A National Strategic Narrative

With the demise of Public Enemy #1, and talk of what this means for the ‘war’ on terror…..it’s actually a good time to think outside the conventional paradigm about what components encompass national security. Two eminent military strategists do exactly that in a recently released paper, that’s well worth a read.

Some traditional advocates of stout military deterrence will likely deride it as a wasteful expenditure of time, money and effort. But the bottom line is that we can continue the current policies [which I find misguided] and embark on a new path. They are not mutually exclusive, and the points Mykleby and Porter lay out don’t seem to have a down side where it concerns resource management and homeland security.

This Strategic Narrative is intended to frame our National policy decisions regarding investment, security, economic development, the environment, and engagement well into this century. It is built upon the premise that we must sustain our enduring national interests – prosperity and security – within a “strategic ecosystem,” at home and abroad; that in complexity and uncertainty, there are opportunities and hope, as well as challenges, risk, and threat. The primary approach this Strategic Narrative advocates to achieve sustainable prosperity and security, is through the application of credible influence and strength, the pursuit of fair competition, acknowledgement of interdependencies and converging interests, and adaptation to complex, dynamic systems – all bounded by our national values.

It is time for America to re-focus our national interests and principles through a long lens on the global environment of tomorrow. It is time to move beyond a strategy of containment to a strategy of sustainment (sustainability); from an emphasis on power and control to an emphasis on strength and influence; from a defensive posture of exclusion, to a proactive posture of engagement. We must recognize that security means more than defense, and sustaining security requires adaptation and evolution, the leverage of converging interests and interdependencies. To grow we must accept that competitors are not necessarily adversaries, and that a winner does not demand a loser. We must regain our credibility as a leader among peers, a beacon of hope, rather than an island fortress. It is only by balancing our interests with our principles that we can truly hope to sustain our growth as a nation and to restore our credibility as a world leader.

A National Strategic Narrative

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