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Official Says Integrated Deterrence Key to National Defense Strategy

Integrated deterrence is important in three documents released in 2022: the National Defense Strategy, the Nuclear Posture Review and the Missile Defense Review, said the assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities. Integrated deterrence can be thought of as two things: integrated and deterrence, Mara E. Karlin said today at Defense Forum Washington 2022. 

Integrated means planning, coordinating and operating with all government agencies, as well as allies and partners, she said. 

"We are so much more powerful when all of the departments and agencies are doing what they're best at doing and playing to their comparative advantages," she said. 

Deterrence means building a combat credible force across all domains and across the full spectrum of conflict to deter aggression in the face of the pacing threat from China and the acute threat from Russia, she said.  

There are costs and shared sacrifices that come with integrated deterrence, she said. 

People sit in chairs facing a woman standing on a dais.
Mara E. Karlin
Mara E. Karlin, assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities, speaks at Defense Forum Washington 2022 in Washington, D.C., Dec. 6, 2022.
Photo By: David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 221206-D-UB488-002

There's a $773 billion price tag for modernization, readiness and lethality that comes from taxpayers with approval from lawmakers, she said. Explaining to the public why this money is needed for national security is vitally important. 

Costs for Europe include not just supplying defensive weapons to Ukraine but also reducing their reliance on Russian oil. For example, before Russia's invasion of Ukraine this year, Italy was about 40% dependent on Russian energy, she said. Today, it's around 20%. 

Another example is the United States' message to the world to avoid China's 5G network, which has serious vulnerabilities, she said. 

"Folks are willing to take on costs and reconceptualize risks as they understand that security environment changes," she said.  

Regarding allies' support for Ukraine and Finland and Sweden's request to join NATO, Karlin said: "It is very hard for me to imagine that [China's] President Xi [Jinping] is not sitting in Beijing watching very, very closely and probably asking himself some very hard, awkward and uncomfortable questions."

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