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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 military capabilities. U.S. forces are sized and shaped not only to meet known current threats, but also to succeed in a broad range of anticipated missions and operational environments. The structure of the U.S. military is designed to give national leaders a range of viable options for promoting and protecting U.S. interests in peacetime, crisis, and war. The depth and breadth of U.S. military capabilities were demonstrated most recently in the conflict over Kosovo, where U.S. forces proved more than capable of meeting the demands of that conflict while remaining prepared to meet other requirements associated with the defense strategy.


The broad demands of the strategy require a full array of military capabilities from all military services—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps—and from all components—active, reserve, guard, civilian. (See Table 1 for breakdown of the force by Service and component.) This full–spectrum force must be of sufficient size and scope to meet the most demanding missions, including defeating large–scale, cross–border aggression in two theaters nearly simultaneously, conducting the full range of smaller–scale contingency (SSC) operations, and supporting routine shaping activities.

This full–spectrum force must not only be capable across mission areas but it must also be highly versatile. For example, the same forces that conduct routine shaping and engagement missions must also be prepared to participate in SSC operations or, if necessary, to fight and win in major theater wars. This requires that U.S. forces as a whole be superbly trained and maintain the highest possible readiness standards. The force must have equipment that is versatile across a range of missions or, in some selected cases, with equipment that is tailored to performing a critical task associated with a single mission or select group of missions.

The force must also be highly mobile and responsive, able to meet the demands of the strategy by responding to challenges in many different parts of the globe. This requires integrated air, sea, and land transportation assets to provide the needed mobility and a comprehensive set of basing, infrastructure, and access arrangements with allies and friends to facilitate military operations in distant locations. Where possible, it also requires prepositioned stocks and equipment in critical areas to reduce deployment times and facilitate the rapid transition to combat operations.

Table 1

Major Conventional Force Elements FY 2001




     Armored Cavalry Regiments
     Enhanced Separate Brigades


     Aircraft Carriers
     Attack Submarines
     Surface Combatants


Air Force
     Fighter Wings


Marine Corps
     Air Wings


* Total inventory.

The effective employment of this full–spectrum force rests both on the ability to maintain forward–deployed and forward–stationed forces in peacetime, and on the ability to project power quickly in crisis and war. It rests also on a range of enabling capabilities that support the full array of military operations.

Overseas Presence

Maintaining a substantial overseas presence is vital to both the shaping and responding elements of the defense strategy. Overseas presence promotes regional stability by serving as a visible manifestation of U.S. commitment to protecting its interests in the region. It deters aggression and coercion against countries that host U.S. forces, as hostile states that might contemplate using or threatening force against the host nation recognize that doing so will likely involve them in a military confrontation with not just the host nation, but also the world’s preeminent military power. U.S. presence in the region also deters aggression and coercion against other countries in the region. Finally, U.S. presence enhances the Department’s ability to respond to the full range of crises by ensuring that forces are already in the region to respond immediately to any threats, and reducing the amount of forces which must be transported to the theater in the event of military conflict.

To optimize its 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, mass, support, and employ U.S. military power to and within distant corners of the globe. This includes the capability to conduct forced entries—the establishment of a military lodgement on foreign territory even without the benefit of access to infrastructure in friendly countries in the region. 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.

Enabling Capabilities

Critical to the U.S. military’s ability to shape the international security environment and respond to the full spectrum of crises is a host of capabilities and assets that enable the worldwide application of U.S. military power. These critical enablers include quality people, superb leadership, a globally aware intelligence system, comprehensive and secure communications, and strategic mobility.


In general, the above capabilities are needed to carry out more than one aspect of the strategy. For example, capabilities that are needed for fighting and winning a major theater war are generally also important to deterrence (both in crisis and on a day–to–day basis), and may be essential to conducting smaller–scale contingency operations as well. In addition, however, both shaping activities and each of the three types of crisis response—deterring aggression and coercion, conducting smaller–scale contingency operations, and fighting and winning major theater wars—have requirements that are specific to that particular activity.

Shaping the Security Environment

Shaping the international security environment involves promoting regional stability, preventing or reducing conflicts and threats, and deterring aggression and coercion on a day–to–day basis. Promoting regional stability and preventing or reducing conflicts and threats require participation in routine alliance activities, military–to–military exchanges, combined training and exercises, defense cooperation, security assistance, and international arms cooperation. Deterring aggression and coercion on a day–to–day basis requires the capabilities needed to respond to the full range of crises, from smaller–scale contingencies to major theater wars. It also requires the maintenance of nuclear forces sufficient to deter any potential adversary from using or threatening to use nuclear, chemical, or biological (NBC) weapons against the United States or its allies, and as a hedge against defeat of U.S. conventional forces in defense of vital interests.

Given that the demand for the employment of U.S. forces continues to be high, while manpower and other resources are limited, the challenge for the Department is to prioritize its peacetime shaping 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) annually develops a Theater Engagement Plan that links planned engagement activities to prioritized regional objectives. The Theater Engagement Plan is a comprehensive multi–year plan of CINC engagement activities that has been incorporated into 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 prioritizing, from a global perspective, the CINCs’ engagement activities and the associated resource requirements and tempo considerations.

Deterring Aggression and Coercion in Crisis

Deterrence in crisis requires the ability to quickly increase the readiness levels of deployable forces, to move forces deployed in the area closer to the crisis, and to rapidly deploy forces from the United States to the crisis region. It also requires the ability to perform demonstrative actions such as sanctions enforcement or limited strikes. Although all of these capabilities are also required for smaller–scale contingency operations or major theater wars, since most crises will occur prior to full wartime mobilization, the capability to conduct them at peacetime mobilization levels must exist as well.

Conducting Smaller–Scale Contingency Operations

Many capabilities required for smaller–scale contingency operations are similar or identical to those required for fighting and winning major theater wars. Some capabilities, such as those required for noncombatant evacuation operations, peacekeeping operations, humanitarian relief operations, and counterdrug operations, however, are specific to smaller–scale contingencies. Because of the range and unpredictability of smaller–scale contingencies, U.S. forces must be multi–mission capable, and must be trained, equipped, and managed with multiple mission responsibilities in mind. Finally, U.S. forces must be capable of withdrawing from smaller–scale contingency operations, reconstituting, and then deploying 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 SSC 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 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.

Fighting and Winning Major Theater Wars

The most demanding military requirement on U.S. forces is the capability to fight and win two major theater wars in overlapping time frames. This requires that U.S. forces have a full spectrum of military capabilities in quantities sufficient to defeat any two regional adversaries in full–scale warfare involving land, sea, and aerospace forces in two separate and distant theaters of conflict, with only a short period of time separating the beginnings of the two conflicts.

Major theater war presents the United States with three additional challenges. First is the ability to rapidly defeat the offensives of both adversaries well short of their objectives. Maintaining this capability is 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 rapidly defeat an enemy offensive 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 will 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 power sufficient to rapidly defeat enemy forces in the early stages of a major conflict.

A second challenge is the threat or use of chemical and biological weapons, a likely condition of future warfare, especially in the early stages of war for purposes of disrupting 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, preferably before such weapons can be used, and to defend against and manage the consequences if these weapons are used. 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 continue to encourage its friends and allies to train and equip their forces for effective operations in chemical and biological weapons 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 shaping activities overseas and potentially from 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 smaller–scale contingency 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 United States was mindful of this strategy when it undertook Operation Allied Force in Kosovo the spring of 1999, and continually assessed the impact of this operation on the ability of U.S. forces to defend effectively in potential warfighting theaters. Should the United States have faced the challenge of withdrawing forces to mount two major wars in defense of U.S. vital interests elsewhere, the Department is confident that it would have been able to do so, albeit at higher levels of risk. The United States made various adjustments in its posture and plans to mitigate these risks during the Kosovo operation.

The risks associated with disengaging from a range of peacetime activities and operations in order to deploy the appropriate forces to the conflicts can also 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.


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; ballistic missiles; and terrorism—is critical to maintaining U.S. military preeminence into the 21st century.

Information Operations

Information operations refers to 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, other U.S. government agencies, commercial enterprises, and U.S. allies and friends. In addition, the United States’ ability to protect information must extend to those elements of the civilian infrastructure that support national security requirements.

Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Weapons

The Department has progressed substantially toward fully integrating considerations of nuclear, biological, and/or chemical weapons use against U.S. forces into its military planning, acquisition, intelligence, and international cooperation activities. These include efforts to:

· Embed counterproliferation considerations in all aspects of the planning and programming process.

· Adapt military doctrine and operational plans to deal with NBC weapons in regional contingencies.

· Adjust 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

· 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 in 1997 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 NBC attack preparedness. It must institutionalize counterproliferation as an organizing principle in every facet of military activity, from logistics to maneuver and strike warfare. It must also 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 will develop 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 will place greater emphasis on regular individual, unit, joint, and combined training and exercises that incorporate realistic NBC threats. The Services will work 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 will develop capability packages that provide for prepositioning or early deployment of NBC and theater missile defense capabilities and personnel into theaters of operations. The timing necessary for the arrival of such capabilities will 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 NBC defense of populations and forces.

Further information on DoD’s counterproliferation program can be found in two DoD publications: Proliferation: Threat and Response and Department of Defense Nuclear/Biological/Chemical Defense Annual Report to Congress. These and other counterproliferation documents are available on the Internet.

Ballistic Missiles

A growing number of nations are working to acquire ballistic missiles, including missiles that could threaten the territory of the United States. Ballistic missiles can 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 is engaged in a vigorous effort to develop a national missile defense (NMD) system and will determine in 2000 whether to deploy such a system by 2005. 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 state. 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.


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 and information technologies; a perception that the United States is not willing to accept casualties; and the accelerated centralization of vital components of the national infrastructure. As a result of these constantly changing threats, the United States must continue to improve its ability to stay ahead of terrorists’ ever–expanding capabilities.

DoD’s program for combating terrorism has four components: antiterrorism, counterterrorism, terrorism consequence management, and intelligence support. Antiterrorism consists of defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals, forces, and property to terrorist acts. Counterterrorism consists of offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, and respond to terrorism. Terrorism consequence management consists of measures to mitigate the effects of a terrorist incident, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction. Intelligence support consists of the collection, analysis, and dissemination of all–source intelligence on terrorist groups and activities to protect, deter, preempt, or counter the terrorist threat to U.S. personnel, forces, critical infrastructures, and interests.

Five key DoD initiatives support its antiterrorism efforts. First, the Joint Staff Integrated Vulnerability Assessment Teams and CINC and Service Vulnerability Assessment Teams provide commanders with critical assistance to force protection programs. Second, DoD continues to improve its Antiterrorism Force Protection Training Program. This program provides antiterrorism awareness training to all DoD military and civilian personnel and their families, specialized training for Antiterrorism Force Protection Officers, pre–command training for prospective commanders, and operational level seminars for senior officers. Third, the Combating Terrorism Readiness Initiative Fund provides an important means for combatant commanders to fund time–critical, emergent requirements that cannot wait for the normal budget or acquisition processes. Fourth, DoD has embarked on a major effort to provide minimum force protection standards for military construction projects. Finally, technology continues to be important in enhancing DoD’s ability to counter terrorism. Key technology enablers include threat analysis and warning, explosive device detection, and early detection of weapons of mass destruction.

In the area of counterterrorism, U.S. armed forces possess a tailored range of options to respond to terrorism directed at U.S. citizens, interests, and property, both domestically and overseas. DoD can employ the full range of military capabilities, including rapid–response Special Operations Forces that are specifically trained, manned, and equipped to pre–empt or resolve incidents of international terrorism. DoD also continues to refine its capabilities which have been intensively exercised with interagency counterparts.

In the area of terrorism consequence management, DoD continues to work hard to deter, and when necessary, minimize the effects of a weapons of mass destruction incident. DoD has created, and is continually refining, an excellent response capability. For example, in October 1999, the United States Joint Forces Command established Joint Task Force Civil Support to assume overall responsibility for coordinating DoD’s consequence management support efforts to civil authorities for weapons of mass destruction incidents within the United States, its territories, and possessions. See Chapter 7 for further information on consequence management.

In the area of intelligence support, DoD recognizes the importance of timely dissemination of terrorist threat information from the Intelligence Community to the operators in the field. DoD continues to strive toward its goal of having fully coordinated joint operations and intelligence fusion cells at all levels. DoD intelligence organizations remain engaged in an aggressive, long–term collection and analytic effort designed to provide information that can better alert local commanders to potential terrorist attacks. Close working relationships with other members of the national Intelligence Community are being strengthened, and intelligence exchanges with U.S. allies have been increased.


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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