Missile Defenses and New Approaches to Deterrence   [open pdf - 58KB]

In a speech at the National Defense University on May 1, 2001, President Bush stated that "deterrence can no longer be based solely on the threat of nuclear retaliation." He called for "new concepts of deterrence that rely on both offensive and defensive forces." These new concepts of deterrence should help underwrite a comprehensive strategy for combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile technology. Such a strategy will require the following components: maintaining and improving core alliance relations, and reassuring friends that we are committed to ensuring a stable international order and that our security interests are inseparable from their own; resolving challenges, rather than postponing them in a way that delays but makes even more dangerous the threats we will face in the future; recasting our foreign policy to better integrate all sources of influence available to us; and dissuading adversaries from undertaking hostile courses of action while retaining the capability to defeat aggression. To be effective, our strategy must encompass a broad range of policies and programs, including proactive nonproliferation and threat-reduction efforts, counterproliferation measures, and effective response capabilities to mitigate the consequences of the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). One essential ingredient for the success of this strategy is reshaping our military doctrine and capabilities to be responsive to contemporary and emerging threats. This will require the transformation of our deterrence posture. The strategic concepts and military forces of the past are ill-suited to counter the more pressing elements of today's threats. As a result, it is imperative to manage the transition to a more stable security environment by changing the way we think about and practice deterrence. We must redesign deterrence to be proactive rather than reactive. Deterrence of new threats requires new and different concepts and capabilities. The Department of Defense's recently completed Nuclear Posture Review is an important step in this direction. It lays the foundation for a diversified approach to deterrence that incorporates both conventional offensive strike capabilities and missile defenses, thus reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons.

Public Domain
Media Type:
WMD Weapons of Mass Destruction: The New Strategic Framework: U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda: An Electronic Journal of the U.S. Department of State, v.7, no.2, p. 11-14
Help with citations