Back to top

Knowledge Base

Restoring Our National Security

What're the elements of an effective strategy?

The process starts with defined political ends: If you don't have those, then you can't have a strategy. Political ends can change, but they must be realistic and coherent to drive strategy. They set the levels of ambition for what will be attempted and drive the level of resourcing (revenue, military size, and national will) required to attain them.

We need to communicate the consequences to both our allies and foes, problem solve in circumstances that are hard to control, and rapidly adapt to achieve essential ends.

Acting strategically requires that political leaders make clear what they will stand for and what they will not stand for. You must mean what you say, to both allies and foes.

To learn more about defining end state goal, click here.

How can political leaders act strategically?

Political leaders can act strategically by making clear to both allies and foes what they will and will not stand for. They also need to define political end goal, especially in military conflicts. In fact, confusion about end state can destroy trust among our allies, which takes years to cultivate in the first place.

To learn more about consequences of making empty threats in foreign affairs, click here.

To learn more about defining end state goal, click here.

Where can I find a copy of the current National Security Strategy (NSS)?

A PDF copy of the 2017 National Security Strategy is available from the White House archives here.