This chapter, published in Strategic Latency Unleashed: The Role of Technology in a Revisionist Global Order and the Implications for Special Operations Forces (Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2021), asserts that at a time when international norms and other constraints on the use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons have grown weaker, they are becoming more accessible and attractive to adversaries because of their potential utility against a range of vulnerable targets. The WMD-related objectives identified in the national and DOD strategies rely implicitly on the roles of U.S. special operations forces (SOF), whose capabilities are critical for competing and winning in this WMD-infected security environment. Core SOF capabilities work to shape the operating environment in the current “steady state” landscape in a manner that serves to deter, dissuade, and frustrate adversaries from pursuing or acquiring WMD. With their global presence, reach, and capabilities, SOF remain a critical tool for meeting the United States’ priorities for countering WMD.
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