Salmond spoke at the U.S. think tank, the Brookings Institution, on the defense policy envisioned by a future independent Scotland.
Scotland is to have a referendum for independence from Great Britain on Sept. 18, 2014. Salmond said the decisions made by an independent Scotland could potentially influence decisions by world powers like the United States.
As an independent nation, Salmond said Scotland would be able to choose for itself its partnerships and priorities.
"That is the fundamental case for independence," he said. "Because the best people to take decisions about Scotland's future -- about international relations or any other issue -- are the people who choose to live and work in Scotland."
He said and independent Scotland would continue within the European Union and NATO.
"We should acknowledge that NATO is a cornerstone of defense policy for these nations and therefore membership is a responsible decision for Scotland to seek," he said.
Salmond said an independent Scotland would not maintain a nuclear arsenal, however. The British military has Trident missiles stationed off the Scottish coast.