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The United States can best protect the American people and advance its interests by adopting a new national security strategy based on an integrated approach to using American power. The Center for American Progress in its new national security strategy, Integrated Power, argues that America's interests are best achieved through a multidimensional approach that spurns the false dichotomy between the concepts of "hard" and "soft" power and views them instead as two strands of the same cord. By merging the many and varied powers of the United States – military, economic, political, cultural, and diplomatic, among others – the country will be in the strongest position to address threats, prevent conflicts, and recapture its moral leadership.

Integrated Power fills a void. The Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 obligates the president to present to the Congress and the American people a national security strategy every year. The Bush administration last released a national security strategy in 2002 – when it offered the now discredited doctrine of preventive war in an attempt to justify the diversion from finishing the job in Afghanistan to pursue the war against Iraq.

Three years later, the effects of the Bush administration's strategy are clear. Our military is weaker, many of our historic alliances are frayed, our Treasury is depleted, Osama bin Laden remains at large, and our tarnished reputation abroad has diminished our capacity to exercise moral leadership. Confronted with a foreign policy in shambles, the administration discovered the word democracy. But their new "strategy" of democracy amounts to little more than rhetoric= Sound-bite foreign policy will not get the United States through the tough times ahead. The United States needs a strategy to protect our national security that is based on the way the world actually is, not on how some ideologues wish it to be.

Integrated Power identifies three forces of fragmentation, or threats, that our country faces: global terrorist networks, extreme regimes, and weak and failing states. The current approach has not only been ineffective at confronting these threats, but it has eroded America's global leadership position and exposed us to new dangers.

At the same time, the United States is – or can be – poised to benefit from four forces of integration: globalization, democratization, the emergence of new powers, and advances in technology. Using the concept of integrated power as the foundation of a new approach, the strategy presented articulates three primary principles to guide our policies: first, protect the American people; second, prevent conflict – primarily through engagement; and third, lead vital alliances and modernized international institutions.

Integrated Power argues that the United States must build alliances with nations and lead the effort to modernize international institutions because they increase our power, influence, and credibility. Integrated Power argues for wholesale changes in the way the United States engages with the developing world. It points to opportunities presented by rising new powers such as China and India.

To integrate all the instruments of our power the United States must tear down the false bureaucratic barriers that separate national security and foreign policy from homeland security and energy policies. Integrated Power calls for the creation of a unified national security budget to replace the outdated, Cold War structure of divided accounts.

After presenting the case for a new approach, we apply this strategy in six areas in which a series of concrete policy recommendations are made. Here, our recommendations diverge significantly from the Bush administration's approach. In particular, Integrated Power recommends:

Attack Global Terrorist Networks

  • Enlarge the active duty Army by 86,000 troops.
  • Reengage in the Middle East peace process.
  • Create a credible exit strategy from Iraq; clearly state our intention not to maintain any permanent military bases in Iraq or Afghanistan.
  • Enhance intelligence and law enforcement capabilities and punish terrorist financers.
  • Engage in a broad public diplomacy campaign designed to counter distorted perceptions of U.S. policies and values.

Counter the Nuclear Threat

  • Engage in both multilateral and bilateral discussions with Iran and North Korea.
  • Condition fulfillment of $3 billion of foreign aid to Pakistan on full access to A.Q. Khan
  • Double funding to secure nuclear weapons and materials.
  • Stop developing new nuclear bunker buster weapons.
  • Develop a new nuclear posture for deployment and disarmament of our nuclear force.

Protect the Homeland

  • Improve intelligence sharing within the federal government and establish Homeland Security Operations Centers in critical locations to improve the flow of threat information between federal and state and local authorities.
  • Implement action plans to protect critical infrastructure such as ports, nuclear power plants, and chemical plants.
  • Reexamine visa policies that have significantly slowed the flow of scholars, scientists, and students coming to the United States.

Prevent Conflict, Promote Prosperity

  • Support the "responsibility to protect" doctrine and exert leadership to stop genocide in Darfur.
  • Establish a new Department of International Development to oversee foreign assistance and conflict-prevention programs.
  • Meet Millennium Development goals by increasing foreign assistance five-fold to 0.7 percent of GNP by 2015.
  • Lead an aggressive effort to achieve final agreement in the Doha Development Round of international trade negotiations.

Advance Democracy

  • Go beyond rhetoric and provide enduring support for democratic institutions and the rule of law.
  • Monitor and press for human rights no matter the country.
  • Work with democratic allies to support opposition movements in countries oppressed by tyranny.

Pursue Energy independence

  • Recognize that energy policy is integral to our national security policy and work to achieve energy independence.
  • Increase energy efficiency in transportation, new buildings, and household appliances.
  • Deploy renewable energy sources by requiring that 25 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources, investing in biofuels, and investing in the development of future fuels.
  • Modernize America's energy infrastructure.

The full report in PDF
The executive summary in PDF

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