Future Perils Call for Allied Effort
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
VIENNA, Austria -- Lacking resources to confront allied
forces on the battlefield, future foes are likely to resort
to more devious means, John Hamre warned NATO allies and
Partnership for Peace members here.
Rogue states and terrorist groups will turn to computer
viruses, poison gas and even nuclear weapons, the deputy
defense secretary said June 22 at the 15th NATO Workshop.
Hamre addressed about 200 representatives of allies and
partners from throughout Europe, the United States and
Canada during the workshop, a four-day meeting on
confronting security challenges facing NATO.
"Our opponents of the future, be they nation-states,
substate or transnational actors, will seek our Achilles
heels [using] unconventional ways to attack our
vulnerabilities," Hamre told the group. "Unfortunately,
modern, post-industrial society provides many targets for
Their new "tools of terror," which can be used against
civilian as well as military targets, include chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons, and cyberattacks against
vital information systems, the deputy secretary said. "The
United States firmly believes the threat from these weapons
of mass destruction and terrorism is very real and is
Hamre's warning about unconventional weapons came the
same day international news sources reported the United
Nations had confirmed Iraq put VX nerve agent on missile
warheads prior to the Gulf War in 1991. Army laboratory
officials at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., detected the
deadly agent on Iraqi missile fragments collected by U.N.
The United States is taking steps to counter such
nontraditional threats, Hamre said. U.S. officials are
expanding the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program aimed at
reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons in Russia, he said,
and, "We would like to extend that program to help eliminate
In an effort to consolidate treaty and threat reduction
efforts, Pentagon officials created a new defense threat
reduction agency, combining more than a dozen treaty and
threat reduction programs into a single agency. "This new
agency will be our focal point for our efforts to reduce
nuclear, chemical and biological threats," Hamre said.
Defense officials are also earmarking $5 billion in
defense dollars over the next six years for chemical and
biological protection and counterproliferation. Emphasis is
on developing remote detection systems and diagnostic
To protect individual American service members,
Pentagon leaders have started giving the entire U.S.
military mandatory vaccinations against anthrax. In his
speech, Hamre predicted that eventually, the United States
will offer voluntary vaccinations for all Americans.
Defense officials have also launched a new program
dubbed "homebase defense" to protect citizens at home from
these deadly weapons. National Guard teams are being trained
to identify, diagnose and contain chemical and biological
weapon attacks, Hamre said.
"A terrorist incident using chemical or biological
agents will quickly outstrip the ability of local emergency
authorities to deal with these threats," he said.
Just as U.S. leaders are acknowledging and planning for
unconventional attacks, Hamre said, NATO, too, must begin to
plan for such possibilities. Although the alliance has taken
some important first steps, more needs to be done, he said.
In early June, NATO's newly created senior defense
group on proliferation issued a report recommending ways the
alliance can improve its defense posture. It highlighted the
need to plan for possible attacks against civilian targets
and the need for strong theater missile defense systems.
"The report made clear that much more needs to be done
to prepare our forces and protect our citizens," Hamre
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