts, America leads from a position of strength. But, this does not mean we can or should attempt to dictate the trajectory of all unfolding events around the world. As powerful as we are and will remain, our resources and influence are not infinite. And in a complex world, many of the security problems we face do not lend themselves to quick and easy fixes. The United States will always defend our interests and uphold our commitments to allies and partners. But, we have to make hard choices among many competing priorities, and we must always resist the over-reach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear. Moreover, we must recognize that a smart national security strategy does not rely solely on military power. Indeed, in the long-term, our efforts to work with other countries to counter the ideology and root causes of violent extremism will be more important than our capacity to remove terrorists from the battlefield. The challenges we face require strategic patience and persistence. They require us to take our responsibilities seriously and make the smart investments in the foundations of our national power. Therefore, I will continue to pursue a comprehensive agenda that draws on all elements of our national strength, that is attuned to the strategic risks and opportunities we face, and that is guided by the principles and priorities set out in this strategy. Moreover, I will continue to insist on budgets that safeguard our strength and work with the Congress to end sequestration, which undercuts our national security. This is an ambitious agenda, and not everything will be completed during my Presidency. But I believe this is an achievable agenda, especially if we proceed with confidence and if we restore the bipartisan center that has been a pillar of strength for American foreign policy in decades past. As Americans, we will always have our differences, but what unites us is the national consensus that American global leadership remains indispensable. We embrace our exceptional role and responsibilities at a time when our unique contributions and capabilities are needed most, and when the choices we make today can mean greater security and prosperity for our Nation for decades to come.
In a young century, opportunities for America abound, but risks to our security remain. This new National Security Strategy positions the United States to safeguard our national interests through strong and sustainable leadership. It sets out the principles and priorities to guide the use of American power and influence in the world. It advances a model of American leadership rooted in the foundation of America's economic and technological strength and the values of the American people. It redoubles our commit-ment to allies and partners and welcomes the constructive contributions of responsible rising powers. It signals our resolve and readiness to deter and, if necessary, defeat potential adversaries. It affirms America's leadership role within a rules-based international order that works best through empowered citizens, responsible states, and effective regional and international organizations. And it serves as a compass for how this Administration, in partnership with the Congress, will lead the world through a shifting security landscape toward a more durable peace and a new prosperity.
This strategy builds on the progress of the last 6 years, in which our active leadership has helped the world recover from a global economic crisis and respond to an array of emerging challenges. Our progress includes strengthening an unrivaled alliance system, underpinned by our enduring partner-ship with Europe, while investing in nascent multilateral forums like the G-20 and East Asia Summit. We brought most of our troops home after more than a decade of honorable service in two wars while adapting our counterterrorism strategy for an evolving terrorist threat. We led a multinational coalition to support the Afghan government to take responsibility for the security of their country, while supporting Afghanistan's first peaceful, democratic transition of power. The United States led the international response to natural disasters, including the earthquake in Haiti, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the typhoon in the Philippines to save lives, prevent greater damage, and support efforts to rebuild. We led international efforts to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, including by building an unprecedented international sanctions regime to hold Iran responsible for failing to meet its international obligations, while pursuing a diplomatic effort that has already stopped the progress of Iran's nuclear program and rolled it back in key respects. We are rebalancing toward Asia and the Pacific while seeking new opportunities for partnership and investment in Africa and the Americas, where we have spurred greater agriculture and energy-related investments than ever before. And at home and abroad, we are taking concerted action to confront the dangers posed by climate change and to strengthen our energy security.
Still, there is no shortage of challenges that demand continued American leadership. The potential proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, poses a grave risk. Even as we have decimated al-Qaida's core leadership, more diffuse networks of al-Qaida, ISIL, and affiliated groups threaten U.S. citizens, interests, allies, and partners. Violent extremists exploit upheaval across the Middle East and North Africa. Fragile and conflict-affected states incubate and spawn infectious disease, illicit weapons and drug smugglers, and destabilizing refugee flows. Too often, failures in governance and endemic corruption hold back the potential of rising regions. The danger of disruptive and even destructive cyber-attack is growing, and the risk of another global economic slowdown remains. The international community's ability to respond effectively to these and other risks is helped or hindered by the behaviors of major powers. Where progress has been most profound, it is due to the steadfastness of our allies and the cooperation of other emerging powers.
These complex times have made clear the power and centrality of America's indispensable leadership in the world. We mobilized and are leading global efforts to impose costs to counter Russian aggres-sion, to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, to squelch the Ebola virus at its source, to stop the spread of nuclear weapons materials, and to turn the corner on global carbon emissions. A strong consensus endures across our political spectrum that the question is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead into the future.
First and foremost, we will lead with purpose. American leadership is a global force for good, but it is grounded in our enduring national interests as outlined in the 2010 National Security Strategy: The security of the United States, its citizens, and U.S. allies and partners; A strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity; Respect for universal values at home and around the world; and A rules-based international order advanced by U.S. leadership that promotes peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges.
Especially in a changing global environment, these national interests will continue to guide all we do in the world. To advance these interests most effectively, we must pursue a comprehensive national security agenda, allocate resources accordingly, and work with the Congress to end sequestration. Even so, our resources will never be limitless. Policy tradeoffs and hard choices will need to be made. In such instances, we will prioritize efforts that address the top strategic risks to our interests: Catastrophic attack on the U.S. homeland or critical infrastructure; Threats or attacks against U.S. citizens abroad and our allies; Global economic crisis or widespread economic slowdown; Proliferation and or use of weapons of mass destruction; Severe global infectious disease outbreaks; Climate change; Major energy market disruptions; and Significant security consequences associated with weak or failing states (including mass atroci-ties, regional spillover, and transnational organized crime).
We will seize strategic opportunities to shape the economic order and cultivate new relationships with emerging economic powers and countries newly committed to peaceful democratic change. We will also capitalize on the potential to end extreme poverty and build upon our comparative advantages in innovation, science and technology, entrepreneurship, and greater energy security.
We will lead with strength. After a difficult decade, America is growing stronger every day. The U.S. economy remains the most dynamic and resilient on Earth. We have rebounded from a global reces-sion by creating more jobs in the United States than in all other advanced economies combined. Our military might is unrivaled. Yet, American exceptionalism is not rooted solely in the strength of our arms or economy. Above all, it is the product of our founding values, including the rule of law and universal rights, as well as the grit, talent, and diversity of the American people.
In the last 6 years alone, we arrested the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and catalyzed a new era of economic growth. We increased our competitive edge and leadership in education, energy, science and technology, research and development, and healthcare. We achieved an energy transforma-tion in North America. We are fortifying our critical infrastructure against all hazards, especially cyber espionage and attack. And we are working hard to safeguard our civil liberties while advancing our security.
America's strategic fundamentals are strong but should not be taken for granted. We must be innova-tive and judicious in how we use our resources to build up our national power. Going forward, we will strengthen our foundation by growing our economy, modernizing our defense, upholding our values, enhancing the resilience of our homeland, and promoting talent and diversity in our national security workforce.
We will lead by example. The strength of our institutions and our respect for the rule of law sets an example for democratic governance. When we uphold our values at home, we are better able to promote them in the world. This means safeguarding the civil rights and liberties of our citizens while increasing transparency and accountability. It also means holding ourselves to international norms and standards that we expect other nations to uphold, and admitting when we do not. We must also demonstrate our ability to forge diverse partnerships across our political spectrum. Many achievements of recent years were made possible by Democrats and Republicans; Federal, state and local governments; and the public and private sectors working together. But, we face continued challenges, including political dysfunction in Washington that undermines national unity, stifles bipartisan cooperation, and ultimately erodes the perception and strength of our leadership abroad. American leadership is always most powerful when we are able to forge common ground at home around key national priorities.
We will lead with capable partners. In an interconnected world, there are no global problems that can be solved without the United States, and few that can be solved by the United States alone. American leadership remains essential for mobilizing collective action to address global risks and seize strategic opportunities. Our closest partners and allies will remain the cornerstone of our international engage -ment. Yet, we will continuously expand the scope of cooperation to encompass other state partners, non-state and private actors, and international institutions - particularly the United Nations (U.N.), international financial institutions, and key regional organizations. These partnerships can deliver essential capacity to share the burdens of maintaining global security and prosperity and to uphold the norms that govern responsible international behavior. At the same time, we and our partners must make the reforms and investments needed to make sure we can work more effectively with each other while growing the ranks of responsible, capable states. The United States is safer and stronger when fewer people face destitution, when our trading partners are flourishing, and when societies are freer.
We will lead with all the instruments of U.S. power. Our influence is greatest when we combine all our strategic advantages. Our military will remain ready to defend our enduring national interests while providing essential leverage for our diplomacy. The use of force is not, however, the only tool at our disposal, and it is not the principal means of U.S. engagement abroad, nor always the most effective for the challenges we face. Rather, our first line of action is principled and clear-eyed diplomacy, combined with the central role of development in the forward defense and promotion of America's interests. We will continue pursuing measures to enhance the security of our diplomats and development professionals to ensure they can fulfill their responsibilities safely in high-risk environments. We will also leverage a strong and well-regulated economy to promote trade and investment while protecting the international financial system from abuse. Targeted economic sanctions will remain an effective tool for imposing costs on irresponsible actors and helping to dismantle criminal and terrorist networks. All our tools are made more effective by the skill of our intelligence professionals and the quality of intelligence they collect, analyze, and produce. Finally, we will apply our distinct advantages in law enforcement, science and technology, and people-to-people relationships to maximize the strategic effects of our national power.
We will lead with a long-term perspective. Around the world, there are historic transitions underway that will unfold over decades. This strategy positions America to influence their trajectories, seize the opportunities they create, and manage the risks they present. Five recent transitions, in particular, have significantly changed the security landscape, including since our last strategy in 2010.
First, power among states is more dynamic. The increasing use of the G-20 on global economic matters reflects an evolution in economic power, as does the rise of Asia, Latin America, and Africa. As the bal-ance of economic power changes, so do expectations about influence over international affairs. Shifting power dynamics create both opportunities and risks for cooperation, as some states have been more willing than others to assume responsibilities commensurate with their greater economic capacity. In particular, India's potential, China's rise, and Russia's aggression all significantly impact the future of major power relations.
Second, power is shifting below and beyond the nation-state. Governments once able to operate with few checks and balances are increasingly expected to be more accountable to sub-state and non-state actors - from mayors of mega-cities and leaders in private industry to a more empowered civil society. They are also contending with citizens enabled by technology, youth as a majority in many societies, and a growing global middle class with higher expectations for governance and economic opportunity. While largely positive, these trends can foster violent non-state actors and foment instability - especially in fragile states where governance is weak or has broken down - or invite backlash by authoritarian regimes determined to preserve the power of the state.
Third, the increasing interdependence of the global economy and rapid pace of technological change are linking individuals, groups, and governments in unprecedented ways. This enables and incentivizes new forms of cooperation to establish dynamic security networks, expand international trade and invest-ment, and transform global communications. It also creates shared vulnerabilities, as interconnected systems and sectors are susceptible to the threats of climate change, malicious cyber activity, pandemic diseases, and transnational terrorism and crime.
Fourth, a struggle for power is underway among and within many states of the Middle East and North Africa. This is a generational struggle in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war and 2011 Arab uprisings, which will redefine the region as well as relationships among communities and between citizens and their governments. This process will continue to be combustible, especially in societies where religious extremists take root, or rulers reject democratic reforms, exploit their economies, and crush civil society.
Fifth, the global energy market has changed dramatically. The United States is now the world's largest natural gas and oil producer. Our dependence on foreign oil is at a 20-year low - and declining - and we are leading a new clean energy economy. While production in the Middle East and elsewhere remains vitally important for the global market, increased U.S. production is helping keep markets well-supplied and prices conducive to economic growth. On the other hand, energy security concerns have been exacerbated by European dependence on Russian natural gas and the willingness of Russia to use energy for political ends. At the same time, developing countries now consume more energy than developed ones, which is altering energy flows and changing consumer relationships.
Today 's strategic environment is fluid. Just as the United States helped shape the course of events in the last century, so must we influence their trajectory today by evolving the way we exercise American leadership. This strategy outlines priorities based on a realistic assessment of the risks to our enduring national interests and the opportunities for advancing them. This strategy eschews orienting our entire foreign policy around a single threat or region. It establishes instead a diversified and balanced set of priorities appropriate for the world's leading global power with interests in every part of an increasingly interconnected world.
Security: The United States government has no greater responsibility than protecting the American people. Yet, our obligations do not end at our borders. We embrace our responsibilities for underwriting interna-tional security because it serves our interests, upholds our commitments to allies and partners, and addresses threats that are truly global. There is no substitute for American leadership whether in the face of aggression, in the cause of universal values, or in the service of a more secure America. Fulfilling our responsibilities depends on a strong defense and secure homeland. It also requires a global security posture in which our unique capabilities are employed within diverse international coalitions and in support of local partners. Such a shift is possible after a period of prolonged combat. Six years ago, there were roughly 180,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, there are fewer than 15,000. This transition has dramatically reduced U.S. casualties and allows us to realign our forces and resources to meet an evolving set of threats while securing our strategic objectives.
In so doing, we will prioritize collective action to meet the persistent threat posed by terrorism today, especially from al-Qaida, ISIL, and their affiliates. In addition to acting decisively to defeat direct threats, we will focus on building the capacity of others to prevent the causes and consequences of conflict to include countering extreme and dangerous ideologies. Keeping nuclear materials from terrorists and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons remains a high priority, as does mobilizing the inter-national community to meet the urgent challenges posed by climate change and infectious disease. Collective action is needed to assure access to the shared spaces - cyber, space, air, and oceans - where the dangerous behaviors of some threaten us all.
Our allies will remain central to all these efforts. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the world's preeminent multilateral alliance, reinforced by the historic close ties we have with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Canada. NATO is stronger and more cohesive than at any point in its history, especially due to contributions of the Nordic countries and newer members like Poland and the Baltic countries. Our alliances in Asia underwrite security and enable prosperity throughout Asia and the Pacific. We will continue to modernize these essential bilateral alliances while enhancing the security ties among our allies. Japan, South Korea, and Australia, as well as our close partner in New Zealand, remain the model for interoperability while we reinvigorate our ties to the Philippines and preserve our ties to Thailand. And our allies and partners in other regions, including our security partnership and people-to-people ties with Israel, are essential to advancing our interests.
Strengthen Our National DefenseA strong military is the bedrock of our national security. During over a decade of war, the All Volunteer Force has answered our Nation's call. To maintain our military edge and readiness, we will continue to insist on reforms and necessary investment in our military forces and their families. Our military will remain ready to deter and defeat threats to the homeland, including against missile, cyber, and terrorist attacks, while mitigating the effects of potential attacks and natural disasters. Our military is postured globally to protect our citizens and interests, preserve regional stability, render humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and build the capacity of our partners to join with us in meeting security challenges.
U.S. forces will continue to defend the homeland, conduct global counterterrorism operations, assure allies, and deter aggression through forward presence and engagement. If deterrence fails, U.S. forces will be ready to project power globally to defeat and deny aggression in multiple theaters.
As we modernize, we will apply the lessons of past drawdowns. Although our military will be smaller, it must remain dominant in every domain. With the Congress, we must end sequestration and enact critical reforms to build a versatile and responsive force prepared for a more diverse set of contingencies. We will protect our investment in foundational capabilities like the nuclear deterrent, and we will grow our investment in crucial capabilities like cyber; space; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. We will safeguard our science and technology base to keep our edge in the capabilities needed to pre -vail against any adversary. Above all, we will take care of our people. We will recruit and retain the best talent while developing leaders committed to an ethical and expert profession of arms. We will honor our sacred trust with Veterans and the families and communities that support them, making sure those who have served have the benefits, education, and opportunities they have earned.
We will be principled and selective in the use of force. The use of force should not be our first choice, but it will sometimes be the necessary choice. The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our enduring interests demand it: when our people are threatened; when our livelihoods are at stake; and when the security of our allies is in danger. In these circumstances, we prefer to act with allies and partners. The threshold for military action is higher when our interests are not directly threatened. In such cases, we will seek to mobilize allies and partners to share the burden and achieve lasting outcomes. In all cases, the decision to use force must reflect a clear mandate and feasible objectives, and we must ensure our actions are effective, just, and consistent with the rule of law. It should be based on a serious appreciation for the risk to our mission, our global responsibilities, and the opportunity costs at home and abroad. Whenever and wherever we use force, we will do so in a way that reflects our values and strengthens our legitimacy.
Reinforce Homeland SecurityOur homeland is more secure. But, we must continue to learn and adapt to evolving threats and hazards. We are better able to guard against terrorism - the core responsibility of homeland security - as well as illicit networks and other threats and hazards due to improved information sharing, aviation and border security, and international cooperation. We have emphasized community-based efforts and local law enforcement programs to counter homegrown violent extremism and protect vulnerable individuals from extremist ideologies that could lead them to join conflicts overseas or carry out attacks here at home. Through risk-based approaches, we have countered terrorism and transnational organized crime in ways that enhance commerce, travel, and tourism and, most fundamentally, preserve our civil liber-ties. We are more responsive and resilient when prevention fails or disaster strikes as witnessed with the Boston Marathon bombings and Hurricane Sandy.
The essential services that underpin American society must remain secure and functioning in the face of diverse threats and hazards. Therefore, we take a Whole of Community approach, bringing together all elements of our society - individuals, local communities, the private and non-profit sectors, faith-based organizations, and all levels of government - to make sure America is resilient in the face of adversity.
We are working with the owners and operators of our Nation's critical cyber and physical infrastructure across every sector - financial, energy, transportation, health, information technology, and more - to decrease vulnerabilities and increase resilience. We are partnering with states and local communities to better plan for, absorb, recover from, and adapt to adverse events brought about by the compound-ing effects of climate change. We will also continue to enhance pandemic preparedness at home and address the threat arising from new drug-resistant microbes and biological agents.
Combat the Persistent Threat of TerrorismThe threat of catastrophic attacks against our homeland by terrorists has diminished but still persists. An array of terrorist threats has gained traction in areas of instability, limited opportunity, and broken governance. Our adversaries are not confined to a distinct country or region. Instead, they range from South Asia through the Middle East and into Africa. They include globally oriented groups like al-Qaida and its affiliates, as well as a growing number of regionally focused and globally connected groups - many with an al-Qaida pedigree like ISIL, which could pose a threat to the homeland.
We have drawn from the experience of the last decade and put in place substantial changes to our efforts to combat terrorism, while preserving and strengthening important tools that have been developed since 9/11. Specifically, we shifted away from a model of fighting costly, large-scale ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in which the United States - particularly our military - bore an enormous burden. Instead, we are now pursuing a more sustainable approach that prioritizes targeted counterterrorism operations, collective action with responsible partners, and increased efforts to prevent the growth of violent extremism and radicalization that drives increased threats. Our leadership will remain essential to disrupting the unprecedented flow of foreign terrorist fighters to and from conflict zones. We will work to address the underlying conditions that can help foster violent extremism such as poverty, inequal-ity, and repression. This means supporting alternatives to extremist messaging and greater economic opportunities for women and disaffected youth. We will help build the capacity of the most vulnerable states and communities to defeat terrorists locally. Working with the Congress, we will train and equip local partners and provide operational support to gain ground against terrorist groups. This will include efforts to better fuse and share information and technology as well as to support more inclusive and accountable governance.
In all our efforts, we aim to draw a stark contrast between what we stand for and the heinous deeds of terrorists. We reject the lie that America and its allies are at war with Islam. We will continue to act lawfully. Outside of areas of active hostilities, we endeavor to detain, interrogate, and prosecute terrorists through law enforcement. However, when there is a continuing, imminent threat, and when capture or other actions to disrupt the threat are not feasible, we will not hesitate to take decisive action. We will always do so legally, discriminately, proportionally, and bound by strict accountability and strong oversight. The United States - not our adversaries - will define the nature and scope of this struggle, lest it define us.
Our counterterrorism approach is at work with several states, including Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan, we have ended our combat mission and transitioned to a dramatically smaller force focused on the goal of a sovereign and stable partner in Afghanistan that is not a safe haven for interna-tional terrorists. This has been made possible by the extraordinary sacrifices of our U.S. military, civilians
throughout the interagency, and our international partners. They delivered justice to Osama bin Laden and significantly degraded al-Qaida's core leadership. They helped increase life expectancy, access to education, and opportunities for women and girls. Going forward, we will work with partners to carry out a limited counterterrorism mission against the remnants of core al-Qaida and maintain our support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). We are working with NATO and our other partners to train, advise, and assist the ANSF as a new government takes responsibility for the security and well-being of Afghanistan's citizens. We will continue to help improve governance that expands opportunity for all Afghans, including women and girls. We will also work with the countries of the region, including Pakistan, to mitigate the threat from terrorism and to support a viable peace and reconciliation process to end the violence in Afghanistan and improve regional stability.
We have undertaken a comprehensive effort to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. We will continue to support Iraq as it seeks to free itself from sectarian conflict and the scourge of extremists. Our support is tied to the government's willingness to govern effectively and inclusively and to ensure ISIL cannot sustain a safe haven on Iraqi territory. This requires professional and accountable Iraqi Security Forces that can overcome sectarian divides and protect all Iraqi citizens. It also requires international support, which is why we are leading an unprecedented international coalition to work with the Iraqi government and strengthen its military to regain sovereignty. Joined by our allies and partners, including multiple countries in the region, we employed our unique military capabilities to arrest ISIL's advance and to degrade their capabilities in both Iraq and Syria. At the same time, we are working with our partners to train and equip a moderate Syrian opposition to provide a counterweight to the terrorists and the brutal-ity of the Assad regime. Yet, the only lasting solution to Syria's civil war remains political - an inclusive political transition that responds to the legitimate aspirations of all Syrian citizens.
Build Capacity to Prevent Conflict We will strengthen U.S. and international capacity to prevent conflict among and within states. In the realm of inter-state conflict, Russia's violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity - as well as its belligerent stance toward other neighboring countries - endangers international norms that have largely been taken for granted since the end of the Cold War. Meanwhile, North Korean provocation and tensions in the East and South China Seas are reminders of the risks of escalation. American diplomacy and leadership, backed by a strong military, remain essential to deterring future acts of inter-state aggression and provocation by reaffirming our security commitments to allies and partners, investing in their capabilities to withstand coercion, imposing costs on those who threaten their neighbors or violate fundamental international norms, and embedding our actions within wider regional strategies.
Within states, the nexus of weak governance and widespread grievance allows extremism to take root, violent non-state actors to rise up, and conflict to overtake state structures. To meet these challenges, we will continue to work with partners and through multilateral organizations to address the root causes of conflict before they erupt and to contain and resolve them when they do. We prefer to partner with those fragile states that have a genuine political commitment to establishing legitimate governance and providing for their people. The focus of our efforts will be on proven areas of need and impact, such as inclusive politics, enabling effective and equitable service delivery, reforming security and rule of law sectors, combating corruption and organized crime, and promoting economic opportunity, particularly among youth and women. We will continue to lead the effort to ensure women serve as mediators of conflict and in peacebuilding efforts, and they are protected from gender-based violence.
We will continue to bolster the capacity of the U.N. and regional organizations to help resolve disputes, build resilience to crises and shocks, strengthen governance, end extreme poverty, and increase prosper-ity, so that fragile states can provide for the basic needs of their citizens and can avoid being vulnerable hosts for extremism and terrorism. We will meet our financial commitments to the U.N., press for reforms to strengthen peacekeeping, and encourage more contributions from advanced militaries. We will strengthen the operational capacity of regional organizations like the African Union (AU) and broaden the ranks of capable troop-contributing countries, including through the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership, which will help African countries rapidly deploy to emerging crises.
Prevent the Spread and Use of Weapons of Mass DestructionNo threat poses as grave a danger to our security and well-being as the potential use of nuclear weapons and materials by irresponsible states or terrorists. We therefore seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. As long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States must invest the resources necessary to maintain - without testing - a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent that preserves strategic stability. However, reducing the threat requires us to constantly reinforce the basic bargain of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which commits nuclear weapons states to reduce their stockpiles while non-nuclear weapons states remain committed to using nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes. For our part, we are reducing the role and number of nuclear weapons through New START and our own strategy. We will continue to push for the entry into force of important multilateral agreements like the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and the various regional nuclear weapons-free zone protocols, as well as the creation of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.
Vigilance is required to stop countries and non-state actors from developing or acquiring nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, or the materials to build them. The Nuclear Security Summit process has catalyzed a global effort to lock down vulnerable nuclear materials and institutionalize nuclear security best practices. Our commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is rooted in the profound risks posed by North Korean weapons development and proliferation. Our efforts to remove and destroy chemical weapons in Libya and Syria reflect our leadership in implementation and progress toward universalization of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
We have made clear Iran must meet its international obligations and demonstrate its nuclear program is entirely peaceful. Our sanctions regime has demonstrated that the international community can - and will - hold accountable those nations that do not meet their obligations, while also opening up a space for a diplomatic resolution. Having reached a first step arrangement that stops the progress of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for limited relief, our preference is to achieve a comprehensive and verifiable deal that assures Iran's nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. This is the best way to advance our interests, strengthen the global nonproliferation regime, and enable Iran to access peaceful nuclear energy. However, we retain all options to achieve the objective of preventing Iran from producing a nuclear weapon.
Confront Climate Change: Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water. The present day effects of climate change are being felt from the Arctic to the Midwest. Increased sea levels and storm surges threaten coastal regions, infrastructure, and property. In turn, the global economy suffers, com-pounding the growing costs of preparing and restoring infrastructure.
America is leading efforts at home and with the international community to confront this challenge. Over the last 6 years, U.S. emissions have declined by a larger total magnitude than those of any other country. Through our Climate Action Plan and related executive actions, we will go further with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025. Working with U.S. states and private utilities, we will set the first-ever standards to cut the amount of carbon pollution our power plants emit into the air. We are also working to strengthen resilience and address vulnerabilities to climate impacts.
These domestic efforts contribute to our international leadership. Building on the progress made in Copenhagen and in ensuing negotiations, we are working toward an ambitious new global climate change agreement to shape standards for prevention, preparedness, and response over the next decade. As the world's two largest emitters, the United States and China reached a landmark agreement to take significant action to reduce carbon pollution. The substantial contribution we have pledged to the Green Climate Fund will help the most vulnerable developing nations deal with climate change, reduce their carbon pollution, and invest in clean energy. More than 100 countries have also joined with us to reduce greenhouse gases under the Montreal Protocol - the same agreement the world used successfully to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals. We are partnering with African entrepreneurs to launch clean energy projects and helping farmers practice climate-smart agriculture and plant more durable crops. We are also driving collective action to reduce methane emissions from pipelines and to launch a free trade agreement for environmental goods.
Assure Access to Shared SpacesThe world is connected by shared spaces - cyber, space, air, and oceans - that enable the free flow of people, goods, services, and ideas. They are the arteries of the global economy and civil society, and access is at risk due to increased competition and provocative behaviors. Therefore, we will continue to promote rules for responsible behavior while making sure we have the capabilities to assure access to these shared spaces.
Cybersecurity: As the birthplace of the Internet, the United States has a special responsibility to lead a networked world. Prosperity and security increasingly depend on an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet. Our economy, safety, and health are linked through a networked infrastructure that is targeted by malicious government, criminal, and individual actors who try to avoid attribution. Drawing on the voluntary cybersecurity framework, we are securing Federal networks and working with the private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders to strengthen the security and resilience of U.S. critical infrastructure. We
will continue to work with the Congress to pursue a legislative framework that ensures high standards. We will defend ourselves, consistent with U.S. and international law, against cyber attacks and impose costs on malicious cyber actors, including through prosecution of illegal cyber activity. We will assist other countries to develop laws that enable strong action against threats that originate from their infrastructure. Globally, cybersecurity requires that long-standing norms of international behavior - to include protection of intellectual property, online freedom, and respect for civilian infrastructure - be upheld, and the Internet be managed as a shared responsibility between states and the private sector with civil society and Internet users as key stakeholders.
Space Security: Space systems allow the world to navigate and communicate with confidence to save lives, conduct commerce, and better understand the human race, our planet, and the depths of the universe. As countries increasingly derive benefits from space, we must join together to deal with threats posed by those who may wish to deny the peaceful use of outer space. We are expanding our international space cooperation activities in all sectors, promoting transparency and confidence-building measures such as an International Code of Conduct on Outer Space Activities, and expanding partnerships with the private sector in support of missions and capabilities previously claimed by governments alone. We will also develop technologies and tactics to deter and defeat efforts to attack our space systems; enable indications, warning, and attributions of such attacks; and enhance the resiliency of critical U.S. space capabilities.
Air and Maritime Security: The United States has an enduring interest in freedom of navigation and overflight as well as the safety and sustainability of the air and maritime environments. We will therefore maintain the capability to ensure the free flow of commerce, to respond quickly to those in need, and to deter those who might contemplate aggression. We insist on safe and responsible behaviors in the sky and at sea. We reject illegal and aggressive claims to airspace and in the maritime domain and condemn deliberate attacks on commercial passenger traffic. On territorial disputes, particularly in Asia, we denounce coercion and assertive behaviors that threaten escalation. We encourage open channels of dialogue to resolve disputes peacefully in accordance with international law. We also support the early conclusion of an effective code of conduct for the South China Sea between China and the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN). America's ability to press for the observance of established customary international law reflected in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea will be enhanced if the Senate provides its advice and consent - the ongoing failure to ratify this Treaty undermines our national interest in a rules-based international order. Finally, we seek to build on the unprecedented international cooperation of the last few years, especially in the Arctic as well as in combatting piracy off the Horn of Africa and drug-smuggling in the Caribbean Sea and across Southeast Asia.
Increase Global Health Security The spread of infectious diseases constitute a growing risk. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa high-lights the danger of a raging virus. The spread of new microbes or viruses, the rise and spread of drug resistance, and the deliberate release of pathogens all represent threats that are exacerbated by the globalization of travel, food production and supply, and medical products. Despite important scientific, technological, and organizational accomplishments, most countries have not yet achieved international core competencies for health security, and many lack sufficient capacity to prevent, detect, or respond to disease outbreaks.
America is the world leader in fighting pandemics, including HIV/AIDS, and in improving global health security. At home, we are strengthening our ability to prevent outbreaks and ensure sufficient capacity to respond rapidly and manage biological incidents. As an exemplar of a modern and responsive public health system, we will accelerate our work with partners through the Global Health Security Agenda in pursuit of a world that is safer and more secure from infectious disease. We will save lives by strength-ening regulatory frameworks for food safety and developing a global system to prevent avoidable epidemics, detect and report disease outbreaks in real time, and respond more rapidly and effectively. Finally, we will continue to lead efforts to combat the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Our economy is the largest, most open, and innovative in the world. Our leadership has also helped usher in a new era of unparalleled global prosperity. Sustaining our leadership depends on shaping an emerging global economic order that continues to reflect our interests and values. Despite its success, our rules-based system is now competing against alternative, less-open models. Moreover, the American consumer cannot sustain global demand - growth must be more balanced. To meet this challenge, we must be strategic in the use of our economic strength to set new rules of the road, strengthen our partnerships, and promote inclusive development.
Through our trade and investment policies, we will shape globalization so that it is working for American workers. By leveraging our improved economic and energy position, we will strengthen the global finan-cial system and advance high-standard trade deals. We will ensure tomorrow's global trading system is consistent with our interests and values by seeking to establish and enforce rules through international institutions and regional initiatives and by addressing emerging challenges like state-owned enterprises and digital protectionism. U.S. markets and educational opportunities will help the next generation of global entrepreneurs sustain momentum in growing a global middle class. To prevent conflict and pro-mote human dignity, we will also pursue policies that eradicate extreme poverty and reduce inequality.
Put Our Economy to WorkThe American economy is an engine for global economic growth and a source of stability for the interna-tional system. In addition to being a key measure of power and influence in its own right, it underwrites our military strength and diplomatic influence. A strong economy, combined with a prominent U.S. presence in the global financial system, creates opportunities to advance our security.
To ensure our economic competitiveness, we are investing in a new foundation for sustained economic growth that creates good jobs and rising incomes. Because knowledge is the currency of today's global economy, we must keep expanding access to early childhood and affordable higher education. The further acceleration of our manufacturing revolution will create the next generation of high technology manufacturing jobs. Immigration reform that combines smart and effective enforcement of the law with a pathway to citizenship for those who earn it remains an imperative. We will deliver quality, affordable healthcare to more and more Americans. We will also support job creation, strengthen the middle class, and spur economic growth by opening markets and leveling the playing field for American workers and businesses abroad. Jobs will also grow as we expand our work with trading partners to eliminate barriers to the full deployment of U.S. innovation in the digital space. These efforts are complemented by more modern and reliable infrastructure that ensures safety and enables growth.
In addition to the positive benefits of trade and commerce, a strong and well-regulated economy positions the United States to lead international efforts to promote financial transparency and prevent the global financial system from being abused by transnational criminal and terrorist organizations to engage in, or launder the proceeds of illegal activity. We will continue to work within the Financial Action Task Force, the G-20, and other fora to enlist all nations in the fight to protect the integrity of the global financial system.
Advance Our Energy SecurityThe United States is now the world leader in oil and gas production. America's energy revival is not only good for growth, it offers new buffers against the coercive use of energy by some and new opportuni-ties for helping others transition to low-carbon economies. American oil production has increased dramatically, impacting global markets. Imports have decreased substantially, reducing the funds we send overseas. Consumption has declined, reducing our vulnerability to global supply disruption and price shocks. However, we still have a significant stake in the energy security of our allies in Europe and elsewhere. Seismic shifts in supply and demand are underway across the globe. Increasing global access to reliable and affordable energy is one of the most powerful ways to support social and economic development and to help build new markets for U.S. technology and investment.
The challenges faced by Ukrainian and European dependence on Russian energy supplies puts a spot-light on the need for an expanded view of energy security that recognizes the collective needs of the United States, our allies, and trading partners as well as the importance of competitive energy markets. Therefore, we must promote diversification of energy fuels, sources, and routes, as well as encourage indigenous sources of energy supply. Greater energy security and independence within the Americas is central to these efforts. We will also stay engaged with global suppliers and our partners to reduce the potential for energy-related conflict in places like the Arctic and Asia. Our energy security will be further enhanced by living up to commitments made in the Rome Declaration and through our all-of-the-above energy strategy for a low-carbon world. We will continue to develop American fossil resources while becoming a more efficient country that develops cleaner, alternative fuels and vehicles. We are demonstrating that America can and will lead the global economy while reducing our emissions.
Lead in Science, Technology, and InnovationScientific discovery and technological innovation empower American leadership with a competitive edge that secures our military advantage, propels our economy, and improves the human condition. Sustaining that edge requires robust Federal investments in basic and applied research. We must also strengthen science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to produce tomorrow's discoverers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and high-skills workforce. Our commitment remains strong to preparation and compensation for STEM teachers, broadband connectivity and high-tech educational tools for schools, programs that inspire and provide opportunities for girls and underrepresented minori-ties, and support for innovation in STEM teaching and inclusion in higher education. We will also keep our edge by opening our national labs to more commercial partnerships while tapping research and development in the private sector, including a wide range of start-ups and firms at the leading edge of America's innovation economy.
Shape the Global Economic OrderWe have recovered from the global economic crisis, but much remains to be done to shape the emerg-ing economic order to avoid future crises. We have responsibilities at home to continue to improve our banking practices and forge ahead with regulatory reform, even as we press others to align with our robust standards. In addition to securing our immediate economic interests, we must drive the inclusive economic growth that creates demand for American exports. We will protect the free movement of information and work to prevent the risky behavior that led to the recent crisis, while addressing resurgent economic forces, from state capitalism to market-distorting free-riding.
American leadership is central to strengthening global finance rules and making sure they are consistent and transparent. We will work through the G-20 to reinforce the core architecture of the international financial and economic system, including the World Trade Organization, to ensure it is positioned to foster both stability and growth. We remain committed to governance reforms for these same institu-tions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to make them more effective and representative. In so doing, we seek to ensure institutions reinforce, rather than undermine, an effective global financial system.
We believe trade agreements have economic and strategic benefits for the United States. We will there-fore work with the Congress to achieve bipartisan renewal of Trade Promotion Authority and to advance a trade agenda that brings jobs to our shores, increases standards of living, strengthens our partners and allies, and promotes stability in critical regions. The United States has one of the most open economies in the world. Our tariffs are low, and we do not use regulation to discriminate against foreign goods. The same is not true throughout the world, which is why our trade agenda is focused on lowering tariffs on American products, breaking down barriers to our goods and services, and setting higher standards to level the playing field for American workers and firms.
Through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), we are setting the world's highest standards for labor rights and environmental protection, while remov-ing barriers to U.S. exports and putting the United States at the center of a free trade zone covering two-thirds of the global economy. Our goal is to use this position, along with our highly skilled workforce, strong rule of law, and abundant supply of affordable energy, to make America the production platform of choice and the premier investment destination. In addition to these major regional agreements, we will work to achieve groundbreaking agreements to liberalize trade in services, information technol-ogy, and environmental goods - areas where the United States is a global leader in innovation. And we will make it easier for businesses of all sizes to expand their reach by improving supply chains and regulatory cooperation.
All countries will benefit when we open markets further, extend and enhance tools such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and reduce inefficiencies in the global trading system through trade facilitation improvements. And through our development initiatives - such as Power Africa, Trade Africa, Feed the Future, and the Open Government Partnership - we will continue to work closely with governments, the private sector, and civil society to foster inclusive economic growth, reduce corrup-tion, and build capacity at the local level. Investment in critical infrastructure and security will facilitate trade among countries, especially for developing and emerging economies.
End Extreme Poverty We have an historic opportunity to end extreme poverty within a generation and put our societies on a path of shared and sustained prosperity. In so doing, we will foster export markets for U.S. businesses, improve investment opportunities, and decrease the need for costly military interventions. Growth in the global economy has lifted hundreds of millions out of extreme poverty. We have already made significant progress guided in part through global consensus and mobilization around the Millennium Development Goals. The world cut the percentage of people living in extreme poverty in half between 1990 and 2010. In that period, nearly 800 million people rose above the international poverty line. By 2012, child deaths were down almost 50 percent since 1990. Twenty-nine countries registered as low-income in 2000 have today achieved middle-income status, and private capital and domestic resources far outstrip donor assistance as the primary means for financing development. Trends in economic growth also signal what is possible; sub-Saharan Africa has averaged an aggregate annual growth rate of over 5 percent for the last decade despite the disruptions of the world financial crisis.
We are now working with many partners to put ending extreme poverty at the center of a new global sustainable development agenda that will mobilize action for the next 15 years. We will press for transformative investments in areas like women's equality and empowerment, education, sustainable energy, and governance. We will use trade and investment to harness job-rich economic growth. We will concentrate on the clear need for country ownership and political commitment and reinforce the linkage between social and economic development. We will lead the effort to marshal diverse resources and broad coalitions to advance the imperative of accountable, democratic governance.
We will use our leadership to promote a model of financing that leverages billions in investment from the private sector and draws on America's scientific, technological, and entrepreneurial strengths to take to scale proven solutions in partnership with governments, business, and civil society. And we will leverage our leadership in promoting food security, enhancing resilience, modernizing rural agriculture, reducing the vulnerability of the poor, and eliminating preventable child and maternal deaths as we drive progress toward an AIDS-free generation.
Values: To lead effectively in a world experiencing significant political change, the United States must live our values at home while promoting universal values abroad. From the Middle East to Ukraine to Southeast Asia to the Americas, citizens are more empowered in seeking greater freedoms and accountable institutions. But these demands have often produced an equal and opposite reaction from backers of discredited authoritarian orders, resulting in crackdowns and conflict. Many of the threats to our security in recent years arose from efforts by authoritarian states to oppose democratic forces - from the crisis caused by Russian aggression in Ukraine to the rise of ISIL within the Syrian civil war. By the same token, many of our greatest opportunities stem from advances for liberty and rule of law - from sub-Saharan Africa to Eastern Europe to Burma.
Defending democracy and human rights is related to every enduring national interest. It aligns us with the aspirations of ordinary people throughout the world. We know from our own history people must lead their own struggles for freedom if those struggles are to succeed. But America is also uniquely situ-ated - and routinely expected - to support peaceful democratic change. We will continue mobilizing international support to strengthen and expand global norms of human rights. We will support women, youth, civil society, journalists, and entrepreneurs as drivers of change. We will continue to insist that governments uphold their human rights obligations, speak out against repression wherever it occurs, and work to prevent, and, if necessary, respond to mass atrocities.
Our closest allies in these efforts will be, as they always have, other democratic states. But, even where our strategic interests require us to engage governments that do not share all our values, we will continue to speak out clearly for human rights and human dignity in our public and private diplomacy. Any support we might provide will be balanced with an awareness of the costs of repressive policies for our own security interests and the democratic values by which we live. Because our human rights advocacy will be most effective when we work in concert with a wide range of partners, we are building coalitions with civil society, religious leaders, businesses, other governments, and international organizations. We will also work to ensure people enjoy the same rights - and security - online as they are entitled to enjoy offline by opposing efforts to restrict information and punish speech.
Live Our Values Our values are a source of strength and security, and our ability to promote our values abroad is directly tied to our willingness to abide by them at home. In recent years, questions about America's post-9/11 security policies have often been exploited by our adversaries, while testing our commitment to civil liberties and the rule of law at home. For the sake of our security and our leadership in the world, it is essential we hold ourselves to the highest possible standard, even as we do what is necessary to secure our people.
To that end, we strengthened our commitment against torture and have prohibited so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that were contrary to American values, while implementing stronger safe-guards for the humane treatment of detainees. We have transferred many detainees from Guantanamo Bay, and we are working with the Congress to remove the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers so that we can finally close it. Where prosecution is an option, we will bring terrorists to justice through both civilian and, when appropriate, reformed military commission proceedings that incorporate fun-damental due process and other protections essential to the effective administration of justice.
Our vital intelligence activities are also being reformed to preserve the capabilities needed to secure our interests while continuing to respect privacy and curb the potential for abuse. We are increasing transparency so the public can be confident our surveillance activities are consistent with the rule of law and governed by effective oversight. We have not and will not collect signals intelligence to suppress criticism or dissent or to afford a competitive advantage to U.S. companies. Safeguards currently in place governing how we retain and share intelligence are being extended to protect personal information regardless of nationality.
Advance EqualityAmerican values are reflective of the universal values we champion all around the world - including the freedoms of speech, worship, and peaceful assembly; the ability to choose leaders democratically; and the right to due process and equal administration of justice. We will be a champion for communities that are too frequently vulnerable to violence, abuse, and neglect - such as ethnic and religious minorities; people with disabilities; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT ) individuals; displaced persons; and migrant workers.
Recognizing that no society will succeed if it does not draw on the potential of all its people, we are pressing for the political and economic participation of women and girls - who are too often denied their inalienable rights and face substantial barriers to opportunity in too many places. Our efforts include helping girls everywhere get the education they need to participate fully in the economy and realize their potential. We are focused on reducing the scourge of violence against women around the globe by providing support for affected populations and enhancing efforts to improve judicial systems so perpetrators are held accountable.
Support Emerging Democracies The United States will concentrate attention and resources to help countries consolidate their gains and move toward more democratic and representative systems of governance. Our focus is on supporting countries that are moving in the right direction - whether it is the peaceful transitions of power we see in sub-Saharan Africa; the movement toward constitutional democracy in Tunisia; or the opening taking place in Burma. In each instance, we are creating incentives for positive reform and disincentives for backsliding.
The road from demanding rights in the square to building institutions that guarantee them is long and hard. In the last quarter century, parts of Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and East Asia have consolidated transitions to democracy, but not without setbacks. The popular uprisings that began in the Arab world took place in a region with weaker democratic traditions, powerful authoritarian elites, sectarian tensions, and active violent extremist elements, so it is not surprising setbacks have thus far outnumbered triumphs. Yet, change is inevitable in the Middle East and North Africa, as it is in all places where the illusion of stability is artificially maintained by silencing dissent.
But the direction of that change is not predetermined. We will therefore continue to look for ways to support the success and ease the difficulties of democratic transitions through responsible assistance, investment and trade, and by supporting political, economic, and security reforms. We will continue to push for reforms in authoritarian countries not currently undergoing wholesale transitions. Good governance is also predicated on strengthening the state-society relationship. When citizens have a voice in the decisionmaking that affects them, governments make better decisions and citizens are better able to participate, innovate, and contribute.
The corrosive effects of corruption must be overcome. While information sharing allows us to identify corrupt officials more easily, globalization has also made it easier for corrupt officials to hide the proceeds of corruption abroad, increasing the need for strong and consistent implementation of the international standards on combating illicit finance. The United States is leading the way in promoting adherence to standards of accountable and transparent governance, including through initiatives like the Open Government Partnership. We will utilize a broad range of tools to recover assets stolen by corrupt offi-cials and make it harder for criminals to hide, launder, and benefit from illegal proceeds. Our leadership toward governance that is more open, responsible, and accountable makes clear that democracy can deliver better government and development for ordinary people.
Empower Civil Society and Young LeadersDemocracy depends on more than elections, or even government institutions. Through civil society, citizens come together to hold their leaders accountable and address challenges. Civil society organiza-tions often drive innovations and develop new ideas and approaches to solve social, economic, and political problems that governments can apply on a larger scale. Moreover, by giving people peaceful avenues to advance their interests and express their convictions, a free and flourishing civil society contributes to stability and helps to counter violent extremism.
Still, civil society and individual activists face challenges in many parts of the world. As technology empowers individuals and nongovernmental groups to mobilize around a wide array of issues - from countering corruption and advancing the rule of law to environmental activism - political elites in authoritarian states, and even in some with more democratic traditions, are acting to restrict space for civil society. Restrictions are often seen through new laws and regulations that deny groups the foreign funding they depend on to operate, that criminalize groups of people like the LGBT community, or deny political opposition groups the freedom to assemble in peaceful protest. The United States is countering this trend by providing direct support for civil society and by advocating rollback of laws and regulations that undermine citizens' rights. We are also supporting technologies that expand access to information, enable freedom of expression, and connect civil society groups in this fight around the world.
More than 50 percent of the world's people are under 30 years old. Many struggle to make a life in countries with broken governance. We are taking the initiative to build relationships with the world's young people, identifying future leaders in government, business, and civil society and connecting them to one another and to the skills they need to thrive. We have established new programs of exchange among young Americans and young people from Africa to Southeast Asia, building off the successes of the International Visitor and Young African Leaders initiatives. We are fostering increased education exchanges in our hemisphere. And we are catalyzing economic growth and innovation within societies by lifting up and promoting entrepreneurship.
Prevent Mass Atrocities The mass killing of civilians is an affront to our common humanity and a threat to our common security. It destabilizes countries and regions, pushes refugees across borders, and creates grievances that extrem-ists exploit. We have a strong interest in leading an international response to genocide and mass atroci-ties when they arise, recognizing options are more extensive and less costly when we act preventively before situations reach crisis proportions. We know the risk of mass atrocities escalates when citizens are denied basic rights and freedoms, are unable to hold accountable the institutions of government, or face unrelenting poverty and conflict. We affirm our support for the international consensus that governments have the responsibility to protect civilians from mass atrocities and that this responsibil-ity passes to the broader international community when those governments manifestly fail to protect their populations. We will work with the international community to prevent and call to account those responsible for the worst human rights abuses, including through support to the International Criminal Court, consistent with U.S. law and our commitment to protecting our personnel. Moreover, we will continue to mobilize allies and partners to strengthen our collective efforts to prevent and respond to mass atrocities using all our instruments of national power.
We have an opportunity - and obligation - to lead the way in reinforcing, shaping, and where appropri-ate, creating the rules, norms, and institutions that are the foundation for peace, security, prosperity, and the protection of human rights in the 21st century. The modern-day international system currently relies heavily on an international legal architecture, economic and political institutions, as well as alliances and partnerships the United States and other like-minded nations established after World War II. Sustained by robust American leadership, this system has served us well for 70 years, facilitating international cooperation, burden sharing, and accountability. It carried us through the Cold War and ushered in a wave of democratization. It reduced barriers to trade, expanded free markets, and enabled advances in human dignity and prosperity.
But, the system has never been perfect, and aspects of it are increasingly challenged. We have seen too many cases where a failure to marshal the will and resources for collective action has led to inaction. The U.N. and other multilateral institutions are stressed by, among other things, resource demands, competing imperatives among member states, and the need for reform across a range of policy and administrative areas. Despite these undeniable strains, the vast majority of states do not want to replace the system we have. Rather, they look to America for the leadership needed to both fortify it and help it evolve to meet the wide range of challenges described throughout this strategy.
The United States will continue to make the development of sustainable solutions in all of these areas a foreign policy priority and devote diplomatic and other resources accordingly. We will continue to embrace the post-World War II legal architecture - from the U.N. Charter to the multilateral treaties that govern the conduct of war, respect for human rights, nonproliferation, and many other topics of global concern - as essential to the ordering of a just and peaceful world, where nations live peacefully within their borders, and all men and women have the opportunity to reach their potential. We will lead by example in fulfilling our responsibilities within this architecture, demonstrating to the world it is pos-sible to protect security consistent with robust values. We will work vigorously both within the U.N. and other multilateral institutions, and with member states, to strengthen and modernize capacities - from peacekeeping to humanitarian relief - so they endure to provide protection, stability, and support for future generations.
At the same time, we will exact an appropriate cost on transgressors. Targeted economic sanctions remain an effective tool for imposing costs on those irresponsible actors whose military aggression, illicit proliferation, or unprovoked violence threaten both international rules and norms and the peace they were designed to preserve. We will pursue multilateral sanctions, including through the U.N., whenever possible, but will act alone, if necessary. Our sanctions will continue to be carefully designed and tailored to achieve clear aims while minimizing any unintended consequences for other economic actors, the global economy, and civilian populations.
In many cases, our use of targeted sanctions and other coercive measures are meant not only to uphold international norms, but to deter severe threats to stability and order at the regional level. We are not allowing the transgressors to define our regional strategies on the basis of the immediate threats they present. Rather, we are advancing a longer-term affirmative agenda in each of the regions, which pri-
oritizes reinvigorating alliances with long-standing friends, making investments in new partnerships with emerging democratic powers with whom our interests are increasingly aligned, and continuing to support the development of capable, inclusive regional institutions to help enforce common inter-national rules.
Advance Our Rebalance to Asia and the PacificThe United States has been and will remain a Pacific power. Over the next 5 years, nearly half of all growth outside the United States is expected to come from Asia. That said, the security dynamics of the region - including contested maritime territorial claims and a provocative North Korea - risk escalation and conflict. American leadership will remain essential to shaping the region's long-term trajectory to enhance stability and security, facilitate trade and commerce through an open and transparent system, and ensure respect for universal rights and freedoms.
To realize this vision, we are diversifying our security relationships in Asia as well as our defense posture and presence. We are modernizing our alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the Philippines and enhancing the interactions among them to ensure they are fully capable of responding to regional and global challenges. We are committed to strengthening regional institutions such as ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to reinforce shared rules and norms, forge collective responses to shared challenges, and help ensure peaceful resolution of disputes. We are also working with our Asian partners to promote more open and transparent economies and regional support for international economic norms that are vital to maintaining it as an engine for global economic growth. The TPP is central to this effort.
As we have done since World War II, the United States will continue to support the advance of security, development, and democracy in Asia and the Pacific. This is an important focus of the deepening partnerships we are building in Southeast Asia including with Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. We will uphold our treaty obligations to Australia, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand, while encouraging the latter to return quickly to democracy. We will support the people of Burma to deepen and sustain reforms, including democratic consolidation and national reconciliation.
The United States welcomes the rise of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous China. We seek to develop a constructive relationship with China that delivers benefits for our two peoples and promotes security and prosperity in Asia and around the world. We seek cooperation on shared regional and global chal-lenges such as climate change, public health, economic growth, and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. While there will be competition, we reject the inevitability of confrontation. At the same time, we will manage competition from a position of strength while insisting that China uphold international rules and norms on issues ranging from maritime security to trade and human rights. We will closely monitor China's military modernization and expanding presence in Asia, while seeking ways to reduce the risk of misunderstanding or miscalculation. On cybersecurity, we will take necessary actions to protect our businesses and defend our networks against cyber-theft of trade secrets for commercial gain whether by private actors or the Chinese government.
In South Asia, we continue to strengthen our strategic and economic partnership with India. As the world's largest democracies, we share inherent values and mutual interests that form the cornerstone of our cooperation, particularly in the areas of security, energy, and the environment. We support India's role as a regional provider of security and its expanded participation in critical regional institutions. We see a strategic convergence with India's Act East policy and our continued implementation of the rebal-ance to Asia and the Pacific. At the same time, we will continue to work with both India and Pakistan to promote strategic stability, combat terrorism, and advance regional economic integration in South and Central Asia.
Strengthen Our Enduring Alliance with EuropeThe United States maintains a profound commitment to a Europe that is free, whole, and at peace. A strong Europe is our indispensable partner, including for tackling global security challenges, promoting prosperity, and upholding international norms. Our work with Europe leverages our strong and historic bilateral relationships throughout the continent. We will steadfastly support the aspirations of countries in the Balkans and Eastern Europe toward European and Euro-Atlantic integration, continue to trans-form our relationship with Turkey, and enhance ties with countries in the Caucasus while encouraging resolution of regional conflict.
NATO is the strongest alliance the world has ever known and is the hub of an expanding global security network. Our Article 5 commitment to the collective defense of all NATO Members is ironclad, as is our commitment to ensuring the Alliance remains ready and capable for crisis response and cooperative security. We will continue to deepen our relationship with the European Union (EU), which has helped to promote peace and prosperity across the region, and deepen NATO-EU ties to enhance transatlantic security. To build on the millions of jobs supported by transatlantic trade, we support a pro-growth agenda in Europe to strengthen and broaden the region's recovery, and we seek an ambitious T-TIP to boost exports, support jobs, and raise global standards for trade.
Russia's aggression in Ukraine makes clear that European security and the international rules and norms against territorial aggression cannot be taken for granted. In response, we have led an international effort to support the Ukrainian people as they choose their own future and develop their democracy and economy. We are reassuring our allies by backing our security commitments and increasing respon-siveness through training and exercises, as well as a dynamic presence in Central and Eastern Europe to deter further Russian aggression. This will include working with Europe to improve its energy security in both the short and long term. We will support partners such as Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine so they can better work alongside the United States and NATO, as well as provide for their own defense.
And we will continue to impose significant costs on Russia through sanctions and other means while countering Moscow's deceptive propaganda with the unvarnished truth. We will deter Russian aggres-sion, remain alert to its strategic capabilities, and help our allies and partners resist Russian coercion over the long term, if necessary. At the same time, we will keep the door open to greater collaboration with Russia in areas of common interests, should it choose a different path - a path of peaceful cooperation that respects the sovereignty and democratic development of neighboring states.
Seek Stability and Peace in the Middle East and North AfricaIn the Middle East, we will dismantle terrorist networks that threaten our people, confront external aggression against our allies and partners, ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world, and prevent the development, proliferation, or use of weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, we remain committed to a vision of the Middle East that is peaceful and prosperous, where democracy takes root and human rights are upheld. Sadly, this is not the case today, and nowhere is the violence more tragic and destabilizing than in the sectarian conflict from Beirut to Baghdad, which has given rise to new terrorist groups such as ISIL.
Resolving these connected conflicts, and enabling long-term stability in the region, requires more than the use and presence of American military forces. For one, it requires partners who can defend them-selves. We are therefore investing in the ability of Israel, Jordan, and our Gulf partners to deter aggression while maintaining our unwavering commitment to Israel's security, including its Qualitative Military Edge. We are working with the Iraqi government to resolve Sunni grievances through more inclusive and responsive governance. With our partners in the region and around the world, we are leading a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. At the same time, we will continue to pursue a lasting political solution to the devastating conflict in Syria.
Stability and peace in the Middle East and North Africa also requires reducing the underlying causes of conflict. America will therefore continue to work with allies and partners toward a comprehensive agreement with Iran that resolves the world's concerns with the Iranian nuclear program. We remain committed to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution that ensures Israel's security and Palestine's viability. We will support efforts to deescalate sectarian tensions and violence between Shi'a and Sunni communities throughout the region. We will help countries in transition make political and economic reforms and build state capacity to maintain security, law and order, and respect for universal rights. In this respect, we seek a stable Yemen that undertakes difficult structural reforms and confronts an active threat from al-Qaida and other rebels. We will work with Tunisia to further progress on building democratic institutions and strengthening its economy. We will work with the U.N. and our Arab and European partners in an effort to help stabilize Libya and reduce the threat posed by lawless militias and extremists. And we will maintain strategic cooperation with Egypt to enable it to respond to shared security threats, while broadening our partnership and encouraging progress toward restoration of democratic institutions.
Invest in Africa's Future Africa is rising. Many countries in Africa are mak ing steady progress in growing their economies, improving democratic governance and rule of law, and supporting human rights and basic freedoms. Urbanization and a burgeoning youth population are changing the region's demographics, and young people are increasingly making their voices heard. But there are still many countries where the transi-tion to democracy is uneven and slow with some leaders clinging to power. Corruption is endemic and public health systems are broken in too many places. And too many governments are responding to the expansion of civil society and free press by passing laws and adopting policies that erode that progress. Ongoing conflicts in Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African
Republic, as well as violent extremists fighting governments in Somalia, Nigeria, and across the Sahel all pose threats to innocent civilians, regional stability, and our national security.
For decades, American engagement with Africa was defined by aid to help Africans reduce insecurity, famine, and disease. In contrast, the partnerships we are forging today, and will expand in the coming years, aim to build upon the aspirations of Africans. Through our Power Africa Initiative, we aim to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa. We will increase trade and business ties, generating export-driven growth through initiatives like Trade Africa and AGOA. We will continue to support U.S. companies to deepen investment in what can be the world's next major center of global growth, including through the Doing Business in Africa campaign. Moreover, we are investing in tomorrow's leaders - the young entrepreneurs, innovators, civic leaders, and public servants who will shape the continent's future. We are strengthening civilian and military institutions through our Security Governance Initiative, and working to advance human rights and eliminate corruption. We are deepening our security partnerships with African countries and institutions, exemplified by our partnerships with the U.N. and AU in Mali and Somalia. Such efforts will help to resolve conflicts, strengthen African peacekeeping capacity, and counter transnational security threats while respecting human rights and the rule of law.
Our investment in nutrition and agricultural capacity will continue, reducing hunger through initiatives such as Feed the Future. We will keep working with partners to reduce deaths from Ebola, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis across Africa through such initiatives as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Health Security Agenda. The Ebola epidemic in 2014 serves as a stark reminder of the threat posed by infectious disease and the imperative of global collective action to meet it. American leadership has proven essential to bringing to bear the international community to contain recent crises while building public health capacity to prevent future ones.
Deepen Economic and Security Cooperation in the Americas We will continue to advance a Western Hemisphere that is prosperous, secure, democratic, and plays a greater global role. In the region as a whole, the number of people in the middle class has surpassed the number of people living in poverty for the first time in history, and the hemisphere is increasingly important to global energy supplies. These gains, however, are put at risk by weak institutions, high crime rates, powerful organized crime groups, an illicit drug trade, lingering economic disparity, and inadequate education and health systems.
To meet these challenges, we are working with Canada and Mexico to enhance our collective economic competitiveness while advancing prosperity in our hemisphere. With Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Canada, we are setting new global trade standards as we grow a strong contingent of countries in the Americas that favor open trading systems to include TPP. We seek to advance our economic partnership with Brazil, as it works to preserve gains in reducing poverty and deliver the higher standards of public services expected by the middle class.
We are also championing a strong and effective inter-American human rights and rule of law system. We are expanding our collaboration across the Americas to support democratic consolidation and increase public-private partnerships in education, sustainable development, access to electricity, climate resilience, and countering transnational organized crime.
Such collaboration is especially important in vulnerable countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, where government institutions are threatened by criminal syndicates. Migration surges involving unaccompanied children across our southern border is one major consequence of weak institutions and violence. American leadership, in partnership with these countries and with the support of their neighbors, remains essential to arresting the slide backwards and to creating steady improve -ments in economic growth and democratic governance. Likewise, we remain committed to helping rebuild Haiti and to put it and our other Caribbean neighbors on a path to sustainable development.
We will support the resolution of longstanding regional conflicts, particularly Colombia's conclusion of a peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Overall, we have deepened our strategic partnership with Colombia, which is a key contributor to international peace and security. Equally, we stand by the citizens of countries where the full exercise of democracy is at risk, such as Venezuela. Though a few countries in the region remain trapped in old ideological debates, we will keep working with all governments that are interested in cooperating with us in practical ways to reinforce the principles enumerated in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. As part of our effort to promote a fully democratic hemisphere, we will advance our new opening to Cuba in a way that most effectively promotes the ability of the Cuban people to determine their future freely.
This National Security Strategy provides a vision for strengthening and sustaining American leadership in this still young century. It clarifies the purpose and promise of American power. It aims to advance our interests and values with initiative and from a position of strength. We will deter and defeat any adversary that threatens our national security and that of our allies. We confidently welcome the peaceful rise of other countries as partners to share the burdens for maintaining a more peaceful and prosperous world. We will continue to collaborate with established and emerging powers to promote our shared security and defend our common humanity, even as we compete with them in economic and other realms. We will uphold and refresh the international rules and norms that set the parameters for such collaboration and competition. We will do all of this and more with confidence that the international system whose creation we led in the aftermath of World War II will continue to serve America and the world well. This is an ambitious, but achievable agenda, especially if we continue to restore the bipartisan center that has been a pillar of strength for American foreign policy in decades past. America has greater capacity to adapt and recover from setbacks than any other country. A core element of our strength is our unity and our certainty that American leadership in this century, like the last, remains indispensable.
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