Overview: The Strategic Context of Responsibility Sharing




The U.S. National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement includes three essential elements:

  • National security interests represent the ends or objectives of our strategy. Since the United States has national security interests worldwide, our strategy involves commitments, presence, and responsibility sharing arrangements worldwide.

  • U.S. military forces are among the most important means of implementing the strategy, and our forward presence is perhaps its most visible demonstration.

  • Allied contributions to security represent important dividends of engagement--the degree to which our security goals are shared and our efforts reciprocated. This community of shared interests and goals makes our security arrangements strong yet flexible, efficient and effective politically, militarily, and economically.

This last item, allied responsibility sharing, cannot be divorced from the strategic ends and means which it supports, and is one measure of the scope and success of U.S. engagement. Indeed, by this measure, our strategy of engagement continues to be very successful--as documented in this Overview to the 1996 Report on Allied Contributions to the Common Defense.

Within the framework of our engagement strategy, the central tenets of the Administration's responsibility sharing policy are as follows:

  • Responsibility sharing is an important but not paramount objective of our national security strategy. The foremost goals of

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