The deterrence of armed aggression against the United States, its vital national interests, or its allies has moved beyond the requirements of conventional force deterrence. The proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons requires a new strategy to ensure effective deterrence against their use by regional states that could not win in a conventional conflict with the United States. Because proliferation has expanded to a number of regional actors, a single strategy is unlikely to be sufficient in deterring states with varied motivations, and social, economic, religious, cultural, and political backgrounds. The Unified Commands--principally the Pacific, Central and European Commands--provide a ready-made framework in which general U.S. deterrence strategies can be tailored to each proliferant state. While the Unified Com-mands would shape the individual deterrence strategies, the national command authority (NCA) would retain control of key decisions. Guidelines for NBC regional deterrence should include developing credible counterproliferation postures, profiling potential adversaries, tailoring our military capabilities to specific threats, integrating NBC preparedness into exercises and warplans, and actively pursuing coalitions designed to deter regional proliferators from threatening to use or using NBC weapons.
Strategic Forum No. 70