"Deterrence" as a strategic concept evolved during the Cold War. During that period, deterrence strategy was aimed mainly at preventing aggression against the United States and its close allies by the hostile Communist power centersthe Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its allies, Communist China, and North Korea; in particular, the strategy was devised to prevent aggression involving nuclear attack by the USSR or China.
Since the Cold War the risk of war among the major powers has subsided to the lowest point in modern history. The changing nature of the threats to U.S. and allied security interests have stimulated a considerable broadening of the deterrence concept. Current deterrence objectives include the following:
• To deter attack on the United States and its allies by external forces ranging from the armed forces of hostile nations, including "rogue" nations and diverse regional powers, to national or multinational terrorist groups acting with such nations' active or tacit support or encouragement;
• To deter similar attacks on allies with whom we have mutual security treaties;
• To deter aggression against our own and our allies' vital interests and security in areas where we have agreed those interests and security are at stake; such threats may be made against free use of the seas, airways, and space, and against key sources of vital resources essential to our and our allies' security and welfare, or they may result from the consequences of disasters to humanity caused by international or civil conflicts;
• To deter the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction; and
• To deter the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in military conflict, especially when our own and our allies' vital national security interests are at stake.
To achieve these objectives we1 must anticipate the possibility of a hostile action, detect its potential onset, and then dissuade or otherwise deter the would be aggressor from undertaking it, by posing a credible threat of punishment that
1 Throughout the editorial "we" is used to refer to the U.S. policy makers and decision makers who must devise and decide on deterrence actions in any particular case.
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Page 1 Executive Summary WHAT IS DETERRENCE IN THE POST-COLD WAR WORLD? "Deterrence" as a strategic concept evolved during the Cold War. During that period, deterrence strategy was aimed mainly at preventing aggression against the United States and its close allies by the hostile Communist power centersthe Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its allies, Communist China, and North Korea; in particular, the strategy was devised to prevent aggression involving nuclear attack by the USSR or China. Since the Cold War the risk of war among the major powers has subsided to the lowest point in modern history. The changing nature of the threats to U.S. and allied security interests have stimulated a considerable broadening of the deterrence concept. Current deterrence objectives include the following: • To deter attack on the United States and its allies by external forces ranging from the armed forces of hostile nations, including "rogue" nations and diverse regional powers, to national or multinational terrorist groups acting with such nations' active or tacit support or encouragement; • To deter similar attacks on allies with whom we have mutual security treaties; • To deter aggression against our own and our allies' vital interests and security in areas where we have agreed those interests and security are at stake; such threats may be made against free use of the seas, airways, and space, and against key sources of vital resources essential to our and our allies' security and welfare, or they may result from the consequences of disasters to humanity caused by international or civil conflicts; • To deter the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction; and • To deter the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in military conflict, especially when our own and our allies' vital national security interests are at stake. To achieve these objectives we1 must anticipate the possibility of a hostile action, detect its potential onset, and then dissuade or otherwise deter the would be aggressor from undertaking it, by posing a credible threat of punishment that 1 Throughout the editorial "we" is used to refer to the U.S. policy makers and decision makers who must devise and decide on deterrence actions in any particular case.
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Page 2 the aggressor would find unacceptable and, especially, a promise that success of the aggressive action will be denied. Sometimes the dissuasion will involve inducements to change behavior, and reassurance that the "deterree" will not be attacked. The approach to deterrence will involve a range of activities on our part, in the political, diplomatic, economic, and military spheres, independently or in concert. A strategy of deterrence therefore could be concerned with much of the threatening or violent activity that can now affect the United States on the international scene, and deterring such activity can encompass almost all of U.S. foreign policy actions. However, the potential or actual use of effective military force will underlie all deterrence efforts-even deterrence of actions in the economic and political areas should they appear sufficiently threatening to our security. ENDURING PRINCIPLES IN DETERRENCE STRATEGY Despite the changed international climate and the diffuse quality of our current security concerns, many of the principles that supported earlier deterrence strategy endure. They include the following: • National interests. We must define our national interests so as to know whom we wish to deter from doing what to whom, by what means, and under what circumstances. In doing so, we must recognize that interests change with circumstanceswhile we might find peaceful evolution of international relationships and governments in areas of national interest acceptable, violent change in those relationships through invasion, sustained terrorist attack, or severe internal conflict can pose serious threats to our interests and those of our allies that must be deterred. • Credibility. Deterrence can succeed only if the combination of threat and incentives is credible. This requires demonstrated political will, as evidenced in the willingness to sustain economic costs, to endure human casualties, and to take risks in support of the deterrence efforts. The military force invoked as part of the deterrence action must be clearly capable of achieving the promised military objectives. • Communication and perceptions. The actions desired from the object of deterrencethe "deterree"and consequences of the failure of deterrence must be communicated clearly, in terms the recipient of the communications will understand. Warnings, promises, and communications must be suited to the value system of the deterree, and must be acceptable within the value systems of the United States and its actual or potential coalition partners. They must be commensurate with values the deterree holds dear, and with the deterree's political as
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Page 3 avoid misconceptions or miscommunications brought about by cultural blind spots of any of the parties to the interaction. • Applicability. The steps we propose to take in a deterrence action must be suited to the degree of risk to the nation and its interests. Deterrence may fail. We must decide whether the subsequent expenditures, casualties, and other consequences for the nation are commensurate with the nature and value of the interests that are threatened. This will determine the nature and degree of the deterrence actions to be taken. • Intelligence. There is a need for enhanced intelligence to warn of threats to our interests while there is time for deterrence actions to be undertaken. There is a need for evaluators of intelligence data and potentially threatening situations to avoid biases derived from U.S.-oriented perspectives about ongoing events; they must understand the values and perspectives of those we seek to deter and of other potential participants in the events. A separate group of high-level analysts dedicated to thinking about strategic issues may have to be created to achieve the needed level of objectivity. DERIVATIVE POLICIES AND KEY ISSUES Weapons of Mass Destruction With the heightened emphasis on deterring proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction, there has been a tendency to think about nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons all together under the "weapons of mass destruction" rubric. However, nuclear weapons remain unique in their vast and instantaneous destructive power. Passive defense against chemical and biological weapons is easier than passive defense against nuclear weapons (although we have given far less attention to protection against biological weapons than against chemical weapons, and such attention is very much needed). In an unprotected environment, chemical weapons may tend to have more localized effects. Biological weapons may take more time to make their effects felt; however, in ultimate impact they may be as devastating as nuclear weapons, or even more so. The employment and effects of all these weapons are so different from each other that each must be treated as a separate entity. Policies Involving the Role and Use of Nuclear Weapons The role of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War environment is a matter of some controversy. Most agree that the threat of nuclear weapons use is appropriate to deter the threat or use of nuclear weapons against us and also
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Page 4 against allies protected by the U.S. shield, most of whom do not have nuclear holdings. There is an issue about the extent to which nuclear weapons can be supplanted in deterrence by the threat of using advanced, precision-guided conventional weapons against the bases of political, economic, and military power of an aggressor; the times over which the two kinds of weapons act, and their effects, differ greatly. Experts also disagree on whether it would be appropriate to invoke a nuclear response to the use of chemical and/or biological weapons. They disagree, too, on whether nuclear weapons should be used to deter conventional attacks on vital U.S. interests or on particular allies; the prospect of such need has nearly vanished with the disappearance of the NATOWarsaw Pact confrontation, but it might arise in another context in the future. Finally, the issue of whether we should declare policies such as "no first use of nuclear weapons" remains to be resolved. These issues involving nuclear weapons in the deterrent role await resolution as international relationships in the post-Cold War world evolve. However, nuclear weapons, at whatever numbers our treaty commitments allow, will remain a cornerstone of U.S. national security. All the other policy issues involving nuclear weapons must be resolved in ways that are compatible with that reality. Resolution of many of them will await particular circumstances in which specific decisions are needed; the decision will not necessarily be the same in all cases. Applying Deterrence Policy Many factors will determine specific deterrence actions as threats to our interests arise. Deterrence will usually have to act in a world setting that involves the United States in coalitions, some of them ad hoc. Thus deterrence policy and actions in specific situations will have to address the specific strategic needs and military, as well as other, capabilities of coalition partners, in addition to our own. We shall also have to decide, in any situation, whether the mere existence of appropriate military forces as background to other, nonmilitary stepsan "existential deterrent"is sufficient to deter the threatening action, or whether movement and positioning of those forces are indicated, and if so, which forces. We shall also have to anticipate the potential need for escalation in case initial steps do not deter the onset of the threatened action, and the degree of U.S. escalation needed to deter escalation by the opponent. Missile Defenses Defense against ballistic missiles will remain an important element in many deterrence calculations. The extent to which the United States should develop and deploy active missile defenses remains highly controversial. Theater missile defenses, currently permitted under the U.S.-Russian Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, could be forced by the evolution of the theater-level threat to grow in capability to the point that their technical characteristics also challenge some of the ABM treaty constraints. This issue will require continual
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Page 5 review in overall U.S. national strategy, in terms of threats, costs, and effectiveness; impact on the security of the United States, our allies, and others; and other important factors. SIGNIFICANCE OF POST-COLD WAR DETERRENCE CONCEPTS FOR THE U.S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps will be among the military forces called upon to implement U.S. deterrence policy and strategy. Within their total capability, a number of their qualities, systems, and characteristics suit them especially to support deterrence strategy. For this purpose, special emphasis in the structure and support of the naval forces should be given to the following: • Sustain the SSBN force. The strategic ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) force is a key element of the U.S. nuclear retaliatory force, becoming a relatively larger part of that force as the START treaties are implemented. It is therefore an essential part of our nuclear deterrent. The qualities that have made it especially valuableits essential invulnerability, its stealth, its ability to change operational areas at will, its long time on station-commend it as a continuing key element of future deterrence strategy. Sustaining this force implies commitment to continual modernization of its capabilities to meet future conditions. • Increase the ratio of offensive to defensive capability in naval forces. The high level of command integration, the technical capability, and the global reach of the forces of the former Soviet Union dictated the balance among offensive and defensive capabilities of U.S. naval forces during the Cold War. That balance must now change in response to the new world conditions. In addition, some defensive capabilities have evolved to the extent that their use can contribute significantly to the offensive capability of the forces. Specific areas of naval force development that deserve special emphasis include the following Precision attack. The ability to locate and identify specific targets and place precisely timed weapons accurately on them with minimal U.S. casualties, minimal civilian casualties, and minimal collateral damage; Theater missile defense. The ability to maneuver fleet defenses that are effective against ballistic and cruise missile attack into areas where they can defend allies from such attack;
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Page 6 Undersea warfare. The ability of the essentially invulnerable submarine force to make accurate conventional attacks against key targets on land, and to contribute to offensive mine warfare, together with the ability of the naval forces to sweep waters in areas of operation clear of threatening quiet submarines, and to prevent the laying of mine fields in such waters or to neutralize or destroy them if deployed; and Effective blockade. The ability to stop materiel and people from crossing a nation's borders, to enable imposition of effective sanctions. • Sustain the naval forces' forward presence. The forward presence of naval forces enables friendly engagement of the "existential deterrent"-existing powerful forcesin peacetime activities that can contribute to the fabric of deterrence; it enables force augmentation or maneuvers associated with deterrence, without infringing the sovereignty of any nation involved in a crisis at times when such maneuvers may be especially sensitive; and it enables rapid military response to crises where, if initial deterrence fails, there would still be a need to deter escalation. Thus, the forward presence of naval forces is an essential part of U.S. deterrence posture. • Incorporate deterrence in the overall naval forces' planning process. This includes enhancing the aspects of naval intelligence germane to deterrence; incorporating deterrence into training at many levels, ranging from training and curricula in the war colleges to training in planning and operations especially relevant to deterrence; and budgeting to make certain that the deterrence aspects of the naval forces are adequately planned and supported. Naval force planning activities should also include participation in arms control initiatives to ensure that impacts of agreements affecting naval forces' deterrent capabilities are accounted for. All the parts of this process must be coordinated and interrelated to each other in a balanced, fully integrated program. METRICS AND DECISION AIDS It is impossible to denote the potential success or failure of a deterrence action or policy in precise terms because a large element of the outcome of any such activity must involve human judgments and reactions to specific situations, according to the specific value systems of unique individuals who may be involved. Nevertheless, it is possible to list a number of qualitative and quantitative factors by which the adequacy and appropriateness of deterrence actions and forces may be judged. They include:
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Page 7 • Detection. Determination that a hostile or threatening action in some part of the world is possible, potentially invited by circumstances, or actually in the making, in time to take anticipatory action. • Evaluation. Understanding the nature of the threat to U.S. interests and those of our allies, the consequences for those interests, and implications for U.S. security if the threatened action is successful. This includes deciding each part of the continuum of deterrence capabilities, and how much we are willing to riskin treasure, casualties, impact on our international positionby responding, or by not responding, especially with military force. • Coalition building. Reviewing whether an alliance is in place that can serve as part of the deterrence activity, or whether one is required, how one could be built, and how it would be utilized. • Level of confidence in our understanding of the key participants. The extent to which we understand what may be motivating the opponent, within the opponent's own value system, and the risks the opponent might be willing to take; and achieving similar understandings about the United States and our allies. • Appropriateness of the planned action and of the military response if one is planned. Consideration of appropriateness must include review of all the actions planned, including the association between the non-military and the military parts of the response, including the forces that will be involved, how each component of the response is intended to contribute to deterrence in the specific situation, and evaluation of the chances of success by each. • Timing. The extent to which the response can be appropriately timed to anticipate hostile moves on the opponent's part, to bring the requisite deterrent force to bear when it is needed at the place where it is needed, and to communicate intent and capability within the opponent's planning cycle. • Communication and credibility. We must judge whether we have adequately communicatedby message, movement of forces, or other means, or several means togetherour intended response in the event that an action we wish to deter is taken, and we must judge the credibility of the communication in light of both present and prior circumstances. These metrics can form a checklist for planning and for response in specific situations.
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Page 8 In addition to accurate and reliable intelligence inputs, decision aids for deterrence include models, simulations, and games. Many are available; the chief enhancement needed is the ability to represent decision processes within the participants' value systems. The chief value of these additional decision aids is in enforcing disciplined thinking about a problem through ordering of the problem's elements, enabling evaluation of its critical parameters, and helping the decision maker avoid entrapment in his or her own frame of reference. They can also provide useful insights to help strengthen deterrence programs and activities. Principles to follow in selecting and applying such decision aids include the following: • Decision aids should incorporate the capacity for decision making and for representation of values and patterns of influence among all the participants; in particular, they should be able to represent the uncertainties in value systems and reasoning patterns, they should avoid stereotypes (such as ''the Arab mind" or "the Chinese mind"), and they should be capable of building strategies that cover the most important possible variants in understanding an adversary's mindset; • Decision aids should not be expected to foretell with confidence the outcomes of ongoing or contemplated deterrence actions, because the precise unfolding of events depends on many elements of chance and many unknowns; • Decision aids should be used for training, learning, and practice; • Decision aids should be used for analysis, to help identify gaps and uncertainties in our understanding of situations and of participants in eventsapplicable to hypothetical situations, as practice and learning devices, or to real situations; and • Decision aids should explicitly portray for their users the levels of confidence in the information and representation of the values on which the decision aids are based. The value of deterrence decision aids available to U.S. decision makers can be enhanced by a number of steps. These include: • Enhancing the ability to represent decision processes of U.S., adversary, and coalition participants, all within their own value systems and with attention to the specifics of the participants' leadership and their circumstances;
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Page 9 • Calibrating decision aids against real experience gained through past events; • Making deterrence an explicit part of ongoing gaming exercises used for diverse planning and training purposes; • Periodically undertaking political and military war games of deterrence per se; • Learning how other countries use models and games in situations applicable to deterrencethe issues, opponents, and outcomes they consider; • Keeping abreast of activities in the various institutes for conflict resolution supported by U.S. universities, foundations, and corporations, as a source of input for the Navy Department's models, simulations, and games relevant to deterrence; and • Incorporating post-Cold War deterrence explicitly into Naval War College curricula, to obtain the benefit of the students' thinking and to train future leaders.