Returning to Fundamentals: Deterrence and National Security in the 21st Century
by Dr. Robert Butterworth, Jeff Kueter, Mr. Peter Marquez, Dr. John Sheldon and Mr. Eric Sterner
August 3, 2011
Is deterrence a “one-size fits all” strategic concept? Can it be applied equally effectively to security challenges as diverse as nuclear weapons and cyberspace? Or do the emerging domains of outer space and cyberspace require their own deterrence strategies? These and related questions are the subject of a new collection of essays published by the George C. Marshall Institute, a Washington, DC-based think tank.
In Returning to Fundamentals: Deterrence and U.S. National Security in the 21stCentury, Marshall Institute scholars dispel the misconceptions that have emerged about deterrence and its application to modern security problems. Institute President Jeff Kueter and Marshall Fellow Dr. John Sheldon present the rationale for the effort: “the U.S. has lost its intellectual compass in conceptualizing deterrence and in implementing policies and strategies intended to deter.”
The collection of four essays considers applications of deterrence in ongoing debates. Dr. Robert Butterworth examines U.S. nuclear weapons policy. Peter Marquez looks at attempts to apply deterrent concepts in space. Eric Sterner performs a similar analysis of deterrence in cyberspace. And Dr. John Sheldon closes the volume by discussing American conventional military power.
“As strategists, inside and outside government, struggle with developing policy, programs, and budgets to respond to the myriad security challenges facing the United States in the years to come,” Kueter remarked, “they would do well to reflect on the concepts discussed by these essays. Deterrence is a holistic concept best viewed as an integrated strategy of the United States to respond to threats, challenges, and actors across all the domains of conflict. There can be no cyber deterrence or space deterrence. There is only deterrence.”