On December 18, President Trump unveiled his long-awaited National Security Strategy. “For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems. States have increasingly found common interests with Israel in confronting common threats,” the National Security Strategy said. The following is a video of Trump’s remarks and excerpts from the strategy dealing with Iran and extremism. Click here for his wider foreign policy strategy.

 

Remarks By President Trump on the Administration's National Security Strategy

"Our leaders engaged in nation-building abroad, while they failed to build up and replenish our nation at home.  They undercut and shortchanged our men and women in uniform with inadequate resources, unstable funding, and unclear missions.  They failed to insist that our often very wealthy allies pay their fair share for defense, putting a massive and unfair burden on the U.S. taxpayer and our great U.S. military.

They neglected a nuclear menace in North Korea; made a disastrous, weak, and incomprehensibly bad deal with Iran; and allowed terrorists such as ISIS to gain control of vast parts of territory all across the Middle East." 

"We have established strict new vetting procedures to keep terrorists out of the United States, and our vetting is getting tougher each month.

To counter Iran and block its path to a nuclear weapon, I sanctioned the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support of terrorism, and I declined to certify the Iran Deal to Congress.

Following my trip to the Middle East, the Gulf states and other Muslim-majority nations joined together to fight radical Islamist ideology and terrorist financing.  We have dealt ISIS one devastating defeat after another.  The coalition to defeat ISIS has now recaptured almost 100 percent of the land once held by these terrorists in Iraq and Syria.  Great job.  (Applause.)  Great job.  Really good.  Thank you.  Thank you.  We have a great military.  We're now chasing them wherever they flee, and we will not let them into the United States.

In Afghanistan, our troops are no longer undermined by artificial timelines, and we no longer tell our enemies of our plans.  We are beginning to see results on the battlefield.  And we have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory."

"This strategy recognizes that, whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a new era of competition.  We accept that vigorous military, economic, and political contests are now playing out all around the world.

We face rogue regimes that threaten the United States and our allies.  We face terrorist organizations, transnational criminal networks, and others who spread violence and evil around the globe.

We also face rival powers, Russia and China, that seek to challenge American influence, values, and wealth.  We will attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries, but in a manner that always protects our national interest.

As an example, yesterday I received a call from President Putin of Russia thanking our country for the intelligence that our CIA was able to provide them concerning a major terrorist attack planned in St. Petersburg, where many people, perhaps in the thousands, could have been killed.  They were able to apprehend these terrorists before the event, with no loss of life.  And that’s a great thing, and the way it’s supposed to work.  That is the way it's supposed to work."

"In addition, our strategy calls for us to confront, discredit, and defeat radical Islamic terrorism and ideology and to prevent it from spreading into the United States.  And we will develop new ways to counter those who use new domains, such as cyber and social media, to attack our nation or threaten our society."

National Security Strategy On Extremism:

"The United States faces an extraordinarily dangerous world, filled with a wide range of threats that have intensified in recent years. When I came into office, rogue regimes were developing  nuclear weapons and missiles to threaten the entire planet. Radical Islamist terror groups were flourishing. Terrorists had taken control of vast swaths of the Middle East.

Nearly one year later, although serious challenges remain, we are charting a new and very different course.

We have renewed our friendships in the Middle East and partnered with regional leaders to help drive out terrorists and extremists, cut off their financing, and discredit their wicked ideology. We crushed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, and will continue pursuing them until they are destroyed."

Introduction

A Competitive World

"Transnational threat groups, from jihadist terrorists to transnational criminal organizations, are actively trying to harm Americans. While these challenges differ in nature and magnitude, they are fundamentally contests between those who value human dignity and freedom and those who oppress individuals and enforce uniformity."

"Rival actors use propaganda and other means to try to discredit democracy. They advance anti-Western views and spread false information to create divisions among ourselves, our allies, and our partners. In addition, jihadist terrorists such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida continue to spread a barbaric ideology that calls for the violent destruction of governments and innocents they consider to be apostates. These jihadist terrorists attempt to force those under their influence to submit to Sharia law."

An America First National Strategy

"A layered missile defense system will defend our homeland against missile attacks. And we will pursue threats to their source, so that jihadist terrorists are stopped before they ever reach our borders."

Pillar I - Protect the American People, the Homeland, and the American Way of Life

"We must prevent nuclear, chemical, radiological, and biological attacks, block terrorists from reaching our homeland, reduce drug and human trafficking, and protect our critical infrastructure. We must also deter, disrupt, and defeat potential threats before they reach the United States. We will target jihadist terrorists and transnational criminal organizations at their source and dismantle their networks of support."

Secure U.S. Borders and Territory

Defend Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

"The Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own citizens undermines international norms against these heinous weapons, which may encourage more actors to pursue and use them. ISIS has used chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria. Terrorist groups continue to pursue WMD-related materials. We would face grave danger if terrorists obtained inadequately secured nuclear, radiological, or biological material."

Priority Actions: Defend Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

"Target WMD Terrorists: We will direct counterterrorism operations against terrorist WMD specialists, financiers, administrators, and facilitators. We will work with allies and partners to detect and disrupt plots."

Strengthen Border Control and Immigration Policy

"Terrorists, drug traffickers, and criminal cartels exploit porous borders and threaten U.S. security and public safety. These actors adapt quickly to outpace our defenses."

Pursue Threats to Their Source

"The primary transnational threats Americans face are from jihadist terrorists and transnational criminal organizations. Although their objectives differ, these actors pose some common challenges. First, they exploit our open society. Second, they often operate in loose confederations and adapt rapidly. Third, they rely on encrypted communication and the dark web to evade detection as they plot, recruit, finance, and execute their operations. Fourth, they thrive under conditions of state weakness and prey on the vulnerable as they accelerate the breakdown of rules to create havens from which to plan and launch attacks on the United States, our allies, and our partners. Fifth, some are sheltered and supported by states and do their bidding."

Defeat Jihadist Terrorists

"Jihadist terrorist organizations present the most dangerous terrorist threat to the Nation. America, alongside our allies and partners, is fighting a long war against these fanatics who advance a totalitarian vision for a global Islamist caliphate that justifies murder and slavery, promotes repression, and seeks to undermine the American way of life. Jihadist terrorists use virtual and physical networks around the world to radicalize isolated individuals, exploit vulnerable populations, and inspire and direct plots.

Even after the territorial defeat of ISIS and al-Qa’ida in Syria and Iraq, the threat from jihadist terrorists will persist. They have used battlefields as test beds of terror and have exported tools and tactics to their followers. Many of these jihadist terrorists are likely to return to their home countries, from which they can continue to plot and launch attacks on the United States and our allies.

The United States also works with allies and partners to deter and disrupt other foreign terrorist groups that threaten the homeland—including Iranian-backed groups such as Lebanese Hizballah."

Priority Actions: Defeat Jihadist Terrorists

"Disrupt Terror Plots: We will enhance intelligence sharing domestically and with foreign partners. We will give our frontline defenders— including homeland security, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals—the tools, authorities, and resources to stop terrorist acts before they take place.

Take Direct Action: The U.S. military and other operating agencies will take direct action against terrorist networks and pursue terrorists who threaten the homeland and U.S. citizens regardless of where they are. ¬ e campaigns against ISIS and al-Qa’ida and their affiliates demonstrate that the United States will enable partners and sustain direct action campaigns to destroy terrorists and their sources of support, making it harder for them to plot against us.

Eliminate Terrorist Safe Havens: Time and territory allow jihadist terrorists to plot, so we will act against sanctuaries and prevent their reemergence, before they can threaten the U.S. homeland. We will go after their digital networks and work with private industry to confront the challenge of terrorists and criminals “going dark” and using secure platforms to evade detection.

Sever Sources of Strength: We will disrupt the financial, materiel, and personnel supply chains of terrorist organizations. We will sever their financing and protect the U.S. and international financial systems from abuse. We will degrade their ability to message and attract potential recruits. This includes combating the evil ideology of jihadists by exposing its falsehoods, promoting counter-narratives, and amplifying credible voices.

Share Responsibility: Our allies and partners, who are also targets of terrorism, will continue to share responsibility in fighting these barbaric groups. We will help our partners develop and responsibly employ the capacity to degrade and maintain persistent pressure against terrorists and will encourage partners to work independently of U.S. assistance.

Combat Radicalization and Recruitment in Communities: The United States rejects bigotry and oppression and seeks a future built on our values as one American people. We will deny violent ideologies the space to take root by improving trust among law enforcement, the private sector, and American citizens. U.S. intelligence and homeland security experts will work with law enforcement and civic leaders on terrorism prevention and provide accurate and actionable information about radicalization in their communities."

Pillar III - Preserve Peace Through Strength

"The United States continues to wage a long war against jihadist terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida. These groups are linked by a common radical Islamist ideology that encourages violence against the United States and our partners and produces misery for those under their control. Although the United States and our partners have inflicted defeats on ISIS and al-Qa’ida in Syria and Iraq, these organizations maintain global reach with established branches in strategic locations. The threat from jihadist terrorists will persist, even as we intensify efforts to prevent attacks on Americans, our allies, and our partners."

Renew Capabilities

Priority Actions: Military

"Retain a Full-Spectrum Force: We must sustain our competence in irregular warfare, which requires planning for a long-term, rather than ad hoc, fight against terrorist networks and other irregular threats."

Diplomacy and Statecraft

Priority Actions: Tools of Economic Diplomacy

"Sever Sources of Funding: We will deny revenue to terrorists, WMD proliferators, and other illicit actors in order to constrain their ability to use and move funds to support hostile acts and operations." 

Information Statecraft

"Jihadist terrorist groups continue to wage ideological information campaigns to establish and legitimize their narrative of hate, using sophisticated communications tools to attract recruits and encourage attacks against Americans and our partners."

Priority Actions: Information Statecraft

"Drive Effective Communications: We will craft and direct coherent communications campaigns to advance American influence and counter challenges from the ideological threats that emanate from radical Islamist groups and competitor nations. ¬ ese campaigns will adhere to American values and expose adversary propaganda and disinformation."

Pillar IV: Advance American Influence

Encourage Aspiring Partners

"Transnational threat organizations, such as jihadist terrorists and organized crime, often operate freely from fragile states and undermine sovereign governments. Failing states can destabilize entire regions."

Priority Actions: Fragile States

"Commit Selectively: We will give priority to strengthening states where state weaknesses or failure would magnify threats to the American homeland. For instance, engagement in Afghanistan seeks to prevent the reemergence of terrorist safe havens. "

Champion American Values

Priority Actions: Champion American Values

"Defeat Transnational Terrorist Organizations: There can be no greater action to advance the rights of individuals than to defeat jihadist terrorist and other groups that foment hatred and use violence to advance their supremacist Islamist ideologies. We will continue to join with other states to defeat this scourge of all civilized peoples."

The Strategy in a Regional Context

Indo-Pacific

Priority Actions: Indo-Pacific

"Military and Security: We will improve law enforcement, defense, and intelligence cooperation with Southeast Asian partners to address the growing terrorist threat."

Europe

"Europe also faces immediate threats from violent Islamist extremists. Attacks by ISIS and other jihadist groups in Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and other countries show that our European partners continue to face serious threats. Instability in the Middle East and Africa has triggered the movement of millions of migrants and refugees into Europe, exacerbating instability and tensions in the region."

Middle East

"The United States seeks 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, and that contributes to a stable global energy market.

For years, the interconnected problems of Iranian expansion, state collapse, jihadist ideology, socio-economic stagnation, and regional rivalries have convulsed the Middle East. The United States has learned that neither aspirations for democratic transformation nor disengagement can insulate us from the region’s problems. We must be realistic about our expectations for the region without allowing pessimism to obscure our interests or vision for a modern Middle East.

The region remains home to the world’s most dangerous terrorist organizations. ISIS and al-Qa’ida thrive on instability and export violent jihad. Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, has taken advantage of instability to expand its influence through partners and proxies, weapon proliferation, and funding. It continues to develop more capable ballistic missiles and intelligence capabilities, and it undertakes malicious cyber activities. These activities have continued unabated since the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran continues to perpetuate the cycle of violence in the region, causing grievous harm to civilian populations. Rival states are filling vacuums created by state collapse and prolonged regional conflict.

Despite these challenges, there are emerging opportunities to advance American interests in the Middle East. Some of our partners are working together to reject radical ideologies, and key leaders are calling for a rejection of Islamist extremism and violence. Encouraging political stability and sustainable prosperity would contribute to dampening the conditions that fuel sectarian grievances.

For generations the conflict bet ween Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems. States have increasingly found common interests with Israel in confronting common threats. Today, the United States has the opportunity to catalyze greater economic and political cooperation that will expand prosperity for those who want to partner with us. By revitalizing partnerships with reform-minded nations and encouraging cooperation among partners in the region, the United States can promote stability and a balance of power that favors U.S. interests."

Priority Actions: Middle East

"Political: We will strengthen partnerships, and form new ones, to help advance security through stability. Whenever possible, we will encourage gradual reforms. We will support efforts to counter violent ideologies and increase respect for the dignity of individuals. We remain committed to helping our partners achieve a stable and prosperous region, including through a strong and integrated Gulf Cooperation Council. We will strengthen our long-term strategic partnership with Iraq as an independent state. We will seek a settlement to the Syrian civil war that sets the conditions for refugees to return home and rebuild their lives in safety. We will work with partners to deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon and neutralize Iranian malign influence. We remain committed to helping facilitate a comprehensive peace agreement that is acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Economic: The United States will support the reforms underway that begin to address core inequities that jihadist terrorists exploit. We will encourage states in the region, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to continue modernizing their economies. We will play a role in catalyzing positive developments by engaging economically, supporting reformers, and championing the benefits of open markets and societies.

Military and Security: We will retain the necessary American military presence in the region to protect the United States and our allies from terrorist attacks and preserve a favorable regional balance of power. We will assist regional partners in strengthening their institutions and capabilities, including in law enforcement, to conduct counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts. We will help partners procure interoperable missile defense and other capabilities to better defend against active missile threats. We will work with partners to neutralize Iran’s malign activities in the region."

South and Central Asia

"U.S. interests in the region include countering terrorist threats that impact the security of the U.S. homeland and our allies, preventing cross-border terrorism that raises the prospect of military and nuclear tensions, and preventing nuclear weapons, technology, and materials from falling into the hands of terrorists. We seek an American presence in the region proportionate to threats to the homeland and our allies. We seek a Pakistan that is not engaged in destabilizing behavior and a stable and self-reliant Afghanistan. And we seek Central Asian states that are resilient against domination by rival powers, are resistant to becoming jihadist safe havens, and prioritize reforms."

Priority Actions: South and Central Asia

"Political: We will press Pakistan to intensify its counterterrorism efforts, since no partnership can survive a country’s support for militants and terrorists who target a partner’s own service members and officials.We will continue to promote anti-corruption reform in Afghanistan to increase the legitimacy of its government and reduce the appeal of violent extremist organizations."

"Economic: In Pakistan, we will build trade and investment ties as security improves and as Pakistan demonstrates that it will assist the United States in our counterterrorism goals."

"Military and Security: We are committed to supporting the Afghan government and security forces in their fight against the Taliban, al-Qa’ida, ISIS, and other terrorists. … We will insist that Pakistan take decisive action against militant and terrorist groups operating from its soil. We will work with the Central Asian states to guarantee access to the region to support our counterterrorism efforts."

Africa

"Many African states are battlegrounds for violent extremism and jihadist terrorists. ISIS, al-Qa’ida, and their affiliates operate on the continent and have increased the lethality of their attacks, expanded into new areas, and targeted U.S. citizens and interests. African nations and regional organizations have demonstrated a commitment to confront the threat from jihadist terrorist organizations, but their security capabilities remain weak."

Priority Actions: Africa

"Military and Security: We will continue to work with partners to improve the ability of their security services to counter terrorism, human trafficking, and the illegal trade in arms and natural resources. We will work with partners to defeat terrorist organizations and others who threaten U.S. citizens and the homeland."

National Security Strategy On Iran: 

"We are rallying the world against the rogue regime in North Korea and confronting the danger posed by the dictatorship in Iran, which those determined to pursue a flawed nuclear deal had neglected."

Introduction

A Competitive World

"China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence. At the same time, the dictatorships of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people."

Pillar I - Protect the American People, the Homeland, and the American Way of Life

"Iran supports terrorist groups and openly calls for our destruction. Jihadist terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida are determined to attack the United States and radicalize Americans with their hateful ideology. Non-state actors undermine social order through drug and human trafficking networks, which they use to commit violent crimes and kill thousands of American each year."

Secure U.S. Borders and Territory

Priority Actions: Secure U.S. Borders and Territory

"Enhance Missile Defense: The United States is deploying a layered missile defense system focused on North Korea and Iran to defend our homeland against missile attacks. This system will include the ability to defeat missile threats prior to launch."

Pursue Threats to Their Source

"The United States also works with allies and partners to deter and disrupt other foreign terrorist groups that threaten the homeland—including Iranian-backed groups such as Lebanese Hizballah."

Pillar III - Preserve Peace Through Strength

"The scourge of the world today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate all principles of free and civilized states. The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism around the world. It is developing more capable ballistic missiles and has the potential to resume its work on nuclear weapons that could threaten the United States and our partners."

The Strategy in a Regional Context

Middle East

"The United States seeks 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, and that contributes to a stable global energy market.

For years, the interconnected problems of Iranian expansion, state collapse, jihadist ideology, socio-economic stagnation, and regional rivalries have convulsed the Middle East. The United States has learned that neither aspirations for democratic transformation nor disengagement can insulate us from the region’s problems. We must be realistic about our expectations for the region without allowing pessimism to obscure our interests or vision for a modern Middle East.

The region remains home to the world’s most dangerous terrorist organizations. ISIS and al-Qa’ida thrive on instability and export violent jihad. Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, has taken advantage of instability to expand its influence through partners and proxies, weapon proliferation, and funding. It continues to develop more capable ballistic missiles and intelligence capabilities, and it undertakes malicious cyber activities. These activities have continued unabated since the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran continues to perpetuate the cycle of violence in the region, causing grievous harm to civilian populations. Rival states are filling vacuums created by state collapse and prolonged regional conflict.

Despite these challenges, there are emerging opportunities to advance American interests in the Middle East. Some of our partners are working together to reject radical ideologies, and key leaders are calling for a rejection of Islamist extremism and violence. Encouraging political stability and sustainable prosperity would contribute to dampening the conditions that fuel sectarian grievances.

For generations the conflict bet ween Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems. States have increasingly found common interests with Israel in confronting common threats. Today, the United States has the opportunity to catalyze greater economic and political cooperation that will expand prosperity for those who want to partner with us. By revitalizing partnerships with reform-minded nations and encouraging cooperation among partners in the region, the United States can promote stability and a balance of power that favors U.S. interests."

Priority Actions: Middle East

"Political: We will strengthen partnerships, and form new ones, to help advance security through stability. Whenever possible, we will encourage gradual reforms. We will support efforts to counter violent ideologies and increase respect for the dignity of individuals. We remain committed to helping our partners achieve a stable and prosperous region, including through a strong and integrated Gulf Cooperation Council. We will strengthen our long-term strategic partnership with Iraq as an independent state. We will seek a settlement to the Syrian civil war that sets the conditions for refugees to return home and rebuild their lives in safety. We will work with partners to deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon and neutralize Iranian malign influence. We remain committed to helping facilitate a comprehensive peace agreement that is acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Economic: The United States will support the reforms underway that begin to address core inequities that jihadist terrorists exploit. We will encourage states in the region, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to continue modernizing their economies. We will play a role in catalyzing positive developments by engaging economically, supporting reformers, and championing the benefits of open markets and societies.

Military and Security: We will retain the necessary American military presence in the region to protect the United States and our allies from terrorist attacks and preserve a favorable regional balance of power. We will assist regional partners in strengthening their institutions and capabilities, including in law enforcement, to conduct counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts. We will help partners procure interoperable missile defense and other capabilities to better defend against active missile threats. We will work with partners to neutralize Iran’s malign activities in the region."

Statements on the National Security Strategy

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

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. Whether the threats are rogue nations seeking nuclear weapons, terrorists plotting to attack our homeland, or malicious cyber actors seeking to damage and destabilize our critical systems and infrastructure, we must remain vigilant against those who would do harm to our people and our way of life. President Trump’s new National Security Strategy brings to bear all elements of American power to protect our people, generate new economic opportunities, and advance our interests and democratic principles. The State Department will work closely with other federal agencies and our allies and partners around the world to implement this strategy. 
Dec. 18, 2017, in a statement

Secretary of Defense James Mattis

The President’s 2017 National Security Strategy provides our Nation a clear and comprehensive strategy to address the security challenges that America faces.  As the world’s most lethal armed force, the men and women of the United States military ensure our diplomats always speak from a position of strength.  Supported by our allies and partners, we will continue to defend our common security interests as we protect America from those seeking to threaten the freedoms we enjoy.
Dec. 18, 2017, in a statement

 

To read the full National Security Strategy, click here
To read the National Security Strategy Fact Sheet, click here.