As you just read, ComNavOps reviewed the National Defense Strategy and found it to be “absolute garbage”, to quote myself. Seriously, though, how bad was the unclassified version of the National Defense Strategy? Well, the best way to answer that is to point out the things it should have addressed and then you can see the magnitude of the deficiency by the absence of those items in the document.
As a reminder, here are some of the general objectives of the administration’s geopolitical National Security Strategy (NSS) as described in a previous post and review. (1) Included with them are some of the specifics that should have been addressed in the military’s NDS.
- Deploy a layered missile
defense aimed at
and NKorea – How? Land based in neighboring countries? Sea based? Iran
- Control weapons of mass destruction – What military options are there for controlling weapons of mass destruction?
- Strengthen border control and immigration policy – How will the military contribute to border control?
- Eliminate terrorist safe havens – How? Establish a lower tier military force (Super Tucanos, for example) for these lower threats? What forces will we use? Does this mean incursions by us into harboring countries?
- Reestablish military overmatch – How? What forces or capabilities will we focus on strengthening?
- Improve readiness – How?
- Reverse the decline in size of our military forces – How? Will the Navy stop retiring ships before their service life has expired? Will the Navy stop deferring maintenance?
- Modernize the military – In what areas? What weapons will we pursue?
The NSS, as you’ll recall, addressed specific regional concerns and stated,
must tailor our
approaches to different regions of the world to protect United States national interests.” U.S.
The military strategy should have addressed those specific regions and threatening countries. For example,
NKorea – What military options exist to eliminate the threat of NKorean nuclear weapons? What can the military do to impede NKorea’s nuclear missile development, such as shooting down NKorean test missiles? What force structure and size is needs to be stationed in SKorea in order to counter NKorea? Where and how will we resupply our forces in SKorea in the event of war?
And the list goes on …
All of these questions and many, many more should have been addressed but none were. That should illustrate just how worthless the NDS is. I understand that detailed, specific information has to be kept secret – besides, that’s operational level planning, not strategy. For example, the strategy should say something like, “we will curtail NKorea’s nuclear missile development by stationing ballistic missile defense ships off the coast and shoot down all missile launches”. That’s a strategic level statement. The operational level would deal with the number of ships needed, where to place them, how to sustain them, what backup they need, etc. and much or all of that would, appropriately, be classified. However, the basic, strategic statement of intent should be public knowledge – partly to inform our citizens who are being asked to support and pay for all this and partly to let NKorea know what they can and cannot do. The NDS should have been packed with those kinds of statements and it had none.
(1)Navy Matters, “National Security Strategy”,