An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Nov. 8, 2022

New Strategy Seeks to Reinvigorate Deterrence in a Changing World


WASHINGTON -- The challenge of the National Defense Strategy is to ensure U.S. deterrence at a time of profound change, Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, told an audience at the Brookings Institution.

Kahl, who spoke Friday, said the defense strategy fully supports the National Security Strategy and takes into account the range of threats the United States faces.

China is the pacing threat for the United States — the one threat U.S. planners must measure their decisions against. But that doesn't mean the Indo-Pacific nation is the only threat.

The geopolitical landscape is fundamentally changing, Kahl said. "You have a rapidly rising China; you have a more aggressive Russia; you have persistent threats from Iran, North Korea and violent extremist groups," he said. "But you also have a technological revolution, which is informing all of those trends, and a set of transboundary challenges, climate change, pandemics and others, which are generating real international security challenges, and also real demands on the Department of Defense."

Kahl said the National Defense Strategy grapples with this complicated world.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has always emphasized the fact that China is the only country with the intention to reorder the political landscape and overturn the rules-based system that has served the world in the years since World War II.

Spotlight: Focus on Indo-Pacific

Kahl said China seeks to challenge the United States, militarily, economically, diplomatically and technologically.

But the fact that the United States must keep apace with China doesn't mean the department ignores other threats, he said. The strategy notes "the most acute challenge at the moment is obviously Russia," Kahl said. "That word 'acute' is very intentional because it means both immediate and sharp."

Kahl said Russia does not possess the capabilities to remake the world the way that China could, he said. But Russia "does have the capability to blow up the world," he said. "And [Russian President] Vladimir Putin has shown himself to be reckless and capable of profound miscalculation and is directly threatening the security order in Europe and beyond through his aggression toward Ukraine."

Spotlight: Support for Ukraine

North Korea and Iran remain lesser threats, and the threat from international terrorist groups can flare up at any time, he said.

Kahl said these threats are the reason that "integrated deterrence" is a concept applicable across the range.

"Integrated deterrence and what that means … is a way to remind ourselves that deterrence activities have to be integrated in various ways," Kahl said. Deterrence must be integrated in the domains of land, sea, air, space and cyberspace. It must be integrated with allies and partners. Deterrence must be integrated within the U.S. government, he said.

"We also need to make sure that we're integrated across the tools of the U.S. government," he said. "The U.S. military needs to remain the most potent military in the world — and it will — but we have other potent tools in our toolkit to include U.S. dominance of the global financial system and our unmatched political power."

Kahl said another core concept in the National Defense Strategy is resilience. "The reason resilience is important is that our adversaries have gone to school on the American way of war," he said. "They understand the American reliance on various networks in cyber and space in the informational domain, and they have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to try to hold those networks at risk."

These networks are too vast to defend every point, "so, you have to make sure your networks are resilient so that you can fight through the inevitable disruptions that your adversaries plan for you," he said.

Some critics say that integrated deterrence is a means to pass along missions to other agencies or countries. "Integrated deterrence is not an argument for our interagency partners doing more or our allies and partners doing more so we can do less," he said. "It's an argument that we need to do more, and others need to do more alongside us. And as we all do more together, we have to integrate those efforts together. And I would hope that that would be relatively non-controversial."


Like Us
Follow Us



U.S. and Indonesia Hold Inaugural Keris Marine Exercise in Lampung
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jonathan Wagner, the operations officer for Marine Rotational Force-Southeast Asia, I Marine Expeditionary Force, places an armband on Indonesian 1st Lt. Ketut Yoga Kosala, a platoon leader with 7th Infantry Battalion, 4th Marine Brigade, during the Keris Marine Exercise.
Nov. 22, 2022 - JAKARTA, U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Indonesia -- Marine forces from the U.S. Military and Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) are holding the Keris Marine Exercise (MAREX) from November 11-25, 2022, at Piabung training...

Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Meeting With Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Tea Banh
Nov. 22, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met today with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Tea Banh in...

Japan Provides Asset Protection for Australian and US Ships in Trilateral Exercise
The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), steams in formation with Royal Australian Navy supply ship, HMAS Stalwart (A304), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship, JS Setogiri (DD 156), in the Philippine Sea, Nov. 20. Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the United States, and supports Alliances, partnerships and collective maritime interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
Nov. 22, 2022 - Japan -- The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has successfully provided asset protection for Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and United States Navy (USN) ships during an exercise in the seas off Japan.The trilateral...

Air Force Supports First Ever Army Warfighter Exercise in Indo-Pacific Focusing on Joint Large-scale Combat Operations
U.S. Air Force Airmen supported U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Army’s Mission Command Training Program Soldiers during the Army’s first warfighter exercise to take place in the Indo-Pacific theatre concentrating on joint large-scale combat operations contested in all domains, Sep. 30, 2022. The team led by 505th Command and Control Wing, Detachment 1 based at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with support from the 505th Combat Training Squadron and 505th Communications Squadron based at Hurlburt Field, Florida, delivered a doctrinally accurate air component to 1,150 Soldiers and Airmen representing the Army’s I Corps, 4th Infantry Division, and 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Fort Carson, Colorado, and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, along with the 1st Air Support Operations Group and 13th and 25th Air Support Operations Squadrons. (Security badges, papers and screens were blurred for security reasons) (U.S. Air Force photo by Shelton Keel)
Nov. 22, 2022 - U.S. Air Force Airmen supported U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Army’s Mission Command Training Program Soldiers during the Army’s first warfighter exercise to take place in the Indo-Pacific theatre concentrating on joint...

Carrier Strike Group 5 Concludes Keen Sword 23
Sailors assigned to the forward-deployed amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) approach an MV-22B Osprey helicopter to chock and chain it after it landed on flight deck while in the Philippine Sea during Keen Sword 23. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral, biennial field-training exercise involving U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability and strengthen the ironclad Japan-U.S. alliance.
Nov. 21, 2022 - PHILIPPINE SEA -- Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 Sailors along with Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and Joint force U.S. military personnel, conclude Keen Sword 2023 (KS23), a biennial joint/bi-lateral field training exercise,...