National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction Homeland Security Presidential Directive

In this paper we are going to look back on one of the declassified presidential directive of former president George W. Bush, the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction also known as HSPD 4. We are going to discuss its major components, evaluate it and relate it to our present situation.

In our contemporary environment wherein the use of weapons of mass destruction is the biggest and most dangerous threat to the existence and integrity of a nation and its population, the National Strategy for Weapons to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction also known as Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-4) is a multi array response of the government of the former president George W. Bush to an impending threat and crisis due to the existence and use of weapons of mass destructions (WMD). The HSPD-4 defined and outlined the different measures, preparation and course of action the United States government is ought to do in case of this imminent danger. Discussed below are the major components of HSPD-4 and the overview of its major components.

Major Components of HSPD-4
Counter Proliferation
With the basic assumption of the directive that it is impossible to contain and prevent the proliferation of the use of weapons of mass destruction by hostile states and terrorist groups, the HSPD-4 outlines the following measures for counter-proliferation.

Interdiction. Interdiction prevents the transport of materials, technology and expertise that hostile states and terrorist organization can use in the construction of weapons of mass destruction. This includes the mobilization of the military and local and national law enforcement agencies together with the improvement and innovation in intelligence and technology that can detect such movements. (NSCWMD 2002 p. 2)

Deterrence. As a response to the growing diversity and less predictability of the threats of weapons of mass destruction, the United States is adopting new ways in deterring hostile states and groups. This includes effective military forces and strong declaratory policies together with the full range of political tools that will persuade political actors and adversaries not to seek the use and development of weapons of mass destruction. The deterrence measure of the United States also emphasizes its right to respond with overwhelming forces including full range of options that includes conventional and nuclear response to hostiles that will use WMD against the United States, its forces abroad, together with its friends and allies. (NSCWMD 2002 p. 3)

Defense and Mitigation. With the possibility of failure of both interdiction and deterrence that can produce devastating effects, the United States government prepares an outline for the defense and mitigation initiative that can protect its citizen and its military forces. In this respect, both civilian and military agencies are armed with the capability to defend against adversaries that uses weapons of mass destruction. This includes the detection and destruction of WMD assets prior to its use. It also deals with the active disabling and destroying of WMD that are fired to United States and its allies. Lastly, the defense and mitigation component of HSPD-4 is strengthening the United States military forces and domestic law enforcements to be able to stand ready to disrupt attacks or attacks in progress and the elimination of the threat in the future. It also emphasized the necessity of post-conflict operations that will destroy and dismantle the residuals of the capabilities of hostile states and terrorist networks. (NSCWMD  2002 p. 3)

Aside from the use of military force to be able to control the existence and use of WMD, the United States government is also pursuing active diplomacy that will be able to reach the same goals aimed by counter proliferation.

Active Non-Proliferation Diplomacy. The United States government will dissuade the states that have the capability to supply and cooperate with the proliferating states. It will encourage and induce states that are pursuing WMD and missile programs to end such actions. This will include the building of coalitions that will support the United States and its goal for nonproliferation of other states. (NSCWMD  2002 p. 2-3)

Multilateral Regimes. To encourage the non-proliferation of states, the United States will support the regimes that will support non-proliferation. The government will also promote new agreements and arrangements that will serve its goal in the non-proliferation of other states to be able to come up with an international environment that is fertile in non-proliferation.

This will include the support for strengthening of agencies and reinforcing and legislation of treaties such as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, Nuclear Suppliers Group and Zangger Committee (NSGZC), Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Australia Group and International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. (NSCWMD 2002 p. 3)

Threat Reduction Cooperation. With the availability of the large volume of the late Soviet missiles and weapons, the United States will support programs such Nunn-Lugar that is designed to address the proliferation threat stemming from the Soviet-legacy WMD and missile related expertise and materials. This will include extensive and efficient threat reduction assistance to Russia and other former Soviet states. This component will also encourage the support and contribution to G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. (NSCWMD 2002 p. 4)

Controls on Nuclear Materials. In relation to this, the United States will also discourage the accumulation of separated plutonium and the use of highly enriched uranium. This will entail collaboration to international partners that will develop an alternative to this kind of energy sources that is clear and more efficient and more resistant proliferation. (NSCWMD 2002 p. 4)

Export Control. The trade of American business will now be supervised by existing authorities to be able to support the governments goal for non-proliferation. This will limit truly sensitive exports to hostile states or proliferation states but ta the same time will remove unnecessary barriers in the global trade. (NSCWMD 2002 p. 5)

Sanctions. With the acknowledged inability and limitation of sanctions to be a valuable component in the governments goals due to its inflexibility and ineffectiveness, the government will now develop a comprehensive sanction policy that will serve the goal of the government in the non-proliferation of other states. (NSCWMD 2002 p. 5)

Consequence Management
With the failure of earlier components of HSDP-4, the United States government defines and outlined measures and course of actions in case of the detonation of WMD in the United States soil or military forces. Most of these programs will deal an integrated and comprehensive training, planning and assistance to state and local governments. Respondents will be armed with the necessary protective, medical and remediation tools that will help to ease the situation.

With these things in mind, the Office of Homeland Security will supervise the necessary arrangements to state and local governments. In addition to this, the National Security Councils Office of Combating Terrorism will deal to the attack outside the United States including its military forces, allies and friends. (NSCWMD 2002 p. 5)

The HSPD-4 and the Previous Strategies against WMD
The difficulty of assessing and evaluating earlier strategies of previous presidents lies on the great number of classified presidential directives that are hidden or partially hidden to the public. This includes Ronald Reagans NSSD 3-82 or US Policy and Negotiating Position for Strategic Arms Reductions Talks, NSSD 7-82 or US Nuclear Testing Limitations Policy Bush Sr. NSR 28 or United States Policy Toward North Korean Nuclear Weapons Program and Clintons PRDNSC 8 Missile Non-proliferation policy and PRDNSC or Biological Weapons Response. (FAS n.d.)

However with the review of declassified or partially declassified presidential directives, we can induce the following characteristics of previous policies when compared to HSPD-4.

Less emphasis and acknowledgement to the dangers of weapons of mass destructions to the United States and its allies. NSSD 1-82, 1982)

A narrower perspective in the case of which countries (i.e. Soviet Union) should be watched for proliferation. When compared to HSPD-4, the latter will refer generally to all states that has the possibility to proliferate.(NCR 12, 1989)

Designation of the task of proliferation to bigger departments such as the Department of Energy and Department of Defense in contrast to HSPD-4 assignment of the majority of the task to the newly created agency of Homeland Security (PDDNSC 27, 1994)

Inability to provide a comprehensive outline some of the major components of HSPD-4 including consequence management and diplomatic measures. (PDDNSC 27, 1994)

With only the recent threats of weapons of mass destruction pursued by both hostile states and terrorist network, it is no wonder why the HSPD-4 is more comprehensive and more specific when compared to earlier presidents directives.

Assessing and Evaluating HSPD-4

Strengths of HSPD-4
According to Robert G. Joseph (2005 p. 2), former undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security, the strength of the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction lies on the directives broad, diverse and uniting characteristics. It managed to merge the three most important elements to counter weapons of mass destruction in the name of diplomacy, intelligence and power. While the preventive measures are emphasized and specified it also acknowledges the possibility of failure of this preventive approach.

With this in mind, it placed a necessary emphasis on protection that includes deterrence, detection, defense and destruction of WMD that are under the control of hostile states or terrorist networks. Finally, it also emphasized the importance of managing consequences in case an attack was executed in the United States soil or abroad. These three important elements are recognized and specified in the HSPD-4 making it a viable action plan in the situation of imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction. (Joseph 2005 p. 3)

Recommendations for HSPD-4
One of the most significant criticisms against the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction that is worth mentioning in this paper is its non-discriminating treatment on different kinds of weapons of mass destruction. In an article published by Allison Macfarlane (2005) of the MIT Security Studies Program she argued that the HSPD-4 is making a huge mistake by treating all weapons of mass destruction namely nuclear, chemical and biological as equal in terms of its capability to inflict casualties.

In her article entitle All Weapons of Mass Destruction are not Equal, she argued that nuclear weapons remain the most dangerous threat in any nation. In terms of a nuclear strike, the attack when executed in a densely populated area, the casualty can reach to hundreds of thousands. However, chemical weapons when carried out under ideal climatic conditions would result only in a few thousand of deaths (p.3). Lastly, a biological attack has undetermined numbers of casualties. This is because of our limited data sets of this kind of situation since a large-scale biological weapons attack has never occurred. Different estimations range 66 deaths to 88 billion deaths per kilogram of anthrax used. This concludes uncertainty of the lethality of these weapons (p. 2.).

With the equal treatment of nuclear weapons to chemical and biological weapons in nature, large funds are diverted to produce defense measures against the imminent attacks of biological weapons. In FY 2005 and 2006, the United States government spends only 2 billion for different measures against nuclear proliferation. This is 3 or 4 times smaller than the expenditures in the governments measure against biological weapons proliferation (p. 4).

For MacFarlane (2005 p.4 ), nuclear weapons still remains the biggest threat against the security of the United States and its allies yet it receives a lesser spending when compared to the measures against the proliferation of biological weapons. Lastly, she argued that the government must take a stronger position against nuclear attacks rather than what she calls ghosts of biological weapons.

Obama and HSPD-4
Even before Obama became a president, he already co-authored a Senate bill that is comparable to the earlier Nunn-Lugar program which description is mentioned in the earlier part of this paper. Obama together with Lugar authored a bill that will authorize the president to carry out a program to provide assistance to foreign countries to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This will includes nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The bills provisions were incorporated into a House bill that passed later that year and was signed into law in January 2007.

In his presidency, proliferating nations such as Iran and North Korea continues to face sanctions that includes US companies from investing and trading with these countries, financial restrictions to its government leaders, and permission for countries to search ships on the high seas, etc (BBC 2009  Wilson 2009). In relation to this President Obama is also encouraging the international community to execute the same sanctions to these proliferating countries (Montopoli 2010). The government of United States is also reassuring non-proliferating allied country such as South Korea against the hostilities of its northern counterpart. (Wilson 2009)

In many respects these concludes the continuation of the Obama administration in the fundamental principles of HSPD-4.


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