To the President, protecting our nation's security is of paramount importance — it's at the very top of his to-do list.

Paramount goes way beyond "important." It's absolutely critical. Something that is of paramount importance has a great urgency to it. Getting your oil changed is important, but making sure your car's brakes are working before you drive down a steep, icy slope is absolutely paramount.

Definitions of paramount

adj having superior power and influence

overriding, predominant, predominate, preponderant, preponderating
exercising influence or control

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