* The Making of the Cheney Regional Defense Strategy, 1991-1992


Richard Moore


"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"

For more information contact:
William Burr - 202/994-7032

Washington, D.C., February 26, 2008 - 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 

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 system

‹ 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 (ISCAP).

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 his preferences.

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

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 weapons systems."

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 warrants."

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 Š
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, Excised Copy

[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 
Archive¹s 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 Copy

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 

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 Œwhere very few others are with us,' and Œwith 
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 

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 and Vesser.

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: Doubleday, 2008).

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 17, 1992.

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