National security, or national defence, is the security and defence of a sovereign state, including its citizens, economy, and institutions, which is regarded as a duty of government. Originally conceived as protection against military attack, national security is widely understood to include also non-military dimensions, such as the security from terrorism, minimization of crime, economic security, energy security, environmental security, food security, and cyber-security. Similarly, national security risks include, in addition to the actions of other nation states, action by violent non-state actors, by narcotic cartels, organized crime, by multinational corporations, and also the effects of natural disasters. Governments rely on a range of measures, including political, economic, and military power, as well as diplomacy, to safeguard the security of a nation state. They may also act to build the conditions of security regionally and internationally by reducing transnational causes of insecurity, such as climate change, economic inequality, political exclusion, and nuclear proliferation. The concept of national security remains ambiguous, having evolved from simpler definitions which emphasised freedom from military threat and from political coercion. Among the many definitions proposed to date are the following, which show how the concept has evolved to encompass non-military concerns: "A nation has security when it does not have to sacrifice its legitimate interests to avoid war, and is able, if challenged, to maintain them by war." (Walter Lippmann, 1943). "The distinctive meaning of national security means freedom from foreign dictation." (Harold Lasswell, 1950) "National security objectively means the absence of threats to acquired values and subjectively, the absence of fear that such values will be attacked." (Arnold Wolfers, 1960) "National security then is the ability to preserve the nation's physical integrity and territory; to maintain its economic relations with the rest of the world on reasonable terms; to preserve its nature, institution, and governance from disruption from outside; and to control its borders.
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