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U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

  No. 268-05

Department of Defense Releases the National Defense and the National Military Strategies

The Department of Defense (DoD) released its National Defense Strategy (NDS) and National Military Strategy (NMS) today.  These strategies outline an active, layered approach to the defense of the nation and its interests.  They seek to create conditions conducive to respect for the sovereignty of nations and a secure international order favorable to freedom, democracy, and economic opportunity.  The strategies promote close cooperation with others around the world who are committed to these goals and address mature and emerging threats.


            “Since 9/11, the Department has updated its strategic thinking -- incorporating lessons learned from Iraq, Afghanistan and other operations,” said Douglas J. Feith, under secretary of defense for policy.  “We now have a strategy that positions us better to handle strategic uncertainty, recognizes the value of measures to resolve problems before they become crises and crises before they become wars, and emphasizes the importance of building partnership capacity to address security problems.”


The NDS is issued periodically, and the NMS is updated every two years.  These documents outline how the Department supports the president’s National Security Strategy and provide the strategic context for the ongoing Quadrennial Defense Review. 


The NDS defines DoD’s strategic objectives: securing the U.S. from direct attack; securing strategic access and retaining freedom of action; strengthening alliances and partnerships; and establishing security conditions conducive to a favorable international order.


The NMS provides strategic guidance to the armed forces on how to support NDS objectives.  It sets forth three military objectives: protecting the U.S.; preventing conflict and surprise attack; and prevailing against adversaries.


Link to NDS:

Link to NMS: