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Updates on NIF’s National Security Discussion Guide

The National Issues Forums Institute has announced updates to their discussion guide for national security issues. With the powerful emotions and real challenges facing our country in questions of security, resources like “America’s Role in the World: What Does National Security Mean in the 21st Century?” are important tools to keep our national conversation on security informed and productive. ¬†You can read NIFI’s remarks on the update below, or find them in full on their website.

This 12-page issue guide is an updated (2013) version of an earlier issue guide by the same title.

You can order or download these materials by clicking here.

The following is excerpted from the introduction to the issue guide:

It is time for us to take stock of America’s role in the world. How shall we approach the world in an environment in which our power is diminished but in which we face increased volatility, more competition, and a variety of global threats?

In other words: What does national security mean in the 21st century?

This issue guide provides three options for responding to that question. Each reflects a fundamentally different concern, and each suggests actions that we might take to address it, along with possible downsides or likely tradeoffs. By working through each option, we can come to our own individual and collective decisions about what course of action we would support and under what conditions.

Following are descriptions of the three options presented for consideration in the issue guide:

Option One: National Security Means Safeguarding the United States

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, we continue to face the threat of terrorism, as well as threats from Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan. At the same time, traditional adversaries like Russia and China are gaining power. Our most important goal must be to safeguard the people of the United States.

Option Two: National Security Depends on Putting Our Economic House in Order

The United States cannot long remain a superpower if it is the world’s largest debtor nation and runs huge budget deficits. We need to focus on increasing employment, eliminating our staggering public indebtedness and improving the balance of trade. Whatever steps we take domestically to improve the economy, it will mean spending less on the military and reducing the amount of money that flows overseas.

Option Three: National Security Means Recognizing That Global Threats Are Our Greatest Challenge

Our most urgent challenge is to address the long-term threats that endanger humanity and that demand an international solution. In the 21st century, we need to rethink what “national security” means. The greatest threats facing the United States–the risk of nuclear war, environmental devastation and global warming, pandemics, and the depletion of natural resources– also endanger other countries.

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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