Pentagon Should Elevate the Importance of Eliminating Weapons of Mass Destruction in Operational Planning
Sep 24, 2014
Although two successive presidents have determined that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) pose the greatest threat to the American people and have listed countering their proliferation as a top strategic priority, neither administration has followed through by allocating appropriate budgetary resources to it. This report addresses and analyzes the ground force capacity and capabilities needed to perform WMD elimination missions and tasks.
How the U.S. Army Can Help Close Gaps in Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction
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Although two successive presidents have determined that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) — particularly nuclear weapons in the hands of violent extremists — pose the greatest threat to the American people, and have decided that countering their proliferation is a top strategic priority, neither administration has made countering WMD a priority when it comes to allocating budgetary resources to that overarching national mission. In the public domain, little analysis exists that assesses the capacity and capabilities required by military forces to conduct WMD elimination (WMD-E) operations. As a result, public discussion of what capabilities the military requires for such operations generally omits or gives short shrift to requirements for the WMD-E mission. The purpose of this report is to address and analyze those requirements, namely, the ground force capacity (force size) and capabilities (force structure) needed to accomplish WMD-E missions and tasks. These analyses provide an informed description of the types and size of U.S. Army forces required to conduct WMD-E operations in a wide range of situations. The authors explore in depth two particularly salient cases: operations to secure loose WMD in the event that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) collapses and a counterfactual scenario in which U.S. operations were ordered to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program in the wake of a Syrian regime collapse.
Gaps Between Countering WMD and Prioritizing Resources
Counter-WMD Missions and WMD-E Operations
Illustrative WMD-E Scenarios and Ground Force Requirements
Selected National Security Documents and Joint and Service Doctrine
DPRK and Syrian WMD Sites
Scenario Context for DPRK Case Study
Review of Available Estimates on Support Ratio in Iraq
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