Semi-Annual Lesson Report: Allies and Partners in Peace and Stability Efforts

The US’ National Security Strategy (NSS) of October 2022 uses the phrase allies and partners 47 times in its 48 pages.0F1 The related 2022 80-page National Defense Strategy (NDS), which includes the Missile Defense and Nuclear Posture Reviews, refers to allies and partners 127 times and titles an entire section: Anchoring Our Strategy in Allies and Partners and Advancing Regional Goals.1F2 The slimmer 8-page Na-tional Military Strategy (NMS) mentions allies and partners six times, to include in one of the four identified Joint Force Strategic Objectives: “Deter strategic attacks and other aggression against the United States, allies, and partners.”2F3 [Emphasis added]. It also lists allies and partners in the seventh of ten Joint Force Tasks, Strengthen Relationships with Allies and Partners, with this urging: “Seek opportunities to collab-orate and improve interoperability with allies and partners to confront enduring and emerging challenges. Foster strong relationships now — because we cannot surge trust in crisis.”3F4
The reference to and respect for the US’ strategic allies and partners as articulated in these 2022 published national strategies is not new. However, Jennifer Kavanagh, a senior fellow in the American State-craft Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, points out that the NDS, specifically, “reveals several areas where the DOD [Department of Defense] signals an explicit intention to concentrate its own investments…while delegating other responsibilities to interagency, private sector, and foreign partners—a tactic known as burden sharing.”4F5 She highlights three areas of modified focus from previous NDSs to the most recent one of 2022; two of the modified areas refer to partners. She notes:
…the 2022 NDS commits not just to cooperate with allies and partners, but to put them in the driver’s seat on issues of self-defense and regional security, freeing up US forces for (other) se-curity demands.… (and it) …calls for more cooperation between the DOD and the private sector.5F6
So, given a new—or renewed—US strategic emphasis on allies and partners, who and what are they? What do those terms mean to US government officials when operationalizing national policies and pro-grams, to include peace and stability efforts? Apparently, it depends. It depends on the term, the govern-ment agency, or the program or policy. The Joint Chiefs of Staff doctrine portal contains the most recent (accessible) United States Government Compendium of Interagency and Associated Terms, subtitled “a non-official guide to Department Dictionaries and other terminology sources” which shares terms of reference from various US government agencies.6F7 In it, the term allies has only one entry, which references US Code7F8 and defines allies as “any nation with which the United States is engaged in a common military

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