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RAND Corporation Suggests Change in U.S. Security Policy

RAND Corporation Suggests Change in U.S. Security Policy

Posted May. 23, 2007 03:19,   


Amid growing concerns over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) symbolized by the North Korean nuclear test, a leading U.S. think tank recently suggested that the main functions of U.S. forces worldwide should be shifted: (a) from the defense of major strong points to the stabilization of multiple, far-away areas; and (b) from one centering on ground forces to the operation of a unified command which taps into the Navy and the Air Force, too.

These suggestions were made in the latest report titled, “A New Division of Labor: Meeting America’s Security Challenges Beyond Iraq,” of the RAND Corporation, one of the U.S.’s best-known rightist think tanks in the fields of national security and public administration. What brought keen attention to the report, in particular, was that the strategic importance of Northeast Asia and other “strong points” was reduced while the possible race for national defense among East Asian nations and the potential emergence of small nuclear states such as North Korea were specified as “major challenges faced by the U.S. and its allies.”

Military strategy changing in accordance with changes in circumstances-

The report suggested that the U.S. should replace its current, conventional war-based “1-4-2-1 military readiness posture” with a “1-n-2-1 strategy.”

First introduced in October 2001 as part of the Quadrennial Defense Report (QDR), the “1-4-2-1 strategy” is basically: (a) defending the U.S. homeland [1]; (b) deterring wars in four areas such as Europe, the Middle East, coastal Asia and Northeast Asia [4]; (c) carrying out wars simultaneously in two areas [2]; and (d) decisively winning an all-out war in one of the two areas [1].

A newly modified version of the previous strategy, the “1-n-2-1 strategy” sees the stability of many far-away nations and disputed areas [n]—Afghanistan, which has emerged as a key area in the war against terrorism, and Sudan and Ethiopia, and other African nations facing the issue of humanitarianism, to name a few—as significantly affecting the future security of the U.S. and its allies. In other words, the significance of state-centric geopolitics, which has so far been highly valued in international politics, has diminished.

The report especially stressed that (a) terrorists and armed forces; (b) regional strong powers armed with nuclear weapons such as North Korea; and (c) defense race within the Asian region that might trigger military confrontation against China were the three major challenges faced by the U.S. and its allies. To address such challenges, it claimed, the following four-step measures should be taken: (a) wipe out terrorists and armed organizations, and help relevant countries train their military forces and equip them with necessary weapons; (b) support countries pushing for democratic reforms; (c) develop weapons for destroying nuclear weapons and their delivery systems; and (d) build a system for intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles.

North Korean nuclear issue as a main agenda in U.S. military strategy-

The report, in particular, called North Korea a “regional power with nuclear weapons” and stated a new countermeasure should be formulated. It is interpreted that this is because the country’s nuclear test fundamentally changed the nature of security landscape in the region.

In the past, crises were kept under control through the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) system and the nuclear deterrence game between the U.S. and the Soviet Union; since the North’s nuclear test, however, the “nuclear genie” has already escaped from the bottle.

Under such circumstances, the report projected, the U.S. government is highly likely to confront North Korea right away if it leaks its nuclear technology in association with terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda.