Our nuclear deterrent posture is one example of how U.S. military capabilities are used effectively to deter aggression and coercion against U.S. interests. Nuclear weapons serve as 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. strategic nuclear weapons is focused on deterring a nuclear war and emphasizes the survivability of our nuclear systems and infrastructure necessary to endure a preemptive attack and still respond at overwhelming levels. The United States will continue to maintain a robust triad of strategic nuclear forces sufficient to deter any potential adversaries who may have or seek access to nuclear forces – to convince them that seeking a nuclear advantage or resorting to nuclear weapons would be futile. In addition, some U.S. non-strategic nuclear forces are maintained in a forward-deployed status in NATO as a visible reminder of our security commitment. We must also ensure the continued viability of the infrastructure that supports U.S. nuclear forces and weapons. The Stockpile Stewardship Program will provide high confidence in the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
The United States is committed to preserving internationally recognized freedom of navigation on and overflight of the world’s oceans, which are critical to the future strength of our nation and to maintaining global stability. Freedom of navigation and overflight are essential to our economic security and for the worldwide movement and sustainment of U.S. military forces. These freedoms are codified in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which the President submitted to the Senate in 1994 for advice and consent to ratification. In addition to lending the certainty of the rule of law to an area critical to our national security, the Convention preserves our leadership in global ocean policy. Thus, the Law of the Sea Convention buttresses the strategic advantages that the United States gains from being a global power, and ratification of the Convention remains a high priority.
We are committed to maintaining U.S. leadership in space. Unimpeded access to and use of space is a vital national interest – essential for protecting U.S. national security, promoting our prosperity and ensuring our well-being. Consistent with our international obligations, we will deter threats to our interests in space, counter hostile efforts against U.S. access to and use of space, and maintain the ability to counter space systems and services that could be used for hostile purposes against our military forces, command and control systems, or other critical capabilities. We will maintain our technological superiority in space systems, and sustain a robust U.S. space industry and a strong, forward-looking research base. We also will continue efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction to space, and will continue to pursue global partnerships addressing space-related scientific, economic, environmental and security issues. We also are committed to maintaining information superiority – the capability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting and/or denying an adversary’s ability to do the same. Operational readiness, as well as the command and control of forces, relies increasingly on information systems and technology. We must keep pace with rapidly evolving information technology so that we can cultivate and harvest the promise of information superiority among U.S. forces and coalition partners while exploiting the shortfalls in our adversaries’ information capabilities.
Quality people – civilian and military – are our most critical asset in implementing our defense activities. The quality of our men and women in uniform will be the deciding factor in future military operations. We must ensure that we remain the most fully prepared and best trained military force in the world. Accordingly, we will continue to place the highest priority on programs that support recruiting, retention, quality of life, training and education.
International Law Enforcement Cooperation
As threats to our national security from terrorism, drug trafficking and other international crime increase, U.S. and foreign law enforcement and judicial agencies must continue to find innovative ways to implement a concerted, global plan to combat international crime. As highlighted in the President’s International Crime Control Strategy, one way to accomplish this is through cooperative activities, such as overseas law enforcement presence, that leverage our resources and foster the establishment of effective working relationships with foreign law enforcement agencies. U.S. investigators and prosecutors work 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 creates networks of law enforcement professionals dedicated to preventing crime and bringing international criminals to justice. The Department of State and U.S. federal law enforcement agencies are engaged in a cooperative effort to provide assistance to law enforcement agencies in Central and Eastern Europe and East Asia through the International Law Enforcement Academies that have been established in Hungary and Thailand. The ILEA initiative is a multinational effort organized by the United States, the host nations, and other international training partners to provide mutual assistance and law enforcement training.
Environmental and Health Initiatives
Decisions today regarding the environment and natural resources can affect our security for generations. Environmental threats do not heed national borders; environmental peril overseas can pose long-term dangers to Americans’ security and well-being. Natural resource scarcities can trigger and exacerbate conflict. Environmental threats such as climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, introduction of nuisance plant and animal species, overharvesting of fish, forests and other living natural resources, and the transnational movement of hazardous chemicals and waste directly threaten the health and economic well-being of U.S. citizens.
We have a full diplomatic agenda to respond aggressively to environmental threats. For example, at Kyoto in December 1997, the industrialized nations of the world agreed for the first time to binding limits on greenhouse gases. This was a vital turning point, but we must press for participation by key developing nations and will not submit the Kyoto protocol for ratification until they have agreed to participate meaningfully in efforts to address global warming.
Diseases and health risks can no longer be viewed solely as a domestic concern. Like the global economy, the health and well-being of all peoples are becoming increasingly interdependent. With the movement of millions of people per day across international borders and the expansion of international trade, health issues as diverse as importation of dangerous infectious diseases and bioterrorism preparedness profoundly affect our national security. Besides reducing the direct threat to Americans from disease, healthy populations internationally provide an essential underpinning for economic development, democratization and political stability. We are, therefore, taking a leadership role to promote international cooperation on health issues.
Beyond these general concerns, a number of specific international health issues are critical for our national security. Because a growing proportion of our national food supply is coming from international sources, assuring the safety of the food we consume must be a priority. The Administration has announced new and stronger programs to ensure the safety of imported as