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February 1995

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Introduction

The dramatic events comprising the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union, as well as longer-term economic, demographic, environmental, and technological developments, have profoundly altered the international security environment. The security challenges of a largely bipolar world have been replaced with more ambiguous and, in some cases, equally dangerous problems.

Our strategy for meeting these challenges is described by the President in A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement. Under this national strategy we will enhance our security by maintaining a strong defense capability, promoting cooperative security measures, working to open foreign markets and spur global economic growth, and promoting democracy abroad.

This new national military strategy, derived from the national security strategy and the defense framework outlined in the Bottom-Up Review, describes the critical role which the Armed Forces will play in helping to achieve our Nation's objectives. This is a strategy of flexible and selective engagement required to support our Nation's interests. Reflecting the ambiguous nature of our security challenges, the strategy emphasizes full spectrum capabilities for our Armed Forces.

The fundamental purpose of the Armed Forces must remain to fight and win our Nation's wars whenever and wherever called upon. With worldwide interests and challenges, the United States must maintain its capability to deal with more than one major crisis at a time. For this reason, our Armed Forces must maintain the capability to fight and win two nearly simultaneous regional contingencies, even as we continue to restructure and reduce the size of the force.

The challenge of the new strategic era is to selectively use the vast and unique capabilities of the Armed Forces to advance national interests in peacetime while maintaining readiness to fight and win when called upon. This new national military strategy describes the objectives, concepts, tasks, and capabilities necessary in the near term to adapt the Armed Forces' proven capabilities to meet this challenge.

Joint Chiefs of Staff

Table of Contents


A Strategy of flexible and Selective Engagement

Introduction to the Executive Summary:

In formulating national military strategy, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff derives guidance from the national security strategy articulated by the President and from the Bottom-Up Review conducted by the Secretary of Defense. The National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement emphasizes worldwide engagement and the enlargement of the community of free market democracies. In turn, this new national military strategy calls for flexible and selective engagement, involving a broad range of activities and capabilities to address and help shape the evolving international environment.

The International Environment

Challenges to our global interests did not disappear with the end of the Cold War. Today we face a world in which threats are widespread and uncertain, and where conflict is probable, but too often unpredictable. The strategic landscape is characterized by four principal dangers which our military must address: regional instability; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; transnational dangers such as drug trafficking and terrorism; and the dangers to democracy and reform in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere.

Many ethnic, religious, territorial, and economic tensions, held in check by the pressures of the bipolar global competition, erupted when the constraints posed by the Cold War were removed. Regional instability also results when regional powers such as Iraq, Iran, and North Korea pursue aggressive policies in attempts to dominate their neighbors militarily, politically, or economically.

Despite progress, the process of economic and political reform in the successor states to the Soviet Union is subject to reversal. Moreover, Russia will continue to retain large numbers of nuclear weapons and associated delivery systems. Thus, it is important for us to work with Russia and the other newly independent states to stem the proliferation of all types of weapons of mass destruction and to support the process of democratic reform.

National Military Objectives

Guarding against threats to United States' interests requires the use of appropriate military capabilities in concert with the economic, diplomatic, and informational elements of our national power. Our Armed Forces are engaged worldwide on a continual basis to accomplish two national military objectives—promoting stability and thwarting aggression.

We anticipate a considerable period before stability returns to our strategic environment. Our peacetime efforts to counter regional instability, impede the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, reduce the impact of transnational threats, and support democracy and reform are important for promoting stability and deterring aggression during the post-Cold War transformation process.

The Strategy

Our military forces must perform three sets of tasks to achieve the military objectives of promoting stability and thwarting aggression. These three components of the strategy are peacetime engagement, deterrence and conflict prevention, and fighting and winning our Nation's wars. Accomplishing the specific tasks of the strategy is facilitated by the two complementary strategic concepts of overseas presence and power projection.

Strategic Concepts:

Overseas presence takes the form of both permanently stationed forces and forces temporarily deployed abroad. Thus, we maintain overseas presence not only through forces permanently stationed overseas but also through a broad program of routine air, ground and naval deployments, various contingency operations, and global pre-positioning of equipment. Overseas presence helps to keep important infrastructure available and ready in times of crisis. Although the size of our permanent overseas presence has decreased significantly in recent years because of changes in the international environment, the importance of these forces has not diminished. They provide visible proof of our commitment to defend American interests and those of our allies and friends.

With fewer US forces permanently stationed overseas, we must proportionately increase our capability to project forces abroad. The existence of a credible power projection capability complements our overseas presence in acting as a deterrent to potential adversaries. It further provides our national leaders greater flexibility in employing military force.

Components of the Strategy:

Peacetime engagement describes a broad range of non-combat activities undertaken by our Armed Forces that demonstrate commitment, improve collective military capabilities, promote democratic ideals, relieve suffering, and enhance regional stability. The elements of peacetime engagement include military-to-military contacts, nation assistance, security assistance, humanitarian operations, counterdrug and counterterrorism, and peacekeeping.

In concert with the other elements of US national power, our military capabilities serve to deter aggression and prevent conflict by convincing potential adversaries that their objectives will be denied and that their aggression will be decisively defeated. Deterring nuclear attack against the United States remains a critical task for our military. This second component of the strategy is a product of many concepts and programs which include nuclear deterrence, regional alliances, crisis response, arms control, confidence-building measures, noncombatant evacuation operations, sanctions enforcement, and peace enforcement.

Being ready to fight and win the Nation's wars remains our foremost responsibility and the prime consideration governing all our military activities. This ability serves as the ultimate guarantor of our vital interests and is the fundamental reason that our Nation has raised and sustained its military forces.
In war, the employment of US forces will follow these principles:

(1) set clear objectives and apply decisive force;

(2) project the necessary power to the theater of operations;

(3) fight combined with allies and friends and fight jointly, integrating the required capabilities of each of the Services;

(4) help dominate combat operations by winning the information war;

(5) counter weapons of mass destruction through deterrence and improved capability to operate in contaminated environments;

(6) initiate force preparations to handle a second major regional contingency at the outset of the first conflict to deter potential aggressors;

(7) generate the required forces by withdrawing from lower priority missions and mobilizing critical Reserve forces; and

(8) begin plans to win the peace at the outset of the conflict.

Military Capabilities

The US Armed Forces are now in their eighth year of drawdown. As we reduce the force, we are also restructuring it for the challenges of the next century. This smaller, restructured force will be improved through enhancements and selected modernizations, enabling it to execute our new strategy, fully prepared for the challenges of a new era. The core requirement of our strategy as laid out in the Bottom-Up Review is a force capable of fighting and winning two major regional conflicts nearly simultaneously. While this requirement most challenges the force structure, other needs, such as forces to provide adequate overseas presence, space capabilities to support a wide range of activities in peace and war, and secure nuclear forces for deterrence, have also been taken into account.

The combat forces and supporting capabilities are built on five fundamental foundations. The first is the high quality men and women who comprise our military forces. There is no greater factor for our military success which is why we are working hard to recruit and retain quality people through realistic training and a good quality of life.

The second foundation is readiness. Maintaining high readiness of our forces is a prerequisite to deterring aggression and responding to crises. Today we are placing increased emphasis on joint readiness by strengthening joint doctrine and education, developing joint readiness measures, and improving joint and coalition training.

The third foundation consists of various force enhancements. Improvements are already underway to our strategic mobility capability, including airlift, sealift, and pre-positioning. Continued improvements are also required in battlefield surveillance, our global command and control system, and the ability to employ precision weapons.

The fourth foundation is modernization, which is vital to preserve the essential combat edge that US forces now possess and to ensure future readiness. Due to budget constraints, major new investments will be pursued only where there is a substantial payoff. Existing weapons systems and platforms will continue to be updated to take advantage of rapid technological advances.

The fifth force-building foundation is balance. Despite its smaller size, our military must retain an appropriate mix of forces and capabilities to provide the versatility to handle today's challenges and to provide a hedge against unanticipated threats. Combat forces must be balanced with capable supporting forces, active duty forces must be balanced with appropriate Reserve capabilities, and force structure must be balanced with infrastructure.

Conclusion to the Executive Summary

The national military strategy of flexible and selective engagement addresses the challenges and opportunities of the next century. US global responsibilities require global capabilities, despite a regional focus in implementing the strategy. We must apply all our strengths and work with allies and friends to assure stability in a troubled and complex world. This means our smaller forces must be made stronger and more versatile but remain built on the same strong foundation of outstanding people.

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Introduction, The National Military Strategy

With the end of the Cold War, international relations have entered a new era. New democracies are evolving within the former Soviet Union and Europe; old rivalries are being transformed. For the United States this unsettled period provides both opportunities and risks as we seek to promote our values and protect our interests worldwide.

In A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement the President described our security objectives and provided the Armed Forces the guidance to shape our military strategy. Drawing also from the guidance developed in the Bottom-Up Review, this military strategy outlines how best to use US military capabilities to help achieve national goals. This military strategy of flexible and selective engagement prescribes a selective employment of military capabilities in peace and the use of decisive military force in war to achieve our national military objectives in this new international environment.

National military strategy addresses the main dangers which threaten US security interests, identifies the national military objectives, determines the military tasks we must accomplish to achieve these objectives, and examines the capabilities and forces required.

This is a strategy which applies day-to-day to guide our activities in the near term, even when we are at peace. But let there be no doubt about one fundamental fact: military forces exist — are organized, trained, and equipped — first and foremost to fight and win America's wars. Within this overriding requirement, this strategy also embodies a number of associated priorities.

International Environment

W e have recently passed from a long-standing .bipolar order to a still unsettled multipolar world. This was a welcome development, bringing promising opportunities to advance our interests and values but also ushering in new and diverse challenges.

Today the United States faces no immediate threat to its national survival. However, global interdependence and transparency, coupled with our worldwide security interests, make it difficult to ignore troubling developments almost anywhere on earth. In fact, in the 5 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall we have deployed our forces to assist in security or humanitarian crises about 40 times — a far greater pace than in the preceding 20 years. This level of activity, a measure reflective of these unsettled times, suggests a continuing need for flexible and robust military capabilities.

It is also true that the intentions of other nations can change, sometimes very rapidly, and thus our national military strategy must account for the military capabilities of other nations as well as their current intentions.

In surveying the international environment, the national security strategy as articulated by the President recognizes four principal dangers which our military, in combination with other elements of national power, must address: regional instability, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, transnational dangers, and the dangers to democracy and reform in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere.

Regional Instability

Regional instabilities are, and will remain, a recurring challenge , from nations that explode into internal conflict, as happened in Yugoslavia, Somalia, and Rwanda, to attacks against neighboring states, as we saw when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Many antagonisms that were buried by the frozen relationships of the Cold War have now surfaced, adding to those that carried over from that era.

The revival of age-old religious, ethnic, and territorial quarrels, in many cases compounded by the more contemporary tensions stemming from the disintegration of the Soviet Union, may present an even wider threat: the risk that they may engulf neighboring states. Among the former Soviet republics, in the Balkans, in the Maghreb, and throughout Africa, dangerous instabilities litter the landscape. Additional challenges are posed by Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, each of which is an imminent threat to the security of its neighbors and region.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

The threat of nuclear attack against the American homeland today has diminished but there are still thousands of nuclear warheads and strategic delivery systems in the world. Despite the internal political and economic changes underway in the states of the former Soviet Union, we must remain mindful of these capabilities. For as long as these weapons exist, they will remain a threat to our security.

Especially troubling is the prospect that some of these weapons or their component materials might be stolen or otherwise acquired by third parties. Thus, the security and accountability of all nuclear warheads, weapon systems, and materials remain a grave concern.

Indeed, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction — nuclear, chemical, and biological — is one of the most troubling dangers we face. The ongoing efforts to obtain such weapons by a number of countries present great and growing risks for the United States and its allies. The continuing diffusion of missile delivery technology is increasing the risks we face. Even the prospect of a hostile regional power or terrorist group gaining access to nuclear, chemical or biological weapons contributes to regional insecurities and increases the difficulty of settling disputes peacefully. .

Transnational Dangers

Increasing global interdependence has made every nation more vulnerable to growing transnational threats. Spreading diseases , fleeing refugees , international crime syndicates, and drug lords are several of the more serious transnational threats that bleed across our own and other nations' borders What gives these threats unique character is that combating them lies beyond the reach of any single government. But the damage they might inflict on our health, children, prosperity, and societies could be significant.

Dangers to Democracy and Reform

The community of democratic nations and free-market economies is growing throughout the world — a trend consistent with important US interests. The United States is committed to supporting nations transitioning into this community and therefore will assist in efforts to defend against threats to democratic and economic reform in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. However, t he transition process in these emerging democracies remains susceptible to setbacks and reversals. The failure of democratic reform in the newly independent states, and particularly in Russia itself, would not necessarily return us to the bipolar standoff that characterized the Cold War, but it would in all likelihood adversely affect the United States and its interests.

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National Military Objectives

Since the birth of the Nation our military strategy has been anchored to the same core purpose: to protect our Nation and its interests, while maintaining fundamental American values intact. Throughout the latter half of the century this has required a strategy of global engagement. This engagement is no less required today, even though our national military strategy has continued to evolve.

In addressing the four dangers discussed earlier, US military strategy must be intrinsically constructive, proactive, and preventive, helping to reduce the sources of conflict and at the same time blocking the effective use of force by potential adversaries. In military terms, we have translated these purposes as two complementary objectives: promoting stability and thwarting aggression.

Promote Stability

We must not expect an easy transition to the stable, multipolar world we seek. The last transition of such magnitude, at the end of World War II, took years and saw numerous conflicts; and the form of that stability posed a threat to our Nation for nearly 40 years.

A primary thrust of our strategy must be to promote a long -term stability that is advantageous to the United States. There is ample historical precedent in this century that regional instability in military, economic, and political terms can escalate into global conflict. Our strategy further promotes stability in order to establish the conditions under which democracy can take hold and expand around the world. We intend to use the daily, peacetime activities of the Armed Forces to pursue this effort. US forces stationed overseas, as well as those temporarily deployed, participate with allies at all levels in cooperative and defensive security arrangements that help preclude conflict and foster the peaceful enlargement of the community of free market nations.

This is a period of great promise but also of great uncertainty ... Without our leadership and engagement abroad, threats will fester and our opportunities will narrow.

A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement

In carefully selected cases, where our interests so dictate, we must be prepared in peacetime to use our vast capabilities to transport, communicate, support, assist, and manage to address our regional security needs and counter emerging instabilities. When more significant interests are at stake and our capabilities would make a difference, we must also be prepared to deploy forces, usually in conjunction with allies and friends, but alone if we must.

Thwart Aggression

The most serious measure of engagement is our commitment to protect US extended interests and our allies. We will be prepared to respond promptly in the Persian Gulf area, in Northeast Asia, and other regions where US interests or allies are threatened. Through this preparation we seek to prevent conflict and reassure allies and friends of our commitment and capabilities.

Should war nevertheless occur, our forces, in concert with those of our allies and friends, must be capable of defeating any potential adversary and establishing the decisive conditions which lead to long-term solutions.

Because the United States has important national interests throughout the world, we must avoid any situation in which a hostile power in one region might be tempted to take advantage when US forces are heavily committed elsewhere. Consequently, we must have forces of sufficient size and capabilities, in concert with regional allies, to defeat potential enemies in major conflicts that may occur nearly simultaneously in two different regions. Maintaining this capability also provides a hedge against the emergence of a hostile coalition or a more powerful or resurgent adversary.

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The end of the Cold War has further tightened the close, complementary relationship that must exist between military activities and other elements of US national power. The President's national security strategy describes this relationship and prescribes a set of integrated regional approaches to meet US interests in different parts of the globe. The strategic military objectives described above will thus be achieved in concert with other elements of power, and by military activities which may vary from region to region depending on US interests and particular conditions.

This strategy of flexible and selective engagement comprises three sets of tasks: remaining constructively engaged in peacetime; acting to deter aggression and prevent conflict; and fighting and winning our Nation's wars when called upon. To facilitate performing these tasks, we continue to refine the two fundamental and complementary strategic concepts of overseas presence and power projection. Our strategy for accomplishing our national military objectives is best understood by examining these two strategic concepts and the three components of the strategy: peacetime engagement, deterrence and conflict prevention, and warfighting.

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Strategic Concepts

Overseas Presence

Overseas presence forces, including some tailored for specific missions, perform a variety of activities that promote stability and prevent conflict. Additionally, through overseas presence we maintain mobile, combat-ready forces capable of responding to a wide range of threats throughout the world. US forces overseas provide visible proof of our commitment to defend American interests with our allies and friends worldwide. Overseas presence is not a crutch for friends who refuse to bear their share of the burden; rather it is an fundamental interests in forward regions where the support of these interests can best be developed.

Overseas presence takes the form of permanently stationed forces, and forces temporarily deployed, some on a regular, rotational basis. In addition, we maintain an overseas presence through a broad program of routine air, ground, and naval deployments, as well as various contingency operations.

In accordance with our security needs, the bulk of our overseas presence forces are deployed in Western Europe, Japan, and South Korea, with smaller capabilities elsewhere in the Pacific, the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and Latin America. Approximately 100,000 US military members serve in Europe in ground forces consisting of substantial elements of two Army divisions along with a corps headquarters, associated corps troops, and other supporting elements; in air forces consisting of about two and one-third fighter wings; and in a Mediterranean naval ashore presence sufficient to support a carrier battle group and an amphibious ready group.

In Northeast Asia we also retain close to 100,000 troops. In South Korea they serve in one Army division and one wing of combat aircraft. In Japan we maintain a Marine Expeditionary Force, an Army special forces battalion, one and one-half wings of combat aircraft, and forward deploy an aircraft carrier, amphibious assault ship, and their support ships.

In the Middle East we maintain only a small presence. The bulk of our overseas presence commitment in this area, as well as in Southwest Asia, is reflected in the significant periodic deployments of forces, to include participation in contingency operations. Our forces deploy to Africa to participate in humanitarian or peace operations as national interests dictate. In Latin America small numbers of our Armed Forces help to promote democratic growth in many countries and work to halt the import of drugs into our country.

Our overseas presence helps to keep important infrastructure available and ready. Permanently stationed forces maintain support and basing that are vital for receiving reinforcements, and for throughput and onward movement in time of crisis and conflict. Although the size of our forces permanently stationed overseas and the size of some deployments have decreased in recent years, and in Europe dramatically, their importance has not diminished. They signal our commitment to the region in which they are deployed and are a visible reminder to those who would threaten our interests.

Power Projection

With fewer US forces permanently stationed overseas, we must increase our capability to project forces abroad. Credible power projection capability complements our overseas presence in acting as a deterrent to potential adversaries. Effective power projection capabilities also provide greater flexibility in employing military force. Coupled with overseas forces, the ability to project tailored forces through rapid, strategic mobility, gives national leaders additional time for consultation and increased options in response to potential crises and conflicts.

Our ability to rapidly project power worldwide depends on four strategic mobility enhancements: increased airlift capability, additional pre-positioning of heavy equipment afloat and ashore, increased surge capacity of our sealift, and improved readiness and responsiveness of the Ready Reserve Force.

Power projection is essential for performing the required tasks of all components of the strategy, however, it is most critical in the deterrence and conflict prevention and warfighting portions of our military strategy.

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Components of the Strategy

Peacetime Engagement

Overseas presence and power projection provide the basis for executing the tasks required by our strategy. The first group of these tasks, peacetime engagement, describes a broad range of non-combat activities undertaken by our Armed Forces that demonstrate commitment, improve collective military capabilities, promote democratic ideals, relieve suffering, and in many other ways enhance regional stability. On any given day, tens of thousands of the men and women of our Armed Forces are engaged worldwide across the range of peacetime engagement activities.

Military-to-Military Contacts

Military-to-military contact programs are one of the most effective instruments in our efforts to create a more stable security order. Today there are opportunities to forge new and more cooperative security relationships both with former adversaries and with formerly nonaligned nations. Moreover, there has been a vast increase in our participation in multinational operations whose members include many nontraditional allies, as we saw in the Gulf War and in recent humanitarian and peace operations such as in Haiti. The success of these operations hinges on mutual trust, effective communications and interoperability, and doctrinal familiarity, precisely the results we seek from ongoing military-to-military contacts.

These programs are also a platform for imparting influence and democratic values to militaries in reforming or newly democratic nations. The militaries of Central and Eastern Europe are a particular priority. US military-to-military Joint Contact Teams are at work in twelve of these countries today and we are expanding this program to other regions this year.

Combined training exercises provide particularly useful military-to- military contacts. Their benefits are many: combined training, joint readiness and interoperability, and military professionalism. Our sponsorship of such exercises also helps to shape our basing, pre-positioning, logistics support, and security agreements.

We also maintain an active exchange program between military units and regularly assign individual personnel to work for limited periods with other armed forces. Exchanges of personnel, both as students and teachers, at military academies and professional military schools foster understanding between our respective military establishments.

Nation Assistance

Our forces participate selectively in a variety of activities to assist friendly nations as they combat lawlessness, subversion, and insurgency. These efforts are carefully orchestrated to reinforce the host nation's developmental programs. Specific activities that involve our Armed Forces include bilateral and multilateral exercises, civil-military operations, intelligence and communications sharing, and logistics support.

Security Assistance

Security assistance involves the selective use of cooperative programs with allied and friendly armed forces that furnish these countries with the means to defend themselves from aggression and to fight alongside US forces in a coalition effort. Providing vital training and US-manufactured weapons systems increases the access and influence of the US military and improves the interoperability of potential coalition members. In addition, these contacts help to build and solidify relationships with emerging democracies and security partners. Security assistance also deters aggression in unstable regions and provides a cost-effective alternative to maintaining larger US forces in the region.

A very important avenue for interaction between US military personnel and their foreign counterparts is the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program. Last year, students from more than 100 foreign countries studied at US military schools, learning not only technical skills but also gaining a broader appreciation for American values and perspectives.

Our regional commanders-in- chief are unanimous in stating that security assistance programs, along with military-to-military contacts, produce gains that far exceed their costs, and we seek to reenergize and expand these important programs.

Humanitarian Operations

Our Armed Forces stand ready to participate in humanitarian and disaster relief operations at home and abroad. The US military can offer unique capabilities in terms of logistics (transport, supply, and distribution), communications, and security. Often, our greatest contribution to these operations resides in our ability to rapidly respond when more traditional relief agencies are overwhelmed. After these organizations are "up and running," military forces can be withdrawn. A prime example of this concept is the recent US assistance operation in Rwanda.

Counterdrug and Counterterrorism

The Armed Forces, working in close cooperation with law enforcement agencies, will use all means authorized by the President and the Congress to halt the flow of illegal drugs into this country. We will also act both unilaterally and in concert with security partners to fight international terrorism.


We remain prepared to support traditional peacekeeping operations on a case-by-case basis. When warranted by circumstances and national interests, this support may include participation of US combat units. When appropriate, we prefer to share the burden of peacekeeping with allies and friends. When the United States does participate, we will follow the guidelines of Presidential Decision Directive 25, to include seeking a clear delineation of the objectives of each operation, ensuring an unbroken chain of command to the President, and ensuring rules of engagement to protect our forces and permit the proper execution of assigned tasks. The capabilities we provide will be carefully tailored, usually to reinforce and supplement the resources of our international partners. We recognize that peace operations are often different from traditional military operations in the tasks and capabilities they require of our Armed Forces. We are continuing to develop appropriate doctrine and training for these operations.

Reserve component elements will take on increased responsibility for participating in and supporting peacekeeping missions.

Deterrence and Conflict Prevention

Deterrence and conflict prevention, the second component of the strategy, is a combination of efforts to deter threats to our security and interests as well as a series of other actions we can take to restore stability, security, and adherence to international law. Our military strategy envisions vigorous efforts in each of the following tasks in order to secure our interests and reduce the potential for conflict.

Nuclear Deterrence

The highest priority of our military strategy is to deter a nuclear attack against our Nation and allies. Our survival and the freedom of action that we need to protect extended national interests depend upon strategic and nonstrategic nuclear forces and their associated command, control, and communications.

We have recently concluded a comprehensive Nuclear Posture Review that looked into the next century and validated those systems we will need for the foreseeable future. Though we are continuing to pursue reductions under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) I and II, we still need to maintain a survivable triad of strategic delivery systems. This serves both to deter still very powerful strategic arsenals and to convince possible adversaries that any attempt to seek a nuclear advantage would be futile. We still need to maintain a mix of forward deployed and deployable nonstrategic nuclear weapons, both to provide deterrent coverage over our allies, and because extended deterrence, in many cases, is a decisive factor in our non proliferation efforts.

Regional Alliances

Our regional strategies, and the global strategy of which they are a part, are built on the foundation of strong and effective alliances. Our goal of a stable, multipolar world, hinges on both the ability to preserve and adapt our existing alliances to challenges we confront today and anticipate tomorrow and on the capacity to develop new relationships as necessary.

American forces in Europe continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to this area of significant national interests. In addition, we provide NATO with key leadership, critical intelligence and communications support, and much of the nuclear force that guarantees European security. Our capability to conduct military operations is sustained through frequent exercises and interoperability training, that ensures the effectiveness of coalitions both in and beyond the treaty area.

The end of the Cold War has seen NATO's military focus evolve from deterring aggression by the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact to dealing with today's diverse security challenges. The Alliance has embraced a new strategic concept that recognizes the changes in the geostrategic environment and is adjusting its missions, command arrangements , and forces accordingly. Implementing the Combined Joint Task Force concept will facilitate NATO's participation in non-traditional, out-of-area, operations such as peace operations, sanctions enforcement, and humanitarian assistance. It will also enable NATO to provide timely operational support to other bodies such as the United Nations and the Western European Union.

Today, many of our former adversaries have expressed a desire to join NATO — an indicator of NATO's success in adapting to meet new security challenges. More than 20 nations, including Russia, and other former Soviet republics, have already joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program. These countries seek to align their defense programs and policies more closely with NATO's — and to forge stronger ties to the West. The United States fully supports and participates in the Partnership for Peace initiative which both fosters regional stability and is essential to the eventual enlargement of the NATO alliance.

Five of the seven US mutual defense treaties are with partners in the Asia-Pacific region, helping to underpin the relative stability of an area that is home to the world's fastest growing economies. We will remain engaged with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the sponsor of the largest security forum (involving 18 countries) in that region.

In Northeast Asia our bilateral security relationship with Japan remains fundamental to US security. Our forces in Japan are a visible demonstration of our commitment to the peace and stability of the entire region and are available for short-notice deployment throughout the theater. Frequent combined US and Japanese military exercises continue to enhance professional interaction between our militaries.

The defense of the Republic of Korea (ROK) will remain a key element of US strategy in this region. Our forward stationed forces there represent an unambiguous demonstration of that commitment. We will continue to conduct a vigorous exercise program with ROK forces to ensure that we are ready and able to work together and to reinforce the theater, if necessary.

In Southwest Asia, we must remain alert to the dangers posed by a still aggressive Iraq and a revolutionary Iran that continues to fan the flames of social, political, and economic dissent among neighboring states. US commitment to peace and security in the critical Persian Gulf region is demonstrated through bilateral defense cooperation agreements, security assistance, pre-positioning, forward presence, and combined exercises. These activities in a region vital to US and global security and prosperity assist our friends in improving their self-defense while deterring aggression.

We will continue to support the deepening of democracy throughout the Western Hemisphere. W are strengthening our relationships with Latin America and Mexico and are working with the Organization of American States to promote stability and mutual security.

Crisis Response

Should our resolve to protect vital national interests be challenged, we must be able to respond rapidly through a wide spectrum of deterrent options and preventive measures. We intend to respond initially to crises using our forces stationed and deployed overseas but will be prepared to deploy all necessary forces to threatened areas as we demonstrated in October 1994 when Saddam Hussein once again moved forces south and threatened Kuwait. Critical to such reinforcement requirements are sea- and land-based pre-positioned equipment sets, enhanced airlift and sealift capabilities, and air refueling forces. Rapid power projection, from the United States to overseas areas and between regions, remains key to crisis response.

Arms Control

Arms control efforts contribute significantly to our security by limiting and reducing the number and types of weapons that can threaten us and by reducing regional arms buildups that can raise tensions and risks. Among the fundamental arms control agreements are the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, START I and II, the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF), and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe is a landmark agreement that has significantly reduced conventional forces for the first time in our generation and has greatly enhanced security in this area vital to US interests.

Recognizing the contributions that arms control agreements can make to national security, we seek to broaden the range of arms control efforts to address chemical and biological weapons. When implemented, the Chemical Weapons Convention will mandate the destruction of all chemical weapons and their production facilities.

Confidence-Building Measures

Our military forces will continue to be directly involved in confidence-building efforts to foster openness and transparency in military affairs. Implementation of Vienna Document 1994 is a concrete example of such efforts which include information exchanges, exercise limits and observations, and demonstrations of military capability. Agreements governing Dangerous Military Activities and regional initiatives, such as the Open Skies regime that permits aerial overflight of participating nations' territories, directly support our goal of preventing conflict.

Noncombatant Evacuation Operations

The US Government is responsible for protecting the lives and safety of its citizens abroad. Often, that task falls to our Armed Forces. When conditions of violence or disorder in foreign countries threaten American lives, US forces, in support of the Department of State, will use all appropriate means to extract American citizens promptly and safely.

Sanctions Enforcement

Military forces are increasingly used to enforce economic sanctions resulting from national policy decisions and UN Security Council resolutions. US forces will participate in operations to search, divert, delay, or disrupt transport vessels and to assist in the compliance of guidelines set by either US or UN authorities. Effective enforcement requires efficient coordination of military operations at sea, on land, and in the air and space.

Peace Enforcement

On occasion, US forces may be directed to participate in peace enforcement operations or other operations which stand in the gray zone between peace and war. These operations are characterized by the use of force or the threat of the use of force, and are interwoven with diplomatic and economic efforts, often involving both governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Such actions may be undertaken to maintain or restore international peace and security, or to respond to acts of aggression.

We continue to incorporate the lessons learned from our recent experiences in Iraq, Somalia, and the former Yugoslavia. For example, when significant US forces are directed to participate in a major peace enforcement operation likely to involve combat, our guidelines will continue to be to:

- Commit sufficient forces to achieve clearly defined objectives;

- Plan to achieve those objectives decisively; and

- Reassess and adjust, as necessary, the size, composition, and disposition of our forces to achieve our objectives.

Application of these guidelines is clearly exemplified by our Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti commencing in September 1994.

During peace enforcement operations, command and control arrangements are critical. Ordinarily in such instances, a US command will be established, or the mission will be conducted through a competent, established regional organization, such as NATO or an ad hoc coalition. The greater the US military contribution and the greater the likelihood of combat, the more inclined we will be to lead the operation. The President, however, will never relinquish command authority over US forces.

Fight and Win

The ability of US Armed Forces to fight and win, the third component of our strategy, serves as the ultimate guarantor of our vital interests. This ability is crucial to deter aggression and prevent conflict, and if challenged, it assures that we will in fact prevail. Being ready to fight and win remains our foremost responsibility and the prime consideration governing all our military activities. It is for this reason, fundamentally, that our Nation has raised and sustained its Armed Forces.

In war, our use of military force will follow the principles outlined below.

Clear Objectives — Decisive Force

In any application of force, military objectives will be clearly defined to support our national political aims in the conflict. We intend to commit sufficient force to achieve these objectives in a prompt and decisive manner.

Wartime Power Projection

If we have forces deployed to the threatened area when crisis turns to conflict, these forces will assist our regional allies in creating a viable defense to halt the invasion rapidly, and will form the basis for the subsequent buildup of combat power needed to defeat the aggressor decisively. But we anticipate that, for the most part, we will project air, land, and sea forces from the United States and, in some cases, from overseas areas, to augment forward-deployed forces or to establish US presence in the theater of operations. This power projection could ultimately entail the transport of large numbers of personnel and their equipment. Such an effort requires detailed plans to provide the necessary intelligence, logistics, and communications support, as well as capabilities to protect our forces during deployment.

We continue to build on the lessons learned in Operation Desert Storm to strengthen our power projection capabilities. During the September 1994 deployment of forces to Haiti, roll-on/roll-off shipping proved exceptionally ready and significantly more reliable as a result of post-Gulf War improvements. Early access to combat, combat support, and combat service support capabilities in the Reserve component is also vital to meet our power projection requirements for any major regional contingency. We have demonstrated in recent operations in both Haiti and Kuwait that we have the ability to gain this prompt access to the Reserves, clearly indicating improved wartime capabilities.

Fight Combined and Fight Joint

While we maintain the unilateral capability to wage decisive campaigns to protect US and multinational security interests, our Armed Forces will most often fight in concert with regional allies and friends, as coalitions can decisively increase combat power and lead to a more rapid and favorable outcome to the conflict. Combined operations capitalize on our peacetime training, help generate and sustain international support, and enable our forces to provide the high-leverage capabilities required to achieve decisive outcomes against any adversary.

Modern warfare requires US forces to fight as a joint team whether operating unilaterally or as part of an international coalition. Accordingly, each of the Services provides trained and ready forces to support the combatant commanders' warfighting plans and operations. Success in joint and combined military operations requires bringing to bear, at the right times and places, the unique and complementary capabilities of each of the Services.

Each Service has both a role and primary and collateral functions to execute, for which it must train, organize, and equip its forces. Land forces are mainly involved with prompt and sustained combat operations on land; naval and marine forces with operations at or from the sea; air forces with military operations in the air. Each of our Services leverages the benefits of unhindered access to space.

Land forces must be capable of deploying rapidly and, if necessary, executing forcible entry to seize the initiative and close with and destroy enemy forces, through synchronized maneuver and precision fires throughout the breadth and depth of the battle area. They must be capable of achieving operational and tactical freedom of maneuver and be sufficiently agile to achieve their objectives before opponents can effect counter-measures. Land forces must possess the capabilities necessary to dominate the land battle. In addition, they must provide the combat support and combat service support necessary to sustain the land battle as well as provide critical elements of support to joint forces deployed in theater. Ultimately, land forces can occupy territory, control populations , and provide on-the-scene assurance that political objectives will be met.

Naval and marine forces must be capable of conducting naval and amphibious warfighting operations. Forward-deployed naval expeditionary forces can respond immediately to a crisis, execute forcible entry or reinforce other forward-deployed elements, and through prompt action help halt an enemy offensive and enable the flow of follow-on ground and land-based air contingents. These forces assist in providing protective cover from air, land, sea, or missile intrusion. By ensuring freedom of the seas and controlling strategic choke points, naval and marine forces provide strategic freedom of maneuver and thus enhance deployment and sustainment of joint forces in theater.

Air forces must be capable of conducting military operations to gain and maintain control of the skies, holding vital enemy capabilities at risk throughout the theater, and helping to destroy the enemy's ability to wage war. Air superiority is essential so we can quickly move forces into theater and attack the enemy at will. Air control provides the joint force numerous operational and tactical advantages while facilitating land and naval maneuver. Air forces provide sustained, precise firepower, reconnaissance and surveillance, critical refueling, and global lift to rapidly deploy and sustain joint forces in theater.

Space forces play an increasingly important role in prosecuting modern warfare. They provide global and battlefield surveillance, ballistic missile warning, precise navigation, secure communications, weather, and intelligence information. Space assets facilitate effective command and control and enhance the joint utilization of our land, sea, and air forces.

Special operations forces from all three military departments provide combatant commanders and deployed forces with unique capabilities to conduct direct action, special reconnaissance, unconventional warfare , counterterrorism, psychological operations, and civil affairs activities. Properly employed, special operations forces provide commanders capabilities that extend their vision of the battlefield, increase their flexibility, and enhance their initiative. These forces will be fully integrated into military operations by the combatant commanders.

Win the Information War

The remarkable leverage attainable from modern reconnaissance, intelligence collection and analysis, and high-speed data processing and transmission warrants special emphasis. The Services and combatant commands require such fused information systems. These systems enhance our ability to dominate warfare. We must assure that this leverage works for us and against our adversaries. New doctrine is being developed, and training and control programs are underway, to ensure that advantages, built on the early success in Operation Desert Storm, are being exploited.

Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction

Potential adversaries should recognize our capability to dominate any escalation of conflict should weapons of mass destruction be employed against us. In addition, we will maintain and strengthen our defensive capabilities against such weapons. We continue efforts to prevent the use of mass destruction weapons and make preparations to operate effectively in environments marked by biological, chemical, or radioactive contamination.

Two Major Regional Contingency Focus

When entering any regional conflict, we will fully apply all the principles addressed above to ensure decisive victory. At the same time, however, we will remain aware that risks and dangers remain in other regions. While projecting forces to one contingency, we will be enhancing the readiness of other assets to handle a challenge elsewhere. Some high-leverage capabilities could be used in one major regional contingency and then reallocated and redeployed to another as conditions permit. Other capabilities essential to fighting and winning the first conflict will remain in the theater where they are committed.

Force Generation

We will quickly generate combat power in wartime. Active forces engaged overseas in lower priority missions may be recalled, reorganized, retrained, and redeployed. Normally our Armed Forces will withdraw from operations other than war when the security situation is stabilized and other organizations are prepared to assume responsibility for relief or security. In times of crisis, we will need to accelerate this process. As our first forces react to a major regional crisis, we will begin actions to ensure forces are ready to meet a second contingency should it arise. Activities not involving critical US interests will be turned over to the United Nations or other responsible regional security organizations while we attend to higher priority taskings.

Substantial Reserve forces will be committed to combat and combat support missions early in any major regional contingency. To backfill active forces elsewhere and to prepare for unforeseen contingencies, some Reserve component forces can expect to be mobilized immediately and to remain on active duty throughout the conflict, even though they are not directly involved in operations.

Win the Peace

In the wake of any major theater conflict, our forces will likely encounter numerous demands to attend to the needs of the indigenous population. This may well include activities such as providing humanitarian relief and nation assistance that are included in the peacetime engagement component of our military strategy. Planning for post-conflict operations will begin prior to and continue throughout any conflict. Close coordination and cooperation between military and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies will be particularly critical during the transition period following war as some functions are transferred to non-military organizations and while our forces are being redeployed and reconstituted.

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Military Capabilities

Posture and Size

The US Armed Forces are now in their eighth year of drawdown and will continue to be reduced and reshaped in accordance with the Bottom-Up Review. By 1999 total active end strength will reduce to 1,445,000 people, down from 2,130,000 in 1989. Over the next few years, active Army divisions will continue to decline from 18 to 10, active Air Force fighter wings from 24 to 13, and Navy battle force ships from 567 to 346. Active Marine Corps structure will remain at three Marine Expeditionary Forces, but end strength will continue to decline from 197,000 personnel to 174,000. Selected Reserve personnel will decline from 1,170,000 in 1989, to 893,900 in 1999, with a proportionate decline in force structure. The Coast Guard will reduce its active end strength from 44,000 to 36,300.

Nevertheless, the United States will retain formidable forces. While smaller, we must become pound for pound more capable through enhancements and selected modernizations. Our ability to execute this strategy of flexible and selective engagement will be put at risk without these required force upgrades.

The dynamic and unpredictable post-Cold War environment demands that we maintain military capabilities flexible and responsive enough to cope with unforeseen threats. Thus, US forces will be sized and structured to achieve decisive victory in two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts and to conduct combat operations characterized by rapid response and a high probability of success.

Our military forces are being sized and structured using scenario-based planning and assessments initiated during the Bottom-Up Review. Although no one can predict with certainty where the next conflict will occur, the use of plausible, illustrative scenarios against postulated threat forces enables comparisons and analyses to determine the relative values of different forces and capabilities across a range of circumstances. While the two nearly simultaneous major regional contingency requirement most challenges the force structure, other needs, such as forces to provide adequate overseas presence, space capabilities to support a wide range of activities in peace and war, and secure nuclear forces for deterrence, have also been taken into account.

Combat support capabilities, including transportation, logistics, intelligence, communications, and medical, remain vital to our success and will be strengthened.

Force Building Foundations

The combat forces and supporting capabilities must be built on five fundamental foundations.

Quality People

The experience of Operation Desert Storm confirmed that there is no substitute for high quality men and women in our Armed Forces. In a smaller force with diverse requirements, quality people provide the fundamental edge over any adversary.

The requirement for quality people is not an abstraction. It reflects the fundamental reality of military operations: despite intense planning and high technology, military operations are nevertheless marked by ambiguity, uncertainty, and chance, and are driven by emotion; they normally continue 24 hours a day, in any conceivable terrain or climate, and in conditions of extreme stress. Under these circumstances, leadership, courage, initiative, flexibility, and skill will remain essential to victory. No foreseeable change in technology will diminish the importance of high quality men and women in our military.

We are working hard to maintain excellence among our recruits. But we must also develop and retain these quality young people in the Armed Forces. Developing this talent requires enlightened leadership as well as realistic and challenging training. Retaining good people requires paying attention to quality of life for our service men and women and their families. This involves not only providing adequate military compensation and family programs but ensuring that our operating tempo and planned deployments are kept within reasonable bounds.


Experience shows that crises can emerge quickly and unpredictably. Our forces currently maintain a range of readiness postures to meet possible contingencies, from American aircraft aloft on combat air patrol over the Adriatic Sea, and elsewhere, to large Reserve component forces in the United States.

Our forces must be sufficiently ready — manned, equipped, trained, and sustainable — to meet the deployment requirements our strategy demands and to provide a hedge against uncertainty. They must be ready to fight today. We are working to strengthen readiness through better understanding and prediction of requirements as we restructure the force.

Warfighting plans require us to strengthen joint readiness and to exercise routinely with our allies and friends. Traditional measures of readiness were defined in Service-specific terms. Today we are strengthening joint and allied doctrine and education, developing joint readiness measures, and improving joint and coalition training and exercises.


Enhancement of our strategic mobility capability including airlift, sealift, and pre-positioning, is already underway. We have taken delivery of the first 18 of the initial procurement of C-17 advanced transport aircraft. One Army heavy brigade equipment set is pre-positioned aboard ships now on station to cover contingencies from Northeast Asia to the Persian Gulf. Our plans call for three additional brigade sets to be pre-positioned ashore, two in Southwest Asia and one in South Korea. We are procuring more sealift, including medium- speed roll-on/roll-off ships. In combination, these assets will greatly improve the power projection capability of our forces.

Battlefield surveillance will continue to be upgraded with the integration of systems such as the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System, the upgraded Airborne Warning and Control System, the RC-135 Rivet Joint intelligence platform, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Enhancements to provide a robust, globally capable and interoperable communications architecture are also required. These include the jam-resistant MILSTAR satellite communications system and the Global Command and Control System. Additionally, t h e appropriate mix of US military and commercial space systems will be integrated to reduce costs and optimize support for the warfighter. We must retain a decisive advantage in these areas.

Planned firepower enhancements include the Joint Standoff Weapon, Joint Direct Attack Munitions, sensor-fuzed weapons, ATACMS, and other strike enhancements for early arriving bombers and fighter-bombers.


We intend to remain the best-equipped force in the world. Modernization programs preserve the essential combat edge that US forces now possess. Through a program of recapitalization, we are consciously retiring certain weapons systems and platforms in order to afford more capable and modern equipment. Modernization programs provide the technological foundation for future capabilities and readiness.

Defense investments during the Cold War have provided us the necessary foundation in terms of platforms, systems, and research and development. We now seek the greatest value added under a more constrained budget. Major modernization programs involving significant investment are being undertaken only where there is clearly a substantial payoff. Continued modernization of existing platforms will take advantage of rapid technological change, particularly in the areas of reconnaissance and information warfare. Operational prototyping will be used to rapidly field small numbers of high leverage systems.


Despite its smaller size, our Armed Forces must retain an appropriate mix of forces and capabilities to provide versatility and a hedge against the unknown. Force structure must support land, sea, air, and space requirements, combat forces must be balanced with capable supporting forces, active duty forces must be balanced with appropriate Reserve capabilities, and force structure must be balanced with infrastructure.

As roles, missions, and functions are reexamined in an effort to attain greater efficiency, we must ensure that the balance among critical combat, combat support, and other supporting capabilities is retained.

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This national military strategy builds on its predecessors and continues the evolution from the strategies developed during the Cold War. Despite the breakup of the Soviet Union and the subsequent drawdown of US forces, this is a strategy of continued global engagement. Flexibly and selectively applied, US military power will remain a fundamental factor in assuring national security.

In keeping with the broad outlines of military strategy developed over nearly half a century, we see the United States with worldwide responsibilities that require flexible military capabilities. As before, we will stand together with our allies and friends to assure stability in a troubled world. Deterrence and conflict prevention are central elements of our strategy. A balanced force structure, including air, land, naval, and space elements, a strategic nuclear force, and correctly sized overseas presence are essential to maintaining the required deterrent and war fighting capabilities.

The days of the familiar bipolar competition with the former Soviet Union are now in the past. Security issues are more complex and increasingly regional in nature. Our actions must be appropriate to meet specific needs across a broad range of potential challenges. This requires a high tempo of military activity, including military operations, with a significant risk of hostile action. The forces to meet our security needs will be largely based in the United States. Even though smaller than before, they will need to remain highly capable . Quality people , readiness, enhancements, selected modernization, and balance will provide the critical edge.

This military strategy is one of flexible and selective engagement, designed to protect US interests throughout the world and to help meet the security needs of our partners in key regions. This strategy requires a ready American military force capable of responding quickly and decisively to protect our Nation's security.

"America has the best military in the world to meet the challenges from Iraq to North Korea to Haiti because America's service men and women are the best-trained, best-equipped, and best-led team, a joint force of extraordinary quality and unwavering commitment...a national treasure, deserving of our admiration, respect, and care."

General John M. Shalikashvili

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