What is "national security" and how is it important in American government?Understand what "national security" is and the importance of it in American government

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Given the tone and timbre of the question, I would think that there is probably some type of explanation and reference from your in class reading or texts that have helped to explain this.   I would refer to these elements first.  In my mind, "national security" revolves around the idea of protection of the nation and its interests.  I think it occupies a large role in American Government because of the Constitution in its Preamble cites the concept as critical to the mission of the U.S. Government.  The goals of "ensure domestic tranquility" and "promote the general welfare" are vitally important to the Constitution and national security is a part of these elements.  Another reason why it is so important is that the concept and all that it entails emboldens and strengthens the government.  American government has always listened and responded to the call of defending national interests in the name of "national security."  It is because of this particular element that the executive branch can act in a bit more unrestrained manner, always able to cite "national security."  In some instances in our history, this has shown some great moments of resolve.   Pearl Harbor's response and FDR's invocation of national security helped to show the world that America was ready to take action.  In other instances, it has not been as beneficial.  President Nixon's refusal to honor the words of special prosecutors as well as the legislative and judicial branch in turning over vital pieces of White House evidence was done so under the guise of "national security."

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Americans both in the government and in public are somewhat obsessed with national security, and have been pretty much since Pearl Harbor in 1941.  National security could be defined as the actions and policies taken by a nation against all internal and external threats to its borders, economy, and stability.  It doesn't have to be terrorism or an enemy nation, though it often is.  The Pentagon in its 2003 report on national security (it's issued annually) named Global Warming as our greatest threat, for the economic dislocation it could cause and the weakening of internal stability because of it.  But most often, it is referred to in the military sense.

The United States spends more on national defense than all other countries in the world combined, so it's safe to say national security is a priority for our government.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

National security is important not only to the government, but to the nation as a whole. National security serves many purposes. First of all, the armed forces are a very important aspect of national security. The United States has a very strong military to help ensure that the nation stays safe. In addition, when threats are directed at our country there is an attempt to keep these threats isolated. National security is also concerned with emergency preparedness among many other things.

The National Security Act was signed by President Truman in 1947 after World War II.