Top White House adviser Susan Rice has said the US is pursuing an “ambitious yet achievable agenda” overseas.
Ms Rice argued US leadership had been essential for success on issues like Ebola, Iran’s nuclear programme and sanctioning Russia over Ukraine.
President Barack Obama has faced criticism from Republicans in Congress over his foreign policy choices and perceived lack of leadership.
Her comments came as Mr Obama sent his national security strategy to Congress.
The document is a blueprint for foreign policy, defence and national security for the last two years of President Obama’s term. It was last updated in 2010.
In a letter outlining the strategy, Mr Obama said the US would “always defend our interests and uphold our commitments to allies and partners”.
“But we have to make hard choices among many competing priorities and we must always resist the overreach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear.”