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70 Foreign Aff. 66 (1990-1992)
Desert Storm and Deterrence

handle is hein.journals/fora70 and id is 730 raw text is: William J. Perry

In Operation Desert Storm the United States employed for
the first time a new class of military systems that gave Ameri-
can forces a revolutionary advance in military capability. Key
to this capability is a new generation of military support
systems-intelligence sensors, defense suppression systems
and precision guidance subsystems-that serve as force mul-
tipliers by increasing the effectiveness of U.S. weapon sys-
tems. An army with such technology has an overwhelming
advantage over an army without it, much as an army equipped
with tanks would overwhelm an army with horse cavalry.
This new conventional military capability adds a powerful
dimension to the ability of the United States to deter war.
While it is certainly not as powerful as nuclear weapons, it is a
more credible deterrent, particularly in regional conflicts vital
to U.S. national interests. It can play a potentially significant
role in deterring those regional conflicts that would involve the
confrontation of armored forces (as opposed to guerrilla
wars). With the increasing proliferation of modern weapons in
politically unstable parts of the world, those types of wars
might be expected to occur with increasing frequency. The
new military capability can also serve as a credible deterrent to
a regional power's use of chemical weapons. It should also
strengthen the already high level of deterrence of a major war
in Europe or Korea. The United States can now be confident
that the defeat of a conventional armored assault in those
regions could be achieved by conventional military forces,
which could enable the United States to limit the role of its
nuclear forces to the deterrence of nuclear attack.
That the United States has achieved a revolutionary advance
in military capability is suggested by the results of the Gulf
War. One overall measure of performance is the relatively low
William J. Perry is chairman of the firm Technology Strategies and
Alliances, and co-director of Stanford University's Center for International
Security and Arms Control. He was Undersecretary of Defense for
Research and Engineering, 1977-81.

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