The United States has played a leading role in transforming the international system over the past sixty-five years. Working with like-minded nations, the United States has created a safer, more stable, and more prosperous world for the American people, our allies, and our partners around the globe than existed prior to World War II. Over the last decade, we have undertaken extended operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring stability to those countries and secure our interests. As we responsibly draw down from these two operations, take steps to protect our nation”s economic vitality, and protect our interests in a world of accelerating change, we face an inflection point.
This merited an assessment of the U.S. defense strategy in light of the changing geopolitical environment and our changing fiscal circumstances.
This assessment reflects the President’s strategic direction to the Department and was deeply informed by the Department’s civilian and military leadership, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretaries of the Military Departments, and the Combatant Commanders. Out of the assessment we developed a defense strategy that transitions our Defense enterprise from an emphasis on today’s wars to preparing for future challenges, protects the broad range of U.S. national security interests, advances the Department’s efforts to rebalance and reform, and supports the national security imperative of deficit reduction through a lower level of defense spending.
This strategic guidance document describes the projected security environment and the key military missions for which the Department of Defense (DoD) will prepare. It is intended as a blueprint for the Joint Force in 2020, providing a set of precepts that will help guide decisions regarding the size and shape of the force over subsequent program and budget cycles, and highlighting some of the strategic risks that may be associated with the proposed strategy.”
Over the long term, China’s emergence as a regional power will have the potential to affect the U.S. economy and our security in a variety of ways. Our two countries have a strong stake in peace and stability in East Asia and an interest in building a cooperative bilateral relationship.
In the Middle East, the Arab Awakening presents both strategic opportunities and challenges. Regime changes, as well as tensions within and among states under pressure to reform, introduce uncertainty for the future.
Europe is home to some of America’s most stalwart allies and partners, many of whom have sacrificed alongside U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Europe is our principal partner in seeking global and economic security, and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
The United States will continue to make the necessary investments to ensure that we maintain regional access and the ability to operate freely in keeping with our treaty obligations and with international law.
Primary Missions of the U.S. Armed Forces
To protect U.S. national interests and achieve the objectives of the 2010 National Security Strategy in this environment, the Joint Force will need to recalibrate its capabilities and make selective additional investments to succeed in the following missions:
- Counter Terrorism and Irregular Warfare
- Deter and Defeat Aggression;
- Project Power Despite Anti-Access/Area Denial Challenge;
- Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction;
- Operate Effectively in Cyberspace and Space;
- Maintain a Safe, Secure, and Effective Nuclear Deterrent;
- Defend the Homeland and Provide Support to Civil Authorities;
- Provide a Stabilizing Presence;
- Conduct Stability and Counterinsurgency Operations;
- Conduct Humanitarian, Disaster Relief, and Other Operations.
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