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DoD Committed to Stopping Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2006 – The Defense Department is taking a new approach to combat the threat of weapons of mass destruction in a complex and uncertain world, a DoD official said here yesterday.

"This approach is reflected in our strategic guidance, in our realigned operational structure, and in the way we carry out our day-to-day activities, Peter Flory, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee's emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee.

Strategically, DoD is focused on three pillars of combating weapons of mass destruction: nonproliferation, counterproliferation and consequence management, Flory said.

Nonproliferation, the first pillar, is meant to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction by impeding access to or distribution of sensitive technologies, material and expertise, he said.

Counterproliferation refers to actions to defeat the threat weapons of mass destruction being used against the United States, its armed forces, allies or partners, Flory said.

Consequence management, the third pillar, refers to mitigating the effects of an attack or event and restoring essential operations and services at home or abroad, he added.

"In addition to a new strategic framework, we have also revised our organizational structure to better position us to combat WMD," Flory said.

In January, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld designated U.S. Strategic Command as DoD's lead for synchronizing and focusing operational efforts in support of combatant commanders' efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction. "We see ourselves in a position of advocating for the doctrine; the organization; the material solutions; the tactics, techniques and procedures that will serve and benefit the regional combatant commanders," Marine Gen. James Cartwright, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said.

"The objective here is to give the regional combatant commanders the capability, all the way from what we call phase zero, (from) ... engagement activities within theater, through combat operations and, if necessary, through the consequence management (phase)," Cartwright said.

Flory said all DoD components have been directed to realign themselves to help combat weapons of mass destruction. The Quadrennial Defense Review views these activities as either preventive or responsive. The preventive aspect includes nonproliferation treaties and export-control measures, which have been and will remain integral to combating weapons of mass destruction, he said.

"While these regimes are an important first line of defense, not all countries are members of all regimes, and many countries that are members of regimes cheat," he said.

Countries like Iran and North Korea highlight the need for additional measures, such as interdiction, Flory said. In 2003, President Bush launched the Proliferation Security Initiative to help focus interdiction efforts and build the capacity of like-minded governments around the world. There are currently 70 partners to the initiative, and more have indicated support, Flory said.

DoD is also working through the Cooperation Threat Reduction program to accelerate U.S. security work at Russian nuclear warhead storage sites. The anticipated finish date of 2008 is four years ahead of schedule, but that acceleration requires additional funding during fiscal 2006, he said.

As for the response aspect the Quadrennial Defense Review addresses, the 2006 budget submission adds $2 billion to the previous $7.6 billion fiscal allocated to fund the Chemical-Biological Defense Program from this year to 2011, Flory said.

"Another element of the responsive dimension is the establishment of an Army headquarters tasked to provide technically qualified chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives ... response forces to support geographic combatant commanders," he said. Those forces have the capability to locate, secure, disable and safeguard an adversary's weapons of mass destruction program, Flory said. The Army's 20th Support Command currently has this job.

Anticipating the continued evolution of the weapons-of-mass-destruction threat, DoD is taking forward-looking steps. First is a broad-spectrum vaccine or remedy against a class of threats, thereby getting away from the "one drug, one bug" theory, Flory said. The department is expanding its work with potential partner countries in this arena.

It also is continuing to develop bilateral discussions with international partners on counterproliferation issues ranging from policy and operation to technical cooperation. "We can't do everything. We shouldn't have to do everything," Flory said. "And in a number of cases, arguably it's better if somebody else does it.

"The idea of developing capabilities and developing capabilities of partner nations is something that runs throughout our entire approach here," he said.

Contact Author

Biographies:
Peter Flory
Gen. James Cartwright, USMC

Related Sites:
U.S. Strategic Command
Quadrennial Defense Review



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