President Obama Names 8 'Strategic Risks' to US Security

The White House revealed its first national security strategy since 2010.

— -- For the first time since the rise of ISIS, the Ukraine crisis, the end of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a massive North Korean cyberattack, President Obama is putting his global strategy in writing.

The White House today released a new national security strategy, a formal document required annually by law, that lays out the president’s vision and priorities for threats at home and abroad.

It’s the first update to the policy since 2010, addressing a dramatically different international landscape than when Obama first took office.

While the new foreign policy blueprint does not signal a significant change in course, it does attempt to reconcile and explain the approach Obama has taken over the past five years and articulate guiding principles for his final two. In essence, it’s the so-called Obama Doctrine put into print. You can read it HERE.

“It serves as a compass for how this administration, in partnership with the Congress, will lead the world through a shifting security landscape toward a more-durable peace and a new prosperity,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

The document puts emphasis on American leadership. The word, or a derivation of it, appears more than 90 times in the 29-page strategy paper -– references seen at least in part aimed at countering critics who have accused the administration of diminishing U.S. leadership globally.

At the same time, Obama lays out the case for a cautious approach to U.S. interventions in hot spots around the world, warning against a rush to “over reach” and knee-jerk calls for “military power.”

“The challenges we face require strategic patience and persistence,” Obama writes.

The passage drew criticism from some Republicans who have long argued for a more aggressive U.S. posture.

As for national security at home, Obama made clear he sees eight “strategic risks” to American interests:

  • Catastrophic attack on the U.S. homeland or critical infrastructure
  • Threats or attacks against U.S. citizens abroad and our allies
  • Global economic crisis or widespread economic slowdown
  • Proliferation and/or use of weapons of mass destruction
  • Severe global infectious disease outbreaks
  • Climate change
  • Major energy market disruptions
  • Significant security consequences associated with weak or failing states (including mass atrocities, regional spillover, and transnational organized crime)