American National Security
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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Title page, Copyright
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That we now have the publication of the sixth edition of American National Security is testimony not merely to its continuing value as a primer but also to the permanency of the role of the United States as the leading world power. Yet, the permanency of that role should not be taken to suggest the permanency of the challenges that faces the United States. To the contrary, the challenge of National...
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The sixth edition of American National Security has been almost entirely rewritten to reflect the significant changes in national security policy formulation in the last decade. This edition also brings the book full circle, back to its origins in the United States Military Academy’s Department of Social Sciences. The genesis of the first edition was an idea of the late Dr. Frank N. Trager, who observed in 1972...
Abbreviations and Acronyms
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I. National Security Policy: What It Is, and How Americans Have Approached It
1. The International Setting
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Every day, newspapers, television news channels, and Internet sites cover a wide variety of political, economic, and military developments around the world. Given this vast volume and variety of information, it can be difficult to determine which events and trends are most likely to affect the national security of the United States. Although the derivation of a constant set of generic criteria may be impossible...
2. Traditional American Approaches to National Security
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Generalizations about distinctly American approaches to national security matters should be advanced with the same caution warranted by all large generalizations. Americans are a heterogeneous group and tend to differ on policy issues along lines that may include age group, sex, party affiliation, region, socioeconomic status, education levels, religion, and ethnicity. Americans are...
3. The Evolution of American National Security Policy
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National security strategy and military structure are shaped by the interactions of a number of influences, many of which defy precise identification. However, there are three principal categories of variables through which the evolution of strategy and military structure can largely be traced. They are international political and military developments, domestic priorities, and technological advancements...
II. National Security Policy: Actors and Processes
4. Presidential Leadership and the Executive Branch
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“The direction of war implies the direction of the common strength; and the power of directing and employing the common strength forms a usual and essential part in the definition of the executive authority.”1 With these words, Alexander Hamilton described the crucial role of the president in national security affairs. An appreciation of this vital role was shared by all the founders of the United States, but...
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Over two hundred years ago, Alexander Hamilton laid out the constitutional framers’ rationale for the distinct roles of Congress and the president with these words: “The essence of the legislative authority is to enact laws, or, in other words, to prescribe rules for the regulation of the society; while the execution of the laws, and the employment of the common strength, either for this purpose or...
6. Homeland Security
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Protecting the U.S. homeland and its citizens against all manner of threats has been one of the foremost duties of government throughout the country’s history; to this end, the Constitution empowers Congress to “raise and support Armies . . . provide and maintain a Navy,” and “provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions."...
7. Intelligence and National Security
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The Framers of the Constitution foresaw, in Alexander Hamilton’s words, that “accurate and comprehensive knowledge of foreign politics” would inevitably be required in the management of America’s external relations.1 Intelligence, managed prudently, would be a useful and indeed necessary capability for the infant republic.2 More than two hundred years later, national security policy makers in...
8. The Role of the Military in the Policy Process
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The military plays a unique and crucial role in U.S. national security policy for a number of reasons. First, the military’s coercive capabilities make democratic political control a matter of central importance. This concern shaped the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and, therefore, the legal framework that continues to govern military affairs to this day. Second, since the Korean War in the 1950s, the U.S...
9. Planning, Budgeting, and Management
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A central problem of national security strategy is the limitation on the resources that can be allocated to meet security objectives. A nation’s available resources— traditionally categorized by economists as land, labor, and capital—are valued by society, because they can be used to produce a variety of outputs of goods and services that the society desires. When some of those resources are transferred to...
10. Putting the Pieces Together: National Security Decision Making
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National security decision making is complex and fascinating because of the two worlds it involves. As Samuel Huntington explains: “One [world] is international politics, the world of balance of power, wars and alliances, the subtle and brutal uses of force and diplomacy to influence the behavior of other states. The other world is domestic politics, the world of interest groups, political parties, social...
III. National Security Policy: Ways and Means of National Strategy
11. Shaping the International Environment
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Dean Acheson, one of America’s wisest and most successful secretaries of state once said, “The purpose for which we carry on relations with foreign states is to preserve and foster an environment in which free societies may exist and flourish. Our policies and actions must be tested by whether they contribute to or detract from achievement of this end.”1 Shaping the environment in a far from malleable...
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The end of the Cold War gave fresh impetus to the long-held view that economic factors are paramount elements in national security affairs. In the new environment, it is widely asserted that “military capabilities are likely to be less important than they have been in the past. Economic measures will be central.”1 Not only has this view gained adherents, but so has the associated idea that economic strength...
13. Military Power
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Although the diplomatic, information, and economic instruments of national power are important—particularly the economic one, which underpins the others— the military instrument of power has the greatest potential to be decisive. Because the use of military force always brings associated and sometimes significant costs, however, resorting to force should always be a weighty decision...
14. Asymmetric Conflict, Terrorism, and Preemption
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Perhaps the most significant development in U.S. national security in the past decade has been a broad recognition of the significant way in which terrorism can threaten U.S. national security. Instead of challenging U.S. military strength directly, terrorists and other adversaries can use asymmetric means to exploit U.S. weaknesses and to gain strategic political objectives. While the concepts of asymmetry...
15. Conventional War
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As the Cold War ended and the “unipolar moment” of U.S. preeminence began, it was reasonable to ask what kind of conventional, state-on-state conflicts Americans might find themselves fighting.1 With the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and U.S. dominance over any conventional army that it has faced, including the Iraqi Army in 1991 and 2003, some questioned whether the United States...
16. Irregular Challenges, Military Intervention, and Counterinsurgency
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In explaining the position and role of the United States in the world, the 2002 U.S. National Security Strategy argues that “America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones. We are menaced less by fleets and armies than by catastrophic technologies in the hands of the embittered few.”...
17. Nuclear Policy
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Throughout the Cold War, nuclear weapons formed the backbone of Western defense policy. Unable to fully match the conventional military strength of the former Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies used the threat of nuclear retaliation to help avert what U.S. policy makers believed to be a serious risk of Soviet military adventurism...
IV. International and Regional Security Issues
18. East Asia
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East Asia is one of the few regions of the world in which the possibility of great power conflict remains substantial. The countries that make up Northeast Asia— defined here as including Russia, China, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan—all have significant military capabilities and are in close proximity to the large contingent of military force that the United States maintains in the area...
19. South Asia
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Since World War II, U.S. policy toward South Asia has been largely shaped by U.S. global strategic interests rather than by developments within the region itself. The American perspective was influenced first by the Cold War struggle against the Soviet Union and later by rivalry with China’s burgeoning economic and political power. South Asia’s secondary importance began to change in the late...
20. The Middle East
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The new millennium ushered in momentous transformations in the Middle East that have significantly affected key U.S. interests. The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process again stalled; the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, served as an impetus for the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq; and international concern grew over Iran’s possible pursuit of nuclear weapons. The...
21. Sub-Saharan Africa
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The continent of Africa is four times larger than the United States, and it is home to a vast array of resources and more than 940 million people.1 With thousands of languages, unique tribal histories, and diverse political systems organized into forty-six states, Africa is an incredibly difficult and complicated place about which to generalize (see Map 21.1). No single state or coalition on the African...
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Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, and then later between the United States and post-Soviet Russia, have played an essential, central role in American national security. Marked by confrontation after World War II, these relations shifted to expectations of partnership with the new Russian state after the Soviet collapse. However, the first decade of the twenty-first...
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For more than four decades after World War II, U.S. security policy toward Europe focused on the East-West confrontation with the Soviet Union and the implementation of the policy of containment. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU), conflicts in the Balkans (especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina...
24. Latin America
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Geography makes Latin America the neighbor of the United States, and by 2006 Hispanic or Latino Americans were America’s largest single minority group at 14.8% of the U.S. population.1 Driven by the search for jobs, opportunity, and security, Hispanics are bringing their culture and a complex set of issues to urban and rural areas of the United States. Due to Latin America’s growing importance...
V. National Security Policy: Current and Future Issues in American National Security Policy
25. Globalization and Human Security
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Although it is necessary to examine U.S. national security interests and challenges in particular regional and country contexts, it is no longer sufficient. Many important actors and issues are now global or transnational in nature. This important trend is now widely analyzed and discussed in terms of the impact of globalization on the international system.1 Although there is no single agreed-upon definition...
26. Looking Ahead
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As this book goes to the printer, the United States is in the middle of the presidential transition from George W. Bush to Barack Obama. Reports abound in the media about new government appointments and forthcoming domestic and foreign policy changes. This final chapter briefly examines seven national security issues that will face U.S. policy makers in the Obama administration and...
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Page Count: 688
Illustrations: 31 halftones, 16 line drawings
Publication Year: 2009
Edition: sixth edition