On October 30, 2015, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) facilitated a senior leader forum, hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the U.S. Department of State (DoS), to explore the subject of comprehensive deterrence. Participants included representatives from across DoS and the U.S. Department of Defense.
According to a 2015 draft joint USASOC and USSOCOM definition, comprehensive deterrence is the "prevention of adversary action through the existence of credible and proactive physical, cognitive and moral capabilities (loosely defined as willpower) that raise an adversary's perceived cost to an unacceptable level of risk relative to the perceived benefit." Part I of this report delivers the proceedings from the senior leader forum, reflecting a robust discussion of comprehensive deterrence and its application. To ensure a wide variety of perspectives and encourage free-flowing discussion, all remarks from the forum were not for attribution. As such, the conference summary seeks to draw out the main themes and observations from the discussion without attributing particular points to a specific participant.
To support the forum's exploration of comprehensive deterrence and related issues, the RAND Corporation commissioned five papers to examine various aspects of this proposal, referencing four distinct waves of deterrence literature. These papers were distributed at the senior leader forum and are included in Part II of this conference proceeding.
Table of Contents
Comprehensive Deterrence Papers
Moving to a Practical Deterrence Strategy: How to Make Deterrence Work in 2015 and Beyond
The Limits of Deterrence
Reimagining Deterrence: New Security Threats and Challenges to the Deterrence Paradigm
Expanding the Concept of Deterrence
A Primitive's View of Deterrence