Knowledge Driven Revolution
Brent Jessop

I thought we should revisit an important document from the Project for a New American Century entitled Rebuilding America’s Defences.

The project for a New American Century (PNAC) was founded in 1997 with many members that later became the nucleus of the George W. Bush administration. The list includes: Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, I. Lewis Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz among many other powerful but less well know names. Their stated purpose was to use a hugely expanded U.S. military to project “American global leadership.” In September of 2000, PNAC published a now infamous document entitled Rebuilding America’s Defences. Below is a summary in their own words.

Axis of Evil

“While adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea are rushing to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American intervention in regions they seek to dominate.” – pg 4

“U.S. nuclear force planning and related arms control policies must take account of a larger set of variables than in the past, including the growing number of small nuclear arsenals – from North Korea to Pakistan to, perhaps soon, Iran and Iraq” – pg 8

“That is why, according to the CIA, a number of regimes deeply hostile to America – North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria – “already have or are developing ballistic missiles” that could threaten U.S allies and forces abroad.” – pg 51

“In the post-Cold War era, America and its allies, rather than the Soviet Union, have become the primary objects of deterrence and it is states like Iraq, Iran and North Korea who most wish to develop deterrent capabilities.” – pg 54

“We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies or threaten the American homeland itself.” – pg 75


“While reconfiguring its nuclear force, the United States also must counteract the effects of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction that may soon allow lesser states to deter U.S. military action by threatening U.S. allies and the American homeland itself.” – pg 6

“But it is precisely because we have such power that smaller adversarial states, looking for an equalizing advantage, are determined to acquire their own weapons of mass destruction.” – pg 7

“Moreover, there is a question about the role nuclear weapons should play in deterring the use of other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological,” – pg 8

“Conversely, past analyses of a defense of South Korea may have underestimated the difficulties of such a war, especially if North Korea employed weapons of mass destruction, as intelligence estimates anticipate.” – pg 9

“weak states operating small arsenals of crude ballistic missiles, armed with basic nuclear warheads or other weapons of mass destruction, will be a in a strong position to deter the United States from using conventional force,” – pg 12

“And finally, point defenses, even when they successfully intercept an incoming missile, may not offset the effects against weapons of mass destruction.” – pg 53

“The current American peace will be short-lived if the United States becomes vulnerable to rogue powers with small, inexpensive arsenals of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads or other weapons of mass destruction. We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies or threaten the American homeland itself.” – pg 75

Policing the World

Policing, or the term they prefer, “constabulary” duties are essential to global military dominance. Of course, the situation in Iraq today is a great example of the constabulary duties to which this document refers.

“perform the “constabulary” duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions;” – pg iv

“None of the defense reviews of the past decade has weighed fully the range of missions demanded by U.S. global leadership: defending the homeland, fighting and winning multiple large-scale wars, conducting constabulary missions which preserve the current peace,” – pg 5

“A decade’s experience and the policies of two administrations have shown that such forces must be expanded to meet the needs of the new, long-term NATO mission in the Balkans, the continuing no-fly-zone and other missions in Southwest Asia, and other presence missions in vital regions of East Asia. These duties are today’s most frequent missions, requiring forces configured for combat but capable of long-term, independent constabulary operations.” – pg 6

“Thus, facing up to the realities of multiple constabulary missions will require a permanent allocation of U.S. armed forces.” – pg 10

“Further, these constabulary missions are far more complex and likely to generate violence than traditional “peacekeeping” missions.” – pg 11

Iraq and Beyond

“While the unresolved conflict with Iraq [first Gulf War’s no-fly zones] provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” – pg 14

“Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region.” – pg 17

Catalyzing Event

Of course, their “revolution in military affairs” needed a catalyst.

“Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” – pg 51

Exactly one year later they got it.


Final Cut