Planning for Proliferation: Rethinking U.S. Military Strategy   [open pdf - 585KB]

"The demise of the Soviet Union, democratization of Eastern Europe, and revitalization of the United Nations as a coalition-building forum have created a new world environment and a unique opportunity for the re-examination and reformulation of U.S. military strategy. No longer confronted by a formidable Soviet Union armed with nuclear and other advanced weapons systems and possessed with an adventurous ideology aimed at gradual world domination, the United States now faces greater uncertainty, an increasingly dangerous world, and no clear enemy. Although total global war is now less likely, the possibilities for regional conflict have greatly increased. The fear of a U.S.-USSR nuclear conflict arising as a result of a lesser regional conflict no longer hangs as a shadow over other countries. But without this shadow and attendant pressures from the United States or the former USSR to suppress regional conflicts, other forces are influencing regional relationships and harmony. Of primary concern is this: the world is experiencing a proliferation of arms, armies, and weapons of mass destruction. A country may seek to develop such weapons for reasons of prestige, to deter a neighboring state, or to create a source of terror in the world community. At the same time, domestic economic problems in the United States and other western states are forcing a curtailment in the resources committed to defense and maintenance of the Armed Forces. If force reductions occur in the United States, it could lose its ability to be an effective unilateral military force and could have a much diminished role in an international coalition. These realities raise the question: what should U.S. military strategy be in a world of weapons proliferation? According to the author, arms control should be identified as a legitimate military goal, and combating weapons proliferation, both conventional and unconventional proliferation, should be added to the national military strategy."

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