January 25, 2018
Remarks (as prepared) by Chargé d’Affaires Adam Shub
Security and Defence Committee hearing
at the European Parliament
Madame Chair, Mrs. Fotyga, and Vice Chairs Ehler, Stetina, Moody, and Losing, thank you for the invitation to meet with you today. It’s good to see you again, and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) with you.
I would like to address three points with you today:
- The history of U.S.-EU security.
- The details of the National Security Strategy.
- Look further into 2018 and how we will deploy the National Security Strategy.
The U.S.-EU transatlantic partnership has prospered for decades, constructed on a commitment to the rule of law, the democratic process, free enterprise, respect for human rights, and alleviating poverty.
As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said when he was here in Brussels in December, “The partnership between America and the European Union … is longstanding. It is one that’s based upon shared values, shared objectives for security and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic, and we remain committed to that.”
The NSS fits into the continuum of engagement we have had with Europe on security across many U.S. Administrations. This continuum goes back at least to, and well beyond, Ronald Reagan’s address to the European Parliament in May, 1985.
At that time, Reagan stressed “the United States is committed not only to a partnership with Europe, the United States is committed to an end to the artificial division of Europe.”
He continued “we have much to do, and we must do it together. We must remain unified in the face of attempts to divide us.”
Our action together has taken multiple forms throughout our shared history. The NSS gives us an opportunity to continue our action together today. The 2017 NSS is a new National Security Strategy for a new era.
In his comments on the NSS, President Trump has observed the United States now faces an extraordinarily dangerous world, filled with a wide range of threats that have intensified in recent years. The document presents a clear-eyed view of the strategic environment and a plan for the United States to shift regional balances of power in our favor. It declares we live in a competitive world where vigorous military, economic, and political contests are now playing out all around the world. It states China and Russia challenge American power influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. It also admits that in some ways, the global balance of power has shifted in ways unfavorable to American interests. For example, rival actors use propaganda and other means to try to discredit democracy.
Thus, the NSS acknowledges that America must use all elements of national power—military, economic, energy, information, and other elements—to protect the American people and advance American interests. The National Security Strategy, at its core, rest upon “four pillars.”
- Protect the Homeland
- Promote American Prosperity
- Preserve Peace Through Strength
- Advance American Influence
The NSS prescribes priority actions the United States will take to maintain these four pillars. It’s prescriptions are comprehensive; I will survey some of the priority actions now.
Protecting the Homeland means our fundamental responsibility is to protect the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life. This pillar states in order to protect our physical security and the rights and liberties enshrined in our founding documents, America will confront threats before they ever reach our borders or cause harm to our people.
The United States will continue modernizing its military, increasing defense spending, countering modern threats such as cyber and hybrid forms of aggression, and enhancing multi layered missile defense, among other efforts.
We will defend against weapons of mass destruction (WMD) with enhanced missile defense, detection and destruction of WMD, and enhanced counterproliferation measures.
We will also secure our borders and territory, strengthen border control and immigration policy, keep America safe in the cyber era, and promote American resilience. We will take direct action to defeat Jihadist terrorists and dismantle transnational criminal organizations. We will disrupt terror plots, eliminate safe havens, and work with foreign partners to target leaders of terrorist and criminal organizations and their support infrastructure.
On cyber in particular, we will build defensible government networks, deter and disrupt malicious cyber actors, and deploy layered defense to improve the security of all cyber users.
The NSS states plainly that economic security is national security. American economic prosperity is the foundation of our national strength, and allows the United States to field the world’s most powerful military to protect our homeland.
To maintain and promote our prosperity, America will pursue an economic strategy that rejuvenates the domestic economy, benefits the American worker, revitalizes the U.S. manufacturing base, creates middle-class jobs, encourages innovation, preserves technological advantage, safeguards the environment, and achieves energy dominance.
We believe that rebuilding economic strength at home and preserving a fair and reciprocal international economic system will advance prosperity and peace in the world. We will promote free, fair, and reciprocal economic relationships; lead in research, technology, invention, and innovation; and promote and protect the U.S. national security innovation base.
We will promote U.S. exports, attract and retain inventors and innovators to the United States, and counter unfair trade practices and foreign corruption. We will protect intellectual property, data, and underlying infrastructure.
On energy, the United States will streamline Federal U.S. Regulations to facilitate approvals for energy infrastructure. We are committed to sustaining a transparent and open global economy. But we must do more, along with partners and international institutions, to reform the system in order to preserve and promote free, fair, and reciprocal trade.
The President believes an America strengthened, renewed, and rejuvenated, will ensure peace and deter hostility. But the NSS notes clearly that China and Russia, rogue states such as Iran and North Korea, and transnational threat organizations such as jihadist terrorist groups are actively competing against the United States and our allies and partners.
To address this, the NSS declares the United States will renew our competitive advantages. We will modernize our military, improve our troops’ readiness to fight, and ensure our weapons systems overmatch our adversaries’ weapons in lethality. We will convince adversaries that we can and will defeat them if they attack the United States. And we will work to convince adversaries that they cannot accomplish objectives through the use of force or other forms of aggression.
We will sustain U.S. nuclear weapons, and maintain stable deterrence. We will use all of the tools of statecraft in a new era of strategic competition – diplomatic, information, economic, and military – to protect our interests.
America will deploy a forward diplomatic presence to build and sustain relationships where U.S. interests are at stake. In addition, to preserve peace, we will advance American interests, reinforce economic ties with allies and partners, and economic pressure on security threats.
The extraordinary trajectory of the United States from a group of colonies to a thriving, industrialized, sovereign republic is a testimony to the strength of the idea on which our Nation is founded: that each of our citizens is born free and equal under the law.
The NSS says America’s core principles form the foundation of our most enduring alliances, and the United States will continue to champion them. For much of the world, America’s liberties are inspirational. We will remain a beacon of liberty and opportunity around the world. Under this NSS, we will continue to advance America’s influence abroad to protect not only our security and prosperity but those of our Allies and partners.
Note, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone. Under this fourth pillar, we will modernize our development finance tools so U.S. companies can capitalize on opportunities to invest in other countries. We will use diplomacy and assistance to encourage States to choose to improve governance, rule of law, and sustainable development. We will work to achieve better outcomes in multilateral forums. We will ensure common domains—such as maritime, air, space, and cyberspace, remain free, and protect a free and open internet. We will also support the dignity of individuals, defeat transnational terrorist organizations, and empower women and youth.
Of note on defense, on January 19, the Secretary of Defense announced the new National Defense Strategy (NDS) for the United States. The NDS, subtitled “Sharpening America’s Competitive Edge”, is derived directly from the NSS. The NDS outlines how the United States will retain the ability to ensure free and open borders that are most conducive to peace and prosperity, and to prevail against competitors and adversaries if they choose to engage in conflict.
The NSS acknowledges that America first does not mean America alone. It highlights that one of America’s greatest strengths is our array of Allies and partners, whose close cooperation magnifies U.S. power and extends our influence. It also underscores a strong and free Europe is of vital importance to the United States, as are stability and wealth on both sides of the Atlantic.
Europe and America are bound together by a shared commitment to the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. The document makes clear the United States will deepen collaboration with European allies to confront threats to our common values, security interests, and shared vision. The NSS declares the United States remains firmly committed to our European allies and partners, and our commitment to NATO’s Article 5 in the Washington Treaty is ironclad.
However, we expect NATO Allies to shoulder their fair share of the burden and take greater responsibility in areas that most affect them. The NSS repeats that NATO Allies must increase defense spending to 2 percent of their GDP annually by 2024—which all Allies have agreed to do.
Russia represents a unique challenge, seeking to project strength, re-establish spheres of influence near its borders and beyond, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments. We all know too that Russia continues to intimidate its neighbors with threatening behavior, such as nuclear posturing and the forward deployment of offensive capabilities.
In addition China is gaining a strategic foothold in Europe, a notable concern. As an NSS priority action, the United States is committed to working with Europe to counter Russian subversion and aggression, as well as to counter the threats posed by North Korea and Iran.
The NSS also mentions instability in the Middle East and North Africa, which triggers the movement of migrants and refugees, exacerbating instability and tensions in Europe and further abroad. The NSS makes clear we seek a Middle East that is not a safe haven or breeding ground for jihadist terrorists, not dominated by any power hostile to the United States or our allies, and that contributes to a stable global energy market.
We will also work with the European Union and bilaterally with other states to ensure fair and reciprocal trade practices, and to eliminate barriers to growth. Other priority actions for cooperation with Europe are to:
- Encourage European investment in the United States to create jobs
- Diversify energy sources to ensure energy security for Europe
- Strengthen deterrence and defense, and increasing counterterrorism and cybersecurity cooperation here
- Contest China’s unfair trade and economic practices in Europe
We will continue to insist on full implementation of existing nuclear arms control agreements, and remain open to pursue meaningful and verifiable arms control and confidence-building steps in the nuclear area.
Commenting on the NSS, Secretary Tillerson said the United States faces a 21st century global environment that presents unconventional threats from non-state actors, as well as challenges to our economic and national security from traditional state actors. It is encouraging to see that many others share this view.
Commenting on the NSS, Nile Gardiner, Heritage Foundation, considered it “A robust statement of leadership on the world stage,” and “a rejection of isolationism.”
Another American, the distinguished academic Walter Russell Mead said in December about the NSS: “In steering American foreign policy away from the inflated expectations and unrealistic objectives produced by the end of history mirage, the Trump Administration is performing a much-needed service.”
As we move into 2018, you will see the NSS in action. The NATO Summit in July will reinforce our commitment to Transatlantic security. We look forward to a new joint declaration on NATO-EU cooperation there. We will continue to insist on full implementation of existing nuclear arms control agreements, and remain open to pursue meaningful and verifiable arms control and confidence-building steps in the nuclear area. We also must have a unified approach to threats from DPRK to Iran to Russia to any corner of the world that represents a threat to the common security of our societies.
We know we must work together. Thank you for your attention; I look forward to your questions.