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of comparison -- in nuclear forces, in the NATO-Warsaw Pact balance, and in Southwest Asia.
The most important truth about our recent strengthening is that we have been buying and fielding forces to implement policies and strategies over which there was little public disagreement between our Administration and all of its predecessors back to World War II. Our principal difference arose from our judgment that we must actively move toward a more adequate balance of forces, and as quickly as possible, reflecting our view of the dangers of U.S. military inferiority we saw in 1980.
For free peoples, cooperation and collective security are essential to the preservation of our nations and our values. We cannot afford to return to the pre-World World II myopia of isolationism and undefended neutralism, or wishful thinking and the construction of a strategy based on unfounded hope and the desire to avoid unpopular budget decisions. As witnesses to wartime horrors retire, and turn over political and economic power to younger leaders around the world, our free peoples must not be allowed to forget the perils of ill-preparedness and the short-lived intoxication of wishful thinking.
A strong system of alliances and regional cooperation helps the United States and nations friendly to our interests preserve peace and freedom. This alliance system enables us to share our common
a division of labor capitalizing on the relative strengths of each state. Our alliances with the nations of Europe, Asia, and our own hemisphere, together with other important security relationships in those regions and in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, are critical strands in U.S. strategy.
Efficient alliance security requires that national forces be able to fight together effectively in combine requires a coherent program of security assistance and a sharing of key technologies so that each alliance partner can increase its capabilities for the military role it accepts for itself.
Because of our alliances, we all are able to achieve a level of deterrence and defense that otherwise would be unattainable for any one of us. Furthermore, cooperation in defense matters can reinforce political cohesion and improve diplomatic and economic relationships. A more detailed discussion of these issues can be found in Section III.H.1.
Security assistance is an indispensable tool of American foreign policy and an essential element in strengthening our defense posture around the world (see Section III.H.2). It is in our national security interest to keep old alliances strong and form new ones, and to assist allies and friends in strengthening their defenses against external aggression and internal conflict. Our security assistance program is the principal instrument for accomplishing this goal. The program also helps us gain access to bases and overflight rights,
improves our power projection and forward-defense capabilities, and can augment the U.S. industrial base.
Because American values and interests are shared by many nations that literally span the entire globe, and because of our insular geographic position, we cannot adequately defend those interests with U.S.-based forces only. The proximity of Soviet forces to our allies and overseas interests imposes severe demands on the timeliness of our response, since territory or interests once lost would be difficult to regain. Thus our strategy requires forward-deployed forces, whose purposes are to:
Deter aggression and coercion more convincingly than could be done without a visible U.S. presence;
Increase our ability to respond effectively and quickly in the event of a conflict and to bring it to a favorable end;
Reassure our allies of our commitment to our common security, assist them in resisting intimidation, and encourage them to sustain their full contribution to our collective security;
Facilitate in peacetime the integration of U.S. and allied forces in wartime;
Discourage regional instabilities and ambiguous aggression; and
Provide a more stable international environment for con-
For the above purposes, the United States maintains ground and air forces in Europe, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, plus naval carrier battle groups and Marine amphibious forces in the Atlantic, the Western Pacific, and the Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea. We also forward deploy nonstrategic nuclear forces for these same purposes. It is sometimes suggested that we should "bring the troops home" to save money. Every study of this issue, however, has found that it is more expensive to bring our forces home and keep them here -- with the requisite deployment capabilities -- than it is to maintain them abroad.
We must also have the capability to augment and expand rapidly our forward-deployed units through reinforcement by U.S.-based Active and Reserve Component units. These forces will provide additional combat capability in the event of an extended confrontation. They will depend on airlift and sealift to get them to the combat theater in time to be effective. We will continue to complement our rapiddeployment capabilities by expanding our stocks of prepositioned material overseas. Furthermore, we will continue to make every effort to secure host nation support; overflight, landing, and bunkering rights; and access to essential overseas bases and facil
To a marked extent, U.$. forward deployments and our contingency plans for U.S. forces represent our judgment about the seriousness and likelihood of aggression against our interests. Yet we know we can never be certain about the location, time, aggression against our interests. Therefore, our forces, our plans, and our way of thinking must be flexible to enable us to respond to unexpected contingencies.
Our flexibility increases the importance of strategic mobility -our ability to deploy and sustain our forces over great distances. New Soviet outposts in many regions of the world make it possible for Moscow to threaten friendly nations, directly and through surrogates, in places where we have no shield of land-based forward deployments. The spread of these military outposts is made more serious by the expansion of Soviet capabilities for projecting power, particularly in regions close to the Soviet Union.
D. PILLARS OF U.S. DEFENSE POLICY
There are four pillars of our defense policy that guide us in our efforts to achieve a more robust and stable deterrence for the 1990s and beyond. The sections on nuclear and nonnuclear deterrence below supplement the strategy overview of the preceding chapter. The sections on arms reductions and competitive strategies introduce important concepts for ensuring our security, especially over the long term.
Nuclear weapons have consistently posed a paradox for American defense policy. In the hands of the United States and in the service of our alliances, nuclear weapons have been a powerful force for deterring aggression. In the hands of potential e weapons pose a threat to the survival of our nation, our allies, and our interests.
Since the beginning of the nuclear era, American strategic thought has stressed the imperative of deterring nuclear war -dissuading our adversaries by the threat of retaliation from ever using nuclear weapons against the United States, our allies, or our friends. At the same time, since the end of World War II, our defense policy has continued to rely on U.S. nuclear weapons to help deter conventional attack as well, primarily because larger conventional forces are far more expensive than nuclear forces, and neither we nor our allies are able to spend larger sums on defense.
While the threat of nuclear retaliation has long played an important role in American post-war strategy, so have efforts to defend
nuclear attack -- except for some 15 years between the late 1960s and 1983. In 1960, the DoD spent as much on active defenses against Soviet strategic bombers as on our own offensive nuclear forces. But ten years later, this balance was tilted completely in favor of offensive forces. The idea that the United States should remain defenseless against any nuclear attack gained ground because of the growth in Sovie: missile forces and the difficulties, with technologies of the 1960s and 1970s, of defending against missile attack. Although there had been earlier concern over Soviet ABM developments, it was not until 1983 that our effort on strategic defense began to reassume a high priority. At that time President Reagan launched the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a research program to determine the feasibility of deploying a thoroughly reliable defense against nuclear ballistic missiles for the United States and our allies.
The rationale for strategic defense is really quite simple: the United States and its allies would be far better off if we could destroy incoming nuclear missiles rather than destroying people. An effective strategic defense would help deter attacks against us and, if it is as effective as we hope, virtually eliminate the terrible damage that would occur if deterrence fails, or in the case of an accidental launch.
Critics of strategic defense are often proponents of a concept called mutual assured destruction (MAD). This concept describes a condition in which, after suffering an all-out nuclear first-strike attack by an adversary, either superpower would retain the nuclear capability to destroy its opponent as a modern society. This is the concept the President correctly calls a "mutual suicide pact." Currently, both the United States and the Soviet Union have such capabilities. According to advocates of MAD, this mutual suicide pact is the bedrock of strategic stability. Because each side can destroy the other, it is argued, neither can contemplate war, and war is therefore deterred. Indeed, some MAD proponents advocate actions to make nuclear war as horrible as possible, since that makes it as unthinkable as possible. Many oppose all defense, from civil defense to strategic defense. Some even attempt to rewrite the history of our policy to claim that the United States em
United States embraced MAD and based its deterrent in the 1960s and early 1970s solely on retaliating against Soviet cities. This, of course, was never the case.
President Reagan's SDI vision seeks to move all mankind away from our unsettling state of total vulnerability. Some critics of the SDI have condemned the program as abandoning deterrence in favor of defense. Yet, even the Soviets understand that it is wrong to posit
deterrence. In their professional military writings, the Soviets reject the distinction between deterrence on the one hand and military capabilities -- offensive and defensive -- on the other. Defense also deters.
The SDI program signals not the abandonment of deterrence, but a desire to fortify it in a way that would actually reduce the risks of war -- a way that can win support from democratic publics who crave a nonoffensive, nonnuclear way of helping maintain the peace.
The deterrent value of a strategic defense derives from the effect it would have on Soviet calculations of the costs and benefits of launching an attack. This type of defense would enable us to influence the calculus by reducing an attacker's military benefits, rather than by increasing his costs through retaliation. A strategic defense need not be "leak-proof" to achieve this objective. Furthermore, such a defense would protect us should deterrence fail or in case of an accidental attack.
It is revealing to note that the Soviet Union has never accepted the MAD notion as part of its strategic plans and programs. Since the late 1960s, they have greatly expanded and me offensive nuclear forces and invested more in strategic and other defenses. The Soviet Union has an extensive, multifaceted, operational strategic defense network, as well as an active research and development program in both traditional and advanced antiballistic missile (ABM) defenses. The aggregate of current Soviet ABM-related activities suggests that they may be preparing an ABM defense of their national territory -- precisely what the 1972 ABM treaty was