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Defense Secretary James Mattis presents the 2018 National Defense Strategy at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies on Friday, January 19, 2018.

Dear Members and Friends,

“It is now undeniable that the homeland is no longer a sanctuary. America is a target …” (Link)

“Rogue Regimes, such as North Korea, continue to seek out or develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) nuclear, chemical, and biological- as well as long range missile capabilities and, in some cases, proliferate these capabilities to malign actors as demonstrated by Iranian ballistic missile exports. Terrorists likewise continue to pursue WMD, while the spread of nuclear weapons technology and advanced manufacturing technology remains a persistent problem.” (Link)

On Friday, the Department of Defense released an unclassified summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS). The National Defense Strategy is derived from the National Security Strategy (released in December 2017) and gives the framework needed for the future release of the National Military Strategy, the Nuclear Posture Review, National Biodefense Strategy, and the Missile Defense Review, all of which are expected in early 2018.

Succinctly put, the NDS describes the current security environment for the United States as on the brink of instability.

“We are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order-creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory.” (Link)

Being bolder than past National Defense Strategies, the 2018 NDS calls out China and Russia for being a threat to continued American military dominance. In this new strategic, “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security.” (Link) China is leveraging military advancements to reshape the Indo-pacific to their advantage, while Russia seeks undermine the sovereignty of nearby nations.

Drawing from the 2018 National Security Strategy, the Department of Defense is projecting and assuring that its new Defense Objectives will, “allow the United States to remain the preeminent military power in the world, be prepared to defend the homeland, ensure the balances of power remain in our favor, and advance an international order that is most conducive to our security and prosperity.” (Link)

The 2018 NDS Defense Objectives include:

  • Defending the homeland from attack;
  • Sustaining Joint Force military advantages, both globally and in key regions;
  • Deterring adversaries from aggression against our vital interests;
  • Enabling U.S. interagency counterparts to advance U.S. influence and interests;
  • Maintaining favorable regional balances of power in the Indo-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere;
  • Defending allies from military aggression and bolstering partners against coercion, and fairly sharing responsibilities for common defense;
  • Dissuading, preventing, or deterring state adversaries and non-state actors from acquiring, proliferating, or using weapons of mass destruction;
  • Preventing terrorists from directing or supporting external operations against the United States homeland and our citizens, allies, and partners overseas;
  • Ensuring common domains remain open and free;
  • Continuously delivering performance with affordability and speed as we change Departmental mindset, culture, and management systems; and
  • Establishing an unmatched twenty-first century National Security Innovation Base that effectively supports Department operations and sustains security and solvency.

In order to meet the objectives defined by the NDS in this document, the United States must accomplish the three things outlined in the Strategic Approach:

  1. Build a More Lethal Force

In order to build a more lethal force, you must first modernize capabilities. Building a more lethal force also means preparing for war during peace and cultivating work force talent. The DoD needs to have the right people for the job using the best weapons, while also being the most prepared.

  1. Strengthen Alliances and Attract New Partners

Alongside of building a more lethal force, the United States needs to expand partnerships to be able to counter threats. Fortifying the NATO alliance, expanding Indo-Pacific alliances, and forming enduring coalitions are part of the plan to be create stronger relationships around the world.

  1. Reform the Department for Greater Performance and Affordability

Secretary of Defense Mattis wants to optimize the Department of Defense to achieve its objectives by reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance and affordability.  Added to these practices is the driving of innovation and adherence to budget discipline, while still defending against threats.

The domain of missile defense not just ballistic missile defense but integrated air and missile defense to include cruise, hypersonic and maneuverable missiles, its innovation in development and its increased capacity remains absolutely critical for the majority of these objectives and the National Security of the United States.

“Investments will focus on layered missile defenses and disruptive capabilities for both theater missile threats and North Korean ballistic missile threats.” (Link)

The 2018 National Defense Strategy “establishes Secretary of Defense Mattis’s intent to pursue urgent change at significant scale.” (Link)

Simply put, the United States must be more lethal, more open, more efficient and have more missile defense.

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MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.

MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.

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