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Studies Board in carrying out this review that appropriate application of diverse known technologies and the existing or developmental capabilities they support (which are described in connection with the discussion of specific force capabilities needed), rather than pursuit of new technologies, is the most important current need in advancing the naval forces' contribution to a national deterrence strategy.


Objectives of Deterrence

The basic objective of deterrence remains what it has been since the origin of the strategic concept of deterrence during the Cold War: to influence the behavior of nations so that they do not undertake aggression against the United States and U.S. interests across the world. During the Cold War, deterrence strategy was aimed mainly at preventing aggression by the hostile Communist power centers—the USSR and its allies, Communist China, and North Korea. In particular, the strategy was devised to prevent a nuclear attack by the USSR or China.

The range of nations and other groups and the types of behavior we seek to deter have expanded enormously since the Cold War. Current U.S. security concerns must still include defense of the U.S. homeland and protection of allies with whom we have treaty obligations guaranteeing our mutual security. But they also extend to guarding a broad range of interests that directly and indirectly affect our national security. While these broader concerns have always been apparent, they are now articulated more explicitly as part of our need to deter actions inimical to our national security. The concerns range from free use of the seas, the airways, and space for international commerce and security-related activities, through protection of sources of key resources and the friendly nations that control and furnish them, to encouraging the growth of a community of democratic nations in a peacefully evolving world through which our own security will be enhanced. The U.S.-furnished security umbrella may thus be extended by the National Command Authorities (NCA) and Congress to include other nations or regions with which we do not have explicit mutual defense agreements.

The nature of the aggression with which we are now concerned also includes many kinds of activities different from military attack. International terrorism, whether sponsored by rogue nations or undertaken by transnational groups in furtherance of broad agendas that hostile nations may share, has become a threat and therefore an object of deterrence policy. The spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is now a top-priority national security concern. Economic warfare, political subversion, and even humanitarian concerns engendered by widespread human suffering attending ethnic conflict, by the breakdown of nations' internal order, and by regional conflict have all come to the fore as affecting U.S. security directly or indirectly in many ways.

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