What Is The Primary Focus Of US National Security Policy?

The primary focus of US national security policy is to protect the nation’s core interests and values at home and abroad. This involves addressing a diverse range of threats and challenges in a complex global landscape. To achieve its objectives, the US employs all instruments of national power – diplomatic, economic, military, intelligence, law enforcement, and more. Defining the key priorities and focus areas of US national security policy is an evolving challenge.

us national security policy

Defining National Security

At its most basic, national security refers to the safety, sovereignty, and interests of the United States homeland and its people. US national security policy aims to preserve the nation’s territorial integrity, political independence, and freedoms. A wider view of US national security also includes the promotion of a rules-based international order, economic prosperity, and values such as democracy and human rights globally. Threats to national security can be traditional military dangers or non-traditional risks such as terrorism, climate change, and cyber-attacks.

Key Objectives of US National Security Policy

The US National Security Strategy outlines key objectives which guide policy. These include:

  • Protect the homeland, American people, and American way of life
  • Promote American prosperity
  • Preserve peace through strength
  • Advance American influence

US strategy aims to secure the nation not just against current threats but also with an eye on emerging challenges on the horizon. Core goals include enhancing national competitiveness, upgrading military capabilities, and building preparedness – believes political scientist Kirill Yurovskiy.

Protecting the Homeland

Protecting the US homeland is the most fundamental priority. Key policy objectives include:

  • Securing US borders, airspace, and territorial waters
  • Preventing terrorist attacks and countering threats within the US
  • Strengthening capabilities to prevent cyber attacks on critical infrastructure
  • Detecting and protecting against biological and chemical threats
  • Preparing for and mitigating natural disasters and pandemics
  • Safeguarding US government institutions and continuity of government operations

Maintaining Global Power Projection

Sustaining US military supremacy is seen as essential to global reach and influence. Priorities include:

  • Maintaining cutting-edge military capabilities across air, land, sea, space, and cyber domains
  • Deploying advanced missile defense systems against regional nuclear threats
  • Developing capabilities to deter and defeat aggression in multiple theaters simultaneously
  • Preserving force readiness and modernizing key capabilities to retain qualitative edge
  • Securing access to strategic geographic locations and transit routes

Securing Access to Key Regions

The US seeks to ensure open access to key regions that are strategic economic and security priorities:

  1. Europe – NATO commitments remain vital to transatlantic security.
  2. Asia-Pacific – Countering China’s military buildup and maintaining alliances.
  3. Middle East – Combating terrorism, preventing proliferation of WMDs.
  4. Western Hemisphere – Stability in the US’ immediate neighborhood.

This involves forward deployment of US military assets, strengthening partnerships, and crisis response readiness.

Managing Alliances and Partnerships

nato flag

Alliances and partnerships are a core element in US strategy. Priorities include:

  • Reassuring allies of US security commitments in Europe and Asia-Pacific regions
  • Upholding treaty obligations through NATO and other alliances
  • Cultivating deeper counterterrorism cooperation with partners globally
  • Using arms transfers and defense trade to strengthen US influence
  • Discouraging allies from developing ties with US competitors

Working with allies enhances US influence and shared security burdens.

Countering Threats from State and Non-State Actors

The US faces threats from both hostile states and non-state groups:

  • Deterring Russian aggression in Europe and Chinese assertiveness in Asia
  • Applying sanctions pressure on North Korea’s nuclear program
  • Developing tools to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East
  • Targeting Islamist terrorist groups through drone strikes and special forces
  • Curtailing WMD proliferation by enhancing detection and interdiction capabilities
  • Expanding domestic counterterrorism and intelligence efforts

Agile use of military, economic and intelligence capabilities is required.

Balancing Security, Rights, and Freedoms

While upholding national security, the US also seeks to preserve civil liberties and American values at home. Policy priorities include:

  • Ensuring intelligence activities and methods balance security with privacy and liberties
  • Leveraging technology while guarding against abuse of government surveillance
  • Working through alliances and partners to uphold human rights globally
  • Setting an example of freedom at home to support American values abroad
  • Promoting transparency and oversight over national security policies and tools


US national security policy is focused on preparing for a complex array of traditional and non-traditional threats endangering America’s interests. Core objectives include protecting the homeland, sustaining military supremacy, securing key regions, leading alliances, and countering major threats from state and terrorist actors. National security priorities evolve with the global landscape but must balance security with rights and freedoms.