Global Strike: A Chronology of the Pentagon’s New Offensive Strike Plan
Hans M. Kristensen/Federation of American Scientists
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During a speech to a Heritage Foundation conference in May 2004, National Nuclear SecurityAdministration Director Ambassador Linton F. Brooks assured the audience: “I’ve never metanyone in the Administration who would even consider nuclear preemption in connection withcountering rogue state WMD threats.”
His assurance must have excluded the White House,STRATCOM, the Air Force, and the Navy, for during the past decade they have been busyplanning for precisely such a scenario.One year after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001,the Bush administration published the
National Security Strategy of the United States of America
. Building on the events of 9/11 – and a decade of gradual expansion of nuclear doctrinefocused on Russian and China to one aimed increasingly at regional aggressors armed withweapons of mass destruction – the new strategy wove together terrorism and weapons of massdestruction proliferation in a plan for a more offensive U.S. military posture."We must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients before theyare able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction against the United Statesand our allies and friends....We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to thecapabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries….The greater the threat, thegreater the risk of inaction – and the more compelling the case for takinganticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the timeand place of our enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by ouradversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively....To supportpreemptive actions, we will…continue to transform out military forces to ensureour ability to conduct rapid and precise operations to achieve decisive results."
Three and a half years later, the military product of that strategy is operational: Global Strike.The operational embodiment of the Global Strike mission is Contingency Plan (CONPLAN)8022, a new strike plan developed by STRATCOM in coordination with the Air Force and Navyto provide a prompt global strike options to the President with nuclear, conventional, space, andinformation warfare capabilities.It is important to understand that the Global Strike mission and CONPLAN 8022 are differentthan previous missions and plans both in their intent and capabilities. Although promoted as away of increasing the President’s options for deterring lesser adversaries, Global Strike is firstand foremost offensive and preemptive in nature and deeply rooted in the expectation thatdeterrence
fail sooner or later. Rather than waiting for the mushroom cloud to appear, a
Linton F. Brooks, Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration, “U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policies andPrograms,” presented to the Heritage Foundation Conference
U.S. Strategic Command: Beyond the War onTerrorism
, May 12, 2004, p. 6.
The White House, “National Security Strategy of the United States of America,” September 2002, pp. 14, 15.