The Rise of “Tailored Deterrence”?

Ryan Henry, the principle deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, says that the more fluid and unpredictable threat array of the 21st century has led to a concept called “tailored deterrence.” Speaking at the Fletcher conference, Henry said the QDR should better orient forces by “shifting our balance” to handle the Pentagon’s new security challenge quad— irregular, catastrophic, traditional, and disruptive. (Some question how effective the QDR will be considering how it was conducted. Read our story on the terms of reference.) Henry said that one new focus would be dissuasion as a sort of “pre-deterrence.” Dissuasion, he explained, could involve anything from inducing restraint in an adversary to channeling an opponent’s resources and strategies in other directions. Henry asserted, “We still think deterrence is viable.”