Future War and Counterproliferation: U.S. Military Responses to NBC Proliferation Threats

Future War and Counterproliferation: U.S. Military Responses to NBC Proliferation Threats

Future War and Counterproliferation: U.S. Military Responses to NBC Proliferation Threats

Future War and Counterproliferation: U.S. Military Responses to NBC Proliferation Threats

Synopsis

The United States faces a small number of rogue states that either have or are working to acquire weapons of mass destruction. These NASTIs, or NBC-Arming Sponsors of Terrorism and Intervention, include such states as North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Syria. U.S. nonproliferation programs and policies have helped to keep this number small, but U.S. and allied counterproliferation programs are essential to reducing the danger. It is up to deterrence, active defenses, passive defenses, decontamination, and counterforce to turn enemy weapons of mass destruction into instruments of limited destructive effect.

Excerpt

In a world community totaling 195 states, seven have declared their possession of nuclear weapons and Israel is also believed to possess such weapons, even if undeclared. Twenty or more states have chemical weapons, ten or more possess biological weapons, and a dozen or more deploy operational ballistic missiles. The number of states in each category threatens to grow as expertise and technical capability grow with each passing year.

The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the split of the Soviet Union into fifteen noncommunist republics dramatically altered the strategic landscape. Unless Russia reverts to its former antagonistic posture, the United States and its allies appear to have escaped from the immediate threat of a central nuclear war.

Unfortunately, even the end of the Cold War has not ended the threat from enemies equipped with weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Indeed, the breakup of the former Soviet Union accelerated the proliferation of WMD and missile capabilities as technology, technical expertise, and special nuclear materials could now be more readily available to regimes seeking to acquire nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC), and missile capabilities.

Because of the increased probabilities of more regional NBC-armed adversaries, nuclear, biological, chemical, and missile proliferation problems are receiving much more official U.S. attention and response than at any time since the onset of nuclear arms in the mid-1940s.

Many more states, sixty-five as of 1997, operate nuclear reactors than possess nuclear weapons. Of all the countries in the world, seven are acknowl-

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