It unites characters from Clancy’s fictional world, including Jack Ryan (the former CIA analyst and president), his son Jack Ryan, Jr., the latter's cousins Dominic and Brian Caruso and former clandestine operatives John Clark and Ding Chavez of the novel Rainbow Six. It follows the characters on a mission to capture a Middle Eastern terrorist, Saif Rahman Yasin (known as "The Emir"), a character heavily based on Osama bin Laden, and responsible for the 9/11 attacks in the universe's storyline.
When John Clark and Domingo "Ding" Chavez are forcibly retired from both the CIA and Rainbow, they join Jack Ryan, Jr. at "The Campus", a privately run intelligence organization carrying 100 blank presidential pardons (signed by Jack Ryan, Sr. before he left office) for any actions they may choose to take based on the information they collect. John and Ding take the responsibility to train Jack Jr. for field work while they try to crack a plot by a group of Islamic extremists to assemble and initiate a nuclear device in a nuclear waste storage facility in order to poison the water table for the western United States. Meanwhile, Jack Ryan, Sr. decides that he's had enough of the way his successor, President Ed Kealty, is running the country, and subsequently announces his candidacy for President of the United States.