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Research Report

All Elements of National Power: Moving Toward a New Interagency Balance for US Global Engagement

James L. Jones
Kim Campbell
Copyright Date: Jul. 1, 2014
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 24
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. [v]-[v])
    James L. Jones Jr.

    The United States faces a dynamic and unsettled global security environment that promises to remain with us far into the twenty-first century. Emerging powers, regional instability, individual empowerment, and political turbulence will continue to present the US national security community with new challenges. Yet this environment also offers new opportunities to leverage American strengths to advance our interests and values abroad. In light of this evolving strategic context, the United States must adjust how it engages internationally to foster a more holistic and whole-of-government approach to national security policy.

    The US geographic combatant commands are priceless in strategic value, but...

  2. (pp. 1-2)

    To deal effectively with long-range global trends and near-term security challenges, the United States requires a broader application of all elements of national power or risks disjointed efforts in US global engagement. A transformed interagency balance is a hedge against uncertainty in a dramatically changing world.

    As the US National Intelligence Council suggested in its landmark 2012 report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, tectonic shifts in several theaters will have significant potential to cause global and regional insecurity in the coming decades.¹ A regional strategy is fundamental in dealing with these issues, and it is essential that the United States...

  3. (pp. 3-3)

    Regional overseas presence remains integral to meeting dynamic challenges and emerging threats in the twenty-first century. Security challenges such as terrorism, proliferation, and international criminal networks all require a more effective US government regional presence. Furthermore, the challenges presented by a rising China, the reemergence of a revanchist Russia, and terrorism/extremism in the Mideast and Africa also give credence to establishing a strong posture in key regions. For better or for worse, geographic combatant commands are currently the best resourced and most visible manifestations of US national power and interests in key overseas regions. With adequate resources, the Department of...

  4. (pp. 4-8)

    This task force initially focused solely on restructuring the geographic combatant commands, but it quickly became apparent that higher-priority, untapped points of leverage existed that, if properly resourced, could greatly strengthen US efforts at the regional level. Although these general recommendations are Department of Defense- and Department of State-centric, we recognize the importance for all US government agencies and departments to play a role in a true “whole-of-government” approach. Initial discussion focuses primarily on security issues with the goal of bringing in the full range of economic, political, and environmental issues and agencies as changes progress. Many of the recommendations...

  5. (pp. 9-11)

    The task force also evaluated three specific restructuring options that would help move US regional presence toward a more effective interagency balance. With any structure changes, strategic messaging as well as education and training would be required for all personnel. Although these restructuring options require legislative and behavioral change and are a move away from long-standing institutional norms, they are worthy of discussion and should be evaluated based on emerging twenty-first-century strategic and fiscal realities.

    The unconventional approach highlights the issues that the United States should be thinking about to fully move toward a regional interagency balance. If the United...

  6. (pp. 12-12)

    Long-range global trends and near-term security challenges demand a more sophisticated use of the instruments of national power. The United States needs to move toward a regional interagency balance for engaging with key allies and partners that improves efficiency and effectiveness of US foreign and defense policy execution and advance US interests at the regional level. It is critical that the United States think about how to adapt to emerging twenty-first-century realities, both strategic and fiscal, particularly as it transitions from a decade at war. The United States must better take advantage of its strategic assets, and resource and restructure...