Nearly 55 years ago, in his final inaugural address, President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt reflected on the lessons of the first half of the 20th Century.
"We have learned," he said, "that we cannot live alone at peace. We have learned
that our own well being is dependent on the well being of other nations far away.
We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community."
Those words have more resonance than ever as we enter the 21st century.
America is at the height of its influence and prosperity. But, at a time of
rapid globalization, when events halfway around the earth can profoundly
affect our safety and prosperity, America must lead in the world to protect
our people at home and our way of life. Americans benefit when nations come
together to deter aggression and terrorism, to resolve conflicts, to prevent
the spread of dangerous weapons, to promote democracy and human rights, to open
markets and create financial stability, to raise living standards, to protect
the environment to face challenges that no nation can meet alone. The
United States remains the world’s most powerful force for peace, prosperity and
the universal values of democracy and freedom. Our nation’s central challenge
and our responsibility is to sustain that role by seizing the
opportunities of this new global era for the benefit of our own people and
people around the world.
To do that, we are pursuing a forward-looking national security strategy for
the new century. This report, submitted in accordance with Section 603 of the
Goldwater - Nichols Defense Department Reorganization Act of 1986, sets forth
that strategy. Its three core objectives are:
- To enhance America’s security.
- To bolster America’s economic prosperity.
- To promote democracy and human rights abroad.
The United States must have the tools necessary to carry out this strategy. We
have worked to preserve and enhance the readiness of our armed forces while
pursuing long-term modernization and providing quality of life improvements for
our men and women in uniform. To better meet readiness challenges, I proposed,
and Congress passed, a fiscal year 2000 defense budget that increased military pay
and retirement benefits, and significantly increased funding for readiness and
modernization. I have also proposed a $112 billion increase across fiscal years
2000 to 2005 for readiness, modernization, and other high priority defense
requirements. This is the first long-term sustained increase in defense spending
in over a decade.
Over the last six months, our military leaders and I have seen encouraging signs
that we have turned the corner on readiness. Although our Armed Forces still face
readiness challenges, particularly in recruiting and retaining skilled individuals,
Administration initiatives are helping us achieve our readiness goals. I am confident
that our military is and will continue to be capable of carrying out
our national strategy and meeting America's defense commitments around the world.
To be secure, we must not only have a strong military; we must also continue to
lead in limiting the military threat to our country and the world. We continue
to work vigilantly to curb the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons
and missiles to deliver them. We are continuing the START process to reduce Russian
and American nuclear arsenals, while discussing modification of the Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty to allow for development of a national missile defense against
potential rogue state attacks. And we remain committed to obtaining Senate advice
and consent to ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and
to bringing this crucial agreement into force.
We must also sustain our commitment to America’s diplomacy. Every dollar we devote
to preventing conflicts, promoting democracy, opening markets, and containing disease
and hunger brings a sure return in security and long-term savings. Working with
Congress, we were able to provide enhanced funding to international affairs accounts
and UN arrears, but we need to sustain this commitment to foreign affairs in the years
America must be willing to act alone when our interests demand it, but we should also
support the institutions and arrangements through which other countries help us bear
the burdens of leadership. That's why I am pleased that we reached agreement with
Congress on a plan for paying our dues and debts to the United Nations. It is why we
must do our part when others take the lead in building peace: whether Europeans in the
Balkans, Asians in East Timor, or Africans in Sierra Leone. Otherwise we will be left
with a choice in future crises between doing everything ourselves or doing nothing at
America has done much over the past seven years to build a better world: aiding the
remarkable transitions to free-market democracy in Eastern Europe; adapting and enlarging
NATO to strengthen Europe’s security; ending ethnic war in Bosnia and Kosovo; working with
Russia to deactivate thousands of nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union; ratifying
START II and the Chemical Weapons Convention; negotiating the CTBT, and the Adaptation
Agreement on the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty; securing a freeze in
North Korean fissile material production; facilitating milestone agreements in the Middle
East peace process; standing up to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein; reducing Africa’s
debt through the Cologne Initiative and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative
(HIPC); helping to broker peace accords from Northern Ireland to Sierra Leone to the
Peru-Ecuador border; fostering unprecedented unity, democracy and progress in the Western
Hemisphere; benefiting our economy by reaching over 270 free trade agreements, including
the landmark accord to bring China into the World Trade Organization; and exercising global
leadership to help save Mexico from economic disaster and to reverse the Asian financial
But our work is far from done. American leadership will remain indispensable to further
important national interests in the coming year: forging a lasting peace in the Middle
East; securing the peace in the Balkans and Northern Ireland; helping Russia strengthen
its economy and fight corruption as it heads toward its first democratic transfer of power;
furthering arms control through discussions with Russia on the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM)
Treaty and deeper reductions in strategic nuclear weapons; implementing China’s entry into
the WTO and other global institutions while promoting freedom and human rights there; easing
tensions between India and Pakistan; building on hopeful developments between Greece and
Turkey to make progress in the Aegean, particularly on Cyprus; securing new energy routes from
the Caspian Sea that will allow newly independent states in the Caucasus to prosper;
supporting democratic transitions from Nigeria to Indonesia; helping Colombia defeat the drug
traffickers who threaten its democracy; fighting weapons proliferation, terrorism and the
nexus between them; restraining North Korea's and Iran's missile programs; maintaining
vigilance against Iraq and working to bring about a change in regime; consolidating reforms
to the world’s financial architecture as the basis for sustained economic growth; launching a
new global trade round; enacting legislation to promote trade with Africa and the Caribbean;
pressing ahead with debt relief for countries fighting poverty and embracing good government;
reversing global climate change; and protecting our oceans.
At this moment in history, the United States is called upon to lead to marshal the
forces of freedom and progress; to channel the energies of the global economy into lasting
prosperity; to reinforce our democratic ideals and values; to enhance American security and
global peace. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to meet these challenges and build
a better and safer world.
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