The Pentagon's new plan for countering weapons of mass destruction 'emphasizes early action through pathway defeat, shaping the environment to dissuade actors from pursuing WMD, and cooperating with partners to achieve countering WMD goals,' according to the strategy document. (AFP)
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon wants to partner with allies to counter weapons of mass destruction (WMD), particularly as it faces a budget crunch, a new US Defense Department report states.
“In a constrained fiscal environment, we are focusing our efforts on preventing acquisition [of WMDs] and countering the most likely threats,” the new strategy for countering WMDs states. “Accordingly, this strategy emphasizes early action through pathway defeat, shaping the environment to dissuade actors from pursuing WMD, and cooperating with partners to achieve countering WMD goals.”
The report is the first update to DoD’s counter-WMD plan since 2006. That prior guidance, included as part of the National Military Strategy, focused primarily on military objectives while the new strategy is broader and “allows us to support and align our efforts in the document with the broader national strategy for countering [WMDs],” a senior defense official said.
“It shifts some focus from some of the prior documents to allow us an increased emphasis on prevention and reducing and mitigating threats earlier,” the official said. “Rather than focusing more exclusively on military options, military scenarios, it might be associated with crises in later phases.”
As DoD’s budget tightens, the department will be forced to make “strategic choices that protect and enhance countering WMD investments,” the report states.
“The Department will accept risk in areas where WMD use is implausible, infeasible, or would have limited effects, allowing DoD to prioritize capabilities that facilitate efforts to preclude WMD acquisition and use,” the report states. ■