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



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MILITARY AND SECURITY: 

We will retain the neces-

sary American military presence in the region to 

protect the United States and our allies from ter-

rorist attacks and preserve a favorable regional 

Terrorists and criminals 

thrive where 

governments are weak, 

corruption is rampant, 

and faith in government 

institutions is low. 


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

50

balance of power. We will assist regional part-



ners in strengthening their institutions and 

capabilities, including in law enforcement, to 

conduct counterterrorism and counterinsur-

gency efforts. We will help partners procure 

interoperable missile defense and other capa-

bilities to better defend against active missile 

threats. We will work with partners to neutral-

ize Iran’s malign activities in the region.

South and Central Asia 

With over a quarter of the world’s population, a 

fi fth of all U.S.-designated terrorist groups, several 

fast-growing economies, and two nuclear-armed 

states, South and Central Asia present some of the 

most complicated national security challenges 

and opportunities. The region spans the terrorist 

threats emanating from the Middle East and the 

competition for power unfolding in Europe and 

the Indo-Pacific. The United States continues to 

face threats from transnational terrorists and mili-

tants operating from within Pakistan. Th e prospect 

for an Indo-Pakistani military conflict that could 

lead to a nuclear exchange remains a key concern 

requiring consistent diplomatic att ention.

U.S. interests in the region include countering ter-

rorist threats that impact the security of the U.S. 

homeland and our allies, preventing cross-border 

terrorism that raises the prospect of military and 

nuclear tensions, and preventing nuclear weap-

ons, technology, and materials from falling into 

the hands of terrorists. We seek an American pres-

ence in the region proportionate to threats to the 

homeland and our allies. We seek a Pakistan that is 

not engaged in destabilizing behavior and a stable 

and self-reliant Afghanistan. And we seek Central 

Asian states that are resilient against domination 

by rival powers, are resistant to becoming jihad-

ist safe havens, and prioritize reforms. 

Priority  Actions 

POLITICAL: 

We will deepen our strategic partner-

ship with India and support its leadership role 

in Indian Ocean security and throughout the 

broader region. We will press Pakistan to inten-

sify its counterterrorism efforts, since no part-

nership can survive a country’s support for mil-

itants and terrorists who target a partner’s own 

service members and officials. The United States 

will also encourage Pakistan to continue demon-

strating that it is a responsible steward of its 

nuclear assets. We will continue to partner with 

Afghanistan to promote peace and security  in the 

region. We will continue to promote anti-corrup-

tion reform in Afghanistan to increase the legit-

imacy of its government and reduce the appeal of 

violent extremist organizations. We will help South 

Asian nations maintain their sovereignty  as China 

increases its inf luence in the region. 

ECONOMIC: 

We will encourage the economic inte-

gration of Central and South Asia to promote 

prosperity and economic linkages that will bol-

ster connectivity and trade. And we will encour-

age India to increase its economic assistance 

in the region. In Pakistan, we will build trade 

and investment ties as security improves and as 

Pakistan demonstrates that it will assist the United 

States in our counterterrorism goals.



M I L I TA RY A N D S E C U R I T Y: 

We are committed to 

supporting the Afghan government and security 

forces in their fi ght against the Taliban, al-Qa’ida, 

ISIS, and other terrorists. We will bolster the 

fighting strength of the Afghan security forces 

to convince the Taliban that they cannot win on 

the battlefield and to set the conditions for diplo-

matic efforts to achieve enduring peace. We will 

insist that Pakistan take decisive action against 

militant and terrorist groups operating from its 

soil. We will work with the Central Asian states 

to guarantee access to the region to support our 

counterterrorism efforts.



51

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

Western Hemisphere

Stable, friendly, and prosperous states in the 

Western Hemisphere enhance our security and 

benefit our economy. Democratic states con-

nected by shared values and economic interests 

will reduce the violence, drug traffi  cking, and ille-

gal immigration that threaten our common secu-

rity, and will limit opportunities for adversar-

ies to operate from areas of close proximity to us. 

In the last half century, parts of this hemisphere 

were marred by dictatorships and insurgencies 

that killed tens of thousands of people. Today, 

this region stands on the cusp of prosperity and 

peace, built upon democracy and the rule of law. 

U.S. trade in the region is thriving and market 

opportunities for American goods and services, 

energy and infrastructure projects, and foreign 

direct investment continue to expand. 

Challenges remain, however. Transnational crim-

inal organizations—including gangs and cartels—

perpetuate violence and corruption, and threaten 

the stability of Central American states includ-

ing Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. In 

Venezuela and Cuba, governments cling to anach-

ronistic leftist authoritarian models that con-

tinue to fail their people. Competitors have found 

operating space in the hemisphere. 

China seeks to pull the region into its orbit through 

state-led investments and loans. Russia contin-

ues its failed politics of the Cold War by bolster-

ing its radical Cuban allies as Cuba continues to 

repress its citizens. Both China and Russia sup-

port the dictatorship in Venezuela and are seek-

ing to expand military linkages and arms sales 

across the region. The hemisphere’s democratic 

states have a shared interest in confronting threats 

to their sovereignty. 

Canada and the United States share a unique 

strategic and defense partnership. The United 

States also has important and deepening rela-

tions with key countries in the region. Together, 

we will build a stable and peaceful hemisphere 

that increases economic opportunities for all, 

improves governance, reduces the power of crim-

inal organizations, and limits the malign influ-

ence of non-hemispheric forces. 



Priority  Actions

POLITICAL: 

We will catalyze regional eff orts to build 

security  and prosperity  through strong diplomatic 

engagement. We will isolate governments that 

refuse to act as responsible partners in advancing 

hemispheric peace and prosperity . We look forward 

to the day when the people of Cuba and Venezuela 

can enjoy freedom and the benefi ts of shared pros-

perity, and we encourage other free states in the 

hemisphere to support this shared endeavor. 



ECONOMIC: 

We will modernize our trade agree-

ments and deepen our economic ties with the 

region and ensure that trade is fair and reciprocal. 

We will encourage further market-based economic 

reforms and encourage transparency to create con-

ditions for sustained prosperity. We will ensure 

the U.S. fi nancial system does not serve as a haven 

or transit point for criminal proceeds.

MILITARY AND SECURITY: 

We will build upon local 

efforts and encourage cultures of lawfulness to 

reduce crime and corruption, including by sup-

porting local efforts to professionalize police and 

other security forces; strengthen the rule of law 

and undertake judicial reform; and improve infor-

mation sharing to target criminals and corrupt 

leaders and disrupt illicit trafficking. 


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

52

Africa



Africa remains a continent of promise and endur-

ing challenges. Africa contains many of the world’s 

fastest growing economies, which represent poten-

tial new markets for U.S. goods and services. 

Aspiring partners across the continent are eager 

to build market-based economies and enhance sta-

bility . Th e demand for quality  American exports is 

high and will likely grow as Africa’s population and 

prosperity  increase. People across the continent are 

demanding government accountability and less 

corruption, and are opposing autocratic trends. Th e 

number of stable African nations has grown since 

the independence era as numerous countries have 

emerged from devastating confl icts and undergone 

democratic transitions.

Despite this progress, many states face political 

turbulence and instability that spills into other 

regions. Corruption and weak governance threaten 

to undermine the political 

benefits that should emerge 

from new economic opportu-

nities. Many African states 

are battlegrounds for vio-

lent extremism and jihad-

ist terrorists. ISIS, al-Qa’ida, 

and their affiliates oper-

ate on the continent and 

have increased the lethal-

ity of their attacks, expanded 

into new areas, and targeted 

U.S. citizens and interests. 

African nations and regional 

organizations have demon-

strated a commitment to confront the threat 

from jihadist terrorist organizations, but their 

security capabilities remain weak.

China is expanding its economic and military 

presence in Africa, growing from a small inves-

tor in the continent two decades ago into Africa’s 

largest trading partner today. Some Chinese prac-

tices undermine Africa’s long-term development 

by corrupting elites, dominating extractive indus-

tries, and locking countries into unsustainable 

and opaque debts and commitments. 

The United States seeks sovereign African states 

that are integrated into the world economy, able 

to provide for their citizens’ needs, and capable of 

managing threats to peace and security . Improved 

governance in these states supports economic 

development and opportunities, diminishes the 

att raction of illegal migration, and reduces vulner-

ability  to extremists, thereby reducing instability . 



Priority  Actions

POLITICAL: 

The United States will partner with 

governments, civil society, and regional organi-

zations to end long-running, violent conflicts. 

We will encourage reform, working with prom-

ising nations to promote effective governance, 

improve the rule of law, and 

develop institutions account-

able and responsive to cit-

izens. We will continue to 

respond to humanitarian 

needs while also working 

with committ ed governments 

and regional organizations 

to address the root causes of 

human suffering. If neces-

sary, we are prepared to sanc-

tion government officials 

and institutions that prey 

on their citizens and com-

mit atrocities. When there is 

no alternative, we will suspend aid rather than 

see it exploited by corrupt elites. 

ECONOMIC: 

We will expand trade and commercial 

ties to create jobs and build wealth for Americans 

and Africans. We will work with reform-oriented 

governments to help establish conditions that can 

transform them into trading partners and improve 



We will encourage reform, 

working with promising nations 

to promote eff ective governance, 

improve the rule of law, and 

develop institutions accountable 

and responsive to citizens.

53

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

their business environment. We will support eco-

nomic integration among African states. We will 

work with nations that seek to move beyond assis-

tance to partnerships that promote prosperity. 

We will offer American goods and services, both 

because it is profi table for us and because it serves 

as an alternative to China’s often extractive eco-

nomic footprint on the continent. 



MILITARY AND SECURITY: 

We will continue to work 

with partners to improve the ability of their secu-

rity services to counter terrorism, human traf-

ficking, and the illegal trade in arms and natural 

resources. We will work with partners to defeat 

terrorist organizations and others who threaten 

U.S. citizens and the homeland. 



  

55

Conclusion

Th is National Security  Strategy sets a positive strategic direction for the United 

States that is meant to reassert America’s advantages on the world stage and to 

build upon our country’s great strengths. During the Trump Administration, 

the American people can be confi dent that their security  and prosperity  will 

always come fi rst. A secure, prosperous, and free America will be strong and 

ready to lead abroad to protect our interests and our way of life. 

A

merica’s renewed strategic confidence 



is anchored in our recommitment to 

the principles inscribed in our found-

ing documents. The National Security Strategy 

celebrates and protects what we hold dear—

individual liberty, the rule of law, a democratic 

system of government, tolerance, and opportunity  

for all. By knowing ourselves and what we stand 

for, we clarify  what we must defend and we estab-

lish guiding principles for our actions.

This strategy is guided by principled real-

ism. It is realist because it acknowledges the 

central role of power in international poli-

tics, affirms that sovereign states are the best 

hope for a peaceful world, and clearly defines 

our national interests. It is principled because 

it is grounded in the knowledge that advanc-

ing American principles spreads peace and 

prosperity around the globe. We are guided 

by our values and disciplined by our interests. 

Th is Administration has a bright vision of America’s 

future. America’s values and influence, under-

writt en by American power, make the world more 

free, secure, and prosperous. 

Our Nation derives its strength from the American 

people. Every American has a role to play in this 

grand, national effort to implement this America 

First National Security  Strategy. Together, our task 

is to strengthen our families, to build up our com-

munities, to serve our citizens, and to celebrate 

American greatness as a shining example to the 

world. We will leave our children and grandchil-

dren a Nation that is stronger, bett er, freer, prouder, 

and greater than ever before.


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

56

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