CHARTS: The Pentagon's Strategy For Stopping The Spread Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction

On June 30, the Pentagon released a report detailing the U.S.’s strategy for countering weapons of mass destruction. “The pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD),” Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel writes in a foreword to the report, “and potential use by actors of concern pose a threat to U.S. national security and peace and stability around the world.”

The report, written as part of the Department of Defence Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, details the U.S.’s three desired end states in its policy towards the world’s most dangerous weaponry: “no new WMD possession, no WMD use, and minimization of WMD effects.” To clarify these goals, the report included two charts that convey the U.S.’s approach to one of the world’s most pressing security issues.

The first chart highlights the Pentagon’s overall WMD goals, or end states, and the step by step objectives within each goal.

Each of these objectives is linked to the unique supply and demand challenges inherent in any attempt at limiting WMDs and their reach. For example, the objective of managing WMD risks coming from failed states connects to the challenge of preventing WMDs from being stolen and transported to unstable parts of the world. And U.S. policymakers have to face the huge incentive that a failed state may have for stealing or otherwise acquiring WMD and insuring the government’s survival by blackmail.

The second chart demonstrates the interconnectedness of the WMD strategy. Effectively managing the risk of countries acquiring WMDs makes it less likely they will acquire or use them. So if the U.S. can meet the three objectives in the outer ring, it won’t have to deal with the cascade of problems that WMD possession poses to global security.

You can read the full Pentagon report below.

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