New military strategy looks beyond Afghan war


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The military on Tuesday issued its first new statement of strategy in seven years, moving beyond a focus on the war in Afghanistan to address the rise of China and other strategic challenges.

The 2011 national military strategy by the Joint Chiefs of Staff reaffirmed U.S. commitment to fighting violent extremism with allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan but said the military must broaden its horizons to address developing threats elsewhere.

"While we continue to refine how we counter violent extremism and deter aggression, this strategy also rightly emphasizes that our military power is most effective when employed in concert with other elements of power," Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in his "Chairman's Corner" blog.

The strategy is a broad statement on how the military intends to use its forces and prioritize aid and training to help achieve U.S. security goals.

Military officials say a "whole-of-nation" approach involving not only security forces but diplomacy and nongovernmental organizations will be necessary to address many future security challenges.

"This whole-of-nation approach to foreign policy, with civilian leadership appropriately at the helm, will be essential as we address the complex security challenges before us," Mullen said.

While the last national military strategy, produced in 2004, called for the military to protect the United States, prevent surprise attacks and prevail against adversaries, the current document goes beyond that.

In addition to countering violent extremism and deterring aggression, the 2011 strategy seeks to strengthen global security through regional and international partnerships and aims to reshape the military force to meet future challenges.