The Aug. 8 front-page story "China Ponders New Rules Of `Unrestricted War'" does an excellent job of raising public awareness of threats we will face in the 21st century. Unfortunately many nations are carefully examining our successes in the Persian Gulf War and the recent Kosovo campaign and wondering how best to counter America's high-tech advantage on the battlefield.

However, the article leaves the impression that we are vulnerable to "unrestricted warfare," or "asymmetric warfare" as it is known in the Pentagon. This is not the case. Asymmetric warfare is getting increasing attention, both within the military services and with various U.S. commanders around the world, and preparations to counter these threats and strategies to defeat them are in progress in many areas.

For example, the Navy, in concert with the other services, is working to achieve information superiority, which includes protecting our own systems and denying an enemy use of its information systems. In the world of chemical and biological warfare, new measures are being taken to defend U.S. military installations both around the world and here at home, and capabilities are being developed by the naval services and the National Guard to respond to a chemical or biological attack on a U.S. city.

Also, steps are being taken to defend our ports from attack, transforming Navy-Coast Guard deployable coastal warfare capabilities for use here at home. With these innovations and many more, the Navy is preparing to win all forms of warfare, both "restricted" and otherwise.


Commander/Staff Officer

Navy Strategy & Policy Division

U.S. Navy