An audit of the long-awaited US national security strategy

The release of the National Defense Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review and Missile Defense Review reinforces the central message of the Biden administration’s National Security Strategy, which focuses on the current decade as being a “decisive” decade.

The release of the National Defense Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review and Missile Defense Review reinforces the central message of the Biden administration’s National Security Strategy, which focuses on the current decade as being a “decisive” decade.

The United States has launched its long-awaited National Security Strategy (NSS). All US Presidents are appointed by the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act 1986 to bring out their NSS, to communicate to the legislature the executive’s vision of national security. As a comprehensive document, the NSS reflects certainty about how the government of the day views the national security agenda. Alternatively, the NSS also gives Congress an opportunity to assess the cost the nation will have to bear and the areas of investment to achieve the nation’s security goals.

Focus on leadership and alliances

The Biden administration’s NSS focuses primarily on the current decade as a “decisive” decade in which the United States seeks to maintain American leadership, improve the American economy, build on a vast network alliances and partnerships; countering China as a strategic competitor and Russia as a disruptor, and boosting US competitiveness and defending democracy. The document outlines the Biden administration’s ambitious agenda to cover a comprehensive set of transnational challenges linking the national to the international. These include climate change, food insecurity, pandemics, terrorism, energy shortages and inflation. Additionally, the administration’s NSS has a significant focus on outer space security and governance.

The NSS outlines three main pillars of US strategy for the future: invest; build and upgrade. It seeks to invest in the “tools of American power and influence” by strengthening the national economy, improving critical infrastructure and investing in technologies such as microchips and semiconductors. In line with this approach, beginning October 12, the Biden administration imposed a series of sanctions affecting U.S. sales of semiconductors to China as well as the ability of U.S. citizens and residents to work at chip companies in China. . Furthermore, the NSS seeks to build “the strongest possible coalition of nations” – a recognition of both US ambitions and the limits of unilateral conduct in global geopolitics. Finally, the modernization sought by the United States aims to meet simultaneously the very diverse requirements of internal and external security. These capability enhancements underscore the United States’ recognition of the unprecedented scale and scope of strategic competition with China. It points to China as the “sole competitor” with the ability and intent to fundamentally shape the international order.

Surpass China, restrain Russia

The NSS takes both a long-term view and an immediate view of the Chinese threat and challenges emerging from Beijing. As it seeks to define a common strategy to address US external challenges by outpacing China and constraining Russia, it focuses asymmetrically on Chinese threats despite an active war in which Russia is involved. The Biden administration places competition with China at the center of its 10-year outlook, which is increasingly global and more pronounced in the Indo-Pacific region in a range of areas such as economy, technology, development, security, global governance and diplomacy. . The NSS is clear on its opposition to any unilateral change in Taiwan’s status by China, presaging a contested Indo-Pacific region between China on the one hand and a host of democratic partners on the other. Therefore, building collective capacity through international partnerships and creating new alliances to address common challenges is at the heart of SSN. It is also an essential strategy for the United States to synchronously compete with China, coerce Russia, tackle non-traditional threats and transnational challenges such as climate change, communicable diseases, food security and inflation. The NSS makes a serious case for the downgraded Russian economy, military, soft power and influence globally, even as it identifies countries like Japan and India to fill the gaps emerging. India’s possible inclusion in important global forums such as the G7 is one such process that the NSS alludes to. Here, some of the NSS’s expectations purely reflect US interests and may not be entirely aligned with those of its other Indo-Pacific partners.

India as a partner

The Biden administration’s NSS identifies India as both a bilateral and multilateral partner in the Indo-Pacific, but, more importantly, its status as the largest democracy and major defense partner. As India seeks to diversify and indigenize its medium to long-term defense requirements, the NSS defines the partnership space between India and the United States. resilient and mutually reinforcing relationships” through regional partnerships such as the Quad (India, Australia, Japan, United States) and the I2U2 (India, Israel, United Arab Emirates and United States).

Mr. Biden’s NSS serves three broad purposes. It completes the strategic vision initiated by the provisional national security strategic orientations published in March 2021; it seeks to provide more clarity and direction on various policy verticals by the Biden administration; and, finally, it marks the end of one of the most important political expectations regarding presidential doctrines in the United States. The NSS comes just before the midterm elections in November this year and could prove useful in garnering political support for President Biden and the Party through policy clarity.

A critical part of the NSS is to inform US Department of Defense strategy, particularly in the two areas of the country’s nuclear posture and missile defense. As such, the release of the NSS – delayed by the Russo-Ukrainian war – seems like a timely assessment in the context of the Russo-Ukrainian war with one of the most potent possibilities for the use of a nuclear weapon since the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). The Biden administration also released the National Defense Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review, and Missile Defense Review last week, further reinforcing the central message of the NSS, thereby aligning the ends, paths and means of the nation and completing the arc of the national security assessment.

Harsh V. Pant is vice president for studies at the Observer Research Foundation. Vivek Mishra is a Fellow of the Observer Research Foundation

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