Of the United States of America d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 7


protect the American people, the homeland



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protect the American people, the homeland, 

and the American way of life. We will strengthen 

control of our borders and reform our immigra-

tion system. We will protect our critical infrastruc-

ture and go after malicious cyber actors. A layered 

missile defense system will defend our homeland 

against missile att acks. And we will pursue threats 

to their source, so that jihadist terrorists are 

stopped before they ever reach our borders. 

Second, we will 

promote American prosperity

We will rejuvenate the American economy for 

the benefit of American workers and companies. 

We will insist upon fair and reciprocal economic 

relationships to address trade imbalances. The 

United States must preserve our lead in research 

and technology and protect our economy from 

competitors who unfairly acquire our intellec-

tual property. And we will embrace America’s 

energy dominance because unleashing abundant 

energy resources stimulates our economy. 

Third, we will 



preserve peace through strength 

by rebuilding our military so that it remains pre-

eminent, deters our adversaries, and if necessary, 

is able to fight and win. We will compete with all 

tools of national power to ensure that regions of 

the world are not dominated by one power. We 

will strengthen America’s capabilities—includ-

ing in space and cyberspace—and revitalize oth-

ers that have been neglected. Allies and partners 

magnify our power. We expect them to shoul-

der a fair share of the burden of responsibil-

ity to protect against common threats.

Fourth, we will 

advance American influence 

because a world that supports American inter-

ests and reflects our values makes America more 

secure and prosperous. We will compete and lead 

in multilateral organizations so that American 

interests and principles are protected. America’s 

commitment to liberty , democracy, and the rule of 

law serves as an inspiration for those living under 

ty ranny. We can play a catalytic role in promoting 

private-sector-led economic growth, helping aspir-

ing partners become future trading and security 

partners. And we will remain a generous nation, 

even as we expect others to share responsibility .

Strengthening our sovereignty—the first duty of 

a government is to serve the interests of its own 

people—is a necessary condition for protecting 

these four national interests. And as we strengthen 

our sovereignty we will renew confidence in our-

selves as a nation. We are proud of our history

optimistic about America’s future, and confident 

of the positive example the United States off ers to 

the world. We are also realistic and understand 

that the American way of life cannot be imposed 

upon others, nor is it the inevitable culmination 

of progress. Together with our allies, partners, 

and aspiring partners, the United States will pur-

sue cooperation with reciprocity. Cooperation 

means sharing responsibilities and burdens. 

In trade, fair and reciprocal relationships ben-

efit all with equal levels of market access and 

opportunities for economic growth. An America 

First National Security Strategy appreciates that 

America will catalyze conditions to unleash eco-

nomic success for America and the world. 

In the United States, free men and women have 

created the most just and prosperous nation in 

history. Our generation of Americans is now 

charged with preserving and defending that 

precious inheritance. This National Security 

Strategy shows the way. 



  

7

P I L L A R   I

Protect the American People, 

the Homeland, and 

the American Way of Life

“We will defend our country, protect our communities, 

and put the safety  of the American people fi rst.”

P R E S I D E N T   D O N A L D   J .   T R U M P  

|

  J U L Y   2 0 1 7



 

T

his National Security Strategy begins 



with the determination to protect the 

American people, the American way 

of life, and American interests. Americans have 

long recognized the benefi ts of an interconnected 

world, where information and commerce flow 

freely. Engaging with the world, however, does 

not mean the United States should abandon its 

rights and duties as a sovereign state or compro-

mise its security. Openness also imposes costs, 

since adversaries exploit our free and demo-

cratic system to harm the United States. 

North Korea seeks the capability  to kill millions of 

Americans with nuclear weapons. Iran supports 

terrorist groups and openly calls for our destruc-

tion. Jihadist terrorist organizations such as ISIS 

and al-Qa’ida are determined to att ack the United 

States and radicalize Americans with their hate-

ful ideology. Non-state actors undermine social 

order through drug and human trafficking net-

works, which they use to commit violent crimes 

and kill thousands of American each year.

Adversaries target sources of American strength, 

including our democratic system and our econ-

omy. They steal and exploit our intellectual prop-

erty and personal data, interfere in our political 

processes, target our aviation and maritime sec-

tors, and hold our critical infrastructure at risk. 

All of these actions threaten the foundations of 

the American way of life. Reestablishing lawful 

control of our borders is a first step toward pro-

tecting the American homeland and strengthen-

ing American sovereignty.

We must prevent nuclear, chemical, radiological, 

and biological att acks, block terrorists from reach-

ing our homeland, reduce drug and human traf-

ficking, and protect our critical infrastructure. 

We must also deter, disrupt, and defeat poten-

tial threats before they reach the United States. 

We will target jihadist terrorists and transna-

tional criminal organizations at their source and 

dismantle their networks of support.

We must also take steps to respond quickly to meet 

the needs of the American people in the event of 

natural disaster or attack on our homeland. We 

must build a culture of preparedness and resilience 

across our governmental functions, critical infra-

structure, and economic and political systems. 


N A T I O N A L   S E C U R I T Y   S T R A T E G Y

8

Secure U.S. Borders 



and Territory

State and non-state actors place the safety of the 

American people and the Nation’s economic 

vitality at risk by exploiting vulnerabilities 

across the land, air, maritime, space, and cyber-

space domains. Adversaries constantly evolve 

their methods to threaten the United States and 

our citizens. We must be agile and adaptable.



Defend Against Weapons 

of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Th e danger from hostile state and non-state actors 

who are trying to acquire nuclear, chemical, radio-

logical, and biological weapons is 

increasing. The Syrian regime’s 

use of chemical weapons against 

its own citizens undermines 

international norms against 

these heinous weapons, which 

may encourage more actors to 

pursue and use them. ISIS has 

used chemical weapons in Iraq 

and Syria. Terrorist groups con-

tinue to pursue WMD-related 

materials. We would face grave 

danger if terrorists obtained 

inadequately secured nuclear, 

radiological, or biological material. 

As missiles grow in numbers, types, and effec-

tiveness, to include those with greater ranges, 

they are the most likely means for states like 

North Korea to use a nuclear weapon against 

the United States. North Korea is also pursuing 

chemical and biological weapons which could 

also be delivered by missile. China and Russia 

are developing advanced weapons and capabil-

ities that could threaten our critical infrastruc-

ture and our command and control architecture.



Priority  Actions

E N HAN CE M I S S I LE D E F E N S E : 

The United States 

is deploying a layered missile defense system 

focused on North Korea and Iran to defend our 

homeland against missile attacks. This system 

will include the ability to defeat missile threats 

prior to launch. Enhanced missile defense is 

not intended to undermine strategic stabil-

ity or disrupt longstanding strategic relation-

ships with Russia or China.



DETECT AND DISRUPT WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: 

At our borders and within our territory, we will 

bolster efforts to detect nuclear, chemical, radio-

logical, and biological agents and keep them from 

being used against us. We will also better inte-

grate intelligence, law enforce-

ment, and emergency manage-

ment operations to ensure that 

frontline defenders have the 

right information and capabili-

ties to respond to WMD threats 

from state and non-state actors. 



ENHANCE COUNTERPROLIFERATION 

MEASURES: 

Building on decades 

of in itiatives, we w ill aug-

ment me a s u re s to se c u re , 

eliminate, and prevent the 

spread of WMD and related 

materials, their delivery sys-

tems, technologies, and knowledge to reduce 

the chance that they might fall into the hands 

of hostile actors. We will hold state and non-

state actors accountable for the use of WMD. 

TARGET WMD TERRORISTS: 

We will direct coun-

terterrorism operations against terrorist WMD 

specialists, fi nanciers, administrators, and facilita-

tors. We will work with allies and partners to detect 

and disrupt plots.



Strengthening control 

over our borders and 

immigration system is 

central to national security , 

economic prosperity , and 

the rule of law. 

9

P I L L A R   I :   P RO T E C T   T H E   A M E R I C A N   P E O P L E ,   T H E   H O M E L A N D ,   A N D   T H E   A M E R I C A N   WAY   O F   L I F E



Combat Biothreats and Pandemics 

Biological incidents have the potential to cause 

catastrophic loss of life. Biological threats to the 

U.S. homeland—whether as the result of deliberate 

att ack, accident, or a natural outbreak—are growing 

and require actions to address them at their source. 

Naturally emerging outbreaks of viruses such as 

Ebola and SARS, as well as the deliberate 2001 

anthrax attacks in the United States, demon-

strated the impact of biological threats on national 

security by taking lives, generating economic 

losses, and contributing to a loss of confidence in 

government institutions.

Advancements in life sciences that benefit our 

health, economy, and society  also open up new ave-

nues to actors who want to cause harm. Dedicated 

state actors are likely to develop more advanced 

bioweapons, and these capabilities may become 

available to malicious non-state actors as well. 

Priority  Actions 

DETECT AND CONTAIN BIOTHREATS AT THEIR SOURCE: 

We will work with other countries to detect 

and mitigate outbreaks early to prevent the 

spread of disease. We will encourage other coun-

tries to invest in basic health care systems and 

to strengthen global health security across the 

intersection of human and animal health to pre-

vent infectious disease outbreaks. And we will 

work with partners to ensure that laboratories 

that handle dangerous pathogens have in place 

safety and security measures.

SUPPORT BIOMEDICAL INNOVATION:

 We will protect 

and support advancements in biomedical inno-

vation by strengthening the intellectual prop-

erty system that is the foundation of the biomedi-

cal industry.



IMPROVE EMERGENCY RESPONSE: 

At home, we will 

strengthen our emergency response and uni-

fied coordination systems to rapidly character-

ize outbreaks, implement public health contain-

ment measures to limit the spread of disease, 

and provide surge medical care—including 

life-saving treatments. 



Strengthen Border Control 

and Immigration Policy 

Strengthening control over our borders and 

immigration system is central to national secu-

rity, economic prosperity, and the rule of law. 

Terrorists, drug traffickers, and criminal car-

tels exploit porous borders and threaten U.S. 

security and public safety. These actors adapt 

quickly to outpace our defenses. 

The United States affirms our sovereign right to 

determine who should enter our country and 

under what circumstances. The United States 

understands the contributions immigrants have 

made to our Nation throughout its history. Illegal 

immigration, however, burdens the economy, 

hurts American workers, presents public safety 

risks, and enriches smugglers and other criminals. 

Th e United States recognizes that decisions about 

who to legally admit for residency, citizenship, or 

otherwise are among the most important a coun-

try has to make. The United States will continue 

to welcome lawful immigrants who do not pose 

a security threat and whose entry is consistent 

with the national interest, while at the same time 

enhancing the screening and vetting of travelers, 

closing dangerous loopholes, revising outdated 

laws, and eliminating easily exploited vulnera-

bilities. We will also reform our current immi-

gration system, which, contrary to our national 

interest and national security , allows for random-

ized entry and extended-family chain migration. 

Residency and citizenship determinations should 

be based on individuals’ merits and their ability 

to positively contribute to U.S. society , rather than 

chance or extended family connections.



N A T I O N A L   S E C U R I T Y   S T R A T E G Y

10

Priority  Actions



ENHANCE BORDER SECURITY:

 We will secure our 

borders through the construction of a bor-

der wall, the use of multilayered defenses and 

advanced technology, the employment of addi-

tional personnel, and other measures. The U.S. 

Government will work with foreign partners to 

deter, detect, and disrupt suspicious individuals 

well before they enter the United States.

E N HAN CE VE T TI N G : 

The U.S. Government will 

enhance vetting of prospective immigrants, ref-

ugees, and other foreign visitors to identify indi-

viduals who might pose a risk to national secu-

rity or public safety. We will set higher security 

standards to ensure that we keep dangerous peo-

ple out of the United States and enhance our 

information collection and analysis to identify 

those who may already be within our borders. 



E N FO RCE  I M M I G R ATI O N  L AWS :

 We will enforce 

immigration laws, both at the border and in the 

interior, to provide an eff ective deterrent to illegal 

immigration. Th e apprehension and swift removal 

of illegal aliens at the border is critical to an eff ective 

border security strategy. We must also increase 

efforts to identify and counter fraud in the immi-

gration process, which undermines the integrity 

of our immigration system, exploits vulnerable 

individuals, and creates national security risks. 

B O L S T E R T R A N S P O R TAT I O N S E C U R I T Y: 

We will 


improve information sharing across our gov-

ernment and with foreign partners to enhance 

the security of the pathways through which peo-

ple and goods enter the country. We will invest in 

technology to counter emerging threats to our avi-

ation, surface, and maritime transportation sec-

tors. We will also work with international and 

industry partners to raise security standards.

Pursue Th reats 

to Th eir Source

There is no perfect defense against the range of 

threats facing our homeland. That is why America 

must, alongside allies and partners, stay on the 

offensive against those violent non-state groups 

that target the United States and our allies.

Th e primary transnational threats Americans face 

are from jihadist terrorists and transnational crim-

inal organizations. Although their objectives diff er

these actors pose some common challenges. First, 

they exploit our open society. Second, they often 

operate in loose confederations and adapt rapidly. 

Th ird, they rely on encrypted communication and 

the dark web to evade detection as they plot, recruit, 

fi nance, and execute their operations. Fourth, they 

thrive under conditions of state weakness and prey 

on the vulnerable as they accelerate the break-

down of rules to create havens from which to plan 

and launch att acks on the United States, our allies, 

and our partners. Fifth, some are sheltered and 

supported by states and do their bidding.



Defeat Jihadist Terrorists

Jihadist terrorist organizations present the most 

dangerous terrorist threat to the Nation. America, 

alongside our allies and partners, is fi ghting a long 

war against these fanatics who advance a totali-

tarian vision for a global Islamist caliphate that 

justifies murder and slavery, promotes repres-

sion, and seeks to undermine the American way 

of life. Jihadist terrorists use virtual and physical 

networks around the world to radicalize isolated 

individuals, exploit vulnerable populations, and 

inspire and direct plots.

Even after the territorial defeat of ISIS and al-Qa’ida 

in Syria and Iraq, the threat from jihadist terror-

ists will persist. Th ey have used batt lefi elds as test 

beds of terror and have exported tools and tactics 

to their followers. Many of these jihadist terror-


11

P I L L A R   I :   P RO T E C T   T H E   A M E R I C A N   P E O P L E ,   T H E   H O M E L A N D ,   A N D   T H E   A M E R I C A N   WAY   O F   L I F E

ists are likely to return to their home countries, 

from which they can continue to plot and launch 

att acks on the United States and our allies. 

The United States also works with allies and 

partners to deter and dis-

rupt other foreign terror-

ist g roups t h at t h re aten 

t h e   h o m e l a n d — i n c l u d -

ing Iranian-backed groups 

such as Lebanese Hizballah. 



Priority  Actions 

DISRUPT TERROR PLOTS: 

We will 


enhance intelligence shar-

ing domestically and with for-

eign partners. We will give 

our frontline defenders—

including homeland secu-

rity, law enforcement, and intelligence profes-

sionals—the tools, authorities, and resources to 

stop terrorist acts before they take place. 



TAKE DIRECT ACTION: 

The U.S. military and other 

operating agencies will take direct action against 

terrorist networks and pursue terrorists who 

threaten the homeland and U.S. citizens regard-

less of where they are. Th e campaigns against ISIS 

and al-Qa’ida and their affi  liates demonstrate that 

the United States will enable partners and sus-

tain direct action campaigns to destroy terrorists 

and their sources of support, making it harder for 

them to plot against us.

ELIMINATE TERRORIST SAFE HAVENS: 

Time and ter-

ritory allow jihadist terrorists to plot, so we will 

act against sanctuaries and prevent their reemer-

gence, before they can threaten the U.S. home-

land. We will go after their digital networks and 

work with private industry to confront the chal-

lenge of terrorists and criminals “going dark” and 

using secure platforms to evade detection.

SEVER SOURCES OF STRENGTH: 

We will disrupt the 

fi nancial, materiel, and personnel supply chains of 

terrorist organizations. We will sever their fi nanc-

ing and protect the U.S. and international fi nancial 

systems from abuse. We will degrade their ability  

to message and attract poten-

tial recruits. This includes 

combating the evil ideology 

of jihadists by exposing its 

falsehoods, promoting count-

er-narratives, and amplify-

ing credible voices. 

S H A R E  R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y:

 Our 


allies and partners, who are 

also targets of terrorism, will 

continue to share responsi-

bility in fighting these bar-

baric groups. We will help our 

partners develop and respon-

sibly employ the capacity to 

degrade and maintain persistent pressure against 

terrorists and will encourage partners to work 

independently of U.S. assistance. 



CO M B AT R A D I C A L I Z AT I O N A N D R E C R U I T M E N T I N 

COMMUNITIES: 

The United States rejects bigotry 

and oppression and seeks a future built on our val-

ues as one American people. We will deny vio-

lent ideologies the space to take root by improving 

trust among law enforcement, the private sector, 

and American citizens. U.S. intelligence and home-

land security experts will work with law enforce-

ment and civic leaders on terrorism prevention and 

provide accurate and actionable information about 

radicalization in their communities. 

Dismantle Transnational 

Criminal Organizations 

The United States must devote greater resources 

to dismantle transnational criminal organiza-

tions (TCOs) and their subsidiary networks. Some 

have established global supply chains that are 

We will give our frontline 

defenders—including homeland 

security , law enforcement, and 

intelligence professionals—

the tools, authorities, and 

resources to stop terrorist acts 

before they take place. 


N A T I O N A L   S E C U R I T Y   S T R A T E G Y

12

comparable to Fortune 500 corporations. Every 



day they deliver drugs to American communities, 

fuel gang violence, and engage in cybercrime. Th e 

illicit opioid epidemic, fed by drug cartels as well 

as Chinese fentanyl traffickers, kills tens of thou-

sands of Americans each year. Th ese organizations 

weaken our allies and partners too, by corrupting 

and undermining democratic institutions. TCOs 

are motivated by profi t, power, and political infl u-

ence. They exploit weak governance and enable 

other national security threats, including terror-

ist organizations. In addition, some state adver-

saries use TCOs as instruments of national power, 

offering them territorial sanctuary where they 

are free to conduct unattributable cyber intru-

sions, sabotage, theft, and political subversion.

Priority  Actions 


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