One day after his eloquent words echoed across the National Mall and through the living rooms of millions of Americans, President Obama confronts the harsh national security realities before us. While assuring Americans that change will come slowly but surely, he proclaimed America’s spirit will not be broken by those who would do us harm.

President Obama has three pressing national security challenges: protecting our nation from real and gathering threats, pursuing alternative energy development to lessen economic vulnerabilities and foreign policy entanglements, and showing leadership to protect vulnerable persons worldwide.

While media attention to the president’s security platform has focused on a responsible conclusion to the war in Iraq, securing peace in Afghanistan, closing the Guantanamo Bay facilities, and mitigating other threats of geopolitical volatility, the threat of nuclear terrorism is one of the most urgent developing issues facing our nation today. As co-founder of the House Nuclear Security Caucus, I urge President Obama to work with Members of Congress to identify security vulnerabilities, improve nuclear safeguards, secure fissile missiles, and prevent the misuse of sensitive nuclear materials and technologies. The president has vowed to “work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat,” and it is my hope that we shall together act to alleviate this risk.

Alternative energy development is also a pressing matter. Our dependence on foreign oil threatens both economic and national security, and I commend President Obama for his focus on renewable domestic resources. I look forward to upcoming policy discussions on achieving energy independence while building a bridge to a more sustainable future.

The protection of vulnerable persons in volatile parts of the world is an American ideal, a matter of justice, and a complement to our national security efforts. I am encouraged by the president’s expressed dedication to human rights issues, and hope to work with him to ensure that our foreign assistance programs respect the wisdom and values of indigenous communities and the ethical convictions of U.S. taxpayers.

In the years ahead, new challenges will demand fresh approaches to analysis, and thoughtful, innovative examination of presuppositions that guide policy decisions. I look forward to working with President Obama on a wide range of important national security issues, pursuing creative and prudential engagement with friends and foes alike.