Strengths and Missing Pieces of the Trump Administration's National Security Strategy. Gregory Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs.

Jan 18, 2018, 01:00 AM

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Strengths and Missing Pieces of the Trump Administration's National Security Strategy. Gregory Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs.

"Searching for Meaning in the US National Security Strategy Analysis. By GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Staff. US Pres. Donald Trump’s new US National Security Strategy (NSS) document may be the most realistic expression of an overarching US strategic direction seen for several decades, but it is nonetheless shal-low, incomplete, misleading, and reveals deep divisions between some of the traditional elements within the US bureaucracy and the White House. It also signals that US global strategic policy in some areas is being pushed more by domestic political pressures — rather than global strategic context — along paths which may be counter-productive to the global posture of the US and its allies in the future. Presidents of the United States of America are required by law — the Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of October 4, 1986 — to issue regu-lar iterations of a US National Security Strategy, and, as a result, most are perfunctory and, if anything, deliberately superficial, opaque, and misleading. Pres. Donald Trump’s National Security Strategy of the United States, issued in December 2017, may fit that description, but it may also be more revealing of US security strategy than most of the earlier administrations’ iterations of strategic policy. As with all the National Security Strategy reports issued since 2002, reading and deriv-ing meaning from the first Trump NSS is an imperfect science, akin to reading tea-leaves. The NSS document always reflects a President’s injection of the purpose and image he wishes to project — usually outlined in the Presidential introduction — and then the body of the document, prepared by “national security professionals”, usually from the Department of Defense, with input, clearly, from the State Department and the Intelligence Community, reveals the ongoing impetus of the bureaucracy. Significantly, populist political trends, heavily promoted by the media, also cannot avoid being addressed by the NSS, and it is in this arena that stated policy often becomes skewed and unrealistic, even if the White House — or the professional bureaucracy — believes that it can state one set of priorities while discreetly pursuing others. ..."