objectives are to assist in establishing a professional cadre of law enforcement personnel in these nations trained to prevent, deter and investigate crimes related to the proliferation and diversion of WMD or their delivery systems; to assist these countries in developing laws and regulations designed to prevent the illicit acquisition or trafficking of WMD, and in establishing appropriate enforcement mechanisms; and to build a solid legal and organization framework that will enable these governments to attack the proliferation problem at home and participate effectively in international efforts.
The U.S. military plays an essential role in building coalitions and shaping the international environment in ways that protect and promote U.S. interests. Through overseas presence and peacetime engagement activities such as defense cooperation, security assistance, and training and exercises with allies and friends, our armed forces help to deter aggression and coercion, promote regional stability, prevent and reduce conflicts and threats, and serve as role models for militaries in emerging democracies. These important efforts engage every component of the Total Force: Active, Reserve, National Guard and civilian.
Deterrence of aggression and coercion on a daily basis is crucial. Our ability to deter potential adversaries in peacetime rests on several factors, particularly on our demonstrated will and ability to uphold our security commitments when they are challenged. We have earned this reputation through both our declaratory policy, which clearly communicates costs to potential adversaries, and our credible warfighting capability. This capability is embodied in ready forces and equipment strategically stationed or deployed forward, in forces in the United States at the appropriate level of readiness to deploy and go into action when needed, in our ability to gain timely access to critical regions and infrastructure overseas, and in our demonstrated ability to form and lead effective military coalitions.
Our nuclear deterrent posture is one of the most visible and important examples of how U.S. military capabilities can be used effectively to deter aggression and coercion, as reaffirmed in a Presidential Decision Directive signed by President Clinton in November 1997. Nuclear weapons serve as a hedge against an uncertain future, a guarantee of our security commitments to allies and a disincentive to those who would contemplate developing or otherwise acquiring their own nuclear weapons. Our military planning for the possible employment of U.S. nuclear weapons is focused on deterring a nuclear war rather than attempting to fight and win a protracted nuclear exchange. We continue to emphasize the survivability of the nuclear systems and infrastructure necessary to endure a preemptive attack and still respond at overwhelming levels. The United States must continue to maintain a robust triad of strategic forces sufficient to deter any hostile foreign leadership with access to nuclear forces and to convince it that seeking a nuclear advantage would be futile. We must also ensure the continued viability of the infrastructure that supports U.S. nuclear forces and weapons. The Stockpile Stewardship Program will guarantee the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
While our overall deterrence posture—nuclear and conventional—has been effective against most potential adversaries, a range of terrorist and criminal organizations may not be deterred by traditional deterrent threats. For these actors to be deterred, they must believe that any type of attack against the United States or its citizens will be attributed to them and that we will respond effectively and decisively to protect our national interests and ensure that justice is done.
Our military promotes regional stability in numerous ways. In Europe, East Asia and Southwest Asia, where the U.S. has clear, vital interests, the American military helps assure the security of our allies and friends. The reinforcement of U.S. forces in the Gulf from Fall 1997 to Spring 1998 clearly illustrates the importance of military power in achieving U.S. national security objectives and stabilizing a potentially volatile situation. The U.S. buildup made it clear to Saddam Hussein that he must comply with UN sanctions and cease hindering UNSCOM inspections or face dire consequences. It also denied him the option of moving to threaten his neighbors, as he had done in past confrontations with the international community. Saddam’s agreement to open the so-called “presidential sites” to UN inspection was a significant step toward ensuring that Iraq’s WMD have been eradicated. It would not have been achieved without American diplomacy backed by force. Our decision maintain a higher continuous force level in the Gulf than we had before this most recent confrontation with Iraq will help deter Saddam from making further provocations and strengthen the resolve of our coalition partners in the Gulf.
We are continuing to adapt and strengthen our alliances and coalitions to meet the challenges of an evolving security environment. U.S. military forces prevent and reduce a wide range of potential conflicts in key regions. An example of such an activity is our deployment to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to help prevent the spread of violence to that country. We assist other countries in improving their pertinent military capabilities, including peacekeeping and humanitarian response. With countries that are neither staunch friends nor known foes, military cooperation often serves as a positive means of engagement, building security relationships today that will contribute to improved relations tomorrow.
Our armed forces also serve as a role model for militaries in emerging democracies around the world. Our 200-year history of strong civilian control of the military serves as an example to those countries with histories of non-democratic governments. Through military-to-military activities and increasing links between the U.S. military and the military establishments of Partnership for Peace nations, for instance, we are helping to transform military institutions in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union.
International Law Enforcement Cooperation
As threats to our national security from drug trafficking, terrorism and international crime increase, development of working relations U.S. and foreign law enforcement and judicial agencies will play a vital role in shaping law enforcement priorities in those countries. Law enforcement agencies must continue to find innovative ways to develop a concerted, global attack on the spread of international crime.
Overseas law enforcement presence leverages resources and fosters the establishment of effective working relationships with foreign law enforcement agencies. U.S. investigators and prosecutors draw upon their experience and background to enlist the cooperation of foreign law enforcement officials, keeping crime away from American shores, enabling the arrest of many U.S. fugitives and solving serious U.S. crimes. This presence develops substantive international links by creating personal networks of law enforcement professionals dedicated to bringing international criminals to justice. In addition, training foreign law enforcement officers is critical to combating international crime. Such training helps create professional law enforcement organizations and builds citizen confidence in law enforcement officers, who understand and operate under the rule of law. Training also builds a common perspective and understanding of