"Prevent the Reemergence
of a New Rival"
The Making of the Cheney Regional
Defense Strategy, 1991-1992
Declassified Studies from Cheney
Pentagon Show Push for U.S. Military Predominance and a Strategy
to "Prevent the Reemergence of a New Rival"
The United States should use its power
to "prevent the reemergence of a new rival" either on
former Soviet territory or elsewhere, declared a controversial
draft of the Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) prepared by then
Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney's Pentagon and leaked to The
New York Times in March 1992. Published in declassified form for
the first time on the National Security Archive Web site, this
draft, along with related working papers, shows how defense officials
during the administration of George H. W. Bush, under the direction
of Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Strategy and
Resources I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby tried to develop
a strategy for maintaining U.S. preponderance in the new post-Cold
War, post-Soviet era.
Remarkably, these new releases censor
a half dozen large sections of text that The New York Times printed
on March 8, 1992, as well as a number of phrases that were officially
published by the Pentagon in January 1993. "On close inspection
none of those deleted passages actually meet the standards for
classification because embarrassment is not a legal basis for
secrecy," remarked Tom Blanton, director of the Archive."
The language that the Times publicized can be seen side-by-side
with the relevant portions of the February 18, 1992 draft (see
document 3 below) that was the subject of the leak.
In its initial response to the Archive's
mandatory review request, the Department of Defense exempted from
declassification all of the documents in this case on the grounds
that they were "pre-decisional" in nature. When the
Archive appealed the denials, we sent copies of The New York Times
coverage of the leaked DPG, including the extensive excerpts from
the February 18, 1992 draft. The appeal was successful because
the Defense Department released considerable material on the Defense
Planning Guidance; nevertheless Pentagon officials blacked out
information that the Times had already published. (see sidebar).
The documents recently declassified by
the Defense Department in response to the Archive's appeal provide
an inside view of the making of the Defense Planning Guidance
from September 1991 to May 1992, when Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman
Colin Powell and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz
approved it. Writing in the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse,
the group of Republican-oriented officials that produced the Guidance
wanted to preserve the unique position of American predominance
that was emerging. With the leak of a draft in March 1992 and
the resulting public controversy over the language about preventing
a "new rival," "Scooter" Libby and his colleagues
recast the document so that it would pass public scrutiny while
meeting Richard Cheney's requirements for a strategy of military
supremacy. Believing that military spending at Cold War levels
was no longer possible, Cheney and his advisers wanted to develop
lower-cost strategies and plans to prevent future global threats
to American power and interests. To protect U.S. territory, citizens,
and military forces from attack, to back up security guarantees
to allies, and to "preclude any hostile power from dominating
a region critical to our interests," the authors of the Guidance
argued that the United States had to:
_ Pursue the "military-technological
revolution" to preserve its superiority in the latest weapons
systems (e.g., smart munitions)
_ Sustain the "forward" presence
of U.S. ground, air, and naval forces in strategically important
areas, to validate commitments, and to provide a capability to
respond to crises affecting significant interests, such as freedom
of the seas and access to markets and energy supplies
_ Preserve a smaller but diverse "mix"
of survivable nuclear forces to support a global role, validate
security guarantees, and deter Russian nuclear forces
_ Field a missile defense system as a
shield against accidental missile launches or limited missile
strikes by "international outlaws"
_ Maintain a capability to reconstitute
military forces in the event a regional hegemon threatens to become
a global threat
_ Find ways to integrate the "new
democracies" of the former Soviet bloc into the U.S.-led
_ Work with allies in NATO Europe and
elsewhere but be ready to act unilaterally or with only a few
other nations when multilateral and cooperative action proves
too "sluggish" to protect vital interests.
The word "preempt" does not
appear in the declassified language, but Document 10 includes
wording about "disarming capabilities to destroy" which
is followed by several excised words. This suggests that some
of the heavily excised pages in the still-classified DPG drafts
may include some discussion of preventive action against threatening
nuclear and other WMD programs. The excisions are currently under
appeal at the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel
The drafts of the Defense Planning Guidance
released by the Defense Department show the involvement of a number
of senior and mid-level officials in the preparation of the document,
some of whom have become well-known as figures in the "neo-conservative"
movement. (Note 1) As mentioned earlier, I. Lewis "Scooter"
Libby played a significant role in the writing process, especially
in the final stages. One of the drafters in the early stages was
Abram N. Shulsky, a career Pentagon intelligence official, who
later became notorious for his association with the Office of
Special Plans during the run-up to the Iraq War. Although his
name appears rarely in the recent release, a major figure in the
writing was Zalmay Khalilzad, director of the Policy Planning
Staff in Libby's office. Finally, Under Secretary of Defense for
Policy Paul Wolfowitz was less involved in preparing the DPG,
but had to approve its contents. Nevertheless, the DPG was written
for a Secretary of Defense, Richard Cheney, who was more nationalist
than "neo-con," although his thinking dovetails with
elements of the neo-conservative outlook. In particular, the documents
show (see Documents 6a and 6b) that he was closely involved in
overseeing the process, and that Wolfowitz and Libby were careful
to ensure that the language, such as on unilateral options, reflected
Those who produced the DPG believed it
would eventually become a public document that could be used to
develop support for the Bush administration's military policy.
Bill Clinton's victory in 1992 prevented that discussion. Despite
the heavy excisions of these drafts, enough has been declassified
to fuel a broader discussion of their meaning-for example, the
relationship between the Guidance and neo-conservative ideology,
or the extent to which ideas in the documents show continuity
with U.S. national security policy, past and present. With respect
to the continuity issue, some may argue that the pursuit of military
superiority crystallized in the DPG resonates with the concept
of national security which developed during the 1940s and which
assumed the need for a "preponderance" of American power.
(Note 2) Others may argue that the Clinton administration tacitly
followed the thrust of the Cheney strategy, and that the emphasis
on precluding rivals presages the preemptive doctrine that George
W. Bush has tried to turn into an axiom of U.S. policy. According
to James Mann, the Guidance helped provide the "rationale"
for the policies that the Bush administration has followed since
2001. As Mann wrote in March 2004, the Iraq war "was carried
out in pursuit of a larger vision of using America's overwhelming
military power to shape the future." (Note 3) The documents
raise other questions worth exploring, such as over the role of
independent or unilateral action, the relationship between military
and political power, and the extent to which superpower status
confers diplomatic influence. If ISCAP releases more information
from the documents, even more questions may be raised.
_Document 1: Slides for "USDP [Under
Secretary of Defense for Policy] Brief to DPRB [Defense Planning
Resources Board] on June 5, 1991," Secret
Briefing slides prepared for Under Secretary
of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz to be used in a presentation
to the Defense Planning Resources Board, chaired by Deputy Secretary
Donald J. Atwood, provide an overview of the process for preparing
the DPG for fiscal years 1994-1998. Designed to take into account
the lessons of the 1991 Gulf War, developments in the Soviet Union,
and other "regional security challenges," and the implications
of the "military-technological revolution" (e.g., emergence
of "smart munitions"), the DPG would explain policy
goals and military spending priorities for the years ahead. The
slides optimistically forecast the completion of the Guidance
in December 1991.
_Document 2: Memo from Dale A. Vesser
to Scooter, "First Draft of DPG," September 3, 1991,
Secret, Excised Copy
Retired Army general Dale A. Vesser, who
served as Assistant to Principle Deputy Under Secretary of Defense
(Strategy and Resources) "Scooter" Libby, played a key
role in coordinating the DPG writing. As Vesser suggested, the
first draft was "uneven," somewhat of a cut and paste
job. It included contributions from a variety of working level
defense officials, including an overview section prepared by Abram
N. Shulsky. Paul Kozemchak, a career official at the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was another major contributor.
Andrew R. Hoehn, a staffer at Wolfowitz's office (and more recently
a vice-president at the RAND Corporation), prepared the section
on "The New Defense Strategy" at the end.
Composed in a world where the Soviet Union
still existed, although not for long, the opening pages prepared
by Shulsky declared that, with the Soviet Union's "internal
economic crisis and political collapse," the United States
"may be said to be the world's sole superpower." As
such, it could not be the policeman of the world, but it would
have "preeminent responsibility for addressing those wrongs
which threaten not only its interests, but those of its allies
and friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations."
To preserve its preponderant position, the United States would
have to curb regional challenges that-although not as dangerous
as the former Soviet threat-could become "more likely."
Above all, the United States would have to maintain technological
superiority by staying a "generation ahead" in new weapons
technology. According to Shulsky, that could mean reduced reliance
on nuclear weapons by "developing new, more effective, conventional
The new policy would support alliances
and multilateralism, but unilateral action remained a possibility.
While the United States would continue to value alliances and
working with allies, crises could "develop in areas outside
of existing alliance commitments." Washington would try to
work through the United Nations to the extent possible, but would
retain "the responsibility to act on its own if the situation
The prospect that the Soviet Union or
some other country could someday emerge as a global threat meant
that the United States needed to maintain organizational and material
resources to reconstitute military forces to "designated
level of capabilities." It was this requirement that led
Andrew Hoehn to name the new strategy: "Crisis Response/Reconstitution
Strategy." So that regional threats did not become global
problems, Hoehn emphasized the importance of strategic nuclear
deterrence based on a "diverse mix of survivable forces,"
a U.S. "forward" military presence at "reduced
levels," and a capability to respond to regional crises "on
very short notice."
As in the other draft DPGs included in
this release, the sections on regional situations, such as Western
Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America, are heavily excised.
_Document 3: Dale A. Vesser to Secretaries
of the Military Departments, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Assistant Secretary
of Defense for Program Analysis and Evaluation, and Comptroller
of the Department of Defense, "FY 94-98 Defense Planning
Guidance Sections for Comment," February 18, 1992, Secret,
[Excerpts from the leaked Defense Planning
Guidance that The New York Times published on March 8, 1992, can
be compared here with the excised version recently released by
the Department of Defense through the National Security Archive's
mandatory review request.]
Drafting continued, but it was not until
mid-February that the DPG had reached the point where Vesser was
ready to distribute it to senior civilian and military officials
at the Pentagon. Although the draft does not credit anyone for
writing it, so far Khazilzad has received the most credit, although
plainly his draft drew on the earlier work of Shulsky and Kozemchak,
among others. While the draft was tighter and shorter, it was
in the same conceptual universe. Now, however, it was called a
"regional defense strategy" instead of a "Crisis/Response/Reconstitution
Strategy." Like the earlier drafts, the possibility of "regional
challenges" and the need for strategic deterrence, forward
presence, crisis response, technological superiority, and reconstitution
were central concepts. The draft, however, put more emphasis on
the danger of WMD proliferation.
With the disappearance of the Soviet Union
and the emergence of a "fundamentally new situation,"
the drafters were preoccupied with identifying and articulating
the mix of policies that would preserve the U.S.'s status as the
sole superpower. In this respect, the Guidance posited two major
policy goals. The first was "to prevent the reemergence of
a new rival" for world power, which meant that Washington
had to develop a "new order" that met the security,
political, and economic interests of potential competitors, including
Japan and Western Europe, so they would not feel the need to challenge
U.S. "leadership." Moreover, the United States had to
develop "mechanisms," such as a reconstitution capability,
to deter potential competitors for military predominance. The
second objective was to "address sources of regional conflict
and instability" that could "unsettle international
relations" by threatening U.S. interests or those of allies.
The United States would have "preeminent responsibility"
in checking threats that could involve proliferation, terrorism,
or energy and raw materials sources. While Washington alliances
would remain central to U.S. policy, the "United States should
be postured to act independently when collective action cannot
be orchestrated" or when a larger collective response needs
jump-starting by an "immediate" U.S. response.
A long section of the document, beginning
on page 30, details the "minimum military capabilities"
that would be needed to support the regional strategy, including
appropriate readiness levels, prepositioned supplies, war reserve
inventories, strategic deterrence forces, and high priority areas
for critical investments in conventional forces.
It was this draft that one of the recipients
leaked to New York Times reporter Patrick Tyler sometime before
March 7. The next day the Times ran a front-page story, "U.S.
Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop." (Note
4) According to Tyler's account, the leaker "believes that
this post-Cold War debate should be carried out in the public
domain." Because Tyler had the entire document, his story
in the Times and an accompanying side-bar included quotations
and long passages which the Defense Department has excised in
the recent release. Some examples: U.S. nuclear strategy must
target "those assets and capabilities that current - and
future - Russian leaders or other nuclear adversaries value most."
Moreover, "to buttress the vital political and economic relationships
we have along the Pacific rim, we must maintain our status as
a military power of the first magnitude there." "While
the United States supports the goal of European integration, we
must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements
which would undermine NATO."_ __Document 4: "Defense
Planning Guidance, FY 1994-1999," February 29, 1992, Revised
Draft for Scooter Libby, Secret, Excised Copy
This annotated but incomplete draft shows
the impact of more editing, but the basic objectives and method,
e.g., no "new rival" and the regional strategy, remained
the same. This draft, however, introduced language about "strategic
depth" that would survive further re-writing. The United
States' success in pushing back former global threats, such as
the Soviet Union, meant that a new strategic relationship with
Eastern Europe and Eurasia was possible. That Washington faced
no hostile alliances and that "no region of the world critical
to our interests is under hostile non-democratic domination"
meant that the United States had "great depth for our strategic
position." Through a regional defense strategy, the United
States could "take advantage of this position and preserve
capabilities needed to keep threats small."_ __Document 5:
Dale A. Vesser to Mr. Libby, "Comments Received on Draft
DPG - Potential Issues," March 17, 1992, Secret, Excised
This post-leak draft, with comments from
a variety of Pentagon offices, showed the impact of disclosure
and controversy, which had unfolded during the previous nine days.
White House and State Department officials had called the DPG
"dumb," Pentagon spokesperson Pete Williams disavowed
some of the language, Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) criticized its
"Pax Americana" thinking, and some foreign policy analysts
observed that the report's "chauvinistic tone" might
encourage other powers to try to catch up by procuring advanced
weapons systems. (Note 5) Under the weight of the criticism, the
wording about preventing a "new rival" disappeared,
but, as James Mann has noted, the version worked out by Libby
and his associates "contained most of the same ideas as the
original" by coming up with "euphemisms in order to
make the wording sound less confrontational." For example,
instead of "preeminent responsibility," the new version
used terms like "U.S. leadership," and "hostile
power" instead of "rival."
The section on nuclear deterrence continued
to focus on the need for a "hedge" against the emergence
of a major threat, but it had a new emphasis on the necessity
of missile defenses against the threat of global missile proliferation
and the danger of an "accidental or unauthorized missile
launch." Broaching the possibility of junking the ABM treaty,
Libby's draft raised the prospect of a "day when defenses
will protect the community of nations embracing liberal democratic
values from international outlaws armed with ballistic missiles."
_Document 6a: "Scooter" to Mr.
Secretary, circa March 20, 1992, enclosing Libby memorandum to
Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense, "Draft Defense
Planning Guidance," 20 March 1992, enclosing "Defense
Planning Guidance, FY 1994-1999," Secret, Excised copy
Document 6b: Lewis Libby memorandum for
the Secretary through the Undersecretary of Defense (Policy),
March 26, 1992, enclosing "Defense Planning Guidance, FY
1994-1999," Secret, Excised copy
The draft Guidance that was under discussion
during March 1992 was getting closer to the version that would
ultimately be released by the Defense Department, with the section
on minimum military capabilities shorn off. As Libby explained
to Cheney in a detailed cover memorandum on March 20, the draft
was as "near to an unclassified text as possible in this
stage of drafting." According to the memorandum, "Tab
A" was the latest draft of the DPG, while Tabs "B"
and "C" were unclassified and classified versions of
the secret programming guidance. Neither was attached in the version
received by the Archive; instead, Tab "B" was the material
sent by Libby to Cheney on March 26 (see "6b" above).
In Libby's personal cover memo to Cheney
(see 6a above) he alluded to the criticism that the February 18
draft stood for unilateralism. To counter this, he and Wolfowitz
had come up with "more defensible" language found on
page 12: "America must plan forces for major contingencies
that would enable us to act where prudent and practical even 'where
very few others are with us,' and 'with only limited additional
help.'" Libby argued that there were "no major contingencies"
where "we would not have at least political support from
some limited number of countries."
The DPG draft that Libby sent Cheney on
March 26 responded "more fully" to the Secretary's "guidance,"
including making the opening pages "sharper and tighter."
Perhaps in response to Cheney's comments, the section on "Continued
U.S. Leadership" included new wording about working with
allies, but left open in explicit language the possibility of
unilateral action (as earlier drafts had): "A future U.S.
president will need to have options that will allow him to lead,
and where the international reaction proves sluggish, or inadequate,
to act to protect our critical interests." Further, "we
will not ignore the need to be prepared to protect our critical
interests and honor our commitments with only limited additional
help, or even alone, if necessary." Such language would survive
in later drafts.
_Document 7: Dale A. Vesser to Mr. Libby,
"Extracts from 18 Feb 92 DPG Draft," March 26, 1992,
Secret, Excised copy
Believing that despite the controversy
some of the February 18 draft still had value, Vesser suggested,
first, points that should be reconsidered for including in the
final draft, and second, points that were "properly deleted"
or recast. One subject that Vesser thought was important was the
definition of a "critical region": one "whose resources
[and population] could, under consolidated control, generate global
power." According to Vesser, that wording is "as thorough
and concise as any." Vessey also made suggestions about earlier
language on arms control, forward basing, crisis response strategy,
and NATO. For example, he recommended reinstatement of the section
on arms control, which argued that arms control "will take
on new forms in this post-Cold War era," such as "regionally
focused initiatives," and other "innovations in approach"
to address the problem of WMD proliferation.
_Document 8: Dave [David Shilling, Director
of Plans] to Mr. Libby, "New Policy Directions in DPG,"
enclosing paper "New Policy Directions Noted in Draft Defense
Planning Guidance," March 24, 1992, Prepared by Andrew Hoehn
and Rod Fabrycky, Secret, Excised copy
Possibly used for briefing Cheney or some
other senior official, this document provides some of the highlights
of recent DPG drafts. Most of the language may be found in the
versions cited above, but a few new points appear-for example,
that a 7-_8 year "warning time" for the emergence of
a major threat would kick in military reconstitution activities.
_Document 9: Dale A. Vesser to Mr. Libby,
"Abbreviated Scenarios for Inclusion in DPG - Issues?"
circa April 11, 1992, Secret, Excised copy
An important element in the DPG process
was the development of a scenarios paper that envisioned a number
of possible regional crises that posed security threats to the
interests of the U.S. and its allies, and the possible U.S. military
response to those contingencies. Prepared for "illustrative"
purposes, they depicted "plausible future events illustrating
the type of circumstances in which the application of U.S. military
power might be required." While speculative in nature, the
group of scenarios would be used as an "analytic tool for
the formulation and assessment of defense programs" and the
sizing of "appropriate levels of combat power, mobility,
readiness, and sustainment [sic]."
This document is massively excised, but
an earlier version was the subject of a leak to New York Times
reporter Patrick Tyler, even before that of the February 18 DPG
draft. On February 16, 1992, Tyler published a story that showed
that there were seven scenarios, including regional wars against
Iraq and North Korea and a major campaign in Europe against a
"resurgent Russia." In addition, U.S. forces were to
be ready to respond to possible coups and instability in countries
such as Panama or the Philippines.
According to Tyler's story, the source
of the leak "wished to call attention to what he considered
vigorous attempts within the military establishment to invent
a series of alarming scenarios that can be used by the Pentagon
to prevent further reductions in forces or cancellations of new
weapons systems." (Note 6)
_Document 10: "Issues in the Policy
and Strategy Section," April 14, 1992, Secret, Excised copy
Reflecting the contention over the DPG,
this paper highlights some of the more controversial points, such
as the balance between unilateral and multilateral action and
the role of allies, as well as whether to extend alliances to
Eastern Europe. An interesting point on the bottom of the first
page is excised, but the surviving language on "disarming
capabilities" probably relates to the controversial notion
of "preemptive" action against weapons of mass destruction
held by adversaries.
_Document 11: Distribution Memos, Secret
By April 16, the drafting process had
reached the point where the DPG could be distributed somewhat
more widely inside the Pentagon for comment on an "eyes only"
basis. Among the outside recipients were Admiral Donald Pilling
of the National Security Council staff and State Department Policy
Planning Staff director Dennis Ross.
_Document 12: Memo from Don Pilling,
National Security Council, to Larry [Libby's assistant, Capt.
Lawrence Seaquist], April 23, enclosing NSC comments
The April 16 DPG draft was not part of
the recent release, but a significant chunk of it appears here
with the NSC's editorial suggestions. This version is close to
what Cheney ultimately approved for public dissemination in the
last weeks of the Bush administration. The language showed continued
reworking from the drafts that Libby had sent Cheney in March.
For example, the section on "Defense Policy Goals" included
language about the importance of a reconstitution capability as
a signal "that no potential rival could quickly or easily
gain a predominant military position." Perhaps the drafters
believed that, despite the controversy, it was permissible and
necessary to use language about precluding new rivals, certainly
in a classified version. It is worth noting that wording excised
from this document-such as Korean peninsula, Taiwan, India and
Pakistan-appears in the version that Cheney publicly released
in January 1993 (see Document 15).
As Pilling noted in his memo, some of
the editorial suggestions were language designed to conform to
scheduled speeches by President Bush. Some wording suggestions
add to the discussion of the relationship between U.S. leadership
and multilateral action, while others touch upon the flow of oil
and regional arms control. As indicated on Pilling's memo, copies
of the changes went to others on Libby's staff, including Khazilzad
Declassification Anomalies: This document
is a near-final draft of the April 16, 1992, Defense Planning
Guidance that Secretary Cheney issued in January 1993 in declassified
form as the "Regional Defense Strategy" (see Document
15). Much of the language in the two documents is identical or
nearly so. Nevertheless, the version of the April 16 draft as
released by the Defense Department included excised words and
phrases-such as Israel, Japan, India, Pakistan, and North Korean
nuclear program-that later appeared in the unclassified strategy
document. To illustrate this, the Archive has produced an edited
version of Document 12, with the excised language filled in. Not
all of the words and phrases that we have added are exact matches
to the excised portions, but they are very close. These examples
demonstrate the subjectivity of the declassification review process;
that the country names appeared in a classified document made
it look like the information was still sensitive, even though
it was not._ __Document 13: Annex A "Illustrative
Planning Scenarios," Secret, Excised copy
Drafting and redrafting work on the planning
scenarios continued as is evident from the four versions of the
preface-with marginal comments excised in their entirety-in which
drafters tried to be more and more concise about the role of the
scenarios as "yardsticks" for formulating military programs.
_Document 14: Wolfowitz to Secretary
of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense, "Approval Draft
of the Defense Planning Guidance - Action Memorandum," circa
May 19, with attached memoranda on "Defense Planning Guidance
- Major Comments Received," dated May 5 and May 13, 1992,
Secret, Excised copy
By around May 19, 1992, work on the Guidance
was finished. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell signed
off on it and Paul Wolfowitz sent the document to Cheney and Atwood.
Earlier in the month, Wolfowitz had sent them memos transmitting
the DPG and the annex on "Illustrative Planning Scenarios,"
highlighting the problems that remained under discussion. In both
versions, Wolfowitz observed that the current draft of the DPG
"is still a rather hard-hitting document which retains the
substance you liked in the February 18th draft." The drafts
that Secretary of Defense Cheney and Deputy Secretary of Defense
Atwood received included footnotes indicating the concerns of
various offices and individuals at the Pentagon on a number of
issues, including missile defense, propositioning of supplies
to help counter possible threats in Southwest Asia (SWA), and
the extent to which a "major contingency in Europe"
was plausible enough to be factored into the military planning.
Wolfowitz's memorandum of May 13 mentions that he had received
comments from David Addington, who was Cheney's special assistant
and would work with him in the years to come (currently as Chief
of Staff and Counsel to the Vice President).
_Document 15: "Defense Strategy for
the 1990s: The Regional Defense Strategy," Secretary of Defense
Dick Cheney, January 1993
Perhaps in light of George H. W. Bush's
drive for re-election in the fall of 1992 and the need to avoid
controversy, the thought of declassifying and publishing the Guidance
must have become a low priority. Nevertheless, it happened in
the administration's last month. The declassified version was
not called the "Defense Planning Guidance," but it is
very close to what is available of the April 16 version (see Document
12). As with the earlier drafts of the Guidance, Cheney's statement
stressed strategic depth, technological superiority, strategic
deterrence, forward presence, and reconstitution, all in the name
of maintaining capabilities to check regional crises before they
turned into more serious threats to U.S. security interests. While
developing a "collective" response to threats had preference,
as Libby had written before, "a future U.S. president will
need options allowing him to lead and, where the international
reaction proves sluggish or inadequate, to act independently to
protect our critical interests." Moreover, the statement
retained the language about the importance of a reconstitution
capability to check a future "rival." The statement's
release coincided with the approaching inauguration of the Clinton
administration, which gave it no significant press coverage in
January 1993, a stark contrast with the controversy over the DPG
draft in March 1992.
1. For the most detailed account of how
the DPG was prepared, see James Mann, The Rise of the Vulcans:
The History of Bush's War Cabinet (New York: Viking, 2004), 208-215.
For studies of neo-conservatism from different perspectives,
see Anne Norton, Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire
(New Haven, Yale University Press, 2004); Stefan Halper and Jonathan
Clarke, America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004), and Jacob Heilbrunn,
They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neo-Cons (New York:
2. For "preponderance" and the
Truman administration, see Melvyn P. Leffer, A Preponderance of
Power: The Truman Administration and National Security Policy
(Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1992).
3. James Mann, "The True Rationale:
It's A Decade Old," The Washington Post, March 7, 2004. (Article
used with the permission of the author and The Washington Post.)
4. Barton Gellman, another recipient of
the leaked DPG, wrote a story a few days later: "Keeping
U.S. First: Pentagon Would Preclude a Rival Superpower."
The Washington Post, March 11, 1992.
5. "Senior U.S. Officials Assail
Lone-Superpower Policy," and "Lone Superpower Plan:
Ammunition for Critics," The New York Times, March 11 and
12, 1992. Patrick E. Tyler wrote both articles.
6. "Pentagon Imagines New Enemies
to Fight in Post-Cold-War Era," The New York Times, February
For more information contact:_William
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