National Security Strategy for 2006

It goes without saying that the United States has placed too much emphasis on security and safety of the nation and its citizens. After the tragedy that is September 11, the United States began to view the global community as nothing short of being violent, dangerous and unpredictable. In response to this, the United States has crafter one of the most comprehensive security strategies in the world today: the National Security Strategy for 2006 and its 2002 predecessor.

Both of these strategies have been crafted to meet the looming threat perceived by the Bush administration. But the affects of these security strategies must hold water in the area of international law. And does it? Upon scrutiny and analysis, does the NSS06 comply with international law and its guidelines? Some say it does and some say it does not. Michael N. Schmitt, in his paper entitled “U. S. Security Strategies: A Legal Assessment”, says the United States did comply with international law and its guidelines.

Clearly in the twenty-first century, says Schmitt, the international community deems it appropriate to use military force against non-State actors pursuant to the right to self-defense so long as the conditions precedent to such use, particularly that of necessity, are present. He added that states need not secure the authorization of the Security Council before acting in self-defense, whether against terrorists, Weapons of Mass Destruction, or any combination thereof (Schmitt, 2004).

“States may even act preemptively, despite the crescendo of protestations to the contrary, during the last window of opportunity to prevent becoming the victim of an armed attack. Under certain circumstances, it is appropriate to cross into another State to mount counterterrorist operations without that State's consent,” notes Schmitt. Finally, Schmitt adds that states that provide support to terrorists do so at great risk in light of the shifting balance between the rights of territorial inviolability and self-defense.

Simply put, it can be thus said that there is no aspect in the US Security Strategy—either the 2006 or 2002 models—that can be viewed as illegal under international law. Schmitt says however that it is certainly possible to pursue the strategies in an unlawful manner, for instance by acting forcefully in self-defense when non-forceful alternatives remain viable. Therefore, actual instances of the use of force must always be normatively evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Most importantly, any interpretation of the applicable legal regime must account for the constantly evolving security environment if international law is to continue to command the respect of the international community. In summary, one can say that like most things in this world, there are both positive and negative implications of the United States new National Security Strategy (March 2006) for the Law of International Organizations. Some of it has already been discussed at length in the earlier parts of the paper.

When one tips the scale though, the concept of establishing results-oriented partnerships to meet new challenges and opportunities present more positive implications than negative ones. The NSS06, although a clear extension of the 2002 version clearly has learned the mistakes it made during the first security strategy and is willing to make adjustments to make sure the ultimate goals are met this time around.


Amann, Marie. Unipolar Disorder: A European Perspective on U. S. Security Strategy, 27 Hastings Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 447 (Spring, 2004).

Chayes, A. A Common Lawyer Looks at International Law, 78 Harvard Law Review (1965). Dalton, Jane Gilliland. The United States National Security Strategy: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, 52 Naval L. Rev. 60 (2005). Graham, Bradley. War Plans Drafted to Counter Terror Attacks in U. S. , WASH. POST, Aug. 8, 2005. Gray, Christine. The US National Security Strategy and the New "Bush Doctrine" on Preemptive Self-Defense, 2 Chinese J. Int'l L. 437 (2002).