Strategic Planning Guidance (SPG) guides an organization’s process of defining its strategy and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue its strategy. The SPG help the Secretary of Defense to develop the National Defense Strategy (NDS) and National Military Strategy (NMS). It also provides the baseline for other DoD organizations to develop their own strategies. All strategies developed for the DoD must address how they impact the ten (10) primary missions of the US Armed Forces listed below.
In 1958, President Eisenhower said, “No military task is of greater importance than the development of strategic plans which relate our revolutionary new weapons and force deployments to national security objectives.”
Primary Missions of the U.S. Armed Forces: 
- Counter Terrorism and Irregular Warfare: Acting in concert with other means of national power, U.S. military forces must continue to hold al-Qaida and its affiliates and adherents under constant pressure, wherever they may be. Achieving our core goal of disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al-Qaida and preventing Afghanistan from ever being a safe haven again will be central to this effort.
- Deter and Defeat Aggression: U.S. forces will be capable of deterring and defeating aggression by any potential adversary. Credible deterrence results from both the capabilities to deny an aggressor the prospect of achieving his objectives and from the complementary capability to impose unacceptable costs on the aggressor.
- Project Power Despite Anti-Access/Area Denial Challenges: In order to credibly deter potential adversaries and to prevent them from achieving their objectives, the United States must maintain its ability to project power in areas in which our access and freedom to operate are challenged.
- Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction: U.S. forces conduct a range of activities aimed at preventing the proliferation and use of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. These activities include implementing the Cooperative Threat Reduction (Nunn-Lugar) Program, and planning and operations to locate, monitor, track, interdict and secure WMD and WMD-related components and the means and facilities to make them. They also include an active whole-of-government effort to frustrate the ambitions of nations.
- Operate Effectively in Cyberspace and Space: Modern armed forces cannot conduct high-tempo, effective operations without reliable information and communication networks and assured access to cyberspace and space.
- Maintain a Safe, Secure, and Effective Nuclear Deterrent: As long as nuclear weapons remain in existence, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal. We will field nuclear forces that can under any circumstances confront an adversary with the prospect of unacceptable damage, both to deter potential adversaries and to assure U.S. allies and other security partners that they can count on America’s security commitments.
- Defend the Homeland and Provide Support to Civil Authorities: U.S. forces will continue to defend U.S. territory from direct attack by state and non-state actors.
- Provide a Stabilizing Presence: U.S. forces will conduct a sustainable pace of presence operations abroad, including rotational deployments and bilateral and multilateral training exercises. These activities reinforce deterrence, help to build the capacity and competence of U.S., allied, and partner forces for internal and external defense, strengthen alliance cohesion, and increase U.S. influence.
- Conduct Stability and Counterinsurgency Operations: In the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States will emphasize non-military means and military-to-military cooperation to address instability and reduce the demand for significant U.S. force commitments to stability operations.
- Conduct Humanitarian, Disaster Relief, and Other Operations: The nation has frequently called upon its Armed Forces to respond to a range of situations that threaten the safety and well-being of its citizens and those of other countries.
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