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Transforming Military Overseas Presence to Deter and Prevent Asymmetric Warfare Against the United States

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Strategy research rept.

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The end of the cold war has brought many changes to the geopolitical landscape of the world. Advances in information technology have revolutionized global communications and commerce. These advances have enhanced terrorist networks command and control and financing of their operations. Combined with covert operations, these technological advances have contributed to the world witnessing a rise in terrorism on a scale never before imagined as demonstrated on 11 September 2001. One of the most dangerous terrorist organizations, Al Qaeda, was established in 1990 and has been growing and evolving ever since. This paper argues that the military presence overseas must transform, and integrate better with the interagency, to deter and defeat terrorist networks. As the military contemplates transformation, it is critical to establish a joint operational concept before deciding how to restructure forces and design equipment. The war on terrorism is unlike any war the United States has experienced. U.S. success in this war will depend on all of the elements of national power being synchronized by the interagency. The United States cannot allow failed nation states to become safe harbors for terrorist organizations of global reach. Nation states that provide nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons or technology to terrorists are an even greater threat that must be deterred, or defeated if deterrence fails. A strong military presence overseas, along with an engaging foreign and economic policy, will enable the United States to effectively demonstrate its commitment to regional stability and defeating terrorist networks. Moreover, the U.S. will need a seamless intelligence network, stronger interagency collaboration, and greater international cooperation to prevent asymmetric attacks.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Unconventional Warfare

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