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Further complicating these threats are the challenges from China and Russia to the rules-based international order that has served the world well since the end of World War II. “The global landscape is more complex than ever and rapidly changing,” he said. “We all know this, but the question is, how should we compete in this evolving world?”
None of the global threats can be effectively addressed by one country alone, Kahl said, and that is where strategic competition comes in. Strategic competition “recognizes the importance of our greatest strategic asset: Working alongside our allies and partners to advance common interests and shared values,” he said. “At the same time, alliances, institutions, agreements and international norms that underwrite this international system are increasingly being tested as never before. Reversing these trends is a vital U.S. national security interest.”
This ties in with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s concept of “integrated deterrence.” This calls for the United States and its allies to work more closely together in ways not done before. “In our changing global landscape, we are looking at deterrence in a new and more comprehensive way,” Kahl said.
Deterrence has to cover all domains, “across the spectrum of conflict from high end to gray zone encounters across our instruments of national power — not just the military, but intelligence, economic, financial, technological, and crucially alongside our allies and partners,” Kahl said. “Whether we’re talking about strategic competition or integrated deterrence, our allies and partners are at the core of our concepts, and we have no closer allies than our allies in Europe.
“The transatlantic alliance is the essential forum for consultation, decision making and action, and the foundation on which our collective security and our shared prosperity has built,” he continued. “NATO, of course, is the bedrock of enduring transatlantic security and serves as a bulwark of our shared values of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law.”