US NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY 2008


Introduction

A core responsibility of the U.S. Government is to protect the American people –
in the words of the framers of our Constitution, to “provide for the common
defense.” For more than 230 years, the U.S. Armed Forces have served as a
bulwark of liberty, opportunity, and prosperity at home. Beyond our shores,
America shoulders additional responsibilities on behalf of the world. For those
struggling for a better life, there is and must be no stronger advocate than the
United States. We remain a beacon of light for those in dark places, and for this
reason we should remember that our actions and words signal the depth of our
strength and resolve. For our friends and allies, as well as for our enemies and
potential adversaries, our commitment to democratic values must be matched by
our deeds. The spread of liberty both manifests our ideals and protects our
interests.

The United States, our allies, and our partners face a spectrum of challenges,
including violent transnational extremist networks, hostile states armed with
weapons of mass destruction, rising regional powers, emerging space and cyber
threats, natural and pandemic disasters, and a growing competition for resources.
The Department of Defense must respond to these challenges while anticipating
and preparing for those of tomorrow. We must balance strategic risk across our
responses, making the best use of the tools at hand within the U.S. Government
and among our international partners. To succeed, we must harness and integrate
all aspects of national power and work closely with a wide range of allies, friends
and partners. We cannot prevail if we act alone.

The President’s 2006 National Security Strategy (NSS) describes an approach
founded on two pillars: promoting freedom, justice, and human dignity by
working to end tyranny, promote effective democracies, and extend prosperity;
and confronting the challenges of our time by leading a growing community of
democracies. It seeks to foster a world of well-governed states that can meet the
needs of their citizens and conduct themselves responsibly in the international
system. This approach represents the best way to provide enduring security for the
American people.


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