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Chapter 1


Since the founding of the Republic, the United States has embraced several fundamental and enduring goals: to maintain the sovereignty, political freedom, and independence of the United States, with its values, institutions, and territory intact; to protect the lives and personal safety of Americans, both at home and abroad; and to provide for the well-being and prosperity of the nation and its people.

Achieving these basic goals in an increasingly interdependent world requires fostering an international environment in which critical regions are stable, at peace, and free from domination by hostile powers; in which the global economy and free trade are growing; in which democratic norms and respect for human rights are widely accepted; in which the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) and other potentially destabilizing technologies is minimized; and in which the international community is willing and able to prevent and, if necessary, respond to calamitous events. The United States seeks to play a leadership role in the international community, working closely and cooperatively with nations that share its values and goals, and influencing those that can affect U.S. national well-being.


As the 21st century approaches, the United States faces a dynamic and uncertain security environment. On the positive side of the ledger, the United States is in a period of strategic opportunity. The threat of global war has receded and the nation’s core values of representative democracy and market economics are embraced in many parts of the world, creating new opportunities to promote peace, prosperity, and enhanced cooperation among nations. U.S. companies are leading a dynamic global economy. Alliances such as NATO, the U.S.-Japan alliance, and the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance, which have been and remain so critical to U.S. security, are adapting successfully to meet today’s challenges and provide the foundation for a more stable and prosperous world. Former adversaries, like Russia and other former members of the Warsaw Pact, now cooperate with the United States across a range of security issues. Many in the world see the United States as the security partner of choice.

Security Challenges

While the United States is taking full advantage of this period of strategic opportunity and positive change, increased dynamism in the international environment also presents significant challenges to U.S. security. Despite positive signs, the world remains a complex, dynamic, and dangerous place. While there is great uncertainty about how the security environment will evolve, the United States is likely to face several significant security challenges.

Large-Scale, Cross-Border Aggression. Some states will continue to threaten the territorial sovereignty of their neighbors in regions critical to U.S. interest. In Southwest Asia, both Iraq and Iran continue to pose threats to the region and to the free flow of oil from the region. In East Asia, North Korea still poses a highly unpredictable threat due to its repressive totalitarian regime, the continued forward positioning of its offensive military capabilities on South Korea’s border, its missile programs, and the enormous political and social pressures resulting from increasingly dire economic and humanitarian conditions. Elsewhere in the region, sovereignty issues and several territorial disputes remain potential sources of conflict. Between now and 2015, it is reasonable to assume that more than one aspiring regional power will have both the motivation and the means to pose a military threat to U.S. interests.

Flow of Potentially Dangerous Technologies. The proliferation of advanced weapons and technologies with military or terrorist uses will continue despite the best efforts of the international community. Of particular concern are the spread of NBC weapons and their means of delivery; information warfare capabilities; and capabilities to access, or deny access to, space. The spread of these weapons and technologies could destabilize some regions and increase the number of potential adversaries with significant military capabilities, including smaller states and parties hostile to the United States. The increasing spread of military technologies and information systems also raises the potential for effective countermeasures to U.S. capabilities. These weapons and technologies could change the character of the military challenges that threaten U.S. national security.

Transnational Dangers. The variety of actors that can affect U.S. security and the stability of the broader international community will continue to grow in number and capability. Increasingly capable and violent terrorists will continue to directly threaten the lives of American citizens and their institutions and will try to undermine U.S. policies and alliances. Over the next 15 years, terrorists will become even more sophisticated in their targeting, propaganda, and political action operations. State-sponsored terrorism will continue to provide vital support to a disparate mix of terrorist groups and movements. The illegal drug trade and international organized crime, including piracy and the illegal trade in weapons and strategic materials, will persist, undermining the legitimacy of friendly governments, disrupting key regions and sea lanes, and threatening the safety of U.S. citizens at home and abroad. Finally, environmental disasters, uncontrolled flows of migrants, and other human emergencies will sporadically destabilize regions of the world.

Threats to the U.S. Homeland. The proliferation of advanced information and military technology increases the likelihood that a growing array of actors could attack the United States, using ballistic missiles, NBC weapons, or information warfare (which could include attacks on U.S. infrastructure through computer-based information networks). Together with the continued threat of illegal drugs, organized crime, and migrant flows, and the threat inherent in the remaining strategic nuclear arsenals of other countries, direct threats to the United States are significant, albeit dramatically smaller in scale than during the Cold War.

Failed States. The U.S. intelligence community expects that more nation states will fail between now and 2015, creating internal conflict, humanitarian crises, and the potential for regional instability. As in the former Yugoslavia, and as today in countries ranging from Albania to the former Zaire, governments will lose their ability to maintain public order or provide for the needs of their people, creating the conditions for civil unrest, famine, massive flows of migrants across international borders, aggressive actions by neighboring states, and even mass killings.

Adversary Use of Asymmetric Means. As the discussion of these challenges makes clear, U.S. dominance in the conventional military arena is encouraging adversaries to use asymmetric means to attack U.S. forces and interests overseas and Americans at home. That is, adversaries are likely to attempt to circumvent or undermine U.S. strengths while exploiting its weaknesses, using methods that differ significantly from the usual mode of U.S. operations. Strategically, an aggressor may seek to avoid direct military confrontation with the United States, using instead means such as terrorism, NBC threats, information warfare, or environmental sabotage to achieve its goals. If an adversary ultimately faces a conventional war with the United States, it could also employ asymmetric means to delay or deny U.S. access to critical facilities; disrupt command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance networks; attack other critical DoD infrastructure (e.g., logistics, transportation, space systems, etc.); deter allies and potential coalition partners from supporting U.S. intervention; or inflict higher than expected U.S. casualties in an attempt to weaken U.S. national resolve. Further, the potential use of chemical and biological weapons by adversaries is a near-term challenge to U.S. and friendly forces, given current deficiencies in defenses against these weapons. Thus, the United States must adapt its strategy to deal with the asymmetric capabilities that future regional adversaries are likely to bring to bear, from fielding new capabilities to transforming how U.S. forces will operate in the future.

Additional Security Concerns

Potential for a Global Peer Competitor. The United States is the world’s only superpower today and is expected to remain so through at least 2015. In the period beyond 2015, there is the possibility that a regional great power or global peer competitor may emerge. Russia and China are seen by some as having the potential to be such competitors, though their respective futures are quite uncertain. China has the potential to assert its military power in Asia. The People’s Liberation Army continues to modernize and increase its capability. China has a strategic nuclear arsenal that, while not large, could reach the continental United States. China is likely to continue to face a number of internal challenges, including the further development of its economic infrastructure and the tension between a modern market economy and authoritarian political system, that may slow the pace of its military modernization.

Russia could, in the coming years, reestablish its capability to project offensive military forces along its periphery, but this would require substantial preparation that would be visible to the United States. While Russia continues to retain a large nuclear arsenal with both tactical and strategic weapons, its conventional military capabilities—both in terms of power projection and combat sustainability—have weakened significantly. Russia’s future will depend in large measure on its ability to develop its economy, which in turn is dependent upon a stable political environment. Should Russia’s political system fail to stabilize over the long term, disintegration of Russia as a coherent state could pose major security challenges for the United States and the international community.

Wild Card Scenarios. In addition to security challenges that the Department projects as likely is the possibility for unpredictable wild card scenarios that could seriously challenge U.S. interests at home and abroad. Such scenarios range from the unanticipated emergence of new technological threats, to the loss of U.S. access to critical facilities and lines of communication in key regions, to the takeover of friendly regimes by hostile parties. While the probability of individual wild card scenarios may be low, the probability that at least one will occur is much higher, with consequences that could be disproportionately high. Therefore, the United States must maintain military capabilities with sufficient flexibility to deal with such unexpected events.

The Imperative of Engagement

Finally, it is important to note that this projection of the security environment rests on two fundamental assumptions: that the United States will remain politically and militarily engaged in the world over the next 15 to 20 years, and that it will maintain military superiority over current and potential rivals. If the United States were to withdraw from its international commitments, relinquish its diplomatic leadership, or lose its military superiority, the world would become an even more dangerous place, and the threats to the United States, its allies, friends, and interests would be even more severe.


To meet the challenges and opportunities presented by this security environment, the Administration has developed a National Security Strategy concomitant with U.S. global interests. The United States will remain engaged abroad while supporting efforts to enlarge the community of secure, free-market, and democratic nations and to create new partners in peace and prosperity. While the United States will retain the capability to act unilaterally when necessary, this strategy emphasizes coalition operations to secure basic U.S. national goals, protect and promote U.S. interests, and create preferred international conditions. Indeed, the nature of the challenges the nation faces demands cooperative, multinational approaches that distribute the burden of responsibility among like-minded states. For example, to effectively curb the proliferation of NBC weapons, the United States must garner the cooperation of other nations that have access to NBC technology and materials. Therefore, it is imperative that the United States strives to build close, cooperative relations with the world’s most influential countries.

Maintaining a strong military and the willingness to use it in defense of national interests remain essential to a strategy of engagement. Today, the United States has unparalleled military capabilities. As the only nation in the world able to conduct large-scale, effective joint military operations far beyond its borders, the United States is in a unique position. It is the only country in the world that can organize effective military responses to large-scale regional threats, the cornerstone of many mutually beneficial alliances and security partnerships and the foundation of stability in key regions of the world. To sustain this position of leadership, the United States must maintain ready and versatile forces capable of conducting a wide range of military activities and operations—from deterring and defeating large-scale aggression, to participating in smaller-scale contingencies, to dealing with asymmetric threats like terrorism.

Nevertheless, both U.S. national interests and limited resources argue for the selective use of U.S. forces. The primary purpose of U.S. forces is to deter and defeat the threat of organized violence against the United States and its interests. Decisions about whether and when to use military forces should be guided, first and foremost, by the U.S. national interests at stake—be they vital, important, or humanitarian in nature—and by whether the costs and risks of a particular military involvement are commensurate with those interests. When the interests at stake are vital—that is, they are of broad, overriding importance to the survival, security, and vitality of the nation—the United States will do whatever it takes to defend them, including, when necessary, the unilateral use of military power. U.S. vital national interests include:

· Protecting the sovereignty, territory, and population of the United States.

· Preventing the emergence of hostile regional coalitions or hegemons.

· Ensuring uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources.

· Deterring and, if necessary, defeating aggression against U.S. allies and friends.

· Ensuring freedom of the seas, airways, and space, as well as the security of vital lines of communication.

In other cases, the interests at stake may be important but not vital—that is, they do not affect the nation’s survival but do significantly affect the national well-being and the character of the world in which Americans live. In these cases, military forces should be used only if they advance U.S. interests, are likely to accomplish their objectives, and other means are inadequate to accomplish U.S. goals. Such uses of the military should be both selective and limited, reflecting the relative saliency of the U.S. interests involved.

When the interests at stake are primarily humanitarian in nature, the U.S. military is generally not the best means of addressing a crisis. In some situations, however, initial use of the military’s unique capabilities may be both necessary and appropriate when a humanitarian catastrophe dwarfs the ability of civilian relief agencies to respond or when the need for immediate relief is urgent and only the U.S. military has the ability to jump-start the longer-term response to the disaster. In such cases, if the United States decides to commit military forces to assist in the situation, the military mission should be clearly defined, the risk to American troops should be minimal, and substantial U.S. military involvement should be confined to the initial period of providing relief until broader international assistance efforts get under way.

In all cases where the commitment of U.S. forces is considered, determining whether the associated costs and risks are commensurate with the U.S. interests at stake is central. Such decisions are also informed by identification of a clear mission, the desired end state of the situation, and the exit strategy for forces committed.


To support the imperative of engagement set forth in the National Security Strategy, the Department of Defense has laid out a strategy and resultant defense program in the 1997 Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review that harness U.S. leadership to promote the nation’s interests throughout the 1997-2015 period. The strategy requires the Defense Department to help shape the international security environment in ways favorable to U.S. interests, respond to the full spectrum of crises when directed, and prepare now to meet the challenges of an uncertain future. These three elements—shaping, responding, and preparing—define the essence of U.S. defense strategy between now and 2015.

Shaping the International Environment

In addition to other instruments of national power, such as diplomacy and economic trade and investment, the Department of Defense has an essential role to play in shaping the international security environment in ways that promote and protect U.S. national interests. DoD efforts help to promote regional stability, prevent or reduce conflicts and threats, and deter aggression and coercion on a day-to-day basis in many key regions of the world. To do so, the Department employs a wide variety of means, including forces permanently stationed abroad; forces rotationally deployed overseas; forces deployed temporarily for exercises, combined training, or military-to-military interactions; and programs such as defense cooperation, security assistance (e.g., the International Military Education and Training and Foreign Military Sales programs), and international arms cooperation. DoD’s role in shaping the international environment is closely integrated with diplomatic efforts. On a daily basis, U.S. diplomatic and military representatives work together towards U.S. objectives in all regions of the world. In times of crisis, diplomacy is a critical force multiplier when the United States seeks and works with coalition partners and requires access to foreign bases and facilities. Conversely, diplomacy is frequently enhanced when it is supported by the potential for a military response.

Promoting Regional Stability. In regions where the United States has vital and important interests, the U.S. military helps bolster the security of key allies and friends and works to adapt and strengthen core alliances and coalitions to meet the challenges of an evolving security environment. This engagement forms bilateral and multilateral relationships that increase military transparency, enhance cooperation, and advance regional conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms. In addition, the U.S. military often serves as a preferred means of engagement with countries that are neither staunch friends nor confirmed foes. These contacts build constructive security relationships and help to promote the development of democratic institutions today, in an effort to keep these countries from becoming adversaries tomorrow. Through both example and enforcement, U.S. forces encourage adherence to the international norms and regimes that help provide the foundation for peace and stability around the globe, such as nonproliferation and other arms control agreements that support U.S. national security objectives, the development of appropriate conflict prevention and conflict resolution mechanisms, freedom of navigation, and respect for human rights and the rule of law. Promoting regional stability places a premium on building close working relationships with other U.S. government agencies, coalition partners, and nongovernmental organizations.

Preventing or Reducing Conflicts and Threats. U.S. military forces and other DoD resources can be critical to efforts to prevent or reduce threats and conflicts. Their role in conflict prevention is a key rationale for the U.S. commitment to maintain forces overseas, conduct peacetime engagement activities, and fund various policy initiatives. Such preventive measures include focused efforts to:

· Actually reduce or eliminate NBC capabilities, as is being done with the U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework, the Cooperative Threat Reduction program with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

· Discourage arms races and the proliferation of NBC weapons, as is being done by DoD efforts to monitor and support agreements like the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Missile Technology Control Regime.

· Prevent and deter future terrorism and reduce U.S. vulnerability to terrorist acts through DoD efforts to enhance intelligence collection capabilities and protect critical infrastructure.

· Reduce the production and flow to the United States of illegal drugs, using DoD manpower and assets in the joint interagency task forces operating overseas and in international air and sea space contiguous to U.S. borders.

· Lessen the conditions for conflict, as has the deployment of U.S. forces in Macedonia.

Relatively small and timely investments in such targeted prevention measures can yield disproportionate benefits, often mitigating the need for a more substantial and costly U.S. response later.

Deterring Aggression and Coercion. The third aspect of the military’s key role in shaping the international security environment is deterring aggression and coercion in key regions of the world on a day-to-day basis through the peacetime deployment of U.S. military forces abroad. The United States’ ability to deter potential adversaries in peacetime rests on several factors:

· A demonstrated will and ability to uphold U.S. security commitments when and where they are challenged.

· A declaratory policy that effectively communicates U.S. commitments and the costs to potential adversaries who might challenge these commitments.

· Conventional warfighting capabilities that are credible across the full spectrum of military operations. This credibility is evidenced by U.S. forces and equipment strategically stationed or deployed forward, rapidly deployable power-projection forces, the ability to gain timely access to critical infrastructure overseas, and the demonstrated ability to form and lead effective military coalitions.

The U.S. nuclear posture also contributes substantially to the ability to deter aggression in peacetime. The primary role of U.S. nuclear forces in the current and projected security environment is to deter aggression against the United States, its forces abroad, and its allies and friends. Although the prominence of nuclear weapons in the nation’s defense posture has diminished since the end of the Cold War, nuclear weapons remain important as one of a range of responses available to deal with threats or use of NBC weapons against U.S. interests. They serve as a hedge against the uncertain futures of existing nuclear powers and as a means of upholding U.S. security commitments to U.S. allies. In this regard, U.S. nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provide an essential political and military link between the European and North American members of the Alliance, and permit widespread European participation in all aspects of the Alliance’s nuclear role. In addition, the ability to deploy strategic and non-strategic nuclear systems on a worldwide basis also undergirds the ability of the United States to deter attack against both the United States, its allies, and vital interests. Thus, for the foreseeable future, the United States must retain sufficient nuclear forces—based on flexible and survivable strategic systems—under highly confident, constitutional command and control which safeguards against accidental and unauthorized use. The Department believes these goals can be achieved at lower force levels and continues to take the lead in exploring new arms reduction opportunities. The United States is poised to begin mutual early deactivation of systems which will be eliminated under START II once the Russian government ratifies the treaty, and to begin negotiating further reductions in a START III context as called for by the 1997 Helsinki Joint Statement.

Responding to the Full Spectrum of Crises

Despite the Department’s best efforts to shape the international security environment, the U.S. military will, at times, be called upon to respond to crises in order to protect national interests, demonstrate U.S. resolve, and reaffirm the nation’s role as global leader. Therefore, U.S. forces must also be able to execute the full spectrum of military operations, from deterring an adversary’s aggression or coercion in crisis and conducting concurrent smaller-scale contingency operations, to fighting and winning major theater wars.

Although the United States will retain the capabilities to protect its interests unilaterally, there are often advantages to acting in concert with like-minded nations. Acting in coalition or alliance with other nations, rather than alone, generally strengthens the political legitimacy of a course of action and brings additional resources to bear, ensuring that the United States need not shoulder the political, military, and financial burdens alone. But building and maintaining effective coalitions also present significant challenges, from policy coordination at the strategic level to interoperability among diverse military forces at the tactical level. As the U.S. military incorporates new technologies and operational concepts at a pace faster than that of any other military, careful design and collaboration will be needed to ensure the United States and its allies and partners meet new interoperability challenges. Because coalitions will continue to present both important political benefits and not insignificant military challenges, U.S. forces must plan, train, and prepare to respond to the full spectrum of crises in coalition with the forces of other nations.

Deterring Aggression and Coercion in Crisis. In many cases, the first stage of responding to a crisis consists of efforts to deter an adversary so that the situation does not require a greater response. Deterrence in a crisis generally involves signaling the United States’ commitment to a particular country or expressing its national interest by enhancing U.S. warfighting capability in the theater. The U.S. ability to respond rapidly and substantially as a crisis develops can have a significant deterrent effect. The readiness levels of deployable forces may be increased, forces deployed in the area may be moved closer to the crisis, and forces from the United States may be rapidly deployed to the area. The United States may also choose to make additional declaratory statements to communicate its intentions and the costs of aggression or coercion to an adversary. In some cases, the nation may choose to employ U.S. forces in a limited manner (e.g., to enforce sanctions or conduct limited strikes) to underline this message and deter further adventurism.

Conducting Smaller-Scale Contingency (SSC) Operations. In general, the United States, along with others in the international community, will seek to prevent and contain localized conflicts and crises before they require a military response. However, if such efforts do not succeed, swift intervention by military forces may be the best way to contain, resolve, or mitigate the consequences of a conflict that could otherwise become far more costly and deadly. These operations encompass the full range of joint military operations beyond peacetime engagement activities but short of major theater warfare. They include show-of-force operations, interventions, limited strikes, noncombatant evacuation operations, no-fly zone enforcement, peace enforcement, maritime sanctions enforcement, counterterrorism operations, peace operations, foreign humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and military support to civilian authorities.

Selective participation in SSC operations can serve a variety of U.S. interests. For example, U.S. forces are sometimes called upon to conduct noncombatant evacuations, protecting U.S. citizens caught in harm’s way. The United States might also choose to deploy forces to an intervention or peacekeeping operation in order to support democracy where it is threatened or restore stability in a critical region. In addition, when rogue states defy the community of nations and threaten common interests, the United States may use its military capabilities—for instance, through maritime sanctions enforcement or limited strikes—to help enforce the international community’s will and deter further coercion. And when natural disaster strikes at home or abroad, U.S. values and interests might call for the use of military forces to jump-start relief efforts, enabling other elements of the U.S. government or international community to initiate longer-term relief efforts.

Based on recent experience and intelligence projections, the demand for SSC operations is expected to remain high over the next 15 to 20 years. U.S. participation in SSC operations must be selective, depending largely on the interests at stake and the risk of major aggression elsewhere. However, these operations will still likely pose the most frequent challenge for U.S. forces through 2015 and may require significant commitments of both active and reserve forces.

Fighting and Winning Major Theater Wars. At the high end of the continuum of possible crises is fighting and winning major theater wars. This mission is the most stressing requirement for the U.S. military. In order to protect American interests around the globe, U.S. forces must continue to be able to overmatch the military power of regional states with interests hostile to the United States. Such states are often capable of fielding sizable military forces that can cause serious imbalances in military power within regions important to the United States. Allies and friendly states often find it difficult to match the power of a potentially aggressive neighbor. To deter aggression, prevent coercion of allied or friendly governments, and defeat aggression should it occur, the Department must prepare U.S. forces to confront this scale of threat far from home, in concert with allies and friends, but unilaterally if necessary. Toward this end, the United States must have jointly trained and interoperable forces that can deploy quickly from a posture of global engagement—across great distances to supplement forward-stationed and forward-deployed U.S. forces—to assist a threatened nation, rapidly stop enemy aggression, and defeat an aggressor, even in an environment of NBC weapons threat or use.

As a global power with worldwide interests, it is imperative that the United States, now and for the foreseeable future, be able to deter and defeat large-scale, cross-border aggression in two distant theaters in overlapping time frames, preferably in concert with regional allies. Maintaining this core capability is central to credibly deterring opportunism—that is, to avoiding a situation in which an aggressor in one region might be tempted to take advantage when U.S. forces are heavily committed elsewhere—and to ensuring that the United States has sufficient military capabilities to deter or defeat aggression by an adversary that is larger, or under circumstances that are more difficult, than expected. This is particularly important in a highly dynamic and uncertain security environment. One can never know with certainty when or where the next major theater war will occur, who the next adversary will be, how an enemy will fight, who will join the United States in a coalition, or precisely what demands will be placed on U.S. forces. Indeed, history has repeatedly shown the unpredictability of such matters. A force sized, equipped, and sustained for deterring and defeating aggression in more than one theater ensures the United States will maintain the flexibility to cope with the unpredictable and unexpected. Such a capability is the sine qua non of a superpower and is essential to the credibility of the overall U.S. national security strategy. It also supports the Department’s continued engagement in shaping the international environment to reduce the chances that such threats will develop in the first place.

If the United States were to forego its ability to defeat aggression in more than one theater at a time, its standing as a global power, as the security partner of choice, and as the leader of the international community would be called into question. Indeed, some allies would undoubtedly read a one-war capability as a signal that the United States, if heavily engaged elsewhere, would no longer be able to help defend their interests. This, in turn, could cause allies and friends to adopt more divergent defense policies and postures, thereby weakening the web of alliances and coalitions on which the United States relies to protect its interests abroad. A one-war capability could also inhibit the United States from responding to a crisis promptly enough, or even at all, for fear of committing the bulk of U.S. forces and making itself vulnerable in other regions. This fact is also unlikely to escape the attention of potential adversaries.

In this dynamic, uncertain security environment, the United States must continually reassess the environment, the U.S. defense strategy, and the associated military requirements. If the security environment were to change dramatically and threats of large-scale aggression were to grow or diminish significantly, it would be both prudent and appropriate for the United States to review and reappraise its strategy and warfighting requirements.

Preparing Now for an Uncertain Future

The fundamental challenge confronting the Department of Defense is simple, but daunting. U.S. armed forces must meet the immediate demands of a dangerous world by shaping and responding throughout the next 15 years, while at the same time transforming U.S. combat capabilities and support structures to be able to shape and respond effectively in the face of challenges in the future.

The Department must prepare now to meet the security challenges of an unpredictable future. As the nation moves into the next century, it is imperative that it maintain its military superiority in the face of evolving, as well as discontinuous, threats and challenges. Without such superiority, the United States’ ability to exert global leadership and to create international conditions conducive to the achievement of its national goals would be in doubt.

To maintain this superiority, the United States must achieve a new level of proficiency in its ability to conduct joint and combined operations. This proficiency can only be achieved through a unified effort by all elements of the Department toward the common goal of full spectrum dominance envisioned in Joint Vision 2010, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s conceptual blueprint for future military operations. Implementing Joint Vision 2010 requires developing the doctrine, organization, training and education, materiel, leadership, and people to support truly integrated joint operations. Achieving this new level of proficiency also requires improving the U.S. military’s methods for integrating its forces and capabilities with those of its allies and coalition partners.

The Department’s commitment to preparing now for an uncertain future has four main parts:

· Pursue a focused modernization effort in order to replace aging systems and incorporate cutting-edge technologies into the force to ensure continued U.S. military superiority over time.

· Continue to exploit the Revolution in Military Affairs in order to improve the U.S. military’s ability to perform near-term missions and meet future challenges.

· Exploit the Revolution in Business Affairs to radically reengineer DoD infrastructure and support activities.

· Insure or hedge against unlikely, but significant, future threats in order to manage risk in a resource-constrained environment and better position the Department to respond in a timely and effective manner to new threats as they emerge.

Pursue a Focused Modernization Effort. Fielding modern and capable forces in the future requires aggressive action today. Just as U.S. forces won the Gulf War with weapons that were developed many years before, tomorrow’s forces will fight with weapons that are developed today and fielded over the next several years. Today, the Department is witnessing a gradual aging of the overall force. Many weapons systems and platforms purchased in the 1970s and 1980s will reach the end of their useful lives over the next decade or so. It is essential that the Department increase procurement spending now so that it can ensure tomorrow’s forces are every bit as modern and capable as today’s. Sustained, adequate spending on the modernization of U.S. forces is essential to ensuring that tomorrow’s forces continue to dominate across the full spectrum of military operations.

Exploit the Revolution in Military Affairs. The U.S. military’s modernization effort is directly linked to the broader challenge of transforming its forces to retain military superiority in the face of changes in the security environment and in the art of warfare. Just as earlier technological revolutions have affected the nature of conflict, so too will the technological change that is so evident today. This transformation involves much more than the acquisition of new military systems. It means harnessing new technologies to give U.S. forces greater military capabilities through advanced concepts, doctrine, and organizations so that they can dominate any future battlefield. In the next several years, DoD will seek to further strengthen both the culture and the capability to develop and exploit new concepts and technologies in order to make U.S. military forces more responsive to an uncertain world. Part III describes the Department’s Revolution in Military Affairs activities in detail.

Exploit the Revolution in Business Affairs. A Revolution in Business Affairs also has begun. Efforts to reengineer the Department’s infrastructure and business practices must parallel the work being done to exploit the Revolution in Military Affairs if the nation is to afford both adequate investment in preparations for the future, especially a more robust modernization program, and capabilities sufficient to support an ambitious shaping and responding strategy through 2015. Measures are aimed at shortening cycle times, particularly for the procurement of mature systems; enhancing program stability; conserving scarce resources; ensuring that acquired capabilities will support mission outcomes; ensuring that critical infrastructures deliver the right services to the right users at the right time; increasing efficiencies; and assuring management focus on core competencies, while freeing resources for investment in high-priority areas.

These measures will require changes in political and public thinking about the infrastructure that supports the flexible U.S. force. That thinking must be flexible as well, open to new solutions, and focused on the bottom-line support for U.S. forces. The Quadrennial Defense Review itself reviewed a large number of options and proposed a number of steps in this area, but much more fundamental work must be done to radically reengineer the Department’s institutions. To build the forces envisioned in Joint Vision 2010, additional programs will need to be developed in the years beyond the Future Years Defense Program. To afford those programs, the Department will need both the vision and the will to shrink and make dramatically more efficient its supporting infrastructure. Efforts to transform the Department are covered in more detail in Part IV.

Insurance Policies. The fourth element of preparing is taking prudent steps today to position DoD to respond more effectively to unlikely, but significant, future threats, such as the early emergence of a regional great power or a wild card scenario. Such steps provide a hedge against the possibility that unanticipated threats will emerge. The Department should focus these efforts on threats that, although unlikely, would have highly negative consequences that would be very expensive to counter. Although such insurance is certainly not free, in an uncertain, resource-constrained environment, it is a relatively inexpensive way to manage the risk of being unprepared to meet a new threat, developing the wrong capabilities, or producing a capability too early and having it become obsolete by the time it is needed. Such an approach can also provide an opportunity to delay or forego costly investments in future capabilities the United States may not need.

Among the necessary hedging steps are maintaining a broad research and development (R&D) effort; use of advanced concept technology demonstrations; contact with industries specializing in new technologies; and cooperation with allies who may develop new approaches to resolving problems. An additional approach is to develop new capabilities through carefully tailored R&D and acquisition programs. Applying such an approach more broadly against new threats will require ensuring that the U.S. military has the necessary intelligence capabilities for long-term strategic indications and warning, designing a process for validating such insurance requirements across the Department, and developing an insurance program profile and process that can be integrated into overall acquisition processes. Finally R&D programs can be designed to adopt and adapt commercial technologies to military needs.

The Department’s activities in all of these areas are only the initial steps in a continuing process. Preparing now for an uncertain future must become a central component of the DoD culture and a continuing focus of the Department’s efforts.


In each region of the world, the Department of Defense undertakes activities in an effort to secure U.S. national security interests. In addition to those universal vital U.S. interests stated earlier, each region presents its own unique opportunities and challenges. The Department’s strategies for dealing with these various regional challenges is critical to its overall effort to shape the international environment and remain prepared to respond to the full range of crises. Indeed, how the United States uses force and its forces sends a clear signal to friends and foes throughout the world about its interests, influence, and values.


U.S. Defense Objectives. U.S. defense efforts in Europe are aimed at achieving a peaceful, stable region where an enlarged NATO, through U.S. leadership, remains the preeminent security organization for promoting stability and security. Further, the United States seeks positive and cooperative Russian-NATO and Ukrainian-NATO relations and strengthened relations with Central and Eastern European nations outside of NATO. The United States desires a region in which all parties peacefully resolve their religious, political, and ethnic tensions through existing security structures and mechanisms. The United States and European nations should work together to counter drug trafficking, terrorism, and the proliferation of NBC weapons and associated delivery systems.

U.S. Regional Defense Posture and Activities. The importance of European security for U.S. interests is made clear by the approximately 100,000 American servicemen and women stationed on the continent and the continuous presence of U.S. naval forces in the Mediterranean. Along with the many routine deployments of U.S.-based forces, these units ensure that the United States maintains an active and prominent role in NATO and in outreach efforts to NATO’s partners in the region. European-based U.S. forces are also often the first forces to respond to emerging crises in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

DoD activities to strengthen European security extend far beyond the presence or use of American military forces. The United States is intimately involved in the twin processes of NATO adaptation and NATO enlargement. Recognizing recent changes in the international security environment, the former effort seeks to move the alliance away from a static forward defense posture toward more capable and mobile reaction forces that can project power, including for crisis management operations. To maintain NATO’s military effectiveness in the new security environment, the Alliance has also undertaken efforts to counter the military risks posed by NBC proliferation. Such activities are crucial to maintaining NATO’s relevance as a security institution and avoiding the renationalization of European security policies. NATO enlargement acknowledges the end of the Cold War and seeks to reinforce democratic reforms and stability throughout Europe by enlarging the circle of European nations bound by common interests to a common defense.

NATO enlargement acknowledges the end of the Cold War and seeks to reinforce democratic reforms and stability throughout Europe. The Department will continue to support programs necessary to effectively underwrite NATO enlargement, including the NATO common-funded budgets, the Partnership for Peace program, and related bilateral projects aimed at outreach, democratic reform, and stability in Central and Eastern Europe.

The New Independent States

U.S. Defense Objectives. Through its various programs and activities with the New Independent States (NIS), the United States seeks to ensure that Russia, Ukraine, and the other nations of the region become stable market democracies that are cooperative partners in promoting regional stability, arms control, and nonproliferation in Europe and other regions. Integral to this goal is U.S. support of efforts to secure and stem the export of any former-Soviet NBC weapons, weapons materials, and associated delivery systems or technologies and to eliminate any former Soviet nuclear-capable systems remaining in the other New Independent States. DoD pursues this goal in part by working with the NIS to advance indigenous capabilities to secure borders against unauthorized shipments of weapons of mass destruction. The United States also seeks to deter potential strategic nuclear threats against its citizens and territory. The United States wants Russia to play a constructive role in European affairs, in partnership with NATO, and to maintain strong relations with an independent Ukraine. The United States further seeks a peaceful resolution to the ethnic and regional tensions in the New Independent States, as well as successful counters to illegal drug trafficking, terrorism, international organized crime, and environmental degradation.

U.S. Regional Defense Posture and Activities. While the United States does not station or routinely deploy forces in the New Independent States, the Department of Defense contributes substantially to overarching U.S. security objectives in the region. In its bilateral foreign military interactions with all the New Independent States, the Department seeks to impart the principles of civilian leadership, defense sufficiency and transparency, and military reform and restructuring. Military interactions also seek to overcome the mutual distrust and suspicion that are a legacy of the Cold War. These bilateral efforts are complemented by multinational efforts, including those conducted through the Partnership for Peace program, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other organizations. The Department will continue to broaden military and civilian defense contacts, support the enhanced security for and dismantlement of Russian nuclear weapons, facilitate reductions in chemical weapons, and conduct combined training and exercises to strengthen interoperability with NATO in order to improve the New Independent States’ capabilities for multinational operations.

East Asia and the Pacific Rim

U.S. Defense Objectives. The United States seeks a stable and economically prosperous East Asia that embraces democratic reform and market economics. Central to achieving this goal are the United States’ strong alliance relationships within the region, especially with Japan, Australia, and the Republic of Korea (ROK). In addition, it is critical to continue to engage China so that it contributes to regional stability and acts as a responsible member of the international community. The United States desires a peaceful resolution of the Korean conflict resulting in a non-nuclear, democratic, reconciled, and ultimately reunified Peninsula, as well as the peaceful resolution of the region’s other disputes, including that between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China. Successful counters to terrorism, illegal drug trafficking, and NBC proliferation are major U.S. goals for the region. Finally, the United States seeks the fullest possible accounting for missing U.S. service personnel in Asia.

U.S. Regional Defense Posture and Activities. The United States is committed to maintaining its current level of military capability in East Asia and the Pacific Rim. This capability allows the United States to play a key role as security guarantor and regional balancer. The United States will continue a forward presence policy, in cooperation with its allies, that reflects its interests in the region and allows for adjustments in the U.S. force posture over time to meet the changing demands of the security environment. Today, the United States stations or deploys approximately 100,000 military personnel in the region. Of these personnel, almost half are stationed in Japan and close to 40 percent are in the ROK. The United States will seek to continue and build upon bilateral and multilateral exercises with key states in the region, including the ROK, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Australia.

The most significant near-term danger in the region is the continuing military threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Due to the forward positioning of its offensive military capabilities, its possession of chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery, and the proximity of Seoul to the demilitarized zone, the North Korean threat to ROK security remains formidable. DPRK ballistic missile development, which may develop the potential to strike even the United States, remains a significant concern. The pressures imposed by increasingly dire economic conditions in the DPRK make this threat all the more unpredictable. The United States remains fully committed to its treaty obligations to assist the ROK in defending against North Korean aggression. The United States also seeks a Korean Peninsula free of NBC weapons—a goal shared with the ROK and other allies and friends in the region. The U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework froze North Korea’s nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and Taechon under International Atomic Energy Agency inspection. The Agreed Framework still provides the best means to secure North Korean compliance with its nonproliferation commitment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Department is also working with its Pacific allies to enhance their collective capabilities to deter and defeat use of chemical or biological weapons.

The U.S. security alliance with Japan is the linchpin of its security policy in Asia and is key to many U.S. global objectives. Both nations have moved actively over the past three years to strengthen this bilateral relationship and update the framework and structure of joint cooperation to reflect the security environment. This work has resulted in, most notably, the 1997 release of revised Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation that outline bilateral cooperation during normal circumstances and for the defense of Japan, as well as provide the basis for more effective bilateral cooperation during a regional crisis that affects Japan’s peace and security. U.S. efforts to build on strong alliances with other nations in the region, especially Australia, buttress the U.S. goal of ensuring stability in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, an area of growing economic and political importance. The continued strengthening of U.S. security dialogues and confidence-building measures with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) through the ASEAN Regional Forum is one of many ways in which the United States is working to enhance political, military, and economic ties with friends and allies in Southeast Asia. The Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies is a key U.S. initiative that promotes mutual understanding and cooperation by providing an academic forum for military and civilian decision makers from the United States and Asia to exchange ideas and explore regional security challenges.

The Asian financial crisis has shaken the region’s assumptions about uninterrupted economic development. Indonesia’s economic and political difficulties in particular will pose challenges to the established order both internally and in the region. The outcome of Indonesia’s transition will have an important impact on regional stability and security. Continued U.S. engagement in Indonesia will help promote the stability necessary to manage this difficult period of change.

Because of China’s critical importance in the Asia-Pacific region, the United States is working to integrate China more deeply into the international community. Specifically, the United States engages China in order to promote regional stability and economic prosperity while securing China’s adherence to international standards on weapons nonproliferation, international trade, and human rights. The United States also seeks greater transparency in China’s defense program, including its planning and procurement processes, and will continue to engage China in dialogue aimed at fostering cooperation and confidence-building. Military exchange programs, port visits, and professional seminars contribute to this dialogue and are aimed at building lasting relationships that will foster cooperation and build confidence among U.S. and Chinese leaders.

The Middle East and South Asia

U.S. Defense Objectives. The United States seeks a Middle East and South Asia region at peace, where access to strategic natural resources at stable prices is unhindered and free markets are expanding. The region cannot be stable until there is a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace between Arabs and Israelis and a peaceful resolution to Indian-Pakistani disputes. Nor can stability be achieved until Iraq, Iran, and Libya abide by international norms and no longer threaten regional security. The threat or use of chemical and biological weapons or long-range missiles by these states must be deterred, further proliferation of NBC technologies thwarted, and terrorism successfully countered. The United States must continue working with regional allies and improving U.S. force capabilities to ensure that U.S.-led coalition forces have the ability to fight and win in an NBC environment. Stability in South Asia depends on improved relations between India and Pakistan, and a commitment from both countries to support international efforts to control proliferation of ballistic missiles and NBC technologies and expertise.

U.S. Regional Defense Posture and Activities. Since the Gulf War, the United States has undertaken a number of steps to enhance its military posture in the Middle East and South Asia. The United States military presence in this region includes limited forces stationed long-term, and a larger number of rotational and temporarily deployed forces. An average of 15,000 U.S. military personnel, as well as prepositioned critical materiel, are in the region at any time to help deter aggression and promote stability. These forces conduct a variety of missions, including deterring aggression, enforcing sanctions, ensuring free access to resources, and working with regional partners to improve interoperability and regional nations’ self-defense capabilities. The close military relationships developed with friends throughout the Middle East and South Asia, complemented by U.S. security assistance programs, contribute to an environment that allows regional states to more readily and effectively support U.S. crisis deployments. This contribution is integral to U.S. deterrence efforts.

While the United States cannot impose solutions on the region’s disputes, its unique military and political position demands that it play an active role in promoting regional stability and advancing the cause of peace. In conjunction with diplomatic efforts, the U.S. military will continue to use military-to-military contacts as a means of promoting transparency, enhancing the professionalism of regional armed forces, and demonstrating the value of support for human rights and democratic values. Until South Asia’s nonproliferation issues are satisfactorily resolved, the U.S. military’s role in the region will focus on supporting multinational efforts to stabilize the region and safeguard international nonproliferation norms. The United States will also encourage participation by regional parties, where appropriate, in peace operations to help resolve international conflicts and promote potential regional cooperation.

The Americas

U.S. Defense Objectives. The United States desires all members of the Western hemispheric community to be peaceful, democratic partners in economic prosperity. These nations should exhibit a strong commitment to democratic leadership of their armed forces, constructive civil-military relations, respect for human rights, and restraint in acquisition of arms and military budgets. The United States also believes that the peaceful resolution of the region’s territorial disputes is particularly important. Transparency of military holdings and expenditures and the widespread use of confidence- and security-building measures directly and positively affect this goal. The United States also seeks to maintain the neutrality of the Panama Canal and freedom of navigation along the region’s sea lines of communication. Finally, successful counters to the region’s drug and arms trafficking, terrorism, NBC weapons proliferation, organized crime, and refugee flows are all central to U.S. territorial security and integrity.

U.S. Regional Defense Posture and Activities. Over 50,000 active duty and reserve personnel from the United States pass through the Caribbean and Latin America every year to engage in exercises, nation assistance, instruction in demining operations, and other activities. The United States is currently altering its permanent military presence in Latin America. In 1997, the headquarters of the United States Southern Command completed its move to Florida and will end its military presence in Panama in December 1999.

The Department expends significant energy and time in encouraging the increasing acceptance by militaries in the region of their appropriate role in a constitutional democracy. One highlight of U.S. defense-to-defense efforts in this regard is the biannual Defense Ministerial of the Americas. The Defense Ministerial brings together the defense ministers from the hemisphere’s democracies to discuss common concerns, enhancing transparency, reducing suspicions, and promoting an appropriate role for the military in a democratic society.

Transnational threats are particularly troublesome in the Americas. Because illegal drug trafficking and associated criminal activity threaten the United States and its interests in the region, DoD will continue to support other agencies in trying to stop the flow of illegal drugs, both at the source and in transit, and will encourage and assist other nations committed to antidrug efforts. In addition, when directed by the President, the Department will defend or assist other U.S. government agencies in stemming refugee flows when they threaten U.S. interests, including its territorial sovereignty.

Sub-Saharan Africa

U.S. Defense Objectives. The United States seeks a Sub-Saharan Africa where terrorism, organized crime, narcotics trafficking, disease, environmental degradation, and the influence of pariah states no longer threaten the region’s nations or others. Africa should be a region at peace, fully integrated into the world economy, where the spread of democracy and respect for human rights have produced a level of stability that allows African states to resolve conflict peacefully and satisfy the basic human needs of their citizens.

U.S. Regional Defense Posture and Activities. Although at present the United States has no permanent military presence in Sub-Saharan Africa, it promotes stability by gaining and maintaining informal access through engagement activities, forming positive relationships with key institutions, and conducting exercises with the region’s militaries. For example, the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI) is a U.S. training effort aimed at creating partnerships with both regional countries and allies and friends outside the region to train fully interoperable, highly effective, rapidly-deployable African peacekeeping units capable of operating jointly. Battalions in Uganda, Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Benin, and Malawi have successfully completed initial training, and four battalions have already participated in sustainment training events. The ACRI will train additional units in 1999. In addition, through the President’s Front Line States initiative, the United States is providing defensive, nonlethal military assistance to help a number of African countries resist Sudanese-backed insurgencies and contain that nation’s sponsorship of international terrorism. In addition, the United States is enhancing its bilateral military relationship with South Africa through the U.S.-South African Binational Commission’s defense committee, with the larger goal of enhancing stability through mutually beneficial engagement.

These shaping activities, in addition to enhancing the security of the nations and citizens involved, provide both basing opportunities for conducting noncombatant evacuation operations and humanitarian operations and a foundation for countering state-sponsored terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and the proliferation of conventional weapons, fissile materials, and related technology. Finally, the United States is creating an African Center for Security Studies along the lines of existing centers in other regions (like the Marshall Center in Europe), to provide education and training for senior African military officers and civilian defense officials in democratic civil-military relations and defense management. The United States must continue to work with the continent’s nations to help secure U.S. interests.


The defense strategy laid out above, and detailed in the Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review, provides a path for the United States to protect and promote its national interests in the current and projected security environment. The United States must remain engaged as a global leader and harness the unmatched capabilities of its armed forces to shape the international security environment in favorable ways, respond to the full spectrum of crises when it is in U.S. interests to do so, and prepare now to meet the challenges of an uncertain future. This three-pronged strategy and the military missions inherent in it provide a common foundation for the Department’s many disparate programs and activities.

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