Every strategy document reflects the shared thinking of the most powerful stakeholders at the time of its drafting.
Within the US military there are explicit, detailed guidelines by which strategies are supposed to be developed, ‘determining how to use military capabilities in time and space to achieve objectives while considering the associated risks’.
In reality, however, Pentagon strategies are a barometer that is representative of the conventional wisdom of senior civilian and military officials.
The unclassified summary of the National Defence Strategy (NDS) released by the Trump administration in January 2018 is just such a strategy. The ten-page document contains no significant surprises, and, in effect, summarizes what both Obama and Trump administration Pentagon officials had been emphasizing in formal and informal settings for several years.