Protecting Critical Infrastructures
Our military power and national economy are increasingly reliant upon interdependent critical infrastructures—the physical and information systems essential to the operations of the economy and government. They include telecommunications, energy, banking and finance, transportation, water systems and emergency services. It has long been the policy of the United States to assure the continuity and viability of these critical infrastructures. But advances in information technology and competitive pressure to improve efficiency and productivity have created new vulnerabilities to both physical and information attacks as these infrastructures have become increasingly automated and interlinked. If we do not implement adequate protective measures, attacks on our critical infrastructures and information systems by nations, groups or individuals might be capable of significantly harming our military power and economy.
To enhance our ability to protect these critical infrastructures, the President signed Presidential Decision Directive 63 in May 1998. This directive makes it U.S. policy to take all necessary measures to swiftly eliminate any significant vulnerability to physical or information attacks on our critical infrastructures, especially our information systems. We will achieve and maintain the ability to protect them from intentional acts that would significantly diminish the abilities of the Federal Government to perform essential national security missions and to ensure the general public health and safety. We will protect the ability of state and local governments to maintain order and to deliver minimum essential public services. And we will work with the private sector to ensure the orderly functioning of the economy and the delivery of essential telecommunications, energy, financial and transportation services. Any interruption or manipulation of these critical functions must be brief, infrequent, manageable, isolated and minimally detrimental to the welfare of the United States.
The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) integrates relevant federal, state, and local government entities as well as the private sector, and provides the national focal point for gathering information on threats to the infrastructures. It serves as a national resource for identifying and assessing threats, warning about vulnerabilities, and conducting criminal investigations. The NIPC will also coordinate the federal government’s response to an incident, including mitigation, investigation and monitoring reconstruction efforts.
Smaller-scale contingency operations encompass the full range of military operations short of major theater warfare, including humanitarian assistance, peace operations, enforcing embargoes and no-fly zones, evacuating U.S. citizens, reinforcing key allies, and limited strikes and intervention. These operations will likely pose the most frequent challenge for U.S. forces and cumulatively require significant commitments over time. These operations will also put a premium on the ability of the U.S. military to work closely and effectively with other U.S. Government agencies, non-governmental organizations, regional and international security organizations and coalition partners.
Under certain circumstances the U.S. military may provide appropriate and necessary humanitarian assistance. Those circumstances are when a natural or manmade disaster dwarfs the ability of the normal relief agencies to respond or the need for relief is urgent, and the military has a unique ability to respond quickly with minimal risk to American lives. In these cases, the United States may intervene when the costs and risks are commensurate with the stakes involved and when there is reason to believe that our action can make a real difference. Such efforts by the United States and the international community will be limited in duration, have a clearly defined end state and be designed to give the affected country the opportunity to restore its own basic services. This policy recognizes that the U.S. military normally is not the best tool for addressing long-term humanitarian concerns and that, ultimately, responsibility for the fate of a nation rests with its own people.
At times it will be in our national interest to proceed in partnership with others to preserve, maintain and restore peace. American participation in peace operations takes many forms, such as the NATO-led coalition in Bosnia, the American-led UN force in Haiti, the Military Observer Mission Ecuador and Peru (MOMEP), and our participation in the multilateral coalition operation in the Sinai. The question of command and control in multinational contingency operations is particularly critical. Under no circumstances will the President ever relinquish his constitutionally mandated command authority over U.S. forces, but there may be times when it is in our interest to place U.S. forces under the temporary operational control of a competent allied or United Nations commander. Not only must the U.S. military be prepared to successfully conduct multiple smaller-scale contingencies worldwide, it must be prepared to do so in the face of challenges such as terrorism, information operations and the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. forces must also remain prepared to withdraw from contingency operations if needed to deploy to a major theater war. Accordingly, appropriate U.S. forces will be kept at a high level of readiness and will be trained, equipped and organized to be multi-mission capable.
Major Theater Warfare
Fighting and winning major theater wars is the ultimate test of our Total Force—a test at which it must always succeed. For the foreseeable future, the United States, preferably in concert with allies, must remain able to deter and defeat large-scale, cross-border aggression in two distant theaters in overlapping time frames. Maintaining such a capability deters opportunism elsewhere while we are heavily committed to deterring or defeating aggression in one theater, or while conducting multiple smaller-scale contingencies and engagement activities in other theaters. It also provides a hedge against the possibility that we might encounter threats larger or more difficult than we expected. A strategy for deterring and defeating aggression in two theaters ensures we maintain the capability and flexibility to meet unknown future threats, while continued global engagement helps preclude such threats from developing.
Fighting and winning major theater wars entails at least three particularly challenging requirements. First, we must maintain the ability to rapidly defeat initial enemy advances short of enemy objectives in two theaters, in close succession. The United States must maintain this ability to ensure that we can seize the initiative, minimize territory lost before an invasion is halted and ensure the integrity of our warfighting coalitions. To meet this challenge, the forces that would be first to respond to an act of aggression are kept at full readiness, and the forces that follow them are kept at a level that supports their being ready to deploy and go into action when called for in the operations plan for the contingency. Second, the United States must plan and prepare to fight and win under conditions where an adversary may use asymmetric means against us— unconventional approaches that avoid or undermine our strengths while exploiting our vulnerabilities. This is of particular importance and a significant challenge. Because of our dominance in the conventional military arena, adversaries who challenge the United States are likely to use asymmetric means, such as WMD, information operations or terrorism.
The WMD threat to our forces is receiving the special attention it deserves. We are enhancing the preparedness of our Armed Forces to effectively conduct sustained operations despite the presence, threat or use of WMD. Such preparedness requires the capability to deter, detect,