April 19, 2000


"A Concert for Preserving Security and Promoting Freedom"

Unlike its Cold War predecessor, which stressed containment of a single major threat and prevention of superpower conflict, the U.S. national security strategy proposed by the U.S. Commission on National Security/21 Century (USCNS/21) emphasizes a positive vision for the future and the importance of global collaboration to achieve it. "The United States seeks to assure its own freedom under law, its safety, and its prosperity. But Americans recognize that these goals are best assured in a world where others achieve them, too," stresses the report. American strategy, therefore, "must engage in new ways—and in concert with others—to consolidate and advance the peace, prosperity, democracy, and cooperative order of a world now happily free from global totalitarian threats." But such benefits will prove elusive and fleeting unless the United States, also in concert with others, strives "to stabilize those parts of the world still beset by acute political conflict."

The Commission's Phase II report is the second in a series of three designed to rethink national security to meet the needs of the 21st century. The third and final report of the Commission, to be released early next year, will examine the structures and processes of the U.S. national security system for their relevancy to our times. The USCNS/21 was chartered in 1998 by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. The Commission's Phase 1 report, New World Coming, delivered in September 1999, considers the prospective global environment over the next quarter century.

The Commission's Phase II report identifies six priority objectives to advance the peace, prosperity, and cooperative order of the world ahead:

    ¥ Defend the United States and ensure that it is safe from the dangers of a new era.

    ¥ Maintain America's social cohesion, economic competitiveness, technological ingenuity, and military strength.

    ¥ Assist the integration of key major powers, especially China, Russia, and India, into the mainstream of the emerging international system.

    ¥ Manage, with others, the dynamism of the new global economy and improve the effectiveness of international institutions and international law.

    ¥ Adapt U.S. alliances and other regional mechanisms to a new era in which America's partners seek greater autonomy and responsibility.

    ¥ Help the international community tame the disintegrative forces spawned by an era of change.

The report also advances several dozen policy suggestions to meet these objectives.

In addition to proposing an opportunity-based strategy, the report "returns us to basics," arguing that America's heritage of freedom, its national interests, and a consistently applied set of priorities must guide U.S. national security strategy in the 21st century. The Commission also emphasizes the critical need for America to ensure its internal strength. "Our contribution as a world leader and partner must rest upon a stable foundation; only if we are strong at home, and willing to invest in our own future, can America play a responsible role abroad", emphasizes Co-Chair Gary Hart.

New opportunities notwithstanding, the challenges ahead will include traditional and novel threats. A growing web of financial, cultural, technological, and political interdependence now characterizes the world. While this web promises more freedom, security, and prosperity overall, it also means that novel and serious security problems now lay at America's doorstep. "Americans are far less secure today than they believe themselves to be," Co-Chairman Warren Rudman stresses.

The report concludes by stating conceptual criteria for its Phase III report. All institutions in the national security arena must become more anticipative, more disciplined, more easily fused, and more agile. Addressing the security challenges of tomorrow will also require the more focused integration of non-traditional security participants (including multilateral institutions, non-governmental organizations, and international business) upon whose talents and insights success will depend. In a manner never before envisioned or required, America's economic, diplomatic, and military tools must work as one to preserve peace and avert conflict, concludes the Commission.

Further information about the Commission, its members, and its report can be found on the Internet at, or by contacting Mr. Hank Scharpenberg at (703) 602-4175.