Deterrence in the Twenty-first Century

Deterrence in the twenty-first century - Air University Press


erce US allies with WMD-related threats or their use will

not result in net gains and could bring devastating losses.

• While deterring adversaries, the United States must also

communicate to allies—at least in general terms—how US

extended deterrence guarantees are being implemented on

their behalf. US regional allies will view each situation from

a perspective that is likely to differ significantly from that

of the United States itself.

• Defenses and other capabilities that can help limit damage,

should deterrence fail, are becoming increasingly important

for assuring allies.

• Redlines are important aspects of US declaratory policy.

They should be formulated carefully and attended to with

equal care. When redlines are crossed, a prompt and appropriate

response should follow. US leaders will need to

consult with threatened allies in developing declaratory

strategy and redlines and in responding appropriately

should potential adversaries cross established redlines.

• Should regional security situations worsen, including

threatened or actual use of WMD on allies, the United

States must be prepared to take action in a manner consistent

with the pledges that it has communicated to protected

allies if it hopes to sustain credibility.

Challenge #2: New and Emerging

Direct Threats to the United States

This challenge results from the increasing number of potential

adversaries who can directly threaten the United States with

long-range weapons. During much of the Cold War, the Soviet

Union was the only adversary that could directly threaten the

US homeland. (China had a limited number of intercontinentalrange

ballistic missiles capable of reaching at least part of the

United States.) As described earlier, during the Cold War, the

United States developed a sophisticated strategy to underpin

its extended deterrence guarantees to allies and to deter Soviet



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