18 December 2017

The Trump Administration’s New National Security Strategy—Summary, Full Text & Complete China-Related Excerpts

National Security Strategy of the United States of America 2017 (Washington, DC: The White House, December 2017).
Click here for Announcement & Summary.
Click here for Talking Points.
Click here for Q&A.
Click here for Fact Sheet.
Click here to download the full text. In case you have any difficulty accessing that version, here’s a cached copy.
OVERVIEW:

A NEW NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY FOR A NEW ERA: Less than a year after taking office, President Donald J. Trump is unveiling a new National Security Strategy that sets a positive strategic direction for the United States that will restore America’s advantages in the world and build upon our country’s great strengths.

  • The 2017 National Security Strategy (Strategy) builds on the 11 months of Presidential action to restore respect for the United States abroad and renew American confidence at home.
  • Strategic confidence enables the United States to protect its vital national interests. The Strategy identifies four vital national interests, or “four pillars” as:
    I. Protect the homeland, the American people, and American way of life;
    II. Promote American prosperity;
    III. Preserve peace through strength;
    IV. Advance American influence.
  • The Strategy addresses key challenges and trends that affect our standing in the world, including:
    o Revisionist powers, such as China and Russia, that use technology, propaganda, and coercion to shape a world antithetical to our interests and values;

    • Regional dictators that spread terror, threaten their neighbors, and pursue weapons of mass destruction;
    • Jihadist terrorists that foment hatred to incite violence against innocents in the name of a wicked ideology, and transnational criminal organizations that spill drugs and violence into our communities.
  • The Strategy articulates and advances the President’s concept of principled realism.
    • It is realist because it acknowledges the central role of power in international politics, affirms that strong and sovereign states are the best hope for a peaceful world, and clearly defines our national interests.
    • It is principled because it is grounded in advancing American principles, which spreads peace and prosperity around the globe.

I. PROTECT THE HOMELAND: President Trump’s fundamental responsibility is to protect the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life.

  • We will strengthen control of our borders and reform our immigration system to protect the homeland and restore our sovereignty.
  • The greatest transnational threats to the homeland are:
    • Jihadist terrorists, using barbaric cruelty to commit murder, repression, and slavery, and virtual networks to exploit vulnerable populations and inspire and direct plots.
    • Transnational criminal organizations, tearing apart our communities with drugs and violence and weakening our allies and partners by corrupting democratic institutions.
  • America will target threats at their source: we will confront threats before they ever reach our borders or cause harm to our people.
  • We will redouble our efforts to protect our critical infrastructure and digital networks, because new technology and new adversaries create new vulnerabilities.
  • We are deploying a layered missile defense system to defend America against missile attacks.

II. PROMOTE AMERICAN PROSPERITY: A strong economy protects the American people, supports our way of life, and sustains American power.

  • We will rejuvenate the American economy for the benefit of American workers and companies, which is necessary to restore our national power.
  • America will no longer tolerate chronic trade abuses and will pursue free, fair, and reciprocal economic relationships.
  • To succeed in this 21st century geopolitical competition, America must lead in research, technology, and innovation. We will protect our national security innovation base from those who steal our intellectual property and unfairly exploit the innovation of free societies.
  • America will use its energy dominance to ensure international markets remain open, and that the benefits of diversification and energy access promote economic and national security.

III. PRESERVE PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH: An America strengthened, renewed, and rejuvenated will ensure peace and deter hostility.

  • We will rebuild America’s military strength to ensure it remains second to none.
  • America will use all of the tools of statecraft in a new era of strategic competition—diplomatic, information, military, and economic—to protect our interests.
  • America will strengthen its capabilities across numerous domains — including space and cyber — and revitalize capabilities that have been neglected.
  • America’s allies and partners magnify our power and protect our shared interests. We expect them to take greater responsibility for addressing common threats.
  • We will ensure the balance of power remains in America’s favor in key regions of the world: the Indo-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East.

IV. ADVANCE AMERICAN INFLUENCE: As a force for good throughout its history, America will use its influence to advance our interests and benefit humanity.

  • We must continue to enhance our influence overseas to protect the American people and promote our prosperity.
  • America’s diplomatic and development efforts will compete to achieve better outcomes in all arenas—bilateral, multilateral, and in the information realm—to protect our interests, find new economic opportunities for Americans, and challenge our competitors.
  • America will seek partnerships with like-minded states to promote free market economies, private sector growth, political stability, and peace.
  • We champion our values – including the rule of law and individual rights – that promote strong, stable, prosperous, and sovereign states.
  • Our America First foreign policy celebrates America’s influence in the world as a positive force that can help set the conditions for peace, prosperity, and the development of successful societies.

 

CHINA-RELATED EXCERPTS:

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China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.

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China and Russia are developing advanced weapons and capabilities that could threaten our critical infrastructure and our command and control architecture.

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Enhanced missile defense is not intended to undermine strategic stability or disrupt longstanding strategic relationships with Russia or China.

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Every year, competitors such as China steal U.S. intellectual property valued at hundreds of billions of dollars. Stealing proprietary technology and early-stage ideas allows competitors to unfairly tap into the innovation of free societies. Over the years, rivals have used sophisticated means to weaken our businesses and our economy as facets of cyber-enabled economic warfare and other malicious activities. In addition to these illegal means, some actors use largely legitimate, legal transfers and relationships to gain access to fields, experts, and trusted foundries that fill their capability gaps and erode America’s long-term competitive advantages.

p. 27

In addition, after being dismissed as a phenomenon of an earlier century, great power competition returned. China and Russia began to reassert their influence regionally and globally. Today, they are fielding military capabilities designed to deny America access in times of crisis and to contest our ability to operate freely in critical commercial zones during peacetime. In short, they are contesting our geopolitical advantages and trying to change the international order in their favor.

p. 28

The United States must prepare for this type of competition. China, Russia, and other state and nonstate actors recognize that the United States often views the world in binary terms, with states being either “at peace” or “at war,” when it is actually an arena of continuous competition. Our adversaries will not fight us on our terms. We will raise our competitive game to meet that challenge, to protect American interests, and to advance our values.

p. 35

China, for example, combines data and the use of AI to rate the loyalty of its citizens to the state and uses these ratings to determine jobs and more.

p. 38

China and Russia target their investments in the developing world to expand influence and gain competitive advantages against the United States. China is investing billions of dollars in infrastructure across the globe.

p. 45

INDO-PACIFIC

A geopolitical competition between free and repressive visions of world order is taking place in the Indo-Pacific region. The region, which stretches

p. 46

from the west coast of India to the western shores of the United States, represents the most populous and economically dynamic part of the world. The U.S. interest in a free and open Indo-Pacific extends back to the earliest days of our republic. Although the United States seeks to continue to cooperate with China, China is using economic inducements and penalties, influence operations, and implied military threats to persuade other states to heed its political and security agenda. China’s infrastructure investments and trade strategies reinforce its geopolitical aspirations. Its efforts to build and militarize outposts in the South China Sea endanger the free flow of trade, threaten the sovereignty of other nations, and undermine regional stability. China has mounted a rapid military modernization campaign designed to limit U.S. access to the region and provide China a freer hand there. China presents its ambitions as mutually beneficial, but Chinese dominance risks diminishing the sovereignty of many states in the Indo-Pacific. States throughout the region are calling for sustained U.S. leadership in a collective response that upholds a regional order respectful of sovereignty and independence.

In Northeast Asia, the North Korean regime is rapidly accelerating its cyber, nuclear, and ballistic missile programs. North Korea’s pursuit of these weapons poses a global threat that requires a global response. Continued provocations by North Korea will prompt neighboring countries and the United States to further strengthen security bonds and take additional measures to protect themselves. And a nuclear-armed North Korea could lead to the proliferation of the world’s most destructive weapons across the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

U.S. allies are critical to responding to mutual threats, such as North Korea, and preserving our mutual interests in the Indo-Pacific region. Our alliance and friendship with South Korea, forged by the trials of history, is stronger than ever. We welcome and support the strong leadership role of our critical ally, Japan. Australia has fought alongside us in every significant conflict since World War I, and continues to reinforce economic and security arrangements that support our shared interests and safeguard democratic values across the region. New Zealand is a key U.S. partner contributing to peace and security across the region. We welcome India’s emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic and defense partner. We will seek to increase quadrilateral cooperation with Japan, Australia, and India.

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Thailand remain important allies and markets for Americans. Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore are growing security and economic partners of the United States. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) remain centerpieces of the Indo-Pacific’s regional architecture and platforms for promoting an order based on freedom.

Priority Actions
POLITICAL: Our vision for the Indo-Pacific excludes no nation. We will redouble our commitment to established alliances and partnerships, while expanding and deepening relationships with new

p. 47

partners that share respect for sovereignty, fair and reciprocal trade, and the rule of law. We will reinforce our commitment to freedom of the seas and the peaceful resolution of territorial and maritime disputes in accordance with international law. We will work with allies and partners to achieve complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and preserve the non-proliferation regime in Northeast Asia.

ECONOMIC: The United States will encourage regional cooperation to maintain free and open seaways, transparent infrastructure financing practices, unimpeded commerce, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. We will pursue bilateral trade agreements on a fair and reciprocal basis. We will seek equal and reliable access for American exports. We will work with partners to build a network of states dedicated to free markets and protected from forces that would subvert their sovereignty. We will strengthen cooperation with allies on high-quality infrastructure. Working with Australia and New Zealand, we will shore up fragile partner states in the Pacific Islands region to reduce their vulnerability to economic fluctuations and natural disasters.

MILITARY AND SECURITY: We will maintain a forward military presence capable of deterring and, if necessary, defeating any adversary. We will strengthen our long-standing military relationships and encourage the development of a strong defense network with our allies and partners. For example, we will cooperate on missile defense with Japan and South Korea to move toward an area defense capability. We remain ready to respond with overwhelming force to North Korean aggression and will improve options to compel denuclearization of the peninsula. We will improve law enforcement, defense, and intelligence cooperation with Southeast Asian partners to address the growing terrorist threat. We will maintain our strong ties with Taiwan in accordance with our “One China” policy, including our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide for Taiwan’s legitimate defense needs and deter coercion. We will expand our defense and security cooperation with India, a Major Defense Partner of the United States, and support India’s growing relationships throughout the region. We will re-energize our alliances with the Philippines and Thailand and strengthen our partnerships with Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and others to help them become cooperative maritime partners.

p. 47

China is gaining a strategic foothold in Europe by expanding its unfair trade practices and investing in key industries, sensitive technologies, and infrastructure.

p. 50

We will help South Asian nations maintain their sovereignty as China increases its influence in the region.

p. 51

China seeks to pull the [Western Hemisphere] region into its orbit through state-led investments and loans. Russia continues its failed politics of the Cold War by bolstering its radical Cuban allies as Cuba continues to repress its citizens. Both China and Russia support the dictatorship in Venezuela and are seeking to expand military linkages and arms sales across the region. The hemisphere’s democratic states have a shared interest in confronting threats to their sovereignty.

p. 52

China is expanding its economic and military presence in Africa, growing from a small investor in the continent two decades ago into Africa’s largest trading partner today. Some Chinese practices undermine Africa’s long-term development by corrupting elites, dominating extractive industries, and locking countries into unsustainable and opaque debts and commitments.

The United States seeks sovereign African states that are integrated into the world economy, able to provide for their citizens’ needs, and capable of managing threats to peace and security. Improved governance in these states supports economic development and opportunities, diminishes the attraction of illegal migration, and reduces vulnerability to extremists, thereby reducing instability.

p. 53

We will offer American goods and services, both because it is profitable for us and because it serves as an alternative to China’s often extractive economic footprint on the [African] continent.

  • Jennie Yu

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