The latest version of the U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) was released in October 2022. The NSS outlines how the U.S. will advance its vital interests and leverage all the elements of national power to compete against its adversaries. The NSS has the objectives of investing in the sources and tools of American power and influence, reinforce the coalition of nations to shape the global strategic environment, and modernize the U.S. military.
The NSS states that China is the only competitor with the intent and capability to reshape the international order and presents the most consequential geopolitical challenge. China is viewed as the ‘pacing challenge’. It is advancing its vision and national interests around the world across the full spectrum of competition – in the economic, technological, political, and security realms.
But the NSS also sees Russia as a dangerous and increasingly aggressive competitor. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrates how it is dangerous to its neighbors and a threat to world stability. The stiff opposition by the international community to Russia’s attack on Ukraine demonstrates the importance of building coalitions among nations.
The strategy provides guidance for updating the Department of Defense’s National Defense Strategy and National Military Strategy. It is used to set budgets, advance diplomacy, steer investment, and more. It is a guide for advancing the United States’ vital interests, compete with adversaries, and building coalitions with other nations. The U.S. military will rely on integrated deterrence – which is detailed in the DoD’s National Defense Strategy. Integrated defense encompasses all the domains of warfare – land, air, maritime, cyber, and space.
While the United States must focus on strategic competition with China and Russia, it must also pay attention to the threats of terrorism to the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests overseas. Climate change gets a lot of ink in this document; some national security observers have noted that perhaps this is over stated – detracting from the attention that China, Russia, Iran, Korea, and terrorist organizations should be getting. Other security challenges are noted as well: arms control, pandemics, corruption, food security, and more.
This strategy was finally released by the White House almost two years after the current administration taking office. The drawn out process was delayed by a changing world geopolitical environment – one of the most important events being the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, there are very few fundamental changes – China is still seen as the number one adversary, and Russia as number two. The NSS boils down to competing with China and containing Russia.
National Security Strategy, The White House, October 2022, PDF, 48 pages.
Fact Sheet: The Biden-Harris Administration’s National Security Strategy, The White House, October 12, 2022. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/10/12/fact-sheet-the-biden-harris-administrations-national-security-strategy/
National Security Strategy Aims to Address New Challenges, DoD News, October 13, 2022.