READ: The United States National Military Strategy (2015)

On July 1st, the United States government, through its Joint Chiefs of Staff released a new military document (a ‘white paper’), titled, “The United States Military’s Contribution to National Security.” This short document outlines the U.S.’ military outlook, what it considers threats and challenges, and what can be done to face them.

The timing for the document is slightly interesting. It was released only weeks after China released its own defense white paper. Interestingly, both countries (and both documents, to that matter) tease each other, considering their counterparts as forming some sort of threat. For the U.S.,

“We support China’s rise and encourage it to become a partner for greater international security. However, China’s actions are adding tension to the Asia-Pacific region. For example, its claims to nearly the entire South China Sea are inconsistent with international law. The international community continues to call on China to settle such issues cooperatively and without coercion. China has responded with aggressive land reclamation efforts that will allow it to position military forces astride vital international sea lanes.” [emphasis added]

While for China,

“There are, however, new threats from hegemonism, power politics and neo-interventionism… the US carries on its “rebalancing” strategy and enhances its military presence and its military alliances in this region… Such development has caused grave concerns among other countries in the region.” [emphasis added]

To put a brief sneak peek, here are some of the points that can be taken from the new strategy document:

1. States remain to be a form of threat for the U.S. The document even cared to point a few fingers. Russia (“… it does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors…”), Iran (“… state-sponsor of terrorism that has undermined stability…”), North Korea (“… pursuit of nuclear weapons… threaten its neighbors…”) are called by names. The United States considers them, “… attempting to revise key aspects of the international order and are acting in a manner that threatens our national security interests…”

2. Violent extremist organizations are on the rise. You will not be surprised to know that the Islamic State (ISIL) is considered as a significant threat, “They are strongest where governments are weakest, exploiting people trapped in fragile or failed states… taking advantage of emergent technologies as well, using information tools to propagate destructive ideologies, recruit and incite violence, and amplify the perceived power of their movements…”

3. U..S. interests remain unchanged. Comparing U.S. national and security interests, nothing has changed. Protection of the homeland, prosperity, and promotion of values hold dear by the United States remain true. Political science (and international relations) students know better though, that the U.S. desires that no dominant power should establish itself in any part of the world. Robert Art pointed specifically to the Eurasian region. By calling China and Russia by names, the underlying message remains the same, even if the document hesitates to put it explicitly.

4. To face state adversaries: deter, deny, and defeat. These are the three ways for the U.S. to face state actors that pose threats to the U.S. “Deterring a direct attack on the United States and our allies is a priority mission,… denying adversaries their goals will be an immediate objectives,… project power across all domains to stop aggression and win our Nation’s wars by decisively defeating adversaries.”

5. To face VEOs: disrupt, degrade, and defeat. With victory being the same goal, a slight line of strategy is used when the U.S. faces VEOs. It will focus on, “… disrupt VEO planning and operations, degrade support structures, remove leadership, interdict finances, impede the flow of foreign fighters, counter malign influences, liberate captured territory, and ultimately defeat them.”

For readers’ enjoyment, I have converted and formatted the document for your e-readers. Two formats are available:

  • ePub format: If you use Apple’s iBooks, kobo e-reader, or any other Adobe Digital Editions reader
  • mobi format: If you use Amazon’s Kindle devices

You can download the files here:

DISCLAIMER: I have converted the original document using Microsoft Word and calibre e-book management software. The copyright of the document, if any, belongs to the publisher and/or writer. Use solely for non-profit, non-commercial purposes only, and do not spread any copy without permission. None of the contents are altered, the conversion only affects formatting, presentation, and metadata of the document. 

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