At first inspection, the Bush administration's new "National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction," released to the public on 11 December 2002 , reads like old wine in a new bottle--certainly not the "fundamental change from the past" claimed by its authors. The assertion that "weapons of mass destruction (WMD)--nuclear, biological, and chemical--in the possession of hostile states and terrorists represent one of the greatest security challenges facing the United States," has become one of the more common claims heard in Washington. But words are words and deeds are deeds, Bush administration officials keep telling us. Thus it is particularly surprising that the three pillars of the Bush strategy--counterproliferation to combat WMD use, enhanced nonproliferation to combat WMD proliferation, and consequence management to respond to WMD use--were central elements of the previous administration's policy on WMD. In fact, these policy components came together early in President Clinton's first term. On closer examination, however, there is much in the Bush strategy that truly is new, much that stands out as an improvement over previous U.S. approaches to WMD, and much that already is being implemented with some success.
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Strategic Insights (December 2002), v.1 no.10