95-Feb: WH-NSC: A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement

* 1995-Feb: WH-NSC: A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement [PDF]


Not all security risks are immediate or military in nature. Transnational phenomena such as terrorism, narcotics trafficking, environmental degradation, natural resource depletion, rapid population growth and refugee flows also have security implications for both present and long term American policy. In addition, an emerging class of transnational environmental issues are increasingly affecting international stability and consequently will present new challenges to U.S. strategy.


We also face security risks that are not solely military in nature. Transnational phenomena such as terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and refugee flows also have security implications both for present and long term American policy. An emerging class of transnational environmental and natural resource issues is increasingly affecting international stability and consequently will present new challenges to U.S. strategy. The threat of intrusions to our military and commercial information systems poses a significant risk to national security and must be addressed.


The Environment and Sustainable Development The more clearly we understand the complex interrelationships between the different parts of our world’s environment, the better we can understand the regional and even global effects of local changes to the environment. Increasing competition for the dwindling reserves of uncontaminated air, arable land, fisheries and other food sources, and water, once considered “free” goods, is already a very real risk to regional stability around the world. The range of environmental risks serious enough to jeopardize international stability extends to massive population flight from man-made or natural catastrophes, such as Chernobyl or the East African drought, and to large-scale ecosystem damage caused by industrial pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, ozone depletion, desertification, ocean pollution and ultimately climate change. Strategies dealing with environmental issues of this magnitude will require partnerships between governments and nongovernmental organizations, cooperation between nations and regions, and a commitment to a strategically focused, long-term policy for emerging environmental risks. The decisions we make today regarding military force structures typically influence our ability to respond to threats 20 to 30 years in the future. Similarly, our current decisions regarding the environment and natural resources will affect the magnitude of their security risks over at least a comparable period of time, if not longer. The measure of our difficulties in the future will be settled by the steps we take in the present.

As a priority initiative, the U.S. successfully led efforts at the September Cairo Conference to develop a consensus Program of Action to address the continuous climb in global population, including increased availability of family planning and reproductive health services, sustainable economic development, the empowerment of women to include enhanced educational opportunities and a reduction in infant and child mortality. Rapid population growth in the developing world and unsustainable consumption patterns in industrialized nations are the root of both present and potentially even greater forms of environmental degradation and resource depletion. A conservative estimate of the globe’s population projects 8.5 billion people on the planet by the year 2025. Even when making the most generous allowances for advances in science and technology, one cannot help but conclude that population growth and environmental pressures will feed into immense social unrest and make the world substantially more vulnerable to serious international frictions.


Providing for Energy Security The United States depends on oil for more than 40% of its primary energy needs. Roughly 45% of our oil needs are met with imports, and a large share of these imports come from the Persian Gulf area. The experiences of the two oil shocks and the Gulf War show that an interruption of oil supplies can have a significant impact on the economies of the United States and its allies. Appropriate economic responses can substantially mitigate the balance of payments and inflationary impacts of an oil shock; appropriate foreign policy responses to events such as Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait can limit the magnitude of the crisis. Over the longer term, the United States’ dependence on access to foreign oil sources will be increasingly important as our resources are depleted. The U.S. economy has grown roughly 75% since the first oil shock; yet during that time our oil consumption has remained virtually stable and oil production has declined. High oil prices did not generate enough new oil exploration and discovery to sustain production levels from our depleted resource base. These facts show the need for continued and extended reliance on energy efficiency and conservation and development of alternative energy sources. Conservation measures notwithstanding, the U.S. has a vital interest in unrestricted access to this critical resource.

Promoting Sustainable Development Abroad

Broad-based economic development not only improves the prospects for democratic development in developing countries, but also expands the demands for U.S. exports. Economic growth abroad can alleviate pressure on the global environment, reduce the attraction of illegal narcotics trade and improve the health and economic productivity of global populations. The environmental aspects of ill-designed economic growth are clear. Environmental damage will ultimately block economic growth. Rapid urbanization is outstripping the ability of nations to provide jobs, education and other services to new citizens. The continuing poverty of a quarter of the world’s people leads to hunger, malnutrition, economic migration and political unrest. Widespread illiteracy and lack of technical skills hinder employment opportunities and drive entire populations to support themselves on increasingly fragile and damaged resource bases. New diseases such as AIDS and epidemics, often spread through environmental degradation, threaten to overwhelm the health facilities of developing countries, disrupt societies and stop economic growth. These realities must be addressed by sustainable development programs which offer viable alternatives. U.S. leadership is of the essence. If such alternatives are not developed, the consequences for the planet’s future will be grave indeed. Domestically, the U.S. must work hard to halt local and cross-border environmental degradation. In addition, the U.S. should foster environmental technology targeting pollution prevention, control, and cleanup. Companies that invest in energy efficiency, clean manufacturing, and environmental services today will create the high-quality, high-wage jobs of tomorrow. By providing access to these types of technologies, our exports can also provide the means for other nations to achieve environmentally sustainable economic growth. At the same time, we are taking ambitious steps at home to better manage our natural resources and reduce energy and other consumption, decrease waste generation and increase our recycling efforts.

Internationally, the Administration’s foreign assistance program focuses on four key elements of sustainable development: broad-based economic growth; the environment; population and health; and democracy. We will continue to advocate environmentally sound private investment and responsible approaches by international lenders. At our urging, the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB’s) are now placing increased emphasis upon sustainable development in their funding decisions, to include a commitment to perform environmental assessments on projects for both internal and public scrutiny. In particular, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), established last year, will provide a source of financial assistance to the developing world for climate change, biodiversity and oceans initiatives.

The U.S. is taking specific steps now in all of these areas:

  • In June 1993, the United States signed the Convention on Biological Diversity, which aims to protect and utilize the world’s genetic inheritance. The Interior Department has been directed to create a national biological survey to help protect species and to help the agricultural and biotechnical industries identify new sources of food, fiber and medications.
  • New policies are being implemented to ensure the sustainable management of U.S. forests by the year 2000, as pledged internationally. In addition, U.S. bilateral forest assistance programs are being expanded, and the United States is promoting sustainable management of tropical forests.
  • In the wake of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the United States has sought to reduce land-based sources of marine pollution, maintain populations of marine species at healthy and productive levels and protect endangered marine mammals.
  • The United States has focused technical assistance and encouraged nongovernmental environmental groups to provide expertise to the republics of the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern European nations that have suffered the most acute environmental crises. The Agency for International Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and other U.S. agencies are engaged in technical cooperation with many countries around the world to advance these goals.
  • The Administration is leading a renewed global effort to address population problems and promote international consensus for stabilizing world population growth. Our comprehensive approach will stress family planning and reproductive health care, maternal and child health, education and improving the status of women. The International Conference on Population Development, held in September in Cairo, endorsed these approaches as important strategies in achieving our global population goals.