Interim National Security Strategy

This document was published by the White House to serve as a placeholder to guide US security policy while the Biden Administration prepares a more comprehensive national security strategy. Read the full document on the pdf here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/NSC-1v2.pdf



"Today, more than ever, America’s fate is inextricably linked to events beyond our shores. We confront a global pandemic, a crushing economic downturn, a crisis of racial justice, and a deepening climate emergency. We face a world of rising nationalism, receding democracy, growing rivalry with China, Russia, and other authoritarian states, and a technological revolution that is reshaping every aspect of our lives. Ours is a time of unprecedented challenges, but also unmatched opportunity.

This moment calls upon us to lean forward, not shrink back – to boldly engage the world to keep Americans safe, prosperous, and free. It requires a new and broader understanding of national security, one that recognizes that our role in the world depends upon our strength and vitality here at home. It demands creative approaches that draw on all the sources of our national power: our diversity, vibrant economy, dynamic civil society and innovative technological base, enduring democratic values, broad and deep network of partnerships and alliances, and the world’s most powerful military. Our task is to ensure these advantages endure, by building back better at home and reinvigorating our leadership abroad. From a position of renewed strength, America can meet any challenge.

Together, we will demonstrate not only that democracies can still deliver for our people, but that democracy is essential to meeting the challenges of our time. We will strengthen and stand behind our allies, work with like-minded partners, and pool our collective strength to advance shared interests and deter common threats. We will lead with diplomacy. We will renew our commitment to global development and international cooperation, while also making smart, disciplined investments in our national defense. We will address the crises of today while promoting resilience, innovation, competitiveness, and truly shared prosperity for the future. We will recommit to realizing our ideals. We will modernize our national security institutions and processes, while ensuring we take advantage of the full diversity of talents required to address today’s complex challenges. And in everything we do, we will aim to make life better, safer, and easier for working families in America.

The crises we face are daunting. But America is undaunted. Throughout our history, Americans have turned periods of crisis into times of renewal and opportunity. The same is true today. We have a chance not just to build back, but to build back better. By leaning into our strengths, we will shape a better future.


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Our National Security Priorities

The vital national interests of the United States have endured since the founding of the Republic. Today, advancing these interests requires a new approach updated for the challenges of our time. It is our most solemn obligation to protect the security of the American people. This requires us to meet challenges not only from great powers and regional adversaries, but also from violent and criminal non-state actors and extremists, and from threats like climate change, infectious disease, cyberattacks, and disinformation that respect no national borders. We have an enduring interest in expanding economic prosperity and opportunity, but we must redefine America’s economic interests in terms of working families’ livelihoods, rather than corporate profits or aggregate national wealth. That places an imperative on an economic recovery grounded in equitable and inclusive growth, as well as investments to encourage innovation, strengthen national competitiveness, produce good-paying jobs, rebuild American supply chains for critical goods, and expand opportunities for all Americans. And we must remain committed to realizing and defending the democratic values at the heart of the American way of life. That means more than simply sustaining the status quo – it means reinvigorating our democracy, living up to our ideals and values for all Americans, and standing up for our values abroad, including by uniting the world’s democracies to combat threats to free societies. At its root, ensuring our national security requires us to:

  • 🛡 Defend and nurture the underlying sources of American strength, including our people, our economy, our national defense, and our democracy at home;

  • 🛡 Promote a favorable distribution of power to deter and prevent adversaries from directly threatening the United States and our allies, inhibiting access to the global commons, or dominating key regions; and

  • 🛡 Lead and sustain a stable and open international system, underwritten by strong democratic alliances, partnerships, multilateral institutions, and rules.


We can do none of this work alone. For that reason, we will reinvigorate and modernize our alliances and partnerships around the world. For decades, our allies have stood by our side against common threats and adversaries, and worked hand-in-hand to advance our shared interests and values. They are a tremendous source of strength and a unique American advantage, helping to shoulder the responsibilities required to keep our nation safe and our people prosperous. Our democratic alliances enable us to present a common front, produce a unified vision, and pool our strength to promote high standards, establish effective international rules, and hold countries like China to account. That is why we will reaffirm, invest in, and modernize the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and our alliances with Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea – which, along with our other global alliances and partnerships, are America’s greatest strategic asset. We will work with allies to share responsibilities equitably, while encouraging them to invest in their own comparative advantages against shared current and future threats.

Beyond our core alliances, we will also double down on building partnerships throughout the world, because our strength is multiplied when we combine efforts to address common challenges, share costs, and widen the circle of cooperation. As we do, we will recognize that our vital national interests compel the deepest connection to the Indo-Pacific, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere. And we will be mindful of both our values and our interests as we engage partner nations. We will deepen our partnership with India and work alongside New Zealand, as well as Singapore, Vietnam, and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, to advance shared objectives. Recognizing the ties of shared history and sacrifice, we will reinforce our partnership with Pacific Island states. We will recommit ourselves to our transatlantic partnerships, forging a strong, common agenda with the European Union and the United Kingdom on the defining issues of our time.

Because the vital national interests of the United States are inextricably bound to the fortunes of our closest neighbors in the Americas, we will expand our engagement and partnerships throughout the Western Hemisphere—and especially with Canada and Mexico—based on principles of mutual respect and equality and a commitment to economic prosperity, security, human rights, and dignity. This includes working with the Congress to provide Central America with $4 billion in assistance over four years, and taking other steps to address the root causes of human insecurity and irregular migration, including poverty, criminal violence, and corruption – problems made exponentially worse by COVID-19 and the deep recession and debt crisis it has wrought throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. And we will cooperate to confront the regional effects of climate change, while helping our neighbors invest in good governance and democratic institutions."


Give your perspective on this interim policy guidance on our forum here: https://www.biedsociety.com/forum/global-matters/international-affairs-overview

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