If weapons of mass destruction -- nuclear, biological or chemical -- are used against the United States, its military forces abroad, or its allies and friends, the United States will respond with overwhelming force and "resort to all of our options," the Bush administration says in a newly published strategic plan.
"Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) -- nuclear, biological, and chemical -- in the possession of hostile states and terrorists represent one of the greatest security challenges facing the United States," President Bush says in his "National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction" released December 11 by the White House. "We must pursue a comprehensive strategy to counter this threat in all of its dimensions."
In the six-page, unclassified version of the new presidential strategy, the Bush administration said that in addition to a conventional and nuclear response and other defense capabilities, the United States will bring to bear effective intelligence, surveillance, interdiction, and domestic law enforcement capabilities to deter any threat from the use of WMD.
The strategy is built on three seamless components that include a reliance on enhanced counterproliferation measures, strengthened nonproliferation efforts to combat WMD proliferation, and consequence management to respond if WMD are used.
"An effective strategy for countering WMD, including their use and further proliferation, is an integral component" of the new national security strategy, the Bush administration said in the plan. "As with the war on terrorism, our strategy for homeland security, and our new concept of deterrence, the U.S. approach to combat WMD represents a fundamental change from the past."
Counterproliferation efforts will include interdiction, deterrence, defense and mitigation measures. Nonproliferation will include active nonproliferation diplomacy, reliance on multilateral regimes such as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and other agreements and international organizations, threat reduction cooperation, controls on nuclear materials, U.S. export controls, and nonproliferation sanctions.
WMD consequence management calls for the United States to be prepared to respond effectively to any use of WMD in the United States, and to any attacks on U.S. military forces abroad, or against its allies and friends, the strategy said.
"What's new here is that we have a comprehensive strategy," a senior administration official said during a White House background briefing. "Every administration comes under criticism for not having an integrated strategy on issues like this. We do." (ends)
Click here for the complete text of the unclassified version of the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, on the White House website (PDF format) http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/12/WMDStrategy.pdf
-ends- Bush Administration Releases New WMD Strategic Plan