More and more American leaders recognize the importance of taking a whole of government approach to using America’s power. We are strongest when we bring the full weight of our national power to bear — diplomacy, information, the military and economics. Applied with strategic skill, these four levers of national power — when acting in concert-can deliver desired effects at particular points in time, often at less cost in blood, treasure, and national prestige, than can military action alone.
The information age, perhaps more than any other factor has brought the seams between these elements of national security into stark relief. We can no longer afford the simplicity of four instruments of national power operating in near isolation. War is not fought only by the military.
Diplomatic overtures, information campaigns, and economic incentives all must play in a coordinated way. In this knowledge age, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) may be the key integrating element for effective strategic and operational policy development. Keep reading →