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U.S. National Security and Defense Policy

Project Managers:

A principal responsibility of our government is to provide for our national security and defense. To do that our government continually uses its soft power, hard power, and intelligence assets to detect and fight various threats. Accelerating technological innovation, globalization, and our recent involvement in Afghanistan, the longest war in our history, have been teaching us about the changing nature of threats to our national security—from terrorism and irregular warfare to transnational crime—and are pushing us to rethink what the ‘readiness of a force’ means in the 21st century. This discussion guide invites us to consider the following questions and explore contrasting policy possibilities for the future.

  • What are some different ways of defining or describing national security?
  • What concerns might Americans have about national security?
  • What does ‘readiness’ mean in the 21st century?
  • What might be the policy or societal goals for national security?
  • What policy possibilities might we develop for the future of national security?
  • What are the emerging threats to our national security?
  • How can we prepare our defenses, when we cannot fully predict the future?
  • What does it mean to preserve the quality of our force?
  • How can we maintain our values while ensuring security?
  • What is the connection between healthy economy and our national security, and is financial stability a necessary foundation to our security?

The seven policy possibilities in this discussion guide: 

A.  Team Up For Safety
B.  Build a National Security Economy and Strong Economic Ties
C.  Don’t Police the World
D.  Promote Citizen Involvement
E.  Live Up to Our Ideals
F.  Pay Any Price, Bear Any Burden
G. Focus National Security on Natural Security

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