Statement by Vice Admiral Thomas R. Wilson,
Director Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
The written testimony I provided this and other Congressional committees
last February had three sections. The first highlighted key trends shaping
the emerging global security environment and concluded that the general
turmoil and uncertainty prevalent since the end of the Cold War would
continue through the next decade, because the basic conditions driving
change remained largely in place. The second section listed those potential
near-term scenarios that worried me most. Some of these – a major terrorist
attack against the US, worsening conditions in the Middle East, conflict
between India and Pakistan – were unfortunately, all too accurate. Others
– dramatic changes on the Korean peninsula, worsening relations with
Russia, and conflict between China and Taiwan – we continue to monitor.
The final section, longer-term concerns, focused on challenges resulting
from the extent and pace of our global military engagement, the asymmetric
threat, and the threat posed by the strategic and regional military
forces of potential adversaries.
On balance, I stand by last year's testimony, and believe it still captures
the broad range of security issues most likely to confront the United
States over the next decade or so. That said, the catastrophic events
of 11 September (and their aftermath) brought a new dynamic to the global
situation. While the longer-term implications – for us, our adversaries,
and the rest of the world – are still to be determined, we can make
some preliminary observations.
The Post-September 11 Security Environment: What's Changed? A New Notion
of ‘Strategic' Threat
September 11 brought home the sharp reality of what previously had been
more a theoretical concept – the asymmetric threat to our homeland.
A strategic attack was carried out against US territory, not by the
military forces of a rival state, but by a shadowy, global network of
extremists, who struck unprotected targets, using methods we did not
anticipate. The attackers turned two of our strengths – a free, tolerant,
and open society, and the world's best air transportation system – into
deadly vulnerabilities. Their attack had deep human, economic, and psychological
impacts. The terrorists were not deterred by our overwhelming military
superiority, in fact, for that day at least, they made it irrelevant.
Traditional concepts of security, threat, deterrence, warning and military
superiority don't completely apply against this new strategic adversary.
Perceptions of the US
Perhaps the most critical dynamic in the wake of the terrorist attacks
is how the rest of the world now perceives the US. On one hand, September
11 exposed US vulnerabilities and demonstrated the strategic potential
of a well-executed asymmetric attack, facts that are extremely appealing
to our foes. But rather than demoralizing the US, the attack generated
intense patriotism and resolve at home, sympathy and support from peoples
and states around the globe, and a greater willingness among the major
powers to accept or accede to US leadership (at least temporarily).
And the speed and efficiency with which we have projected power to an
austere theater, deposed the Taliban, and continue to attack Al Qaida,
are leaving a lasting impression. Over the longer-term, the outcome
of the war on terrorism will be decisive in determining international
perceptions of the US. Success will strengthen our role and leverage,
and accentuate positive trends. Failure would invite a host of challenges.
A New Struggle
The ‘Post Cold War' period ended on 11 September. The next decade or
so may well be defined by ‘the struggle over globalization.' Values
and concepts long-championed by the United States and the West – political
and economic openness, democracy and individual rights, market economics,
international trade, scientific rationalism, and the rule of law – are
being carried forward on the tide of globalization – money, people,
information, technology, ideas, goods and services moving around the
globe at higher speeds and with fewer restrictions. Our adversaries
increasingly understand this link. They equate globalization to Americanization
and see the US as the principal architect and primary beneficiary of
an emerging order that undermines their values, interests, beliefs,
and culture. They blame the US for ‘what's wrong' in the world, and
seek allies among states, groups, and individuals who worry about US
hegemony and are unhappy with the present or perceived future. They
are adept at using globalization against us – exploiting the freer flow
of money, people, and technology … attacking the vulnerabilities presented
by political and economic openness … and using globalization's ‘downsides'
(demographic and economic imbalances, large numbers of unemployed youth,
western cultural penetration, declining living standards, corrupt and
ineffective governments, decaying infrastructures, etc.) to foster an
extremist message, and attract recruits and support from among ‘globalization's
The 11 September terrorist attacks were the first strategic strikes
in a war against the US vision of the future world order. They targeted
our homeland, but also struck a blow against global openness, the global
transportation network, and the global economy. These extremists and
their allies understand that their desired world cannot coexist with
our brand of civilization. Encouraging, furthering and consolidating
the positive aspects of globalization, while reducing and managing its
downsides, and defeating its enemies, may well be the civilized world's
‘measure of merit' for the next decade.
Increased Uncertainty … and Unpredictability
Last year, I highlighted several trends – globalization … disaffected
states, groups, and individuals … demographic changes … rapid technology
development and proliferation … ethnic conflict … resource shortages
… humanitarian emergencies … and the uncertain future of Russia, China,
and other key states and regions – as the factors most likely to define
the emerging security environment. Recognizing the ‘staying power' of
these trends, and their combined impact on global stability, I concluded
that the next decade would be at least as turbulent and uncertain as
the 1990s. Since September 11, my ‘expectation of turmoil and uncertainty'
has heightened significantly:
The global economy looks worse than it did last year, when most analysts
were forecasting a near-term return to the high-growth experience of
the late 1960s and early 1970s. Many now fear a global recession, which
will take a heavy toll, especially on countries like Argentina, Brazil
The number of people in need will likely increase significantly over
last year's outlook, a function of the global economic slowdown, increasing
emigration pressures in low income countries, and continuing humanitarian
pressures in Afghanistan, Burundi, North Korea, Sudan, and Tajikistan.
Global defense issues are murkier. Last year, we were anticipating a
gradual increase in global defense spending, believing that many states
would seek to recapitalize defense sectors neglected during the 1990s.
A global recession will undermine that. Spending constraints will also
impact global arms markets, defense industrial cooperation and consolidation,
and the pace of global military technology development. Meanwhile, many
states will reassess their military and security needs, questioning
the role of traditional military forces in deterring and defeating terrorism
and other asymmetric threats.
The Muslim world is under increased pressure and may be at a strategic
crossroads, as populations and leaders sort through competing visions
of what it means to be a Muslim state. Longstanding issues – resentment
toward the US and the West, unfavorable demographic and economic conditions,
efforts to strike a balance between modernization and respect for traditional
values – are exacerbated by the global war on terrorism. These pressures
will be most acute in moderate Arab states and Indonesia.
Geostrategic relationships are also more in flux since September. The
war on terrorism is affecting the global perspective of all major powers,
and relations between and among the US, Russia, China, India, and Pakistan
are especially dynamic. New opportunities and challenges abound. By
the same token, longstanding regional problems – especially Kashmir
and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute – have taken on increased global
The list of near-term (12 months) things that worry me most has changed
somewhat since 11 September. In terms of ‘good news,' I am more optimistic
now about the potential for lasting improvement in our relations with
Russia. Putin's decision to side with the US in fighting terrorism could
be historic, although I recognize that obstacles remain. I am also less
concerned about the prospects for a major confrontation between China
and Taiwan. Beijing faces significant domestic changes in the coming
year – the 16th Party Congress will take place this fall, and China
will undertake a number of actions in line with WTO membership – and
will want to use its cooperation on the war on terrorism as a means
to ease tensions and maintain stability on the foreign policy front.
Now for the bad news:
A major terrorist attack against US interests here or abroad, designed
to produce mass casualties and/or severe infrastructure and economic
damage, remains my most pressing concern (I will discuss the issue in
more detail on page 13). Operation Enduring Freedom has done significant
damage to Usama Bin Ladin's Al Qaida network, but it has not eliminated
the threat. And Al Qaida is not the only organization with the capability
and desire to do us harm.
Escalating violence in the Middle East is also still high on my list.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is intensifying and both sides increasingly
operate from a zero-sum perspective. The pressure on moderate Arab governments
is high. The situation could escalate rapidly, risking instability within
these states and/or a wider regional war.
Major war between India and Pakistan. Tensions remain high, and another
high-profile terrorist attack inside India or a major border incident
between deployed forces could trigger a general war, possibly risking
a nuclear exchange. Neither side has a complete appreciation of the
other's red lines. The potential for miscalculation is frightening.
Internal Challenges to Pakistan's government. President Musharraf has
made dramatic changes in Pakistan, but he faces opposition, perhaps
violent, from extremists. Pakistan's future course has a direct impact
on US counterterrorism and counter-proliferation policies.
Widespread violence against US citizens and interests in Colombia, the
Philippines, or Indonesia. Political, economic, and social conditions
and developments in all these areas could result in an increased physical
threat to US citizens and facilities.
A New Threat Paradigm
During the Cold War, and in the period since the collapse of the Soviet
Union, our threat paradigm focused primarily on other states, and especially
the military ‘force-on-force' capabilities of known enemies. Even transnational
issues – terrorism, crime, proliferation, the drug trade – were seen
mostly from a state perspective, either in terms of state-sponsorship,
or with the understanding that troubled states allowed or fostered these
activities. This view oriented our national security response toward
activities designed to influence the behavior of other nations – deterrence,
demarches, economic sanctions, military assistance, etc. It put a very
high premium on military power as the ultimate guarantor of our security.
In today's world, this state-oriented threat model is necessary, but
not sufficient. It no longer covers the entire threat spectrum, and
those areas it leaves out can not be dismissed as ‘lesser included cases.'
Globalization is creating new conditions that minimize the importance
of national boundaries. Small cells operating within a state, or larger
networks that transcend international borders, can do us great harm.
Non-state adversaries are not likely to be deterred by our overwhelming
military superiority, and will often present challenges that do not
lend themselves to a predominantly military solution.
In the wake of September 11, I have accelerated consideration of a new
paradigm for assessing the full range of security challenges we face
now and in the future. That framework rests on several basic ideas:
the expectation of continuing global turmoil (outlined above) … thoughts
about how others are reacting to the perception of US dominance … the
notion of dangerous conditions created by the convergence of numerous
negative global trends … the strategic importance of the asymmetric
threat … and one element that hasn't changed since 11 September – the
traditional military threat posed by the strategic and regional forces
of other nations. Collectively, these factors create an extremely dynamic,
complex, and problematic global environment. Our security depends on
the integrated application of all elements of national power against
the full range of security challenges.
Identifying the Players (How Others React to Our Global Capabilities
Much of the world increasingly worries that the key trends driving global
change – especially globalization – are inherently pro-US and will result
in the expansion, consolidation and dominance of American ideas, institutions,
culture, and power. This causes varying degrees of apprehension, and
the way that states, groups, and individuals react to that feeling will
in many ways frame our strategic agenda. I see four general categories
Friendly competitors. Our friends and allies are as vital to our security
as we are to theirs. They share our values and vision of the future,
prosper from globalization, and are the least apprehensive about US
power. They desire and benefit from US leadership, even as they chafe
at some aspects of it. They will compete with us economically, and will
be at odds on select security issues, but are with us on the big strategic
challenges. While our differences are not trivial, they generally fall
into the policy realm – interoperability, burden sharing, arguments
over specific regional perspectives, UN Security Council votes, defense
industrial cooperation, coalition dynamics, etc. Our challenge is to
maintain productive relationships that secure our shared interests.
People on the Bubble. Much of the world – including most larger regional
powers – only partially shares our vision. They want to secure what
benefits they can from globalization without being overwhelmed by it.
They typically are not yet willing or able to embrace it fully, fearing
the domestic consequences, and wary of US ‘hegemony.' Those ‘on the
bubble' generally want to back a winner, and will frequently be with
us on the ‘easy' issues. But they will also pursue policies that work
against our interests (proliferation, for instance), oppose us on a
wider range of security questions, and will frequently maintain troubling
foreign relationships and significant military forces as a hedge against
US-Western dominance. They will generally present ‘carrot and stick'
kinds of problems for US security … they must be deterred and dissuaded
from military ‘adventurism,' while being encouraged and rewarded for
actions that bring them closer to the community of responsible nations.
Rogues, Renegades, and Outlaws. These states, groups, and individuals
fear US power and absolutely reject our vision. They blame us for the
‘world's problems' and will routinely engage in violence, using primarily
asymmetric means to target our policies, facilities, interests, and
citizens. They respect, but are not necessarily deterred by our military
strength. They will not fight by our rules. Our vision cannot coexist
The ‘have nots.' These are ‘globalization's losers' … too poor, uneducated,
badly governed or otherwise disadvantaged to reap the benefits of political
and economic openness. They generally face deepening economic stagnation,
political instability, and cultural alienation. On the surface, this
group is relatively powerless, and presents more humanitarian than security
challenges. But the conditions they live in are fertile ground for political,
ethnic, ideological, and religious extremism, and their frustration
is increasingly directed at the United States and the West. In the globalized
world we ignore them at our own peril.
Dangerous Conditions… Accentuating the Negatives
Many global trends are generally positive, and a decade from now most
of the world's people will be better off. But almost every positive
trend also has a downside. I am very concerned about dangerous conditions
arising from the convergence of various negative global trends (highlighted
below). Collectively, these create a potentially explosive mix of political,
economic, social, technological and military circumstances. Our adversaries
– especially rogues, renegades, and outlaws – will seek to exploit these
to further their interests and undermine ours. These dangerous conditions
underscore the interconnected, multidimensional nature of the security
challenges we are most likely to encounter. They reinforce the notion
that ‘all politics is global,' and that almost everything that happens
in the world can impact our security.
Demographic and economic imbalances. The world will add close to a billion
people in the next decade, with 95% of the increase coming in poorer
developing countries, mostly in urban areas. Rapid population increases,
growing unemployment, youth bulges, stagnant or falling living standards,
poor government, and decaying infrastructures create an environment
(and a manpower pool) conducive to extremist messages. The extensive
spread of these conditions throughout Middle Eastern countries makes
them particularly susceptible.
Acute resource shortages in the Middle East, Sub-Sahara Africa, and
parts of Asia are a source of resentment, alienation, and frustration.
They may not cause wars by themselves, but they will exacerbate tensions,
and could serve as the trigger for violent conflict (the straw that
breaks the camel's back). On a grander scale, the West's relatively
high rate of consuming resources, despite its' declining percentage
of global population, is a continuing source of irritation for many
in the developing world.
Rapid technology development and proliferation. The rapid pace of technology
development is creating more, and more exposed, technological vulnerabilities
in advanced states. Meanwhile, the globalization of technology and information
– especially regarding weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and advanced
conventional weapons – will increasingly accord smaller states, groups,
and individuals access to destructive capabilities previously limited
to major world powers. Massive destructive technologies in the hands
of ‘evil doers' is my worst fear.
Poor Governance. Corrupt and ineffective governments will fail to meet
political, economic, and social challenges. Their actions will marginalize
large numbers of people … foster economic stagnation, instability and
cultural alienation … spawn conflicts … create/allow lawless safe-havens
… and increase the power of dangerous non-state entities.
The Asymmetric Threat
Make no mistake, we are the target. Our adversaries believe they must
derail the emerging world order or be overcome by it. They also understand
the singular importance of the United States in shaping that order and
know that they cannot prevail if the US remains actively engaged and
influential around the globe. Finally, they recognize that they cannot
match our tremendous political, economic, military, and cultural power
on our terms. These perceptions are the driving elements behind the
Asymmetric approaches involve acting in unexpected ways, to present
your enemy with capabilities and situations he is unable or unwilling
to respond to before you are able to achieve decisive results. While
asymmetric concepts are as old as warfare itself, they are important
today because they are virtually the only means our enemies have for
coping with US power. Asymmetry works at the strategic, operational,
and tactical levels.
At the strategic level, asymmetric approaches will be designed to fundamentally
change the United States, the way we behave in the world, and the way
others see us. Strategic goals could include: undermining our political,
economic, and social infrastructures … destroying our general optimism
… thwarting US global leadership …eliminating our will and/or our capacity
to remain globally engaged … curtailing the global appeal of our ideas,
institutions, and culture … and denying US leaders the military option.
The 11 September attacks had elements of most of these themes. They
brought ‘the war' to the American people, demonstrated US vulnerability,
and ‘gave heart' to anti-US elements around the globe. The strategic
intent was to deliver a blow that would force the US to either alter
its Middle East policies, or goad America into a ‘disproportionate response'
that would trigger an apocalyptic confrontation between Islam and the
West. Other secondary impacts, on the political and economic openness
of the US and other states, and more directly on the US and global economies,
were probably more ‘unintended consequences' than design. Still, their
impact (and the implications for future attacks) is significant.
In this context, it is important to think about what our adversaries
might have learned from 11 September, and our subsequent actions. Some
may conclude that those attacks were ultimately counterproductive, because
they were the ‘wake-up call' that energized the US and its partners
to take decisive action against the global terrorist threat. This is
likely to be especially true for states, because they are vulnerable
to a strategic response from the US. From this perspective, we might
expect future attacks to be more limited, to avoid crossing the threshold
that generates an overwhelming US reaction. But others, especially terrorist
groups intent on inflicting the greatest damage possible, will undoubtedly
be dazzled by the ‘strategic potential' of 11 September, and conclude
that the only thing wrong with those attacks was that they did not go
far enough. For them, 11 September showed the way, and the ‘art of the
possible' became almost infinite. If this proves true, our definition
of success might eventually be that we prevented an asymmetric attack
from having a decisive strategic impact.
At the tactical and operational levels, our enemies (both state and
non-state) will try to use asymmetry to ‘level the playing field' against
the US military, so that we are unable to fight the way we want to fight.
While specific adversaries, objectives, targets, and means of attack
will vary widely from situation to situation, I continue to expect that
most military asymmetric approaches will fit generally into the five
broad, overlapping categories I outlined in last year's testimony:
Counter will … designed to make us ‘not come, or go home early' … by
severing the ‘continuity of will' between the US national leadership,
the military, the people, our allied and coalition partners, and world
Counter access … designed to deny US (allied) forces easy access to
key theaters, ports, bases, facilities, air, land, and sea approaches,
Counter precision engagement … designed to defeat or degrade US precision
intelligence and attack capabilities.
Counter protection … designed to increase US (allied) casualties and,
in some cases, directly threaten the US homeland.
Counter information … designed to prevent us from attaining information
and decision superiority.
Beyond these broader generalizations, I have highlighted below the kinds
of asymmetric threats we are most likely to encounter during the next
10 to 15 years.
As was vividly displayed on 11 September, terrorism remains the most
significant asymmetric threat to US interests at home and abroad. I
am most concerned about Islamic extremist organizations, in the Middle
East, and throughout the world. Other groups with varying causes – nationalistic,
leftist, ethnic or religious – will continue to pose a lesser threat.
Operation Enduring Freedom has significantly damaged the Al Qaida network,
destroying its' geographic center of gravity, causing the death or arrest
of several key leaders, and putting others on the run. The group has
suffered a loss of prestige, institutional memory, contacts, and financial
assets that will ultimately degrade its effectiveness. Even if Usama
Bin Ladin survives, his ability to execute centralized control over
a worldwide network has been diminished.
That said, the Al Qaida network has not been eliminated, and it retains
the potential for reconstitution. Many key officials and operatives
remain and new personalities have already begun to emerge. Some operations
that were already planned could be easily completed. The organization
could also splinter into a number of loosely affiliated groups, united
by a common cause and sharing common operatives. Their capability to
conduct simultaneous or particularly complex attacks would likely be
degraded, but they would continue to be a lethal threat to our interests
worldwide, including within the US.
If Bin Ladin is killed or captured, there is no identified successor
capable of rallying so many divergent nationalities, interests, and
groups to create the kind of cohesion he fostered amongst Sunni Islamic
extremists around the world. Bin Ladin is synonymous with Al Qaida,
and the media attention he has garnered, along with his charisma and
other attributes, have made him an inspirational rallying-point for
like-minded extremists. With Bin Ladin's removal, the network most likely
will eventually fragment under various lieutenants pursuing differing
agendas with differing priorities.
In general, terrorists will likely favor proven conventional weapons
over chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) materials,
at least through the near term. However, several groups, especially
Al Qaida, have pursued CBRN capabilities, and the threat from terrorist
use of these materials will continue. Many of the technologies associated
with the development of CBRN weapons – especially chemical and biological
agents – have legitimate civil applications and are classified as dual-use.
The increased availability of these technologies, coupled with the relative
ease of producing some chemical or biological agents, make them attractive
to terrorist groups intent on causing panic or inflicting larger numbers
of casualties. The psychological impact of the recent anthrax cases
in the US did not go unnoticed. Some terrorist groups have demonstrated
the willingness to inflict greater numbers of indiscriminate casualties
and would take any measure to achieve these goals.
Since 11 September, the US has employed extraordinary security measures
at home and at abroad. We are also enjoying unprecedented cooperation
on terrorism intelligence and security issues from governments across
the globe. These conditions have resulted in a particularly difficult
operating environment for terrorists. However, as history shows, terrorists
work on their own timeline and are patient. They are content to wait
for the right opportunity – even if it takes years – to increase their
chances of success.
Many terrorist groups consider themselves to be engaged in a war. They
are willing to take risks, accept losses, and carry on. Terrorists make
every effort to mask their operational infrastructure and activities
until the moment they are used in an attack. This creates tremendous
intelligence challenges. Counterterrorism must be viewed as a continuous
campaign pitting intelligence and law enforcement services against intelligent,
self-styled warriors. We need a fully coordinated community effort,
with open sharing of critical intelligence, security, and law enforcement
information among the various players. We must continue to be vigilant,
and never assume that we have ‘won the war.' We will be most vulnerable
when the threat ‘appears' to have diminished, security measures are
relaxed, and we return to ‘normal.'
Threats to Critical Infrastructures. Many adversaries are developing
capabilities to threaten the US homeland. In addition to more traditional
strategic military threats (discussed in the next section), our national
infrastructures and our economy are vulnerable to disruptions by other
forms of physical and cyber attack. I am especially concerned about
attacks against one or more, relatively unprotected, key nodes in our
economic infrastructure – banking and finance, telecommunications, energy,
power, agriculture, the industrial base, etc. The interdependent nature
of these and other portions of our domestic infrastructure, and the
connectivity between our infrastructure and the global economic system,
create even more of a vulnerability. Foreign states have the greatest
attack potential (in terms of resources and capabilities), but the most
immediate and serious threat today is from insiders, terrorists, criminals,
and other small groups or individuals carrying out well-coordinated
strikes against selected critical nodes.
Information Operations. Potential adversaries recognize that our political
and economic livelihood increasingly depends on advanced information
technologies and systems. They also understand that information superiority
provides the US with unique military advantages. Many also assess that
public opinion plays a key role in our society. Accordingly, numerous
potential foes are pursuing information operations capabilities as a
relatively inexpensive means to undermine domestic and international
support for US actions, to attack US national infrastructures, or to
challenge our information superiority. The threat from information operations
will expand significantly during the next decade or so.
Information operations can employ a range of capabilities, including
electronic warfare, psychological operations, physical attack, denial
and deception, computer network attack, and the use of more exotic technologies
such as directed energy weapons or electromagnetic pulse weapons.
Computer network operations, for instance, offer new options for attacking
the United States, potentially anonymously and with selective (including
non-lethal) effects. Although our classified networks are relatively
secure from these kinds of attacks, most of our unclassified networks
– including some that host sensitive information – are not. Software
tools for network attack, intrusion, and disruption are globally available
over the Internet, providing almost any interested US adversary a basic
computer network exploitation or attack capability. The opportunity
for terrorists to take advantage of attack tools is escalating very
rapidly. Further, some hacker groups that actively support terrorists
could conduct attacks on their behalf.
WMD and Missiles
Potential adversaries may attempt to influence the US and its allies,
preclude US force options, and offset US conventional military superiority
by developing WMD and missiles. The desire to acquire these capabilities
is great and, unfortunately, globalization creates an environment more
amenable to proliferation activities. Some 25 countries now possess
or are actively pursuing WMD or missiles. Meanwhile, a variety of non-state
actors, including Al Qaida, have an increasing interest. New alliances
have formed, providing pooled resources for developing these capabilities,
while technological advances and global economic conditions have made
it easier to transfer materiel and expertise. Most of the technology
is readily available, and most raw materials are common. The basic production
sciences are generally understood, although the engineering and the
component integration necessary for ballistic missile production are
not so easily achieved. All told, the global WMD and missile threat
to US and allied territory, interests, forces, and facilities will increase.
Russia, China, and North Korea remain the suppliers of primary concern.
Russia has exported ballistic missile and nuclear technology to Iran.
China has provided missile and other assistance to Iran and Pakistan.
North Korea remains a key source for ballistic missiles and related
components and materials.
The potential development/acquisition of intercontinental missiles by
several potentially hostile states – especially North Korea, Iran, and
Iraq – would increase the strategic threat to the United States. Meanwhile,
the proliferation of longer-range theater (up to 3,000 km) ballistic
and cruise missiles and technologies is a growing challenge. The numbers
of these systems will continue to increase during the next 10 years.
So too will their accuracy and destructive impact.
Iran has established solid and liquid propellant capabilities and already
is beginning to proliferate missile production technologies to Syria.
Iranian proliferation of complete missile systems may occur in the future.
Several states of concern – particularly Iran and Iraq – could acquire
nuclear weapons during the next decade or so, and some existing nuclear
states – India and Pakistan, for instance – will undoubtedly increase
Chemical and biological weapons are generally easier to develop, hide,
and deploy than nuclear weapons and will be more readily available to
those with the will and resources to attain them. More than two dozen
states or non-state groups either have, or have an interest in acquiring,
chemical weapons, and there are a dozen countries believed to have biological
warfare programs. I expect the proliferation of chemical and biological
weapons to continue and these weapons could well be used in a regional
conflict or terrorist attack over the next decade.
Volumetric weapons (VW) are not typically considered WMD (a fact that
might make them more appealing to our adversaries), but their destructive
potential is sobering. Unlike traditional military weapons, which rely
on high explosive technologies, VW depend primarily on air blast or
overpressure to damage or destroy their targets. They actually form
clouds, or volumes, of fuel rich materials that detonate relatively
slowly. The result is a much larger area of high pressure that causes
more damage to personnel (even dug in) and structures. VW technology
has been around for some time, and is becoming more widely known, with
several countries openly advertising it for sale. We should anticipate
facing VW in either a terrorist or combat environment during the next
The Foreign Intelligence Threat
We continue to face extensive intelligence threats from a large number
of foreign nations and sub-national entities including terrorists, international
criminal organizations, foreign commercial enterprises, and other disgruntled
groups and individuals. These intelligence efforts are generally targeted
against our national security policy-making apparatus, national political,
economic, and military infrastructures, military plans, personnel, and
capabilities, our overseas facilities, and our critical technologies.
While foreign states present the biggest intelligence threat, all our
enemies are likely to exploit technological advances to expand their
collection activities. Moreover, as the events of 11 September so tragically
demonstrated, the open nature of our society, and the increasing ease
with which money, technology, information, and people move around the
globe in the modern era, make effective counterintelligence and security
that much more complex and difficult to achieve.
Denial and Deception (D&D). Many potential adversaries are undertaking
more and increasingly sophisticated D&D operations against the United
States. These efforts generally are designed to hide key plans, activities,
facilities, and capabilities from US intelligence, to manipulate US
perceptions and assessments, and to protect key capabilities from US
precision strike platforms. Foreign knowledge of US intelligence and
military operations capabilities is essential to effective D&D.
Advances in satellite warning capabilities, the growing availability
of camouflage, concealment, deception, and obscurant materials, advanced
technology for and experience with building underground facilities,
and the growing use of fiber optics and encryption, will increase the
Counter-Space Capabilities. The US reliance on (and advantages in) the
use of space platforms is well known by our enemies. Many are attempting
to reduce this advantage by developing capabilities to threaten US space
assets, in particular through denial and deception, signal jamming,
and ground segment attack. A number of countries are interested in or
experimenting with a variety of technologies that could be used to develop
counter-space capabilities. These efforts could result in improved systems
for space object tracking, electronic warfare or jamming, and directed
energy weapons. Some countries have across-the-board programs underway,
and other states and non-state entities are pursuing more limited –
though potentially effective – approaches. By 2010, future adversaries
will be able to employ a wider variety of means to disrupt, degrade,
or defeat portions of the US space support system.
Criminal Challenges. International criminal activity of all kinds will
continue to plague US interests. I am very concerned about the growing
sophistication of criminal groups and individuals and their increasing
potential to exploit certain aspects of globalization for their own
gain. The potential for such groups to usurp power, or undermine social
and economic stability, especially in states with weak governments,
is likely to increase.
International drug cultivation, production, transport, and use will
remain a major problem. The connection between drug cartels, corruption,
terrorism, and outright insurgency will likely increase as drug money
provides an important funding source for all types of criminal and anti-government
activity. Emerging democracies and economically strapped states will
be particularly susceptible. The drug trade will continue to produce
tensions between and among drug producing, transport, and user nations.
I remain concerned about other forms of international criminal activity
– for instance, ‘cyber-criminals' who attempt to exploit the electronic
underpinnings of the global financial, commercial, and capital market
systems, and nationally based ‘mafia' groups who seek to undermine legitimate
governments in states like Russia and Nigeria. Globally, criminal cartels
are becoming more sophisticated at exploiting technology, developing
or taking control of legitimate commercial activities, and seeking to
directly influence – through infiltration, manipulation, and bribery
– local, state, and national governments, legitimate transnational organizations,
and businesses. Increased cooperation between independent criminal elements,
including terrorist organizations, is likely.
Traditional Military Challenges
Beyond the asymmetric threats outlined above, we will continue to face
an array of more traditional, albeit evolving, challenges from the strategic
and regional forces of other nations. While less advanced than the US
military, these forces will remain potent by global and regional standards,
and, in many cases, be fully capable of accomplishing significant objectives.
Moreover, during the next ten years, many states will seek to augment
their militaries with selected higher-end systems, including: improved
strategic strike capabilities … WMD and missiles … advanced command,
control and intelligence systems, including satellite reconnaissance
… precision strike capabilities … global positioning … advanced air
defense systems … and advanced anti-surface ship capabilities. As I
mentioned earlier, some of these ‘niche' capabilities will be designed
to counter key US concepts (global access, precision engagement, force
protection, information superiority, etc.), in an attempt to deter the
US from becoming involved in regional contingencies, or to raise the
cost of US engagement.
For the most part, however, even large regional forces will be hard
pressed to match our dominant maneuver, power projection, and precision
attack capabilities, and no state will field integrated, satellite-to-soldier
military ‘system of systems' capabilities on a par with the US. But
in a specific combat situation, the precise threat adversary forces
pose will depend on a number of factors, including: the degree to which
they have absorbed and can apply key ‘21st Century' technologies, have
overcome deficiencies in training, leadership, doctrine, and logistics,
and on the specific operational-tactical environment. Under the right
conditions, their large numbers, combined with other ‘situational advantages'
– such as initiative, limited objectives, short lines of communication,
familiar terrain, time to deploy and prepare combat positions, and the
skillful use of asymmetric approaches – could present significant challenges
to US mission success. China and perhaps Russia at the high end, followed
by North Korea, Iran, and Iraq, are all examples of militaries that
could field large forces with a mix of current and advanced capabilities.
Beijing recognizes that its long term prospects to achieve great power
status depend on its success at modernizing China's economy and infrastructure,
and it will continue to emphasize those priorities ahead of military
modernization. Despite the limitations posed by these other priorities,
China's military is modernizing, but faces difficulty absorbing technological
upgrades at a fast rate. Accordingly, I expect China to continue to
allow total military spending to grow at about the same rate as the
economy, maintaining a defense burden of as much as 5% of GDP (between
$40 and $60 billion in defense spending last year). Part of this steady
defense spending increase will be absorbed by rapidly rising personnel
costs, a consequence of the overall transformation toward a market economy.
One of Beijing's top military priorities is to strengthen and modernize
its small, dated strategic nuclear deterrent force. While the ultimate
extent of China's strategic modernization is difficult to forecast,
the number, reliability, survivability, and accuracy of Chinese strategic
missiles capable of hitting the United States will increase during the
next ten years. We know little about China's concepts for nuclear weapons
use, especially with respect to Beijing's views on the role and utility
of strategic weapons in an international crisis involving important
Chinese interests, for example Taiwan or the Korean peninsula.
China currently has about 20 CSS-4 ICBMs with a range of over 12,000
km. New strategic missile systems are under development, including two
new road-mobile, solid-propellant ICBMs. One of these, the 8,000 km
DF-31, was flight-tested in 1999 and 2000. Another, longer-range mobile
ICBM, likely will be tested within the next several years.
China currently has a single XIA class SSBN which is not operational.
It is intended to carry 12 CSS-NX-3 missiles (with ranges exceeding
1,500 km). China is developing a new SSBN and an associated SLBM (the
8,000+ km JL-2). These systems likely will be developed and tested later
China also has upgrade programs for associated command, control, communications,
intelligence and other related strategic force capabilities.
In terms of conventional forces, Beijing is pursing the capability to
defend its eastern seaboard – the economic heartland – from attacks
by a ‘high-technology' opponent employing long-range precision strike
capabilities. This means China is improving its air, air defense, anti-submarine,
anti-surface ship, reconnaissance, and battle management capabilities.
China also is rapidly expanding its conventionally-armed theater missile
force. Both efforts will give it increased leverage against Taiwan and,
to a lesser extent, other US Asian allies.
As a result of these and other developments, China's capability for
regional military operations will improve significantly. By 2010, China's
forces will be much better equipped, possessing more than 750 theater-range
missiles, hundreds of fourth-generation (roughly F-16 equivalent) aircraft
armed with modern precision-guided weapons, thousands of older model
tanks and artillery, over 20 advanced diesel and third generation nuclear
submarines, and some 20 or so new surface combatants. China also is
likely to field an integrated air defense system and modern command-and-control
systems at the strategic and operational levels. Selective acquisitions
of advanced systems from Russia – such as SOVREMENNYY destroyers, KILO
submarines, and FLANKER aircraft – will remain an important part of
the PLA's modernization effort.
The Taiwan issue will remain a major potential flashpoint. It is doubtful,
however, unless Taipei moved more directly toward independence, that
China would attempt a large scale attack. Beijing recognizes the risk
inherent in such a move. Nevertheless, by 2005-2010, China's conventional
force modernization will provide an increasingly credible military threat
for short-duration attacks against Taiwan.
The 11 September attacks against the United States brought a new dynamic
to the US-Russian relationship and new opportunities for cooperation.
While Russia retains significant differences with the West – in its
political, economic, and social make-up, and on a host of regional and
global security issues – I am hopeful that we can form a more positive
lasting relationship. But we should recognize that there are no easy,
simple, or near term solutions to the tremendous political, economic,
social, and military problems confronting Moscow. Consequently, I expect
that many of the issues that concern us today – Russian proliferation
of advanced military and WMD technologies, conventional weapons, and
brainpower … the security of Russia's nuclear materials and weapons
… the expanding local, regional, and global impact of Russian criminal
syndicates … negative demographic trends … and Moscow's ultimate reliability
as a global security partner – will be with us for some time to come.
In the meantime, Russia's Armed Forces continue in crisis. Defense resources
remain especially limited, given the still relatively large Russian
force structure. Moscow spent some $40 billion on defense last year
– about 3-5% of GDP – and the process of allocating monies remained
extremely erratic and inefficient. This level of spending is not enough
to fix the Russian military. With chronic underfunding and neglect the
norm, compensation, housing, and other shortfalls continue to undermine
morale. Under these conditions, military progress will remain limited.
For most of the next decade (and perhaps longer), Russia's conventional
forces will remain chronically weak, and will pose a diminishing threat
to US interests. Toward the end of that timeframe – assuming economic
recovery, sustained political support, and success at military reform
– Russia could begin rebuilding an effective military, and field a smaller,
but more modern and capable force in the 2015 timeframe. This improved
force would be large and potent by regional standards, equipped with
thousands of late-generation Cold War-era systems and hundreds of more
advanced systems built after 2005.
Russia will continue to rely on nuclear weapons – both strategic and
nonstrategic – to compensate for its diminished conventional military
capability, a concept articulated in the October 1999 Russian Military
Doctrine statement and reiterated in January and April 2000. Moscow
has begun deployment of the new SS-27 ICBM and has upgrades to this
missile and several other systems under development. But even priority
strategic force elements have not been immune to the financial problems
affecting the rest of the Russian military. SS-27 production is far
below expectations and deployments are years behind. System aging, inadequate
budgets, and arms control agreements ensure that Russia's strategic
force will continue to decline – from some 4,500 operational warheads
today, to perhaps under 1,500 by 2010 (depending on arms control treaties,
decisions we make about missile defense, the state of the Russian economy,
and Russian perceptions of other strategic threats, etc).
President Khatami's strong popular support from restless intellectuals,
youths, and women (all growing segments of Iran's population) led to
his reelection last year. But his subservience to religious conservatives,
and the lack of progress on the reform agenda, are undermining that
support. The conservatives, in power since 1979, remain in control of
the security, foreign policy, intelligence, and defense institutions,
and generally continue to view the US with hostility. For that reason,
I remain concerned with Tehran's deliberate, though uneven, military
buildup, which is designed to ensure the security of the regime, increase
Iran's influence in the Middle East and Central Asia, deter Iraq or
any other regional aggressor, and limit US regional influence.
The election of President Khatami in August 1997 marked a turning point
in Iran's domestic situation. Khatami received the bulk of his support
from minorities, youths, and women (all growing segments of Iran's population),
and I am hopeful that Tehran will change for the better over time. For
now, however, the religious conservatives who have held power since
1979 remain in control of the security, foreign policy, intelligence,
and defense institutions, and generally continue to view the US with
hostility. For these reasons, I remain concerned with Tehran's deliberate
(though uneven) military buildup. That effort is designed to ensure
the security of the cleric-led regime, increase Iran's influence in
the Middle East and Central Asia, deter Iraq or any other regional aggressor,
and limit US regional influence.
While Iran's forces retain significant limitations with regard to mobility,
logistics infrastructure, and modern weapons systems, Tehran is attempting
to compensate for these by developing (or pursuing) numerous asymmetric
capabilities, to include terrorism, the deployment of air, air defense,
missile, mine warfare, and naval capabilities to interdict maritime
access in and around the Strait of Hormuz, and the development and acquisition
of longer-range missiles and WMD to deter the US and to intimidate Iran's
Iran has a relatively large ballistic missile force – hundreds of Chinese
CSS-8s, SCUD Bs and SCUD Cs – and is likely assembling SCUDs in country.
Tehran, with foreign assistance, is buying and developing longer-range
missiles, already has chemical weapons, and is pursuing nuclear and
biological weapons capabilities.
Iran's Defense Minister has publicly talked of plans for developing
a platform more capable than the Shahab 3 (a 1,300 km MRBM based on
North Korea's No Dong). Iran also is pursing an ICBM/space launch vehicle
and could flight test such a system before the end of the decade. Cooperation
with Russian, North Korean, and Chinese entities is furthering Tehran's
expertise. However, if Iran purchased an ICBM from North Korea or elsewhere,
further development might not be necessary.
Iran's navy is the most capable in the region and, even with the presence
of Western forces, can probably stem the flow of oil from the Gulf for
brief periods by employing a layered force of KILO submarines, missile
patrol boats, naval mines, and sea and shore-based anti-ship cruise
missiles. Aided by China, Iran has developed a potent anti-ship cruise
missile capability and is working to acquire more sophisticated naval
mines, missiles, and torpedoes.
Although Iran's force modernization efforts will proceed gradually,
during the next 15 years it will likely acquire a full range of WMD
capabilities, field substantial numbers of ballistic and cruise missiles
– including, perhaps, an ICBM – increase its inventory of modern aircraft,
upgrade and expand its armored forces, and continue to improve its anti-surface
ship capability. Iran's effectiveness in generating and employing this
increased military potential against an advanced adversary will depend
in large part on ‘intangibles' – command and control, training, maintenance,
reconnaissance and intelligence, leadership, and situational conditions
Saddam's goals remain to reassert his rule over the Kurds in northern
Iraq, undermine all UN restrictions on his military capabilities, and
make Iraq the predominant military and economic power in the Persian
Gulf and the Arab world. The on-going UN sanctions and US military presence
continue to be the keys to restraining Saddam's ambitions. Indeed, years
of UN sanctions, embargoes, and inspections, combined with US and Coalition
military actions, have significantly degraded Iraq's military capabilities.
Saddam's military forces are much smaller and weaker than those he had
in 1991. Manpower and equipment shortages, a problematic logistics system,
and fragile military morale remain major shortcomings. Saddam's paranoia
and lack of trust – and related oppression and mistreatment – extend
to the military, and are a drain on military effectiveness.
Nevertheless, Iraq's ground forces continue to be one of the most formidable
within the region. They can move rapidly and pose a threat to Iraq's
neighbors. Baghdad's air and air defense forces retain only a marginal
defensive capability. The Air Force cannot effectively project air power
outside Iraq's borders. Still, Saddam continues to threaten Coalition
forces in the No Fly Zones, and remains committed to interfering with
Coalition military operations monitoring his military activities.
Iraq retains a residual level of WMD and missile capabilities. The lack
of intrusive inspection and disarmament mechanisms permits Baghdad to
enhance these programs. Iraq probably retains limited numbers of SCUD-variant
missiles, launchers, and warheads capable of delivering biological and
chemical agents. Baghdad continues work on short-range (150 km) liquid
and solid propellant missiles allowed by UNSCR 687 and can use this
expertise for future long range missile development. Iraq may also have
begun to reconstitute chemical and biological weapons programs.
Despite the damage done to Iraq's missile infrastructure during the
Gulf War and Operation Desert Fox, Iraq may have ambitions for longer-range
missiles, including an ICBM. Depending on the success of acquisition
efforts and the degree of foreign support, it is possible that Iraq
could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the US by 2015.
Saddam's regime will continue to pose political and military challenges
to Coalition interests. Should sanctions be removed formally or become
ineffective, Iraq will move quickly to expand its WMD and missile capabilities,
develop a more capable strategic air defense system, and improve other
conventional force capabilities. Saddam is intent on acquiring a large
inventory of WMD and modernizing and expanding his fleet of tanks, combat
aircraft, and artillery guns. While Iraq would still have to grapple
with shortcomings in training and military leadership, such a modernized
and expanded force would allow Saddam to increasingly threaten regional
stability and ultimately, the global economy.
During the past year, the diplomatic climate on the Korean peninsula
turned more confrontational as the process of engagement stalled. Largely
reversing its ‘smile diplomacy' of the previous year (the unprecedented
willingness to engage the Republic of Korea and the United States),
Pyongyang reacted strongly to its perception of a hard-line US approach
to negotiations. North Korea also has openly expressed concern that
it might become a target for the US-led war against international terrorism.
Less willing to engage and less receptive to change, Pyongyang is reemphasizing
its established ideology, excoriating Western ideas and influence, and
touting its military strength. As a result, it continues to place heavy
emphasis on the maintenance and improvement of its military capabilities.
North Korea retains a large, forward deployed military force, capable
of inflicting significant damage on the South. The Korean People's Army
continues to demonstrate resiliency, managing during the past several
years to slow the decline in force-on-force capabilities experienced
during most of the 1990s and, in some ways, marginally improve its readiness
and capability for war. War on the peninsula would still be very violent
and destructive, and an attack could occur with little warning. Moreover,
even if the North-South rapprochement were to resume, Pyongyang is unlikely
to significantly reduce its military posture and capability in the near
term, because the North needs its military forces to ensure regime security,
retain its regional position, and provide bargaining leverage.
North Korea continues its robust efforts to develop more capable ballistic
missiles. It has deployed both short-and medium-range missiles and is
developing an ICBM capability with its Taepo Dong 2 missile, judged
capable of delivering a several-hundred kilogram payload to Alaska or
Hawaii and a lighter payload to the western half of the United States.
A three-stage TD 2 could deliver a several-hundred kilogram payload
anywhere in the US. Pyongyang, thus far, is honoring its pledge to refrain
from test launching long-range missiles until 2003, but otherwise probably
has the capability to field an ICBM within the next couple of years.
For the near future, I expect North Korea will continue to proliferate
WMD and especially missile technology – one of the few areas where it
has something to offer for hard currency on the international market.
Pyongyang's proliferation of No Dong missile technology is particularly
important for those states seeking to extend the range of their missile
fleet. I also expect North Korea to continue to develop and expand its
own ‘asymmetric' capabilities – WMD, missiles, Special Operations Forces,
small submarine insertion platforms, etc. – in part to offset its conventional
force shortcomings. In short, as long as North Korea remains around
in its present form, it will represent one of the major threats to our
regional and global interests.
The longer-term trends and conditions apparent before 11 September –
continuing global turmoil … the increasing importance of the asymmetric
threat … and the traditional challenges posed by the regional and strategic
military forces of other states – still apply today. But the terrorist
attacks, and our response, have brought a new dynamic to the global
The ‘expectation of prolonged uncertainty' has increased significantly
since September, and our intelligence and analytic paradigms must be
adjusted to assess the implications of what we do not, can not, and
will not know about the nature of the future security environment and
future threats. Accounting for and dealing with uncertainty has always
been our biggest analytic challenge. But in today's environment, we
need to be as adept at dealing with ‘complex mysteries' as we are at
uncovering ‘hidden secrets.' Critical analytic thinking may be our most
important national asset.
On 11 September the asymmetric threat became real, and strategic. We
are in a new struggle – for our way of life and our vision of the global
future. Our adversaries see things the same way. They think the United
States is the ‘center of gravity' for an emerging world order that undermines
their beliefs, values, interests, and culture. They need to eliminate
our global power, leadership, and influence or – in their eyes – be
overwhelmed by it. We are too strong to take on directly, but are potentially
vulnerable to a range of asymmetric approaches. We need to ensure these
do not have a decisive strategic impact.
The characteristics of this new strategic threat – extremist, global,
non-state, networked, adaptive – make it less vulnerable to more traditional
intelligence and security approaches, and perhaps impossible to deter
(at least with military power alone). The long-term key to our adversaries'
success may lie in their ability to exploit a host of ‘negative' global
conditions to spread an extremist anti-US message, recruit and train
new members, and execute increasingly destructive attacks. In this context,
our success at eliminating, containing, isolating, and managing globalization's
downsides may be the strategic prerequisite to victory.
Finally, we will continue to face an array of more traditional, albeit
evolving, threats from the strategic and regional military forces of
other nations. While generally less advanced than the US military, these
forces will remain potent by global and regional standards, and capable
of accomplishing significant objectives. China and perhaps Russia at
the high end, followed by North Korea, Iran and Iraq at the lower end
are examples of states that will maintain significant military capabilities.
Collectively, these factors create an extremely dynamic, complex, and
problematic global environment. The spectrum of real and potential threats
is very wide, and the intelligence challenges are many. We are working
hard to reshape our intelligence capability to deal with these challenges.
Our success will depend on our ability to recruit, develop, and retain
the highest quality work force … expand our collection coverage and
analytic depth and breadth … improve the responsiveness and content
of our data bases … and build on our past successes at improving the
intelligence-operator interface. Your continued support is vital to