The Pentagon’s ‘Deterrence’ Strategy

The Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has called into question the credibility of U.S. commitments and the state of conventional military deterrence. But even before the Afghanistan surrender, the Biden Pentagon was already wrestling with increasingly unfavorable military balances of power, particularly regarding China.

In April, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin outlined a new model he called “integrated deterrence.” The concept, which will likely be the cornerstone of the Biden Pentagon’s forthcoming National Defense Strategy, includes admirable goals. Unfortunately, though, it ignores important lessons from recent administrations about what really works.

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