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Chapter 2


To meet the near-term requirements of shaping the international environment and responding to the full spectrum of crises, U.S. forces must have a broad range of unmatched capabilities. U.S. forces are sized and shaped not only to meet current threats, but also to succeed in a broad range of anticipated missions and operational environments. The U.S. military is a capabilities-based force that gives national leaders a range of viable options for promoting and protecting U.S. interests in peacetime, crisis, and war.


U.S. military engagement around the world is both a key means of shaping the international security environment and an important foundation of the U.S. military’s ability to respond to crises. The demand for U.S. forces is very high, but manpower and other resources are limited. The challenge to the Department is to prioritize its peacetime activities to ensure that efforts are concentrated on those that are of greatest importance without sacrificing warfighting capabilities. Those priorities vary by region and situation according to the national security interests involved—be they vital, important, or humanitarian—and by the extent to which the application of DoD resources can significantly advance those interests.

Accordingly, each regional commander in chief (CINC), in concert with the Services, annually develops a Theater Engagement Plan that links planned engagement activities to prioritized regional objectives. The theater engagement plan is a comprehensive five-year plan of CINC engagement activities that has been incorporated in the Department’s deliberate planning system. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) reviews and integrates each theater plan into the global family of theater engagement plans. The CJCS approves this family of plans and then forwards them to the Secretary of Defense for review. This process enhances the Department’s effectiveness in articulating, from a global perspective, the CINCs’ engagement activities and the associated resource requirements and tempo considerations.


Smaller-Scale Contingency Operations

U.S. forces must be multi-mission capable, and they must be trained, equipped, and managed with multiple mission responsibilities in mind. They must also be capable of operating effectively in the face of asymmetric challenges like terrorism, information operations, and the threat or use of nuclear, biological, or chemical (NBC) weapons. Furthermore, U.S. forces must be able to withdraw from smaller-scale contingency (SSC) operations, reconstitute, and then deploy to a major theater war within required timelines. Although in some cases this may pose significant operational, diplomatic, and political challenges, the ability to transition between peacetime operations and warfighting remains a fundamental requirement for virtually every U.S. military unit.

Over time, sustained commitment to multiple concurrent smaller-scale contingencies will certainly stress U.S. forces—for example, by creating tempo and budgetary strains on selected units—in ways that must be carefully managed. SSC operations will also put a premium on the ability of the U.S. military to work effectively with other U.S. government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and a variety of coalition partners. SSC operations require that the U.S. government, including DoD and other agencies, continuously and deliberately reassess both the challenges encountered in such operations and the capabilities required to meet these challenges.

Major Theater War

At least three particularly challenging requirements associated with fighting and winning major theater wars merit special attention. The first is being able to rapidly defeat enemy forces short of their objectives in two theaters in close succession, one followed almost immediately by another. Maintaining this capability is absolutely critical to the United States’ ability to seize the initiative in both theaters and to minimize the amount of territory to be regained from enemy forces. Failure to halt an enemy invasion rapidly can make the subsequent campaign to evict enemy forces from captured territory much more difficult, lengthy, and costly. It could also weaken coalition support, undermine U.S. credibility, and increase the risk of conflict elsewhere. By the same token, a force that is clearly capable of defeating aggression promptly should serve as a robust deterrent by denying would-be aggressors the prospect of success. Thus, the Department must ensure that the appropriate forces and infrastructure are ready and available to project sufficient power to rapidly defeat enemy forces in the early stages of a major conflict.

The threat or use of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) is a likely condition of future warfare, including in the early stages of war to disrupt U.S. operations and logistics. These weapons may be delivered by ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft, special operations forces, or other means. This requires that U.S. forces continue to improve their capabilities to locate and destroy such weapons, including those in hard and/or deeply buried facilities, preferably before such weapons can be used, and to defend against and manage the consequences if these weapons are used. But capability enhancements alone are not enough. Equally important is continuing to adapt U.S. doctrine, operational concepts, training, and exercises to take full account of the threat posed by chemical and biological weapons and other likely asymmetric threats. Moreover, given that the United States will most likely conduct future operations in coalition with other countries, the United States must also encourage its friends and allies to train and equip their forces for effective operations in CBW environments.

Finally, U.S. forces will transition to fighting major theater wars from a posture of global engagement—that is, from substantial levels of peacetime engagement overseas as well as multiple concurrent SSC operations. In the event of one major theater war, the United States would need to be extremely selective in making any additional commitments to either engagement activities or SSC operations. The United States would likely also choose to begin disengaging from those activities and operations not deemed to involve vital U.S. interests in order to better posture its forces to deter the possible outbreak of a second war.

In the event of two such conflicts, U.S. forces would be withdrawn from peacetime engagement activities and SSC operations as quickly as possible to be readied for war. The risks associated with disengaging from a range of peacetime activities and operations in order to deploy the appropriate forces to the conflicts could be mitigated, at least in part, by replacing withdrawing forces with an increased commitment of reserve component forces, coalition or allied forces, host nation capabilities, contractor support, or some combination thereof. Ultimately, the United States must accept a degree of risk associated with withdrawing from SSCs and engagement activities in order to reduce the greater risk it would incur if the nation failed to respond adequately to major theater wars. In this regard, the Department seeks to better understand the potential of and mechanisms required for force substitution.

Because both the nature of the threats the United States faces and the way in which it will choose to fight future conflicts are changing, the forces and capabilities required to uphold this two-theater requirement will differ from the major regional conflict building blocks developed in the 1993 Bottom-Up Review. Specifically, the accelerating incorporation of new technologies and operational concepts into the force calls for a reexamination of the forces and capabilities required for fighting and winning major theater wars. As U.S. and enemy forces change in effectiveness, these force requirements will change. The Department also needs to better understand the requirements associated with deterring, defeating, and defending against adversaries willing to use chemical and biological weapons and other asymmetric means. Furthermore, the changing security environment requires that the United States reassess the role of strategic reserves, the degree to which it relies on both allies and reserve component forces in major theater wars, the degree to which it swings forces between theaters, and the impact of such factors on the timing of various phases of the campaigns, particularly counteroffensives.

In sum, for the foreseeable future, U.S. forces must be sufficient in size, versatility, and responsiveness in order to transition from a posture of global engagement to fight and win, in concert with regional allies, two major theater wars that occur at roughly the same time. In this context, they must also be able to defeat the initial enemy advance in two distant theaters in close succession and to fight and win in situations where chemical and biological weapons and other asymmetric approaches are employed.


The number and variety of military challenges the United States will likely face in the next 15 to 20 years require a force of sufficient size and capability to defeat large enemy conventional forces, deter aggression and coercion, and conduct the full range of smaller-scale contingencies and shaping activities, all in the face of asymmetric challenges. U.S. forces, both active and reserve, must be multi-mission capable, proficient in their core warfighting competencies, and able to transition from peacetime activities and operations to enhanced deterrence in crisis to war. This standard applies not only to the force as a whole, but also to individual units. Such full-spectrum forces require a balanced mix of overseas presence and power projection capabilities.

Overseas Presence

Maintaining a substantial overseas presence posture is vital to both the shaping and responding elements of the defense strategy. Specifically, overseas presence promotes regional stability by giving form and substance to U.S. bilateral and multilateral security commitments. It also helps prevent the development of power vacuums and instability. It contributes to deterrence by demonstrating the country’s determination and capability to defend U.S., allied, and friendly interests in critical regions and better positions the United States to respond rapidly to crises. U.S. presence overseas enhances the effectiveness of coalition operations across the spectrum of conflict by promoting joint and combined training, encouraging responsibility sharing on the part of friends and allies, and facilitating regional integration.

U.S. forces and infrastructure overseas visibly support the defense strategy. To optimize U.S. overseas presence posture, the Department continually assesses this posture to ensure it effectively and efficiently contributes to achieving U.S. national security objectives. This means defining the right mix of permanently stationed forces, rotationally deployed forces, temporarily deployed forces, and infrastructure, in each region and globally, to conduct the full range of military operations.

Power Projection

Equally essential to the shaping and responding elements of the strategy is being able to rapidly move and concentrate U.S. military power in distant corners of the globe. Effective and efficient global power projection is the key to the flexibility demanded of U.S. forces and ultimately provides national leaders with more options in responding to potential crises and conflicts. Being able to project power allows the United States to shape and respond even when it has no permanent presence or limited infrastructure in a region.

While the United States must pursue the cooperation of other governments in allowing U.S. forces access to critical infrastructure, it cannot assume that cooperation will always be timely or forthcoming. Accordingly, the United States must be able to establish a military lodgement on foreign territory through a forced entry. A joint forced entry capability ensures the United States will have access to vital seaports, air bases, and other critical facilities.

Critical Enablers

Critical to power projection and to the U.S. military’s unique ability to shape the international security environment and respond to the full spectrum of crises are a host of capabilities and assets that enable the worldwide application of U.S. military power. These critical enablers include:

· Quality people, superbly led by commanders. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are the bedrock of the U.S. military. They will be the deciding factor in all future operations. The Department’s strong commitment to the quality of life of all its people remains unchanged.

· A globally vigilant intelligence system. Early strategic warning of crises and detection of threats is critical in a security environment complicated by more actors and more sophisticated technology. Equally important is the capability to meet in real time the global needs of U.S. forces deployed in times of threat or crisis.

· Global communications. These allow for the timely exchange of information, data, decisions, and orders, while negating an adversary’s ability to interfere in U.S. information systems. Because information systems may be threatened by a variety of adversaries, information assurance must be an integral part of planning for the acquisition of new systems as well as the operation or upgrade of existing systems.

· Superiority in space. Global command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, navigation support, and meteorological forecasting rely on space-based assets. To maintain the current U.S. advantage in space even as more users develop capabilities and access, the United States must focus sufficient intelligence efforts on monitoring foreign use of space-based assets and develop the capabilities required to protect U.S. systems and prevent hostile use of space by an adversary.

· Control of the seas and airspace. The successful application of military power depends on control of the seas and airspace in the theater of operation and throughout the air and sea lines of communications. Control of sea and air allows the United States to project power across great distances, conduct military operations, and protect U.S. interests around the world. In the event of a conflict, U.S. forces will seek to gain superiority in, and dominance of, the air and sea in order to maintain the freedom to conduct operations and protect both military and commercial assets and strategic lines of communications.

· Strategic Mobility. The United States must be able to project military power across great distances to protect its interests around the world. A robust and effective strategic lift capability is critical to this ability. Preserving the U.S. military’s global mobility system is a top priority of the defense strategy, requiring not only the daily diplomacy necessary to ensure U.S. access but also the ability to quickly establish sea and air superiority along U.S. strategic lines of communication.

Without these critical enablers, the United States could not execute its defense strategy.

Capabilities to Respond to Asymmetric Threats

To be a truly full-spectrum force, the U.S. military must be able to defeat even the most innovative adversaries. Those who oppose the United States will increasingly rely on unconventional strategies and tactics to offset U.S. superiority in conventional forces. The Department’s ability to adapt effectively to adversaries’ asymmetric threats—such as information operations, nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons use, and terrorism—is critical to maintaining U.S. preeminence into the next century.

A growing number of nations are working to acquire ballistic missiles, including missiles that could threaten the territory of the United States. Ballistic missiles could be used to deliver nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. The increasing availability of sophisticated technology today may enable a nation to develop or acquire, with very little warning time for the United States, an intercontinental range ballistic missile capability. To protect against this growing threat and deter possible adversaries from considering such attacks on American territory, the United States has increased funding for national missile defense (NMD) and will determine in 2000 whether to deploy such a system. The NMD system under development would defend all 50 states against a limited strategic ballistic missile attack such as could be posed by a rogue nation. An NMD system could also provide some inherent capability against a small accidental or unauthorized launch of strategic ballistic missiles from existing nuclear capable states.


Information operations include actions taken to affect adversary information and information systems while protecting one’s own information and information systems. The increasing availability of technology and sophistication of potential adversaries demands a commitment to improving the U.S. military’s ability to operate in the face of information threats. Defense against hostile information operations will require unprecedented cooperation among Services, defense agencies, commercial enterprises, and U.S. allies. In addition, the United States’ ability to protect information must extend to those elements of the civilian infrastructure that support national security requirements.

In recent years, the Department has focused its information operations development efforts on tactical support to warfighting. The Department is now expanding these efforts to the full range of potential national security missions, for both peace and war. The Department has emphasized developing policy for information operations that will aid in the development of integrated requirements and help guide decisions on capabilities that support future information operations. Such capabilities developed in the military and intelligence communities must be fully integrated into military planning and operations.


DoD’s extensive counterproliferation and export control efforts are designed to slow the spread of technologies that can threaten the security of U.S. forces and infrastructure and undermine regional stability. The Department has progressed substantially toward fully integrating considerations of NBC weapons use against U.S. forces into its military planning, acquisition, intelligence, and international cooperation activities. These include efforts to embed counterproliferation in all aspects of the planning and programming process; adapt military doctrine and operational plans to deal with NBC weapons in regional contingencies; mature acquisition programs to ensure that U.S. forces will be adequately trained and equipped to operate effectively in contingencies involving NBC threats; reallocate intelligence resources to provide better information about adversary NBC capabilities and how they are likely to be used; and undertake multilateral and bilateral cooperative efforts with U.S. allies and friends to develop a common defense response to the military risks posed by NBC proliferation. The Quadrennial Defense Review underscored the need for these efforts; accordingly, the Secretary of Defense increased planned spending on counterproliferation by $1 billion over the Future Years Defense Program.

DoD must meet two key challenges as part of its strategy to ensure future counterproliferation preparedness. It must institutionalize counterproliferation as an organizing principle in every facet of military activity, from logistics to maneuver and strike warfare, and it must internationalize those same efforts to ensure U.S. allies and potential coalition partners train, equip, and prepare their forces to operate with U.S. forces under NBC conditions.

To advance the institutionalization of counterproliferation, the Joint Staff and CINCs are developing a joint counter-NBC weapons operational concept that integrates both offensive and defensive measures. This strategy will serve as the basis for refining existing doctrine so that it more fully integrates all aspects of counter-NBC operations. In addition, the Services and CINCs are placing greater emphasis on regular individual, unit, joint, and combined training and exercises that incorporate realistic NBC threats. The Services are working to develop new training standards for specialized units, such as logistics and medical units, and larger formations to improve their ability to perform complex tasks under prolonged NBC conditions. Finally, many counterproliferation-related capabilities must be available prior to or very early in a conflict. The Services are developing capability packages that provide for early deployment or prepositioning of NBC defense and theater missile defense capabilities and personnel into theaters of operations. The timing necessary for the arrival of such capabilities should in part determine whether or not those capabilities reside in active or reserve components.

Unless properly prepared to deal with NBC threats or attacks, allies and friends may present vulnerabilities for a U.S.-led coalition. In particular, potential coalition partners cannot depend on U.S. forces to provide passive and active defense capabilities to counter NBC threats. U.S. counterproliferation cooperation with its NATO allies through the Senior Defense Group on Proliferation provides a template for improving the preparedness of long-standing allies and other countries that may choose to act in concert with the United States in future military coalitions. Similar efforts with allies in Southwest Asia and Asia-Pacific will continue to ensure that potential coalition partners for major theater wars have effective plans for CBW defense of populations and forces.

Further information on DoD’s counterproliferation program can be found in two DoD publications Proliferation: Threat and Response and Report on Activities and Programs for Countering Proliferation and NBC Terrorism. These and other counterproliferation documents are available on the Internet.


The terrorist threat has changed markedly in recent years, due primarily to five factors: changing terrorist motivations; the proliferation of technologies of mass destruction; increased access to information, information technologies, and mass media; a perception that the United States is unwilling to accept casualties; and the accelerated centralization of vital components of the national infrastructure.

DoD divides its response to terrorism into two categories. Antiterrorism refers to defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to terrorist acts. Counterterrorism refers to offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, and respond to terrorism. Both fall under the rubric of combating terrorism. Force protection is the umbrella security program involving the coordinated efforts of key U.S. departments and agencies designed to protect military and civilian personnel, their family members, and U.S. property.

DoD has initiated a wide range of actions designed to enhance antiterrorism, requiring threat and force protection to be constantly evaluated and giving commanders increased resources and flexibility to be fully responsive to changes in the threat. The Department has established programs to expand protection measures worldwide where appropriate. At all levels, the Department has developed and carried out policies, processes, and programs designed to integrate force protection into the culture and institutional fabric of the United States military.

Because intelligence represents the first line of defense, DoD has implemented procedures to improve its collection and use of terrorism-related intelligence, getting the needed product into the hands of the local commander as rapidly as possible. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is engaged in an aggressive long-term collection and analytic effort designed to provide information that can help local commanders detect, deter, and prevent terrorist attack. Close working relationships between DIA and other members of the national intelligence community are being strengthened, and intelligence exchanges with U.S. friends and allies have been increased.

DoD is also taking steps to improve force protection, including programs for U.S. military forces, family members, and DoD civilians. DoD has actively worked to enhance training and awareness of the terrorist threat facing U.S. forces. In 1998, the Department began to implement a set of worldwide, prescriptive standards for antiterrorism and force protection. Vulnerability assessments conducted by the Joint Staff, combatant commanders, and the Services provided an effective means to evaluate and improve installation commanders’ antiterrorism readiness programs. Based on findings in these assessments, the Joint Staff developed a planning tool that provides installation commanders with mechanisms to develop comprehensive, tailored antiterrorism and force protection plans for their specific facilities. The Department also worked with the Department of State to ensure that rigorous force protection programs are provided for U.S. forces overseas.

DoD’s counterterrorism capabilities provide the offensive means to deter, defeat, and respond vigorously to all forms of terrorist attack against U.S. interests, wherever they may occur. The Department has significantly increased the resources allocated to these sensitive activities, and efforts are under way to maximize readiness so that U.S. counterterrorism forces are trained and equipped to meet any future forms of terrorism. U.S. counterterrorism forces receive the most advanced and diverse training available and continually exercise to maintain proficiency and to develop new skills. They regularly train with their foreign counterparts to maximize coordination and effectiveness. They also engage with counterpart organizations in a variety of exchange programs which not only hone their skills, but also contribute to the development of mutual confidence and trust.


The United States must size, shape, and manage its forces effectively if they are to be capable of meeting the fundamental challenge of the defense strategy—maintaining the near-term capabilities required to support the shape and respond elements of the strategy while simultaneously undergoing the transformation required to shape and respond in the future. For shaping, this means that DoD must continue its efforts to support regional security objectives efficiently and within resource constraints. For responding, it means that U.S. forces must be capable of operating across the spectrum of conflict—meeting the particular challenges posed by smaller-scale contingency operations and major theater wars—and in the face of asymmetric threats. The forces and force policies needed to fulfill the missions described here are detailed in Part II.

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