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 across the full spectrum of conflict. This capability is embodied in four ways; ready forces and equipment strategically stationed or deployed forward, forces in the United States at the appropriate level of readiness to deploy when needed, our ability to maintain access to critical regions and infrastructure overseas, and our demonstrated ability to form and lead effective military coalitions.
We must continue to improve our program to combat terrorism in the areas of antiterrorism, counterterrorism, consequence management, and intelligence support to deter terrorism. We will deter terrorism through the increased antiterrorism readiness of our installations and forward forces, enhanced training and awareness of military personnel, and the development of comprehensive theater engagement plans. In counterterrorism, because terrorist organizations may not be deterred by traditional means, we must ensure a robust capability to accurately attribute the source of attacks against the United States or its citizens, and to respond effectively and decisively to protect our national interests. U.S. armed forces possess a tailored range of options to respond to terrorism directed at U.S. citizens, interests, and property. In the event of a terrorist incident, our consequence management ability to significantly mitigate injury and damage may likely deter future attacks. Finally, we will continue to improve the timeliness and accuracy of intelligence support to commanders, which will also enhance our ability to deter terrorism.
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 guarantor of our security commitments to allies and a disincentive to those who would contemplate developing or otherwise acquiring their own WMD capability. Those who threaten the United States or its allies with WMD should have no doubt that any such attack would meet an overwhelming and devastating response. Our military planning for the possible employment of U.S. strategic nuclear weapons is focused on deterring a nuclear war and it emphasizes the survivability of our nuclear systems, infrastructure, and command, control, and communications systems necessary to endure a preemptive attack yet still deliver an overwhelming response. Another key element of the U.S. nuclear deterrent strategy is ensuring the National Command Authorities have a survivable and endurable command, control, and communications capability through which to execute the mission and direct nuclear forces during all phases of a nuclear war. 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 forward deployed in NATO to demonstrate the political commitment of the United States to the long-term viability of NATO and European security. 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 Department of Defense’s Counterproliferation Initiative provides another example of how U.S. military capabilities are used effectively to deter aggression and coercion against U.S. interests. Under this initiative, we are preparing our own forces and working with allies to ensure that we can prevail on the battlefield despite the threatened or actual use of NBC weapons by adversaries.
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 the maintenance of 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.
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 where the operation and maintenance of information systems and advanced technology become ever more important. 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 and bear the costs associated with programs that support recruiting, retention, quality of life, training, equipping and educating our personnel.
International Law Enforcement Cooperation
Certain criminal threats to our national security are international in nature. Transnational threats include terrorism, drug and migrant smuggling, and other international crime. The rise in the frequency and intensity of these threats makes it incumbent upon U.S. and foreign law enforcement and judicial authorities to cooperate in an innovative manner. The President’s International Crime Control Strategy prescribes the role of overseas law enforcement presence in establishing and sustaining working relationships with foreign law enforcement agencies; keeping crime away from our shores; enabling extradition; and solving serious U.S. crimes.
The Department of State and U.S. federal law enforcement agencies continue to assist law enforcement agencies in Central and Eastern Europe and East Asia through cooperative centers established in Hungary and Thailand known as the International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs). 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
The President has said, “Our natural security must be seen as part of our national security.” Decisions today regarding the environment and natural resources can affect our security for generations. Environmental threats do not heed national borders; environmental perils overseas and environmental crime pose long-term dangers to U.S. security and well being. Natural resource scarcities can trigger and exacerbate conflict, and phenomena such as climate change, toxic pollution, ocean dumping, and ozone depletion directly threaten the health and well-being of Americans and all other individuals on Earth.