A Needed National Strategy
What do you call a business who doesn't give its customers what they want, when they want it? An out-of-business business. In order for a business to succeed, a business must find out what the customers want, and give it to them.
However, without a vision, without a mission statement, no business can succeed. If you have a product that no one wants, say canned bird poop, success will be fleeting.
So, it is with our nation. Doesn’t it make sense for our country to have a national strategic narrative? What does this mean, you ask? It is, simply put, a document that states what America’s place is in the world, where we are going, and how do we get there?
One attempt to create a national strategic narrative has been drafted by Capt. Wayne Porter, United States Navy, and Col. Mark Mykleby, United States Marine Corps.
Sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, the national strategic narrative is based on the premise that we have to maintain our economic and security interests at home and abroad. In order to do this, we have to apply our influence and strength to pursuing fair competition, all the while adapting to the complex changes that are occurring throughout the world. We can do this through our core values as a nation, which, the Captain Porter and Colonel Mykleby identify as the following:
§ tolerance for all cultures, races, and religions;
§ global opportunity for self-fulfillment;
§ human dignity and freedom from exploitation;
§ justice with compassion;
§ sovereignty without tyranny, with assured freedom of expression;
§ an environment for entrepreneurial freedom and global prosperity; and
§ adequate health services.
These men firmly believe that our nation prospered – and was kept secure for decades – based on a strategy that relied on control, deterrence, and the belief that given the choice, people all over the world would share our vision for a better future.
America became the most dominant nation in the world. However, we have not been able to sustain this dominance. In this ever-changing world, America has not grasped the concept that uncertainty has been reigning supreme and we have fallen behind.
In order to maintain prosperity and security, the writers suggest three investment priorities that we can do as a nation:
Since our young are our greatest resource, we must ensure that we invest in the infrastructure of education, health and social services to provide for their continuing development.
Rather than focusing primarily on defense and protectionism, America must look at development and diplomacy. We must invest in civilian engagements around the world.
American must develop a comprehensive plan for sustainable access to rich natural resources throughout the world. Our planet’s population is projected to increase to nine billion in the next 50 years. The continuing depletion of our natural resources must be addressed head-on.
The most intriguing idea posited by the writers is their call for a “National Prosperity and Security Act,” which they deem as the modern-day equivalent of the National Security Act of 1947. The legislation would create policy changes that support entrepreneurialism and innovation in order to sustain our growth. Specifically, the act would include the following:
§ integrate policy across agencies and departments of the Federal government;
§ provide for more effective public/private partnerships;
§ increase the capacity of appropriate government departments and agencies;
§ align federal policies, taxation, research, and development expenditures and regulations to coincide with the goals of sustainability; and
§ converge domestic and foreign policies toward a common purpose.
This is something that our current administration can, and must, do in order to keep up with our changing times. A national strategic narrative can be the dynamic document on which America can continue to be prosperous and secure. This vision will help ensure that what we know as “America” does not become an out-of-business business.