1. The NSS provides no clarity regarding what actions by foreign State and Non-State Actors constitute red lines or a casus belli in U.S. National Security.
a. Will the United States hold Nation-States accountable for terrorist actions launched from within their borders?
b. Nuclear weapons prevent total war, but they do not prevent war. What are the strategic aims the NSS deems worthy of sacrifice?
2. The NSS tends to treat change beyond America’s borders—change in governments; borders, interests or economic performance—as something to be resisted. The NSS determination to “escalate in order to deescalate” translates into a strategy of “being aggressive everywhere.” This approach distributes U.S. Military Power globally from the Iceland-Greenland Gap to the Kuril Islands.
a. Seventy years after World War II, it is now self-evident that post-industrial warfare will not require the conversion of major industries from private to public management or the mobilization of millions of Americans in uniform.
b. These changes demand a shift in U.S. national security strategy away from garrisoning foreign territory. When and how will the Trump Administration adapt to this new reality?
3. The United States enjoys the freedom of action to concentrate on what is essential to U.S. National Security interests. However, the United States does not have limitless resources to do everything, everywhere all the time; “to ignore what is strategically vital in favor of what is merely strategically desirable.” Frederick the Great’s words stand the test of time: “If you try to hold everything, you hold nothing.”
Strategy is not an ideological wish list. NSS objectives must of necessity be both concrete and attainable. The NSS should account for the interests of other nation-states and peoples; their unique national character, potential and aspirations. There is no evidence that the NSS provides this kind of guidance.