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A Question of Convergence: US and EU Security Strategies between 2002 and 2016

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

Corporate Author:

US Army School of Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


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This monograph examines the evolution of US and EU security strategies between 2002 and 2016. The United States and the European Union moved towards similar policies expressed in their respective security strategy documents. The US Security Strategy USNSS 2002 published under President George W. Bush preferred preemption, emphasized a unilateral approach, and relied on the use of military force. In contrast the European Security Strategy ESS favored multilateral approaches, proliferation prevention, and the use of diplomatic and economic power. With the inauguration of President Barack H. Obama, the direction of US strategic policy changed. The USNSS 2015 expressed a more balanced approach and focused less on military strength to cope with the given security challenges. Simultaneously the new European Union Global Strategy 2016, which replaced the ESS, showed a slightly greater willingness to enlarge its security and defense efforts instead of mainly relying on the EUs diplomatic and economic capabilities. The monograph looks more deeply at these changes to determine whether, under President Obama, the strategies of the European Union and the United States did indeed converge. The analysis is based on three criteria. The first criterion concerns the different understanding of the appropriate actions, whether preventive military operations or preventive political engagement. The second is the role of US national interests versus the EUs desire for international cooperation. The third criterion describes the significance of international law and, strongly related, the relevance of the United Nations.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]