Homework Questions

This week’s readings had you read select national strategies and other strategic documents that serve to establish homeland security goals and enabling objectives. Applying and analyzing the information you gathered from those readings, as well as your personal/professional experiences, please respond to the following:

1. What are the desired characteristics of a national strategy document?

2. What is meant by a strategy hierarchy?

Articles for this week’s assignment:

National Strategy for Counterterrorism: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default…

National Security Strategy: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017…

The National Military Strategy of the United States of America: http://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Publicatio…

Department of Homeland Security Strategic Plan: Fiscal years 2014-2018 https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publicatio…

Be sure to support your responses with information from the assigned and available readings.

Instructions: Your initial post should be at least 350 words.

Please respond to at least 2 other students. Responses should be a minimum of 150 words to each student and include direct questions.

Forum posts are graded on timeliness, relevance, knowledge of the weekly readings, and the quality of original ideas. Sources utilized to support answers are to be cited in accordance with the APA writing style by providing a general parenthetical citation (reference the author, year and page number) within your post. Refer to grading rubric for additional details concerning grading criteria.

Student #1 Andrew

Hello Class,

Means, ways, ends and risk sounds like a statistics class to me. A solid national security strategy has a focus on being proactive with a clear end goal. That means that the end must be clearly defined so the plan can has a goal to combat against. A way to test a strategy is called suitability. To reach the end you must have ways. Ways are the roads that connect the means to the end. Means is where you get your resources to fuel your strategy. (Bartolomees, J. B. 2012) The last note about a strategy is the risk. Risks must be taken into account when developing your strategy. Without the understanding of risk your plan will have giant gaps and holes that will be prone to make your strategy fail and cause you to react. (Bartolomees, J. B. 2012)

An example is the end is to have secure border, the ways is to have a Border Patrol Agent every 100 yards and a border wall, the means is the Border Patrol academy and border construction sites. There are many risks to name some would be too many agents creates greater chance of corruption as standards are lowered, the construction crew could be in danger and would require its own security, and the cost of all this creates a risk of bankruptcy and political turmoil as that party would be increasing the budget deficit. This is just an example off the top of my head so I know it may be off a bit as my head is off a bit, but these are the types of strategies that top pentagon officials are faced with.

Strategy hierarchy was a little confusing at first, but quickly became clear. Basically at the top is what is most important and grand on the scale. Within the plan there are smaller strategies that pertain to homeland security. For example within a border security strategy the top may be actual border security and airport security. Immigration deportation and detention offices within the states, although important, may not be on the top priority when it comes to border security hierarchy. You can see a difference in the hierarchy of plans with different presidents as President Obama emphasized counterterrorism as the highest concern with homeland security and also wants to keep US core values specifically civil rights and privacy rights. (Obama, B. 2015) While President Trump is focused more on America first and border security. (Trump, D. 2017)


Bartolomees, J. B. (2012). U. S. Army War College Guide to National Security Issues Volume 1: Theory and Strategy 5th Edition. 5th Edition ed. Carlisle Barracks,PA: Strategic Studies Institute.

Obama, B. (2015). National Strategy for Counterterrorism. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

Trump, D. (2017). National Security Strategy. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

Student #2 John

1.What are the desired characteristics of a national strategy document?

In order to answer this question I must first review the various strategy documents from our lessons. I have chosen to review the following:

In Obama’s National Strategy for Counterterrorism (2011) he clearly defines al-Qa’ida as the threat. He states that to defeat them, we must define with precision and clarity who we are fighting and setting concrete and realistic goals that is consistent with our core values and as a nation (NSC, 2011). In his strategy, the principals that guide its counterterrorism efforts are outlined. These principals adhere to U.S. core values, build security partnerships, apply counterterrorism tools and capabilities appropriately and build a culture of resilience (NSC, 2011). Also, in his strategy, there is a clear area of focus and attention: the homeland, Asia, Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, Europe, Iraq, Maghreb and Sahel (NSC, 2011). He concludes that this plan of action to achieve the defeat of al-Qu’ida and its affiliates (NSC, 2011).

In Trump’s National Security Strategy (2017) he clearly identifies the various domestic and foreign threats plaguing the nation and the world from before his presidency. These threats include: rogue regimes developing nuclear weapons, radical Islamist terror groups, rival powers undermining American interests, unenforced immigration along U.S. borders, criminal cartels and unfair trade practices (NSS, 2017). His strategy lays out a clear strategic vision that is broken down into four pillars: protecting the American people, our homeland and way of life; promote American prosperity; preserve peace through strength and advance American influence (NSS, 2017). His strategy is further broken down by regional context: Indo-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Western Hemisphere and Africa (NSS, 2017). He concludes that this strategy sets a positive strategic direction for the U.S. that will reassert America’s advantages on the world stage and build on the countries strengths.

In the chairman’s National Military Strategy (2011), it clearly describes its purpose on how we will employ our military forces to protect and advance our national interests. This strategy clearly identifies the strategic environment, military environment, and outlines an integrated military strategy (NMS, 2011). This integrated approach will achieve the following: deter, deny and defeat state adversaries; disrupt, degrade; and defeat violent extremist organizations (VEO); strengthen global network of allies, advance global integrated operations; and resourcing strategy (NMS, 2011). It concludes the strategic challenges and details how to employ the Joint Force (NMS, 2011).

These national strategy documents clearly define its threat(s), clearly describes its purpose, have a clear strategic vision, clear area of focus, a clear blueprint towards that end, and a clear end-state conclusion. I believe these are the desired characteristics that make these documents important to the security of America. My only experience with something like this, is when I had to look over my platoons leaders OPORD or WARNO. This is usually a 5 paragraph order format, used to issue an order in a clear and concise manner by a thorough orientation of the area of operations. This 5 paragraph order gives subordinates the essential information to carry out the operation.

2.What is meant by strategy hierarchy?

Strategy hierarchy describes a layout and the relationship of an overall strategy and sub-strategies of a plan or strategy-document. The individual strategies are arranged hierarchically and logically consistent at the level of vision, mission, goals and metrics (HoS, 2015). As this pertains to Homeland Security, a clearly defined strategy plan from top to bottom will effectively determine its purpose and how it will be implemented.


Obama, B. (2015) National Strategy for Counterterrorism. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

Trump, D. (2017) National Security Strategy. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

Retrieved on 6/18/2018, Hierarchy of strategies (2015), https://managemania.com/en/hierarchy-of-strategies