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The Obama administration’s strategic black hole

The Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 mandated that the president issue a national security strategy (NSS) report. According to the legislation, the purpose of this document is to provide the president with the means to communicate his strategic vision to the Congress, foreign leaders, and domestic constituencies.

Although some of the early NSS documents were worthwhile, recent ones have fallen far short of providing any real discussion of a true grand strategy — in other words, outlining how the United States plans to apply all of the instruments of national power to achieve the goals of national policy in light of potential cost and risk. Instead, they have degenerated into platitudinous expressions of aspirations.

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