"The National Security Strategy of 2002 suggests that the United States has determined that when faced with the threat of attacks from actors in possession of weapons of mass destruction, a strategy of deterrence is not appropriate. The prospect of absorbing another attack on the caliber of the attacks of September 11, 2001 is unacceptable. As a result, the United States must either abandon the strategy of deterrence for most security challenges or it must adopt a new concept of deterrence. This thesis suggests that the practice of a new concept of deterrence, in which the United States threatens punishment to an adversary for actions short of military attacks against the United States, would address security challenges across the spectrum of threats. Under this concept, preemptive attacks and preventive war constitute possible examples of deterrence failures. This thesis outlines the parameters of the new deterrence situation, the requirements for success in pursuing this strategy, and the challenges to its implementation."