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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

Our potential enemies, whether nations or terrorists, may be more likely in the future to resort to attacks against vulnerable civilian targets in the United States. At the same time, easier access to sophisticated technology means that the destructive power available to rogue nations and terrorists is greater than ever. . . . The United States will act to deter or prevent such attacks and, if attacks occur despite those efforts, will be prepared to defend against them, limit the damage they cause, and respond effectively against the perpetrators. 1

The White House, The United States National Security Strategy, December, 1999

Throughout American history, the Department of Defense (DoD) and its

predecessors have always faced up to the security threats confronting our nation and our

national interests. As those threats changed, our Defense Department managed to change

with them--albeit sometimes slowly and at great cost. Today, we see a marked increase

in the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) threat. As a result, DoD managed to adjust

some of its organizational structure to keep the pace. Much of this change is directed

towards the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) threat to traditional military forces

and their support structure in the assumption that the enemy will play by a set of

traditional military rules. However, the central flaw in this assumption is that a nation, or

a nonstate organization or actor, will follow traditional rules in the first place. Many of

these hostile elements list development and use of asymetric weapons against the

vulnerabilities of their enemies as a viable course of action. That factor, coupled with a

means to deliver these unconventional weapons, create the greatest threat to the US

population since the beginning of the nuclear era.

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