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The 2015 National Security Strategy: Authorities, Changes, Issues for Congress

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Technical Report

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Congressional Research Service Washington United States

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The Obama Administration released a new National Security Strategy NSS on February 6, 2015. It was the second NSS document to be published by the Administration the first was published in May 2010. The 2015 document states that its purpose is to set out the principles and priorities to guide the use of American power and influence in the world. The NSS is a congressionally mandated document, originating in the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 P.L. 99-433, 60350 U.S.C 3043.The 2015 NSS emphasizes the role of U.S. leadership the words lead, leader, leading, and leadership appear 94 times in the context of the U.S. role in the world. It also acknowledges national limitations and calls for strategic patience and persistence. The 2015 report retains much of the underlying thought of the 2010 version. However, its emphasis appears to shift away from the U.S. role in the world being largely a catalyst for action by international institutions to one that reflects more involved leadership both inside those institutions and between nations. It also takes a tougher line with both China and with Russia, while emphasizing the desirability for cooperation with both.

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