Today the Department of Defense released its strategy for countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This strategy will direct the department’s efforts to prevent hostile actors from acquiring WMD, contain and reduce WMD threats, and ensure that DOD can respond effectively to WMD crises.
“The pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and potential use by actors of concern pose a threat to U.S. national security and peace and stability around the world,” Secretary Hagel writes in the foreword to the strategy. The constant evolution of WMD materials, tactics and technologies calls for flexible and innovative solutions from the full range of DOD tools and capabilities. This strategy places a premium on cooperative efforts to shape the environment and early action to prevent threats before they fully emerge.
The Department of Defense Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction seeks to ensure that the United States and its allies and partners are neither attacked nor coerced by hostile actors with WMD. “This strategy provides foundational guidance for enacting the department’s countering WMD policies, plans, and programs and advances a comprehensive response to existing and developing WMD threats,” Secretary Hagel writes. The strategy recognizes that, as we have seen in Syria, “instability in states pursuing or possessing WMD or related capabilities could lead to dangerous WMD crises” and calls upon DOD to improve collaboration and cooperation to reduce and eliminate such threats.
Recognizing that fiscal constraints require DOD to make strategic choices, the strategy emphasizes the importance of cooperating with partners—including other U.S. departments and agencies, allies and partners, and international bodies— to achieve countering WMD goals.
Endorsing the strategy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey writes “Our capability to defeat aggression will not be undermined by the threatened or actual use of WMD.”
Read the full strategy here.
A fact sheet on the strategy can be found here.