The American Security Council Foundation (ASCF) was founded in 1958, and was originally known as the Institute for American Strategy. For over 50 years the Foundation has focused on a wide range of educational programs to address critical challenges to United States foreign policy, national security, and the global economy. The ASCF has been credited many times with developing programs and strategies which were eventually adopted as the national security strategy for the United States. The ASCF’s “Guidelines for Cold War Victory” was praised by former President Dwight Eisenhower in a national radio address that he recorded at the ASCF’s request. In 1978 the ASCF created the “National Strategy for Peace through Strength,” and has been cited numerous times with providing the overall foreign affairs theme for the administration of former President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan personally gave the ASCF credit for this on several occasions and said America won the Cold War based upon the ASCF’s “National Strategy for Peace through Strength” doctrine. The ASCF has worked tirelessly to have the United States government publish an official National Security Strategy of the United States. This was first implemented by President Reagan in 1985, and all of his successors have been legally required to produce a similar document. The most recent National Security Strategy, published in February 2015, states:
(“Any successful strategy to ensure the safety of the American people and advance our national security interests must begin with an undeniable truth—America must lead. Strong and sustained American leadership is essential to a rules-based international order that promotes global security and prosperity as well as the dignity and human rights of all peoples.”)
While strategy development has always been one of the ASCF’s major endeavors, the mission of the ASCF is to promote the necessity of maintaining military, economic, and diplomatic strength. To quote President Reagan, who has been credited with ending the Cold War, “One thing is certain; if we’re to continue to advance world peace and human freedom, America must remain strong. If we have learned anything these last eight years, it’s that peace through strength works.”
Working toward the objective of maintaining peace through strength, the ASCF has worked proactively to advance and support concurrent resolutions or platforms, such as:
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 15 (98th Congress, March 8, 1983)
- House Concurrent Resolution 100 (104th Congress, September 6, 1995)
- Post 9-11 Platform The two concurrent resolutions advocated the importance of the following qualities, which are necessary on a national level to attain peace and maintain freedom through strength:
- national will and determination
- military and technological superiority
- strategic civil defense
- arms control only if it maintains United States security and military superiority
- effective security and intelligence capabilities
- positive non-military means supporting ideological superiority
- helping allies defend themselves against ideological enemies
- protection of overseas energy and raw materials supplies
- a strong economy
- global leadership
- national preparedness
- cooperative regional and global security
- economic security
- fiscal responsibility
- vigilance through human and technological intelligence capabilities
- prevention and elimination of security threats
- national unity
- technological superiority
- energy independence
With national cooperation to implement these characteristics, America can enjoy the security that “Peace through Strength” bestows.
THE AMERICAN SECURITY COUNCIL FOUNDATIONS “PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH” PLATFORM
Post 9-11: The Era of Terrorist Wars
Whereas, the challenges of global stability did not cease with the end of the Cold War but have multiplied due to both homegrown and foreign terrorist attacks towards the United States and her allies. Peace must be protected, enforced, and advanced with the same vigilance and determination America demonstrated to arrive at this point in our history. Whereas, the United States has not outlined a clear doctrine regarding its role in the post 9/11 world. Instead of a foreign policy geared toward anticipating and shaping events abroad, we have watched events abroad shape our foreign policy. Whereas, unless we ourselves begin to define who we are as a nation, what we want out of our role as a nation, and where we want to go and how we exercise our power, unless we decide it, it will occur by happenstance. We will move from crisis to crisis. We will not have a plan and we will end up in places in the world where we know not of what we speak. Whereas, the President, the Congress, and the American people working in cooperation with our global partners, must develop a new, comprehensive and nonpartisan foreign policy doctrine. Americans have to pull together and forge a coherent, nonpartisan consensus to guide our country in the uncertain waters of the 21st century. Those who came before us and built this country into the grand land it is today, and those who will inherit it from us in the years ahead deserve no less.
- GLOBAL LEADERSHIP -The United States of America is a dominant power in the world. And as such provides America with immense opportunity but awesome responsibility. The United States must accept and maintain global leadership through a clear and consistent articulation of vital national interests and goals and the readiness to defend those interests and goals. America must continue to be a force for world peace, democracy, human rights, and humanitarian assistance.
- NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS -To deter aggression and defend our vital interests, it is essential to maintain highly trained, well-equipped, and combat-ready military forces and the national will to prevail in any form of conflict. The use of military force by the United States must be a thoughtful, publicly supported action of last resort, applied decisively to achieve clearly stated objectives that are consistent with a vital national interest of the United States.
- ENERGY INDEPENDENCE -The United States must systematically and sharply reduce its dependence on imported oil through the fostering of conservation, the expansion of natural gas exploration, solar, wind, nuclear power, and clean coal technology. It is essential that the development of new and environmentally compatible fuels and renewable sources of energy, as well as goods and services, be designed to achieve a successful National Energy Independence Program. Both the government and independent groups need to establish the way to energy independence, which is in our national interest.
- ECONOMIC SECURITY -National wealth and economic strength are the foundation of all forms of power. America’s national economic policy must continue to foster private enterprise, to promote successful competition in the global marketplace, and to ensure free and fair access to critical resources and international markets.
- TECHNOLOGICAL SUPERIORITY -The United States must maintain a strong technology and industrial base with a skilled work force to fully support superior United States global economic competitiveness and military preparedness. At the same time, safeguards must be placed against the transfer of potentially dangerous technology to foreign powers hostile to the interests of the United States.
- COOPERATIVE SECURITY -The United States is most effective when it works with its allies and those willing to work with us. America’s national security is enhanced through participation in global and regional political, military, and economic organizations, treaties and alliances. However, the United States must always retain its sovereignty and reserve the right to act unilaterally in accord with its own interests.
- EMERGING THREATS -America must address the new threats and injustices of the global age: Islamic and homegrown terrorism, narco-trafficking, biological and chemical warfare, the deadly spread of AIDS, and human rights issues. biological and chemical weapons are relatively inexpensive and easy to make, and yet are potentially deadlier than nuclear weapons.
- DIPLOMATIC READINESS -More than most Americans, members of the U.S. military well understand that diplomacy is the front-line of America’s national defense. Both U.S. diplomats and soldiers work on a daily basis to protect national security, and their missions overlap frequently. Just as the projection of military power is a diplomatic tool, diplomacy is a weapon in the arsenal of national defense. Both are vital to our national interest; both should be protected. In acting to ensure adequate funding for American foreign policy, we should also end the false distinction—in both our thinking and our budgeting—between foreign policy and national defense. For years, we have distinguished between the two as if they were separate and unrelated aspects of our national budget, but that is hardly the case. Quite the opposite: the two are closely linked, and should be similarly conceived as part of a broader national security budget.
- FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY -The economic vitality of the United States rests not only on free market competitiveness, but also on responsible financial management. Free, fair, and open trade is the engine of growth for America’s economy. All nations must work to break down barriers that inhibit global commerce and trade. Only then will the world prosper. We in the United States must do far more to educate our people and our leaders on this issue.
- VIGILANCE -The United States must expand effective human and technical intelligence capabilities in order to ensure the capability to anticipate, detect, and respond to emerging military, economic, and political threats.
- CORE VALUES -American foreign policy must reinforce and promote its core values of democracy, free markets, human rights, and the rule of law. America’s most important export to the international community is its ideals and ideas. Americans are committed to democracy and human rights. They cherish open elections, and freedom of speech. America promotes free and fair trade, so that everyone has a chance to prosper. Every person in the world should have the same opportunity to enjoy these basic democratic values.
- OTHER SECURITY THREATS -The United States must act to lessen, prevent, and eliminate security threats, including threats posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and high technology conventional arms and the disruption of access to vital resources.
- NON-PARTISANSHIP -The United States cannot lead the world without the support of the American people. National security policy and foreign policy must be nonpartisan. America’s leaders need to speak with one voice to the world. The Congress will debate the best course as it should, but there is no room for partisan politics and partisan gain in doing what is right for America in the international arena.
- NATIONAL UNITY -The principal goals of the United States have always been peace and freedom. To achieve these goals requires the active involvement of a broad range of American citizenry. The American people must be included in an open dialogue regarding defense, foreign policy and an international economic agenda. We must create a national security doctrine that is neither a Republican nor a Democratic plan, but is rather “the American plan.” By identifying United States goals and the means to achieve them, the national strategy of “Peace through Strength” will unite the American people behind their government in world affairs.