Protect the American People, the Homeland, and the American Way of Life
“We will defend our country, protect our communities, and put the safety of the American people first.” PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP | JULY 2017
https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/NSS-Final-12-18-2017-0905.pdf (pages 1-14) REVIEW OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY 2017
This National Security Strategy begins with the determination to protect the American people, the American way of life, and American interests. Americans have long recognized the benefits of an interconnected world, where information and commerce flow freely. Engaging with the world, however, does not mean the United States should abandon its rights and duties as a sovereign state or compromise its security. Openness also imposes costs, since adversaries exploit our free and democratic system to harm the United States. North Korea seeks the capability to kill millions of Americans with nuclear weapons. Iran supports terrorist groups and openly calls for our destruction. Jihadist terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida are determined to attack the United States and radicalize Americans with their hateful ideology. Non-state actors undermine social order through drug and human trafficking networks, which they use to commit violent crimes and kill thousands of American each year. Adversaries target sources of American strength, including our democratic system and our economy. They steal and exploit our intellectual property and personal data, interfere in our political processes, target our aviation and maritime sectors, and hold our critical infrastructure at risk. All of these actions threaten the foundations of the American way of life. Reestablishing lawful control of our borders is a first step toward protecting the American homeland and strengthening American sovereignty. We must prevent nuclear, chemical, radiological, and biological attacks, block terrorists from reaching our homeland, reduce drug and human trafficking, and protect our critical infrastructure. We must also deter, disrupt, and defeat potential threats before they reach the United States. We will target jihadist terrorists and transnational criminal organizations at their source and dismantle their networks of support. We must also take steps to respond quickly to meet the needs of the American people in the event of natural disaster or attack on our homeland. We must build a culture of preparedness and resilience across our governmental functions, critical infrastructure, and economic and political systems.
Secure U.S. Borders and Territory State and non-state actors place the safety of the American people and the Nation’s economic vitality at risk by exploiting vulnerabilities across the land, air, maritime, space, and cyberspace domains. Adversaries constantly evolve their methods to threaten the United States and our citizens. We must be agile and adaptable. Defend Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) the danger from hostile state and non-state actors who are trying to acquire nuclear, chemical, radiological, and biological weapons is increasing. The Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own citizens undermines international norms against these heinous weapons, which may encourage more actors to pursue and use them. ISIS has used chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria. Terrorist groups continue to pursue WMD-related materials. We would face grave danger if terrorists obtained inadequately secured nuclear, radiological, or biological material. As missiles grow in numbers, types, and effectiveness, to include those with greater ranges, they are the most likely means for states like North Korea to use a nuclear weapon against the United States. North Korea is also pursuing chemical and biological weapons which could also be delivered by missile. China and Russia are developing advanced weapons and capabilities that could threaten our critical infrastructure and our command and control architecture.
ENHANCE MISSILE DEFENSE: The United States is deploying a layered missile defense system focused on North Korea and Iran to defend our homeland against missile attacks. This system will include the ability to defeat missile threats prior to launch. Enhanced missile defense is not intended to undermine strategic stability or disrupt longstanding strategic relationships with Russia or China.
DETECT AND DISRUPT WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: At our borders and within our territory, we will bolster efforts to detect nuclear, chemical, radiological, and biological agents and keep them from being used against us. We will also better integrate intelligence, law enforcement, and emergency management operations to ensure that front line defenders have the right information and capabilities to respond to WMD threats from state and non-state actors.
ENHANCE COUNTER PROLIFERATION MEASURES: Building on decades of initiatives, we will augment measures to secure , eliminate, and prevent t he spread of WMD and related materials, their delivery systems, technologies, and knowledge to reduce the chance that they might fall into the hands of hostile actors. We will hold state and non state actors accountable for the use of WMD.
TARGET WMD TERRORISTS: We will direct counter terrorism operations against terrorist WMD specialists, financiers, administrators, and facilitators. We will work with allies and partners to detect and disrupt plots. Strengthening control over our borders and immigration system is central to national security , economic prosperity , and the rule of law. Combat Bio threats and Pandemics Biological incidents have the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life. Biological threats to the U.S. homeland—whether as the result of deliberate attack, accident, or a natural outbreak—are growing and require actions to address them at their source. Naturally emerging outbreaks of viruses such as Ebola and SARS, as well as the deliberate 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, demonstrated the impact of biological threats on national security by taking lives, generating economic losses, and contributing to a loss of confidence in government institutions. Advancements in life sciences that benefit our health, economy, and society also open up new avenues to actors who want to cause harm. Dedicated state actors are likely to develop more advanced bio weapons, and these capabilities may become available to malicious non-state actors as well.
DETECT AND CONTAIN BIO THREATS AT THEIR SOURCE: We will work with other countries to detect and mitigate outbreaks early to prevent the spread of disease. We will encourage other countries to invest in basic health care systems and to strengthen global health security across the intersection of human and animal health to prevent infectious disease outbreaks. And we will work with partners to ensure that laboratories that handle dangerous pathogens have in place safety and security measures.
SUPPORT BIOMEDICAL INNOVATION: We will protect and support advancements in biomedical innovation by strengthening the intellectual property system that is the foundation of the biomedical industry.
IMPROVE EMERGENCY RESPONSE: At home, we will strengthen our emergency response and unified coordination systems to rapidly characterize outbreaks, implement public health containment measures to limit the spread of disease, and provide surge medical care—including life-saving treatments. Strengthen Border Control and Immigration Policy Strengthening control over our borders and immigration system is central to national security, economic prosperity, and the rule of law. Terrorists, drug traffickers, and criminal cartels exploit porous borders and threaten U.S. security and public safety. These actors adapt quickly to outpace our defenses. The United States affirms our sovereign right to determine who should enter our country and under what circumstances. The United States understands the contributions immigrants have made to our Nation throughout its history. Illegal immigration, however, burdens the economy, hurts American workers, presents public safety risks, and enriches smugglers and other criminals. The United States recognizes that decisions about who to legally admit for residency, citizenship, or otherwise are among the most important a country has to make. The United States will continue to welcome lawful immigrants who do not pose a security threat and whose entry is consistent with the national interest, while at the same time enhancing the screening and vetting of travelers, closing dangerous loopholes, revising outdated laws, and eliminating easily exploited vulnerabilities. We will also reform our current immigration system, which, contrary to our national interest and national security , allows for randomized entry and extended-family chain migration. Residency and citizenship determinations should be based on individuals’ merits and their ability to positively contribute to U.S. society, rather than chance or extended family connections.
ENHANCE BORDER SECURITY: We will secure our borders through the construction of a border wall, the use of multilayered defenses and advanced technology, the employment of additional personnel, and other measures. The U.S. Government will work with foreign partners to deter, detect, and disrupt suspicious individuals well before they enter the United States.
ENHANCE VETTING: The U.S. Government will enhance vetting of prospective immigrants, refugees, and other foreign visitors to identify individuals who might pose a risk to national security or public safety. We will set higher security standards to ensure that we keep dangerous people out of the United States and enhance our information collection and analysis to identify those who may already be within our borders.
ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS: We will enforce immigration laws, both at the border and in the interior, to provide an effective deterrent to illegal immigration. The apprehension and swift removal of illegal aliens at the border is critical to an effective border security strategy. We must also increase efforts to identify and counter fraud in the immigration process, which undermines the integrity of our immigration system, exploits vulnerable individuals, and creates national security risks.
BOLSTER TRANSPORTATION SECURITY: We will improve information sharing across our government and with foreign partners to enhance the security of the pathways through which people and goods enter the country. We will invest in technology to counter emerging threats to our aviation, surface, and maritime transportation sectors. We will also work with international and industry partners to raise security standards. Pursue threats to their Source There is no perfect defense against the range of threats facing our homeland. That is why America must, alongside allies and partners, stay on the offensive against those violent non-state groups that target the United States and our allies. We primary transnational threats Americans face are from jihadist terrorists and transnational criminal organizations. Although their objectives differ, these actors pose some common challenges. First, they exploit our open society. Second, they often operate in loose confederations and adapt rapidly. Third, they rely on encrypted communication and the dark web to evade detection as they plot, recruit, finance, and execute their operations. Fourth, they thrive under conditions of state weakness and prey on the vulnerable as they accelerate the breakdown of rules to create havens from which to plan and launch attacks on the United States, our allies, and our partners. Fifth, some are sheltered and supported by states and do their bidding. Defeat Jihadist Terrorists Jihadist terrorist organizations present the most dangerous terrorist threat to the Nation. America, alongside our allies and partners, is fighting a long war against these fanatics who advance a totalitarian vision for a global Islamist caliphate that justifies murder and slavery, promotes repression, and seeks to undermine the American way of life. Jihadist terrorists use virtual and physical networks around the world to radicalize isolated individuals, exploit vulnerable populations, and inspire and direct plots. Even after the territorial defeat of ISIS and al-Qa’ida in Syria and Iraq, the threat from jihadist terrorists will persist. They have used battlefields as test beds of terror and have exported tools and tactics to their followers. Many of these jihadist terrorists are likely to return to their home countries, from which they can continue to plot and launch attacks on the United States and our allies. The United States also works with allies and partners to deter and disrupt other foreign terrorist groups that threaten the homeland—including Iranian-backed groups such as Lebanese Hizballah.
DISRUPT TERROR PLOTS: We will enhance intelligence sharing domestically and with foreign partners. We will give our front line defenders— including homeland security, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals—the tools, authorities, and resources to stop terrorist acts before they take place.
TAKE DIRECT ACTION: The U.S. military and other operating agencies will take direct action against terrorist networks and pursue terrorists who threaten the homeland and U.S. citizens regardless of where they are. The campaigns against ISIS and al-Qa’ida and their affiliates demonstrate that the United States will enable partners and sustain direct action campaigns to destroy terrorists and their sources of support, making it harder for them to plot against us.
ELIMINATE TERRORIST SAFE HAVENS: Time and territory allow jihadist terrorists to plot, so we will act against sanctuaries and prevent their reemergence, before they can threaten the U.S. homeland. We will go after their digital networks and work with private industry to confront the challenge of terrorists and criminals “going dark” and using secure platforms to evade detection.
SEVER SOURCES OF STRENGTH: We will disrupt the financial, materiel, and personnel supply chains of terrorist organizations. We will sever their financing and protect the U.S. and international financial systems from abuse. We will degrade their ability to message and attract potential recruits. This includes combating the evil ideology of jihadists by exposing its falsehoods, promoting counter-narratives, and amplifying credible voices.
SHARE RESPONSIBILITY: Our allies and partners, who are also targets of terrorism, will continue to share responsibility in fighting these barbaric groups. We will help our partners develop and responsibly employ the capacity to degrade and maintain persistent pressure against terrorists and will encourage partners to work independently of U.S. assistance.
COMBAT RADICALIZATION AND RECRUITMENT IN COMMUNITIES: The United States rejects bigotry and oppression and seeks a future built on our values as one American people. We will deny violent ideologies the space to take root by improving trust among law enforcement, the private sector, and American citizens. U.S. intelligence and homeland security experts will work with law enforcement and civic leaders on terrorism prevention and provide accurate and actionable information about radicalization in their communities. Dismantle Transnational Criminal Organizations The United States must devote greater resources to dismantle transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and their subsidiary networks. Some have established global supply chains that are We will give our front line defenders—including homeland security, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals— the tools, authorities, and resources to stop terrorist acts before they take place comparable to Fortune 500 corporations. Every day they deliver drugs to American communities, fuel gang violence, and engage in cyber crime. The illicit opioid epidemic, fed by drug cartels as well as Chinese fentanyl traffickers, kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. These organizations weaken our allies and partners too, by corrupting and undermining democratic institutions. TCOs are motivated by profit, power, and political influence. They exploit weak governance and enable other national security threats, including terrorist organizations. In addition, some state adversaries use TCOs as instruments of national power, offering them territorial sanctuary where they are free to conduct unattributable cyber intrusions, sabotage, theft, and political subversion.
IMPROVE STRATEGIC PLANNING AND INTELLIGENCE: We will establish national-level strategic intelligence and planning capabilities to improve the ability of agencies to work together to combat TCOs at home and abroad.
DEFEND COMMUNITIES: We will deny TCOs the ability to harm Americans. We will support public health efforts to halt the growth of illicit drug use in the United States, expand national and community-based prevention efforts, increase access to evidenced-based treatment for addiction, improve prescription drug monitoring, and provide training on substance use disorders for medical personnel.
DEFEND IN DEPTH: U.S. agencies and foreign partners will target TCO leaders and their support infrastructure. We will assist countries, particularly in the Western Hemisphere, to break the power of these organizations and networks.
COUNTER CYBER CRIMINALS: We will use sophisticated investigative tools to disrupt the ability of criminals to use online marketplaces, cryptocurrencies, and other tools for illicit activities. e United States will hold countries accountable for harboring these criminals. Keep America Safe in the Cyber Era America’s response to the challenges and opportunities of the cyber era will determine our future prosperity and security . For most of our history, the United States has been able to protect the homeland by controlling its land, air, space, and maritime domains. Today, cyberspace offers state and non-state actors the ability to wage campaigns against American political, economic, and security interests without ever physically crossing our borders. Cyber attacks offer adversaries low cost and deniable opportunities to seriously damage or disrupt critical infrastructure, cripple American businesses, weaken our Federal net works, and attack the tools and devices that Americans use every day to communicate and conduct business. Critical infrastructure keeps our food fresh, our houses warm, our trade f lowing, and our citizens productive and safe. The vulnerability of U.S. critical infrastructure to cyber, physical, and electromagnetic attacks means that adversaries could disrupt military command and control, banking and financial operations, the electrical grid, and means of communication. Federal networks also face threats. These networks allow government agencies to carry out vital functions and provide services to the American response to the challenges and opportunities of the cyber era will determine our future prosperity and security. The government must do a better job of protecting data to safeguard information and the privacy of the American people. Our Federal networks must be modernized and updated. In addition, the daily lives of most Americans rely on computer-driven and interconnected technologies. As our reliance on computers and connectivity increases, we become increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Businesses and individuals must be able to operate securely in cyberspace. Security was not a major consideration when the Internet was designed and launched. As it evolves, the government and private sector must design systems that incorporate prevention, protection, and resiliency from the start, not as an afterthought. We must do so in a way that respects free markets, private competition, and the limited but important role of government in enforcing the rule of law. As we build the next generation of digital infrastructure, we have an opportunity to put our experience into practice. The Internet is an American invention, and it should reflect our values as it continues to transform the future for all nations and all generations. A strong, defensible cyber infrastructure fosters economic growth, protects our liberties, and advances our national security.
IDENTIFY AND PRIORITIZE RISK: To improve the security and resilience of our critical infrastructure, we will assess risk across six key areas: national security, energy and power, banking and finance, health and safety, communications, and transportation. We will assess where cyber attacks could have catastrophic or cascading consequences and prioritize our protective efforts, capabilities, and defenses accordingly.
BUILD DEFENSIBLE GOVERNMENT NETWORKS: We will use the latest commercial capabilities, shared services, and best practices to modernize our Federal information technology. We will improve our ability to provide uninterrupted and secure communications and services under all conditions.
DETER AND DISRUPT MALICIOUS CYBER ACTORS: The Federal Government will ensure that those charged with securing critical infrastructure have the necessary authorities, information, and capabilities to prevent attacks before they affect or hold at risk U.S. critical infrastructure. The United States will impose swift and costly consequences on foreign governments, criminals, and other actors who undertake significant malicious cyber activities. We will work with allies and friends to expand our awareness of malicious activities. A stronger and more resilient critical infrastructure will strengthen deterrence by creating doubt in our adversaries that they can achieve their objectives.
IMPROVE INFORMATION SHARING AND SENSING: The U.S. Government will work with our critical infrastructure partners to assess their informational needs and to reduce the barriers to information sharing, such as speed and classification levels. We will also invest in capabilities that improve the ability of the United States to attribute cyber attacks. In accordance with the protection of civil liberties and privacy, the U.S. Government will expand collaboration with the private sector so that we can be er detect and attribute attacks.
DEPLOY LAYERED DEFENSES: Since threats transit globally, passing through communications backbones without challenge, the U.S. Government will work with the private sector to remediate known bad activities at the network level to improve the security of all customers. Malicious activity must be defeated within a network and not be passed on to its destination whenever possible. Promote American Resilience Despite our best efforts, our government cannot prevent all dangers to the American people. We can, however, help Americans remain resilient in the face of adversity. Resilience includes the ability to withstand and recover rapidly from deliberate attacks, accidents, natural disasters, as well as unconventional stresses, shocks, and threats to our economy and democratic system. In the event of a disaster, Federal, state, and local agencies must perform essential functions and have plans in place to ensure the continuation of our constitutional form of government. Reducing risk and building more resilient communities are the best ways to protect people, property, and taxpayer dollars from loss and disruption. Through risk-informed investments, we will build resilient communities and infrastructure to protect and benefit future generations. Should tragedy strike, the U.S. Government will help communities recover and rebuild. Citizens must be confident in our government, but also recognize that response and recovery begins with individuals and local communities. In difficult times, the true character of the American people emerges: their strength, their love, and their resolve. Our first responders selflessly run toward danger, and volunteers rally to the aid of neighbors when disaster strikes. A democracy is only as resilient as its people. An informed and engaged citizenry is the fundamental requirement for a free and resilient nation. For generations, our society has protected free press, free speech, and free thought. Today, actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks, and personal data. The American public and private sectors must recognize this and work together to defend our way of life. No external threat can be allowed to shake our shared commitment to our values, undermine our system of government, or divide our Nation.
IMPROVE RISK MANAGEMENT: The United States will improve its ability to assess the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risks to Americans and will prioritize resources based on the highest risks.
BUILD A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS: This Administration will take steps to build a culture of preparedness, informing and empowering communities and individuals to obtain the skills and take the preparatory actions necessary to become more resilient against the threats and hazards that Americans face.
IMPROVE PLANNING: State and local governments must conduct realistic exercises that test existing plans to make sure that they are sound and can be executed. Agencies from all levels of government must coordinate be er and apply lessons learned from exercises to pinpoint the areas and capabilities that require improvement.
INCENTIVIZE INFORMATION SHARING: To improve the coordination among the private sector and all levels of government that is needed to improve resilience, we must make a stronger commitment to protecting sensitive information so that all partners actively identify and share vulnerabilities and work collaboratively to reduce them.
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