National Security Briefing
Presented to then-Governor Bush July 16, 1998 in Austin, TX.
Released to the public: October 27, 1998
Compiled by Major F. Andy Messing
Prepared by Mr. Dillon Twombly, Mr. Andrew R. Chilcoat,
and Mr. Mark R. Bradford
Edited by Ms. Jennie Quick
National Security Concerns
As the threat of a conflict between the superpowers seems to fade, civil wars, drug-related violence and ethnic rivalries are increasing . Accordingly, the nature of conflicts has evolved since the Cold War. The present and future threats to US national security are now diverse and widespread, forcing us to update our thinking. In 1997 The National Defense Council Foundation counted 67 conflicts worldwide; the year before, 70. Given these increased global threats, America's survival is dependent on the limited and prudent use of force. Although the nature of conflict has changed, the primary goals of the US military remain the same. The US military must continue to:
-Defend US citizens at home and abroad.
-Safeguard US trade routes.
-Protect US marketplaces.
-Protect US resource bases.
-Ensure US capabilities to: manufacture; communicate (esp. in space); and obtain energy;
farm, mine, fish, and produce and protect intellectual property (e.g., software).
-Proactively pursue countries/groups/individuals who engage in the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
-Engage in only select humanitarian missions, which reflect US interests.
Increased UN peacekeeping (Bosnia), UN sanctions enforcement (Iraq), and humanitarian obligations (Haiti) have spread downsized US forces dangerously thin with little benefit, and further taxed military morale. We must ask ourselves what our priorities are in these areas, and whether they fit the above criteria. For instance, one area in which vital US interests are at stake is our energy supply. Global conflict over fossil fuel resources can be expected in the next century. The US Armed Forces must be prepared to defend our oil interests against competitors (particularly China), but we can also ease our military burden in this case in a variety of ways. We should engage in "crash course," Manhattan-Project-type efforts to develop alternative energy sources, as well as increasing US oil development capabilities and practicing energy conservation where possible. With such measures, we can avoid overburdening the military with commitments generated because of lack of forethought in this area.
As another example of prioritizing our interests, when dealing with the Balkans, Naval War College Professor John Waghelstein states that, "Middle Europe is the source of two World Wars so there is not a long track record of sanity there. What the US interests are has yet to be made clear, and the humanitarian considerations do not loom large enough to outweigh the fuzzy thinking here." This illustrates a situation where, by not following the above guidelines, American troops have been overextended and put in harm's way, because a strategic view of use of troops was not taken..
In view of the post-Cold War situation, the US must reorient its military to fight a wide variety of smaller conflicts, as opposed to becoming a permanent baby-sitter. For example, our Special Operations Forces (SOF), specifically designed for engaging in threats of lesser magnitude than full-scale conventional confrontation, are continually downplayed and/or misused (as was the case in Somalia). When evaluating how best to prepare and use our military one must keep in mind the five most major threats to the United States so that we may be ready to meet them. The five greatest threats include the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons; international terrorism and Muslim fundamentalism; Chinese military expansion; the international drug trade; and recommunization/dark side capitalism in Russia. These are all very real threats that will only increase in the 21st century.
o Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) Weapon Proliferation
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) remains of critical importance to the US. China, North Korea and Russia continue to proliferate nuclear weapon and missile technology and fissile material to the highest bidder, while countries like Pakistan, Iran and Iraq benefit from this trade. Despite the end of the Cold War, America must still be ready to counter the four waves of NBC conflict with the majority of our efforts focused on the first.
The first wave might be the detonation of forward-deployed Special Atomic Demolition Munitions (SADMs) or biochemical munitions. This attack would come without warning (15 seconds to 1 minute), and is the most horrifying of the four; it is purely an attack weapon. The last three waves are retaliatory waves. The second wave is the launch of submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with 5 to 8 minutes warning. The third wave is the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with 13 to 18 minutes warning. Finally, plane-launched attacks of cruise missiles and bombs make up the fourth wave with 2 to 6 hours warning. The Aum Shinri Kyo cult's chemical weapon attack in Japan was an example of a first wave attack, demonstrating that Chem/Bio weapons are still the "poor man's nuke" and can be mass-produced by many groups with great ease and little expense. Meanwhile:
-Former Soviet Bloc intelligence and military officers and scientists are selling their knowledge, services, and even whole weapon systems on the world market.
-Germany has made numerous seizures of fissile material, in transit to various countries from the former Soviet Union.
-Libya continues to pursue an ambitious biological weapons production program at its Tarunah Tunnel Complex, southeast of Tripoli.
The US has only moderate capability to defend itself in case of an NBC attack either at home or abroad. Current efforts to adequately reduce the proliferation of these weapons have been unsuccessful. The possibility of an NBC attack by a rogue state or terrorist group remains high and therefore must be considered a primary threat to national security. Increased concern must also be shown about rumored forward-deployed NBC devices and the uncertainty over who has control of them.
o International Terrorism/Muslim Fundamentalism
International terrorism has emerged as a substantial threat to US security and its interests and personnel abroad. In 1997 the US State Department recorded over 304 acts of international terrorism. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia proved that the US is no longer immune to the terrorist threat. Terrorism against the US has always been a concern, but the scale of devastation resulting from these recent attacks forces the US to re-examine its efforts to fight terrorist groups and the nations that support them. Countries such as Libya and Iran are both known to sponsor terrorist groups like Hammas and the PLO. The US must take a more proactive role in suppressing this threat. Terrorists have gradually been upgrading their offensive capabilities and may soon begin to attack with NBC and Electro- Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons. Such attacks that would prove devastating to the US. A .5 kiloton backpack nuclear weapon attack on Wall Street at 500 feet (over 8 stories high) would take out a trillion dollars of our economy with an EMP burst, while killing or injuring 60,000 people.
While the majority of the Muslim people, composing 20% of the world's population, are friendly towards the US, there are anti-Western/anti-American Muslim Fundamentalists that are dedicated to our destruction and are making inroads in this area. Muslim fundamentalism is on the rise worldwide and is constantly gaining strength. Traditional Muslim states such as Iran and Afghanistan no longer represent the only Muslim threat. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey and the Balkans have historically been more friendly than not towards the United States, but are beginning to succumb to Muslim Fundamentalist pressure as they offer sanction to these Muslim groups while providing them with monetary support. The World Trade Center, Khobar Towers, and Pan Am Flight 103 bombings were all perpetrated by Muslim terrorist organizations with implicit, if not tacit, support from extremist Muslim countries. The US must isolate extremists whether they are Muslim, Christian or Jewish. As it spreads, however, Muslim Fundamentalism specifically will increasingly become a hurdle for the US.
o Chinese Military Expansionism
Red China, representing 25% of the world's population, exists as the one long-term strategic threat to the United States, and should be carefully monitored. In particular the Chinese military continues to watch our military and learn all they can for a future conflict. This was shown last year when the Communist Chinese Army (PLA) was the most frequent visitor to the US Army Website. However, media-driven warfare, personality-driven warfare, and regional conflicts will increasingly represent the majority of US national security threats, as opposed to the large-scale conventional war for which US forces have traditionally trained. Essential to our safety is the select expansion and reconfiguration of our defense systems to be capable of handling these small, unique, often dangerous and immediate missions. This, while maintaining a surge capability to meet the Chinese military challenges near 2005-2010.
o International Drug Trade
The growth of the international drug trade represents a clear danger to the national security of the US, and threatens to undermine/destroy the governments of South and Central America. This growth has caused drug use in the US to rise to epidemic levels. The US government and private industry both lose billions of dollars per year due to drug usage. Drug dealers and private individuals engaged in nefarious sub-rosa business efforts provide another dynamic for generating turmoil. Speed and flexibility is their hallmark because of the vast amounts of money available to them. Narco-guerrilla groups in Colombia, for example, have an annual income of over a billion dollars. The US must provide increased levels of aid to countries where drugs are produced to help stem the drug-trafficking tide.
The bifurcation of capitalism into "light side" and "dark side" activities provides insight into the effects that the drug trade has on a society. Light side activities reflect the capitalist ideas of Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson to which we are accustomed. Light side capitalism is a system in which "a rising tide floats all boats." Light side capitalism is pro-democratic, fair, and offers individual opportunity, as well as stability and hope. Dark side activities, like the criminal activities of drug dealing, car theft, and prostitution, to name a few, are anti-democratic, non-competitive, unfair, unsupervised, monopolistic, and cater to a selfish and narcissistic elite that retain power and money. Russia is a prime example of a place where dark side capitalism is taking root today. Dark side activities cannot be tolerated and must be curtailed before crime and corruption irreparably tear the social, political, economic, and security fabric of the United States. Already a global cross-pollination of foreign criminal elements is occurring with the improvements in dark side capitalism mechanisms. US intelligence has observed the Russian Mafia and Colombian drug cartels beginning to cooperate in international operations.
o Recommunization/Dark Side Capitalism in Russia
The problem of dark side capitalism affects many places in the world today. One place where it poses a major threat, as mentioned above, is Russia. The Russian Mafia, along with their involvement in banking and private industry, has acquired an inordinate amount of influence in the economic, political, and security aspects of the former Soviet Union. This poses a large threat itself as the Mafia involves itself for profit in the threats of the drug trade and proliferation. However, these dark side capitalists become an even larger threat when they are united with the nationalist communists. As these forces begin to team up they create a situation far worse than the previous state of communism because they have the resources and monetary stability to attain their objectives. Given Russia's current situation, the US faces the very real threat that the old communists may come to power through the economic strength provided by dark side capitalism.
Force Readiness Concerns/ Downsizing
The 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) called for drastic reductions in both manpower and equipment, while still requiring the US military be able to fight two simultaneous regional conflicts, Iraq and North Korea being the most commonly sighted examples of potential future battlefields. The US military is drastically under-staffed, especially in the lower ranks where there are too many Generals and Admirals and not enough PFC's. Furthermore, personnel are forced to perform tasks for which they are either not trained, or which require multiple personnel. Junior Officer and NCO retention is at an all-time low. Additionally, divorce rates and accusations of child abuses among service personnel are at an all-time high, reflecting over-use and strain. A 1995 Army survey found that 61% of active enlisted soldiers and 47% of officers are "dissatisfied with the amount of time they are separated from their families." Inadequacies such as this cannot continue without having a drastic impact on the performance and readiness of the US military. America must recognize several facts about our future military force:
-Less military does not mean better, only overused, given the increasing conflict scenario.
-The military needs to train and equip proportional to the threat, while retaining a surge capability for a big war.
-There is never enough usable, lawful, real-time intelligence to head off situations or gain
an advantage with the appropriate mix of forces.
-Congress has a responsibility to fund a military consistent with threats.
-The president needs to educate the public that, in an era of a "no-sanctuary planet-wide battlefield," strong and prepared is the only course for America. Cutbacks in the military will be reflected in cuts to our economic, sociopolitical, and security capabilities.
Current defense actions are reminiscent of those of French generals during the 1930's, focusing primarily on the lessons of the previous war and building structures that were circumvented by technology and imagination. The US will increasingly face small wars and low-intensity conflicts, and attending to small wars requires a quality effort versus a quantitative one. Highly-trained personnel and quality equipment are key to ensuring a strong military. Yet current US military personnel are operating without adequate training at a pace that neither they nor their equipment can possibly hope to sustain.
The FY 1999 defense budget reflects a drop in readiness and personnel, continuing a 14-year decline in 'real' defense spending. Of important concern, is the fact that the FY 1999 budget is $11 billion short of the Joint Chiefs of Staff requirement for procurement. This funding shortfall further slows the acquisition of badly needed modern equipment throughout the services. Placing undue stress on current equipment by forcing it to do more and last longer with less maintenance leads to an overall degradation in performance. While an overall decline in funding may be necessary, it must occur in conjunction with a reorientation of US military forces to face the changing nature of global conflict.
Neglect translates into the flag-draped coffins of our young soldiers, sailors, and airmen, squandered by budget cutbacks, a strategy that past great civilizations have followed to their demise. The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) forced drastic reductions in personnel as well as equipment. The following chart illustrates the inadequacies facing the US military now and in the future. US defense obligations continue to grow as US military capability declines and US defense policy must be modified so that we do not continue to stretch our resources thin.