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CRS – National Security Strategy

National Security Strategy: Mandates, Execution to Date, and Issues for Congress. Catherine Dale, Specialist in International Security. August 6, 2013
“Strategy – together with decision-making, planning and execution, budgeting, and congressional oversight – is a critical component of U.S. government thinking and practice in the arena of national security. In theory, effective national security strategy-making can sharpen priorities and refine approaches; provide a single shared vision for all concerned agencies; clarify the roles and responsibilities of all concerned agencies so that they may more effectively plan and resource; offer a coherent baseline for congressional oversight; and communicate U.S. government intent to key audiences at home and abroad. While there is no single shared view of the boundaries of the concept of “national security,” many would include homeland security, and an array of economic, energy and/or environmental concerns, as well as traditional military affairs. In practice, the U.S. government – at the levels of both the White House and individual agencies – conducts a wide array of strategic reviews, and issues many forms of strategic guidance. The pinnacle of the national security strategic architecture is the national security strategy, issued by the President. That effort is supported by an array of subordinate quadrennial reviews – the Quadrennial Defense Review by the Department of Defense, the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review by the Department of State, the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review issued by the Department of Homeland Security, and the Quadrennial Intelligence Community Review issued by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence – as well as a number of subordinate strategies including national defense strategy, national military strategy, national homeland security strategy, and national intelligence strategy. Yet in practice, the strategic architecture is more complex and less coherent than this synopsis might suggest, because these core strategic efforts are joined by a number of one-off strategic reviews and

documents, and because timelines, content, and relationships among the various documents have all varied a great deal over time.”

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