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June 26th, 2017
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), the co-chairs of the recently-formed Democratic Caucus National Security Task Force, this week sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging his administration to submit the overdue, congressionally-mandated national security strategy. The letter was signed by 57 Members of Congress.
Under federal statute, within 150 days of taking office, a new president must provide Congress—and, by extension, the American public—with a report that sets forth “the national security strategy of the United States.” That deadline passed on June 19, 2017.
“We need a strong, smart, strategic approach to foreign policy that provides clear goals,” said Moulton. “Currently, Democrats and Republicans alike are saying that this administration has no national security strategy. It’s because they literally don’t. This letter demands that the administration follow the law and provide Congress and the American people with a national security strategy. We can’t have a strong American foreign policy without a plan.”
“Given the rapidly-changing threats to our nation, this administration must demonstrate it has a comprehensive strategy to protect the homeland and our nation’s interests abroad,” said Murphy. “A national security strategy provides a blueprint for meeting our national security challenges. Without this document, we’re essentially flying blind with no sense of priorities. I urge President Trump to submit his national security strategy as soon as possible so that we can work together more effectively in keeping America safe.”
“Without a National Security Strategy, our country’s credibility and accountability, both at home and abroad, is threatened,” said Panetta. “This administration is faltering on its obligation to provide clear and concise military objectives and guidance for our service members. The administration must set forth its strategy immediately.”
The full text of the letter is below:
June 26, 2017
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 3043, within 150 days of taking office, a new President must provide Congress—and, by extension, the American public—with a report that sets forth “the national security strategy of the United States.” That deadline passed on June 19th. We write to urge you to transmit this National Security Strategy without undue delay.
As envisioned by Congress, the National Security Strategy is intended to be a practical document that guides the real-world conduct of our military planners, intelligence officials, homeland security professionals, diplomats, and aid workers. To craft the National Security Strategy, a new presidential administration must identify our national security objectives with precision, prioritize those objectives, and then present a realistic, whole-of-government plan to achieve those objectives with the resources available. A good National Security Strategy will explain both the broad principles that underlie the administration’s approach to foreign policy and the specific steps that the administration intends to take to address discrete threats.
In light of the complex web of challenges that the United States confronts, the need for your administration to swiftly prepare and submit a National Security Strategy is acute. We are particularly interested in the administration’s strategy to deter and denuclearize North Korea; to defeat ISIL and its affiliates on the field of battle and in the realm of ideas; to stabilize Syria and Iraq; to ensure that Iran complies with its nuclear-related obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and reduces its support for terrorist organizations; to counter Russian aggression pursued through both military and non-military means; to turn the tide in Afghanistan; and to address emerging national security threats, such as cyberwarfare and climate change.
The United States must utilize all elements of its national power in support of security policies that are strategic, strong, and smart, fully leveraging the expertise of all our national security agencies, from the Department of Defense to the Department of State and USAID. We are growing increasingly concerned that you have yet to delineate a strategy to guide foreign policy decision-making and have yet to nominate or achieve confirmation of individuals for key national security positions who are needed to develop and execute that strategy.
We look forward to receiving the congressionally-mandated National Security Strategy as soon as possible.
Seth Moulton • Stephanie Murphy • Jimmy Panetta
Member of Congress • Member of Congress • Member of Congress
The Democratic Caucus National Security Task Force was established in June 2017 by the House Democratic Caucus to support the creation, execution, and public messaging of national security policies that are smart, strategic, and strong.
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