One of General Anthony Zinni’s more tough criticisms of the Obama administration this past year was that it had not placed a high enough priority on issuing its “National Security Strategy” report.
The National Security Act requires the President to issue such a report within 150 days of the start of his or her administration.
But Duke University political science professor and Senior Adviser to the Director of Policy Planning at the State Department Bruce Jentleson is one of the people actively working on the project.
Jentleson is one of a few thousand folks now at the International Studies Association meeting taking place in New Orleans right now — and I hear from a number of other friends here that he is speaking with folks about the effort. That’s good news, and Jentleson is someone who has given quality thought to the challenge of shaping national security priorities during a time of significant flux.
But the administration really needs to get this out. In fact, strategy and an organizing framework for a government’s national security course really ought to precede the major, defining decisions that commit resources and personnel to foreign policy challenges.
But in this case, it appears that President Obama has been focused on responding to crises at the moment and choosing a course that is disconnected from a compelling strategic course.
It’s better to get a comprehensive, well thought out strategic plan done — rather than rushing it out.
But one wonders how many more major decisions President Obama will make in the foreign policy and national security arena without the discipline of the legally required National Security Strategy report.
— Steve Clemons