Threats to US Security in a Postcontainment World   [open pdf - 4MB]

"The US must take into account the nature of the threats confronting it in devising its military strategy and force structure. Recent years, however, have brought significant changes in these threats. Therefore, the threats need to be reassessed and reprioritized, and the implications of the outcome for US military strategy and force structure should be examined. In carrying out the reassessment and reprioritization of threats, it is essential to observe two key principles: (1) emphasis should go to direct challenges to US interests rather than to those of a peripheral concern, and (2) threats should be weighted primarily in terms of the probability that they will actually materialize and not in terms of what havoc they would wreak if they did materialize. On the basis of these criteria, four major threats seem likely to face the US in the coming years. In descending order of importance, they are regional conflicts, Soviet strategic nuclear forces, anti-US terrorism, and Soviet conventional military forces. This configuration of challenges establishes a number of requirements for future US military strategy and force structure. Although it does not afford detailed guidelines for either, it does set broad parameters for both. A few of these requirements merely revalidate aspects of past strategy and force structure, but many dictate new approaches."

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