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Chapter 1

U.S. DEFENSE STRATEGY

Since the founding of the Republic, the U.S. government has always sought to secure for the American people a set of basic objectives:

On the eve of the 21st century, the international environment is more complex and interrelated than at any other time in history. The number and diversity of nations, organizations, and other actors vying for influence continue to grow. At the same time, the global economy is increasingly interdependent. Not only does this offer the United States the promise of greater prosperity, it also ties the security and well-being of Americans to events beyond their borders more than ever before. Today, incidents formerly considered peripheral to American security -- the spread of ethnic and religious conflict, the breakdown of law and order, or the disruption of trade in faraway regions -- can pose real threats to the United States. Likewise, new opportunities have arisen for the United States, in concert with other like-minded nations, to advance its long-term interests and promote stability in critical regions.

In order to shape the international security environment in ways that protect and advance U.S. interests, the United States must remain engaged and exert leadership abroad. U.S. leadership can deter aggression, foster the peaceful resolution of dangerous conflicts, encourage stable and free foreign markets, promote democracy, and inspire others to create a safer world and to resolve global problems. Without active U.S. leadership and engagement abroad, threats to U.S. security will worsen and opportunities will narrow.

Threats to the interests of the United States, its allies, and its friends can come from a variety of sources. Prominent among these are:

Many of these threats are global in scale and cannot be adequately addressed unilaterally, either by the United States or any other single nation state. Thus, the United States will need to secure the cooperation of a number of nations, groups, and international organizations to protect Americans from such threats.

THE NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY

The Administration's National Security Strategy acknowledges both the inescapable reality of interdependence and the serious threats to U.S. interests posed by actors beyond its borders. To protect and advance U.S. interests, the American government must be able to shape the international environment, influencing the policies and actions of others. This mandates that the United States remain engaged abroad, particularly in regions where its most important interests are at stake. At the same time, it is essential that U.S. allies and friends share responsibility for regional and global security. The United States and its allies must work together to help build a more peaceful and prosperous world. This means, among other things, taking pragmatic steps to enlarge the world's community of free market democracies. As the President's National Security Strategy states, "The more that democracy and political and economic liberalization take hold in the world, particularly in countries of strategic importance to us, the safer our nation is likely to be and the more our people are likely to prosper."

The three principal objectives of the U.S. strategy of engagement and enlargement are:

These objectives underscore that the only responsible strategy for the United States is one of international engagement. Isolationism in any form would reduce U.S. security by undercutting the United States' ability to influence events abroad that can affect the well-being of Americans. This does not mean that the United States seeks the role of global policeman. But it does mean that America must be ready and willing to protect its interests, both now and in the future.

As the United States moves into the next century, being militarily ready means that U.S. forces must be prepared to conduct a broad range of military missions without being spread too thin. This will require suitable types and levels of forces to accomplish missions across the spectrum of operations, as well as sustaining a high level of training and morale and maintaining modern, reliable equipment and facilities.

The Administration has also argued for balance between defense and domestic priorities. While these priorities may compete for resources in the short term, they are wholly complementary in the longer term. The United States cannot be prosperous if its major trade and security partners are threatened by aggression or intimidation; nor can it be secure if international economic cooperation is breaking down, because the health of the U.S. economy is interwoven with that of the global economy. Prudence dictates that U.S. strategy strike a balance -- America's overall budget must invest in future prosperity and productivity while avoiding the instabilities and risks that would accompany attempts to withdraw from its security responsibilities in critical regions.

The forces and programs developed in the 1993 Bottom-Up Review and the Nuclear Posture Review have provided the capabilities needed to support this ambitious strategy. U.S. forces today are without question the best in the world and this Administration is committed to keeping them that way.

The Department of Defense is currently in the midst of a congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) that involves a comprehensive reassessment of U.S. defense strategy, force structure, readiness, modernization, and infrastructure. This review could produce changes in strategy, resulting force structure and modernization, and other resource needs.

REGIONAL SECURITY STRATEGIES

The security relationships established by the United States and its allies and friends during the Cold War are essential to advancing America's post-Cold War agenda. To meet the unique challenges of the post-Cold War era, the United States seeks to further strengthen and adapt these partnerships and to establish new security relationships in support of U.S. interests.

In Europe, the end of the Cold War has brought new opportunities and new challenges. Hand in hand with its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, the United States has sought to promote a free and undivided Europe that will work with the United States to keep the peace and promote prosperity. In the new security architecture of an integrated Europe, NATO is the central pillar, complemented by the Western European Union and a strengthened Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This is the essential motivation behind U.S. support for NATO enlargement and establishment of a strong NATO-Russia relationship. NATO's Partnership for Peace (PFP) has provided a means for expanding and intensifying political and military cooperation throughout Europe. NATO members and partners have participated in many dozens of PFP exercises and hundreds of other training, planning, and consultation activities. PFP serves as a pathway for nations to qualify for NATO membership; for those partners that do not choose to join NATO, PFP provides an enduring framework for their relations with NATO and constitutes concrete proof that the alliance is concerned about their security. Partnership for Peace bolsters efforts by Central and Eastern European nations and the New Independent States to build democratic societies and strengthen regional stability. Other efforts, including the European Command's Joint Contact Team Program and Marshall Center, similarly advance U.S. defense engagement with Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States.

Secretary Perry made building cooperative defense and military ties with Russia, Ukraine, and the other New Independent States one of the Department of Defense's highest priorities. Moving away from the hostility of the Cold War and reducing its lethal nuclear legacy will be neither instantaneous nor easy. Steady, continued engagement that focuses on mutual security interests is the cornerstone in building constructive relationships with the New Independent States. Through the pursuit of a pragmatic partnership, the United States is striving to manage differences with Russia to ensure that shared security interests and objectives take priority. A central objective is to encourage Russia to play a constructive role in the new European security architecture through the development of NATO-Russia relations and through Russia's active participation in PFP.

The East Asian-Pacific region continues to grow in importance to U.S. security and prosperity. This region has experienced unprecedented economic growth in the past decade and is projected to have the highest rate of economic growth in the world over the next 25 years. The security and stability provided by the presence of U.S. military forces in the East Asian-Pacific region over the past 40 years created the conditions and potential for such tremendous growth. Security, open markets, and democracy, the three strands of the President's National Security Strategy, are thoroughly intertwined in this region.

Today, the United States retains its central role as a force for stability in East Asia-Pacific, but it has begun to share greater responsibility for regional security with its friends and allies. The United States constructively participates in and supports regional security dialogues. It actively encourages efforts by East Asian-Pacific nations to provide host-nation support for U.S. forces, contribute to United Nations (UN) peace operations, and participate in international assistance efforts throughout the world. While these regional initiatives are important, there is no substitute for a forward-stationed U.S. military presence -- essential to both regional security and America's global military posture -- or for U.S. leadership like that which brought together the broad coalition that convinced North Korea to relinquish its nuclear weapons program. The United States will remain active in this vital region.

The United States has enduring interests in the Middle East, especially pursuing a comprehensive Middle East peace, assuring the security of Israel and U.S. principal Arab partners, and maintaining the free flow of oil at reasonable prices. The United States will continue to work to extend the range of Middle East peace and stability. Integral to that effort is the Administration's strategy of dual containment of Iraq and Iran for as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Maintaining the United States' long-standing military presence in Southwest Asia is critical to protecting the vital interests America shares with others in the region.

The United States seeks to strengthen its security relationships with the countries of South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan. In recent years, DoD has worked closely on peacekeeping operations with the armed forces of not only India and Pakistan, but also Nepal and Bangladesh. DoD has also expanded its combined military exercise programs with these countries. While U.S. defense ties are important in their own right, they also support broader U.S. objectives in the South Asian region, such as reducing tensions, by building mutual trust and understanding. To support these goals, the Department has annual security talks with both India and Pakistan.

The overarching U.S. objectives in the Western Hemisphere are to sustain regional stability and to increase regional cooperation. The continuation of a stable and cooperative environment will help ensure that current strides in democracy, free markets, and sustainable development will continue and that further progress can be made by the nations of the region. The United States also has a key interest in countering the steady flow of narcotics into the United States from source countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. As in other regions, DoD is working to foster greater transparency and confidence building throughout the region and enhance the sharing of responsibility for mutual security interests with its friends and allies in the Western Hemisphere, while supporting U.S. law enforcement agencies and many countries in the fight against narcotics trafficking. Contributions from the region have included the provision of forces to coalition operations, support for international development and democratization, and the contribution of personnel or resources to UN peace operations.

Although at present their is no permanent or significant military presence in Africa, the United States does desire access to facilities and strengthened relations with African nations through initiatives that have been or might be especially important in the event of a wide range of contingencies. The United States has significant interests in Africa in countering state-sponsored terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and proliferation of conventional weapons, fissile materials, and related technology. The United States must continue to work with the continent's nations to help secure U.S. interests.

Africa also provides fertile ground for promoting democracy, sustaining development, and resolving conflict. The United States does not seek to resolve Africa's many conflicts, but rather to empower African states and organizations to do so themselves. It also supports the democratization and economic growth that are necessary for the long-term stability of the region. The United States actively participates in efforts to address the root causes of conflicts and disasters that affect U.S. national interests before they erupt. Such efforts include support for military downsizing, demining, effective peace operations, including the African Crisis Response Force, and strong indigenous conflict resolution facilities, including those of the Organization of African Unity and subregional organizations.

In all these regions, nations contribute to global and regional security in a wide variety of ways; the notion of responsibility sharing reflects the broad range of such contributions. In addition to providing host-nation support for U.S. forces, states can contribute to international security by maintaining capable military forces, assigning those forces to coalition missions like Operation Desert Storm and the Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia, or to UN peacekeeping operations, and providing political and financial support for such shared objectives as international economic development or the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. friends and allies have taken on increased shares of the burden for international security, providing, for example, over 245,000 troops to Operation Desert Storm and $70 billion to the United States and other coalition members to help defray their expenses in the war. Yet room for more equitable and cost-effective responsibility sharing remains. The Department of Defense is committed to working with Congress and with U.S. friends and allies toward this goal.

U.S. MILITARY MISSIONS

As stated in the National Security Strategy, the 1993 Bottom Up Review, and the National Military Strategy, the Department of Defense will field and sustain the military capabilities needed to protect the United States and advance its interests. The United States is the only nation capable of unilaterally conducting effective, large-scale military operations far beyond its borders. There is and will continue to be a great need for U.S. forces with such capabilities, not only to protect the United States from direct threats but also to shape the international environment in favorable ways, particularly in regions critical to U.S. interests, and to support multinational efforts to ameliorate human suffering and bring peace to regions torn by ethnic, tribal, or religious conflicts.

Supporting the National Security Strategy has required that the United States maintain robust and versatile military forces that can concurrently accomplish a wide variety of missions:

Finally, to meet all these requirements successfully, U.S. forces must be capable of responding quickly and operating effectively. That is, they must be ready to fight. This demands highly qualified and motivated people; modern, well-maintained equipment; viable joint doctrine; realistic training; strategic mobility; and sufficient support and sustainment capabilities.

Deterring and Defeating Aggression

The focus of U.S. planning for major regional conflicts is based on the need to be able to project power and to deter, defend against, and defeat aggression by potentially hostile regional powers. Today, such states are capable of fielding sizable military forces that can cause serious imbalances in military power within regions important to the United States, with allied or friendly states often finding it difficult to match the power of a potentially aggressive neighbor. Such aggressive states may also possess NBC capabilities. Hence, to deter aggression, to prevent coercion of allied or friendly governments and, ultimately, to defeat aggression should it occur, the United States must prepare its forces to assist its friends and allies in confronting this scale of threat.

U.S. planning for fighting and winning these major regional conflicts envisages an operational strategy that, in general, unfolds as follows (recognizing that in practice some portions of these phases may overlap):

The United States will never know with certainty who the next opponent will be, how that opponent will fight, or how the conflict might unfold. Moreover, the contributions of allies to the coalition's overall capabilities will vary from place to place and over time. Thus, balanced U.S. forces are needed in order to provide a wide range of complementary capabilities and to cope with the unpredictable and unexpected.

U.S. military strategy calls for the capability, in concert with regional allies, to fight and decisively win two major regional conflicts that occur nearly simultaneously. This, along with overseas presence, has been the principal determinant of the size and composition of U.S. conventional forces. A force with such capabilities is required to avoid a situation in which an aggressor in one region might be tempted to take advantage of a perceived vulnerability when substantial numbers of U.S. forces are committed elsewhere. More fundamentally, maintaining a two-major regional conflict force helps ensure that the United States will have sufficient military capabilities to defend against a coalition of hostile powers or a larger, more capable adversary than is foreseen today.

U.S. forces fighting alongside their regional allies are capable of fighting and winning two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts today. With programmed enhancements to U.S. mobility/prepositioning assets, as well as improvements to surveillance assets, accelerated acquisition of more effective munitions, and other key improvements, U.S. military forces will maintain and improve upon this capability.

Stability Through Overseas Presence

The need to forward deploy or station U.S. military forces abroad in peacetime is also an important factor in determining overall U.S. force structure. In an increasingly interdependent world, U.S. forces must sustain credible military presence in several critical regions in order to shape the international security environment in favorable ways. Toward this end, U.S. forces permanently stationed and rotationally or periodically deployed overseas serve a broad range of U.S. interests. Specifically, these forces:

Through foreign military interactions, including training programs, multinational exercises, military-to-military contacts, defense attache offices, and security assistance programs that include judicious foreign military sales, the United States can strengthen the self- defense capabilities of its friends and allies and increase its access and influence in a region. Through military-to-military contacts and other exchanges, the United States can reduce regional tensions, increase transparency, and improve bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

By improving the defense capabilities of U.S. friends and demonstrating U.S. commitment to defend common interests, U.S. forces abroad enhance deterrence and raise the odds that U.S. forces will find a relatively favorable situation should a conflict arise. Working closely with friends and allies greatly enhances the United States' ability to organize successful coalitions. The stabilizing presence of U.S. forces also helps to prevent conflicts from escalating to the point where they threaten greater U.S. interests at higher costs.

Contingency Operations

U.S. defense strategy also requires that military forces be prepared for a wide range of contingency operations in support of U.S. interests. Contingency operations are military operations that go beyond the routine deployment or stationing of U.S. forces abroad but fall short of large-scale theater warfare. Such operations range from smaller-scale combat operations to peace operations and noncombatant evacuations. They are an important component of U.S. strategy and, when undertaken selectively and effectively, can protect and advance U.S. interests.

The United States will always retain the capability to intervene unilaterally when its interests are threatened. The United States also will advance its interests and fulfill its leadership responsibilities by providing military forces to selected allied/coalition operations, some of which may support UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions (for example, U.S. participation in coalition sanctions enforcement and no-fly zone enforcement in Southwest Asia). Further, the United States will continue to participate directly in UN peace operations when it serves U.S. interests. UN and multinational peace operations can help prevent, contain, and resolve conflicts that affect U.S. interests. When it is appropriate to support a multinational peace operation, participating U.S. forces benefit from the authority and support of the international community and from sharing costs and risks with other nations.

SMALLER-SCALE COMBAT OEPRATIONS

The United States will maintain the capability to conduct smaller-scale combat operations unilaterally, or in concert with others, when important U.S. interests are at stake. These operations generally are undertaken to provide for regional stability (for example, U.S. operations in Grenada), promote democracy (for example, U.S. operations in Panama and Haiti), or otherwise respond to conflicts that affect U.S. interests.

PEACE OPERATIONS AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

Peace operations provide the United States with an effective and flexible instrument to cope with the dynamic nature of the international environment. Although the Cold War is over, the United States faces serious threats to its interests from a variety of sources, including regional powers with expansionist ambitions; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; efforts to undermine new democracies; and instability caused by ethnic or religious conflicts within or between states. While internal conflicts in many states often have limited effect on vital American interests, their cumulative effect can be very significant. If ignored, localized conflicts can spill over into other states, disrupt international commerce, and create humanitarian disasters and refugee flows that require an international response.

The Administration's National Security Strategy supports selective American participation in peace operations as part of a broader effort to protect and advance U.S. interests in the post-Cold War era. Of course, selective involvement in peace operations is only one of many tools available to defend U.S. interests. Diplomacy is the instrument of first resort. Nonetheless, if diplomatic means are insufficient, the United States remains prepared to use other instruments -- including military forces -- to protect U.S. interests.

The United States must, and does, retain the capability to employ its armed forces unilaterally, whether that employment be a conventional war or a peace operation. Therefore, U.S. forces, forward deployed and continental United States (CONUS)-based, active and reserve, must also train and sustain their Service and joint skills to execute peace operations. Improving Service and joint doctrine and training for these operations remains an important priority of the Department of Defense. However, in most cases, and especially in peace operations, it is in U.S. interests to act in concert with other, like-minded states either by lending political, material, and financial support to an operation or by participating directly. Multilateral action, particularly when undertaken with the explicit approval of the United Nations, the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe, or other international bodies, can enhance the legitimacy of U.S. efforts, encourage other states to join in coalition with the United States, and lower both the human and financial costs to the United States of taking appropriate action. Mounting timely operations in concert with friends and allies spreads the burden of maintaining international peace and security with other states that can and should contribute.

The Department of Defense has launched an effort known as the Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capabilities (EIPC) initiative to increase the pool of capable foreign peacekeepers and thereby lessen the need for U.S. participation in peace operations. This multiyear endeavor will also have other positive benefits such as increasing foreign militaries' awareness of U.S. norms of human rights protection. Eventually, the effort could reduce the operational costs of peace operations by producing more effective forces that will reduce the number of troops typically required for operations.

On the occasions when the United States considers contributing forces to a UN peace operation, DoD employs rigorous criteria, including the same principles that guide any decision to deploy U.S. forces. In addition, DoD ensures that the risks to U.S. personnel and the command and control arrangements governing the participation of American and foreign forces are acceptable to the United States. In general, as the U.S. military role in a particular peace operation increases, or as the possibility of combat increases, the likelihood that a foreign commander will exercise operational control over U.S. forces decreases. Under no circumstances will the President relinquish his command authority over U.S. forces.

During 1996, Task Force Eagle, comprised of approximately 20,000 U.S. troops, participated as part of IFOR in the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords throughout its assigned sector in Bosnia. It successfully assisted in the establishment of a Zone of Separation between the former warring factions and maintained its portion of the zone without any major incidents. Task Force Eagle also assisted in separating the former warring factions, accounting for all heavy weapons, shutting down all air defense artillery systems within Bosnia, and getting each faction's army back into their barracks.

In addition to the demanding mission in Bosnia, the United States has participated in other peace operations designed to defuse potentially explosive situations around the world. During 1996, significant U.S. participation was limited to two UN missions -- Haiti (UNMIH) and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (UNPREDEP). A small number of U.S. military personnel also served as military observers or headquarters staff in other UN peace operations in the Western Sahara, the Republic of Georgia, Iraq-Kuwait, and Eastern Slavonia. Lastly, the United States also contributed forces to non-UN peacekeeping missions in the Sinai as part of the Multinational Force and Observers and along the Peru-Ecuador border as part of the Military Observer Mission, in order to promote stability given a long-standing territorial dispute.

In many cases humanitarian assistance activities go hand-in-hand with peace operations. In this regard, humanitarian assistance bolsters peace operations as well as mitigating human suffering. Other situations, such as natural disasters, can destabilize a region by destroying shelter and infrastructure, disrupting commerce, preventing effective government, and causing widespread human suffering. U.S. military forces and assets are frequently called upon to initiate international efforts to meet urgent humanitarian needs and prevent instability from occurring after manmade and natural disasters. Assisting countries in coping with such events, and thereby promoting good will, is integral to the U.S. strategy of engagement and enlargement. Humanitarian assistance not only provides relief from suffering, but also assists in returning victims of violence and disasters to the path of recovery and sustainable development. Therefore, the Department of Defense actively seeks to improve the capabilities of the international community to deal effectively with humanitarian crises by developing closer ties with and providing assistance to international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private voluntary organizations, and other federal agencies that contribute to relief operations.

In 1996, approximately 100 countries benefited from DoD humanitarian assistance. DoD provided humanitarian assistance in support of several major DoD operations and U.S. government initiatives. In Operation Pacific Haven, for example, U.S. armed forces facilitated the evacuation and care of thousands of Kurds and other peoples from Northern Iraq, who were evacuated by the United States in response to threats to them by the Iraqi government. The Department of Defense has assisted, as well, in the emergency and routine transport of relief supplies provided by both private and government relief organizations, including such private organizations as AmeriCares and U.S. government agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development. During 1996, DoD provided emergency transportation of relief supplies in response to natural disasters in China, Nepal, Kazakstan, Honduras, St. Maarten, and Indonesia. During the same time, the Department also significantly expanded its humanitarian demining program to train and assist other countries in developing effective demining programs and to expand efforts to develop better mine detection and mine clearing technology for use in the many countries still plagued by mines sown during prolonged internal conflicts.

When the United States considers involvement in humanitarian assistance operations, decisions focus on the use of military forces rather than the use of force. Generally, the military is not the most appropriate tool to address humanitarian concerns. But under certain conditions, the use of U.S. military forces may be appropriate: when a humanitarian catastrophe dwarfs the ability of civilian relief agencies to respond; when the need for relief is urgent and only the military has the ability to jump-start the longer-term response to the disaster; when the response requires resources unique to the military; and when the risk to U.S. troops is minimal.

In support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, DoD also helps provide assistance to victims of domestic disasters. Responses to floods, hurricanes, forest fires, and other disasters, such as the Oklahoma City bombing, have rapidly placed U.S. forces in stricken areas to help provide support, infrastructure repair, and restoration of critical services.

OTHER KEY MISSIONS

U.S. military forces and assets will also be called upon to perform a wide range of other important missions. Some of these can be accomplished by conventional forces fielded primarily for theater operations. Often, however, these missions call for specialized units and capabilities.

Combating Terrorism. To protect American citizens and interests from the threat posed by terrorist groups, the United States needs units available with specialized counterterrorist capabilities. From time to time, the United States might also find it necessary to strike terrorists at their bases abroad or to attack assets valued by the governments that support them.

Countering terrorism effectively requires close day-to-day coordination among Executive Branch agencies. The Department of Defense will continue to cooperate closely with the Department of State; the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Central Intelligence Agency. Positive results come from integrating intelligence, diplomatic, and legal activities and through close cooperation with other governments and international counterterrorist organizations.

The United States has made concerted efforts to punish and deter terrorists and those who support them. Such actions by the United States send a firm message that terrorist acts will be punished, thereby deterring future threats.

In recognition of the increasing threat that terrorism poses to the national interest, the President, in September 1996, signed a supplemental authorization totaling $1.3 billion to be used for programs and special initiatives to combat terrorism. Of the total, DoD received $353 million, which is being used primarily to increase the security of U.S. troops and installations overseas. These funds are part of a package of comprehensive initiatives designed to provide better protection to the American people and U.S. forces. Finally, the Joint Staff created a new Deputy Directorate to assist in coordinating all DoD efforts to combat terrorism.

Noncombatant Evacuation Operations. The U.S. government's responsibility for protecting the lives and safety of Americans abroad extends beyond dealing with the threat of terrorism. Situations like the outbreak of civil or international conflict and natural or manmade disasters require that selected U.S. military forces be trained and equipped to evacuate Americans from threatening situations. For example, U.S. forces evacuated Americans from Monrovia, Liberia, in April-June l996, and from the Central African Republic in May 1996.

Counterdrug Operations. The Department of Defense, in support of U.S. law enforcement agencies (LEAs), the Department of State, and cooperating foreign governments, continues to participate in combating the flow of illicit drugs into the United States. The Department strives to achieve the objectives of the National Drug Control Strategy through the effective application of available resources consistent with U.S. law.

The Department supports the counterdrug mission in five key areas:

Countering the Spread and Use of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons

Beyond the five declared nuclear weapons states, at least 20 other nations have acquired or are attempting to acquire NBC weapons and the means to deliver them. In fact, many of America's most likely adversaries already possess chemical or biological weapons, and some appear determined to acquire nuclear weapons. Such weapons in the hands of a hostile power threaten not only American lives and interests, but also the United States' ability to project power to key regions of the world. The United States will retain the capacity to defend against and respond decisively to the use of NBC weapons so that an adversary will not perceive any advantage from employing them.

The major objectives of DoD counterproliferation policy are to:

To further these objectives, DoD continues to enhance its military capabilities in the following areas:

The United States also continues to face potential nuclear threats. Russia maintains a large and modern arsenal of strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons. Even if the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) II is ratified and enters into force, Russia will retain a formidable strategic nuclear arsenal of up to 3,500 deployed warheads, as well as several thousand nonstrategic nuclear weapons not subject to START II. Perhaps more threatening is the risk that the materials, equipment, and know-how needed to make nuclear weapons will leak out of the New Independent States and into potentially hostile nations.

The United States seeks Russia's full implementation of the START accords. The United States also will continue to press for the elimination of all missiles capable of launching strategic weapons in Belarus in accordance with START I and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The United States will continue to provide assistance under the Nunn-Lugar program for the destruction of NBC capabilities in Russia and the former Soviet states; ensure the safe and secure storage of nuclear weapons and materials; and help prevent the proliferation of NBC weapons, their components, related technology, and expertise within and beyond national borders. These counterproliferation goals require a strong relationship with Russia and all the New Independent States.

U.S. nuclear forces remain an important deterrent. In order to deter any hostile nuclear state and to convince potential aggressors that seeking a nuclear advantage would be futile, the United States will retain nuclear forces sufficient to hold at risk a broad range of assets valued by potentially hostile political and military leaders. This requirement is fully consistent with meeting America's current arms control obligations.

CONCLUSION

America's defense strategy aims first and foremost to protect the life, property, and way of life of its citizens. Its success ultimately relies on a combination of the nation's superior military capabilities, its unique position as the preferred security partner of important regional states, and its determination to influence events beyond its borders. By providing leadership and shaping the international security arena, the United States, along with its allies and friends, can promote the continued spread of peace and prosperity. Only by maintaining its military wherewithal to defend and advance its interests and underwrite its commitments can the United States retain its preeminent position in the world.


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