DOD Releases 2023 Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction

In a September 28, 2023 press release, the Department of Defense (DOD) publicized their unclassified 2023 Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD). This is the third iteration and replaces the 2014 DOD CWMD Strategy.

In keeping with the 2022 National Security Strategy, the 2023 DOD CWMD Strategy addresses the current and emerging WMD challenges and threats, which include actors such as the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK — or North Korea), Iran, and violent extremist organizations. The threat environment has morphed since 2014, not in small part due to changes in technology. WMDs include chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons. For the last twenty years or so, our defenses have been focused on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, but strategies are now pivoting. This updated DOD Strategy delineates the following six “Ways” of implementing their stated priorities to defend the homeland:

► Develop credible options to deter WMD use and assure Allies and partners;
► Build a Joint Force that can campaign, fight, and win in a CBRN environment;
► Enable Allies and partners to counter WMD proliferation and use;
► Degrade actor capability to develop, acquire, or use WMD;
► Take action, as part of whole-of-government efforts, to prevent proliferation and respond to use of WMD; and
► Pursue advanced research and development efforts to counter future chemical and biological threats.

Read the full report to get a deeper understanding of the threat environment and the DOD’s goals.

For more information, check out HSDL’s Focus topics on Nuclear Weapons, Biodefense, Military Role in Homeland Security, and interoperability.

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