Nuclear Posture Review Report (by Donald H. Rumsfeld, source

Submitted to US Congress on 31 December 2001 by Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense.

Abstract: The Congress directed the Defense Department to conduct a comprehensive Nuclear Posture Review to lay out the direction for American nuclear forces over the next five to ten years. The Department has completed that review and prepared the attached report.

Early on, we recognized that the new security environment demanded that the Department go beyond the Congressional mandate in developing a strategic posture for the 21st century. President Bush had already directed the Defense Department to transform America's military and prepare it for the new, unpredictable world in which we will be living. The result of his direction is the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Building on the (QDR) this Nuclear Posture Review puts in motion a major change in our approach to the role of nuclear offensive forces in our deterrent strategy and presents the blueprint for transforming our strategic posture.

"Nuclear weapons play a critical role in the defense capabilities of the United States, its allies and friends. They provide credible military options to deter a wide range of threats, including WMD and large-scale conventional military force. These nuclear capabilities possess unique properties that give the United States options to hold at risk classes of targets [that are] important to achieve strategic and political objectives."

However, “U.S. nuclear forces, alone are unsuited to most of the contingencies for which the United States prepares. The United States and allied interests may not require nuclear strikes”. A “new mix” of nuclear, non-nuclear, and defensive capabilities “is required for the diverse set of potential adversaries and unexpected threats the United States may confront in the coming decades”.

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