Pentagon Poised to Revamp Counter-WMD Strategy

Response personnel help a mock victim during a 2012 biological preparedness drill in New York. The U.S. Defense Department has nearly completed a new military strategy for combating unconventional threats, Pentagon officials said on Tuesday.
National Journal
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Diane Barnes
April 10, 2014, 6:17 a.m.

The U.S. De­fense De­part­ment may be “weeks” from up­dat­ing an 8-year-old strategy for coun­ter­ing weapons of mass de­struc­tion, a seni­or of­fi­cial says.

The new armed forces plan for fight­ing un­con­ven­tion­al threats is in its “fi­nal stages of the ap­prov­al and sig­na­ture pro­cess,” Re­becca Hers­man, the deputy as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary of De­fense for coun­ter­ing weapons of mass de­struc­tion, said on Tues­day.

The plan would re­place a 2006 ver­sion as soon as it re­ceives the fi­nal clear­ances, Hers­man said at a hear­ing of the House Armed Ser­vices In­tel­li­gence, Emer­ging Threats and Cap­ab­il­it­ies Sub­com­mit­tee.

“We would ex­pect in a mat­ter of weeks to a month or two for sig­na­ture,” she ad­ded in an an­swer to a ques­tion from Rep­res­ent­at­ive James Langev­in (D-R.I.), the sub­com­mit­tee’s rank­ing mem­ber.

An­drew Weber — the Pentagon’s as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary for nuc­le­ar, chem­ic­al, and bio­lo­gic­al de­fense pro­grams — ad­ded that the new strategy would in­clude changes to ad­dress “the glob­al nature of these threats.”

The re­vised plan would ac­count for “the in­creas­ing abil­ity and pro­lif­er­a­tion of dual-use tech­no­lo­gies around the world and an in­creased em­phas­is on pre­ven­tion,” Weber said.