Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Making America Great Again with the New National Security Strategy

 

I found the National Security Strategy (NSS) publication timing and the setting of President Trump’s speech both significant. Publication within the first year of the Trump Administration is remarkable. The timing shows he recognized the importance of this document to drive change across agencies and shows the competence of his senior national security team. The speech setting both evoked Reagan and pointed to serious support for the full set of instruments of national power.

The setting was not a military base or DHS, rather it was the Ronald Reagan Building, whose tenants include USAID, Commerce, Trade, and CBP as well as the Woodrow Wilson Center. That reinforced the new President’s intent to use the informational and economic tools of national power. So, while President Trump was addressing multiple audiences with his words, his physical presence delivering the speech also underscored his intent.

Publication of the NSS matters because it drives agencies to produce supporting strategy documents, replacing Obama Administration documents and doctrine and stripping the #DeepState #Resistance of legal cover for continuing to act under last published guidance. My quick search across agencies found these strategy documents in place at major agencies affecting national security: Department of State and USAID Strategic PlanNational Intelligence Strategy, Department of Defense National Military StrategyTreasury Strategic Plan, and Department of Homeland Security Strategic Plan. Watch for each to be updated in the next few months as President Trump’s NSS drives change.

Beyond the speed and symbolism of this NSS, I was encouraged by the contents, which advocate cost-effective changes to government business as usual and break down the agencies stovepipe views. In a series of posts, I will explain basic terms (DIME), discuss changes to procurement, and show how this new strategy document coordinates the whole of government to address China, North Korea, and Iran. The new National Security Strategy puts meat on the bones of Making America Great Again through making America secure again. A very good start.

There are 5 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Clifford A. Brown: In a series of posts I will explain basic terms (DIME), discuss changes to procurement, and show how this new strategy document coordinates the whole of government to address China, North Korea, and Iran.

    I shall look forward to that.

    Clifford A. Brown: Beyond the speed and symbolism of this NSS, I was encouraged by the contents, which advocate cost effective changes to government business as usual and break down the agencies stovepipe views.

    I look forward to this, too, but don’t see it as likely. Few people really have the vision to understand how things really should work. They just muddle along. With as many regs as government has, many coming out of OMB or related to good fiscal controls, I don’t see the likelihood of a truly new vision. Nor do I see the empire builders coöperating with each other. I’d love to be convinced, though.

    • #1
    • January 5, 2018, at 3:14 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    My mind goes back to two incidents in my consulting career. First was a commercial organization. The people I was working with constantly said, “We’re in the retail business.” As I analyzed their processes and systems, I came to a different conclusion. They were in the wholesale business with retail-support structures, systems, and processes, since they were working with a lot of independent organizations to sell stuff from their warehouses. When I stated this out loud, it changed the way they saw their business and immediately eliminated several of their problems and got them looking for the right tools for what they were doing. Now, this business had been in existence for more than fifty years, and nobody had stated this obvious fact out loud before. Nobody had had this simple insight into their business.

    Another experience was directly with those agency (and sub-departmental) stovepipe views. I was on a contract with a quasi-federal corporation, which had a process management team within it. Being a process management guy, I analyzed what they were doing and how it was supporting the corporation’s mission. The answer to the latter was that they were checking off boxes that OMB required in documenting the processes. They did not have any sort of dynamic work management system that could reconfigure processes and workflows within the agency. All they had was a repository where they put process models. While the models were accessible by the employees, none of them understood the modeling diagrams outside of the process modelers. So, the models sat in their repository unused. Even had they understood the models, the employees would not have used them, since they were difficult to navigate and were not required for their jobs, as a workflow management system would have been. Thus, the process management team, who were supposed to break down these stovepipe views, created a stovepipe view for themselves. They did their jobs, but it did not help the larger organization as it should have.

    And this is why I am not hopeful, but would love to see things changed and improved.

    • #2
    • January 5, 2018, at 3:33 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. I Walton Member

    A national security strategy is a beginning and requires constant follow through. All of the apparatus, programs, pieces are over funded, too big and largely self directed and inertial. Cutting those things that must be cut, building up those things we must build, and pointing in a strategic direction is a never ending struggle, but it is the purpose of government and its leadership. Like the rest of the government the vision, the strategy is the background within which a zero based budget carried out by every piece at all levels is crucial and can be done with leadership.

    • #3
    • January 5, 2018, at 4:54 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. Fritz Member

    I am heartened by the new national security strategy that has been produced. Hope that it can be realized, all the way down to operational levels: i.e., no more Naval vessels colliding with merchant shipping, enough spare parts to keep weapon systems in fine fettle, and also, recruiting more pilots!

    • #4
    • January 5, 2018, at 5:01 PM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Profile Photo Member

    Clifford,

    what is your opinion about any strategic impact for not going forward with TPP?

    • #5
    • January 5, 2018, at 5:19 PM PST
    • Like