Weinberger-Powell Doctrine

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, in response to the lessons of the Vietnam War, developed a set of strategic axioms, which were rephrased as a set of questions, by his protege, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and later U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

It is widely believed that these were the guiding principles of the Gulf War, while the Iraq War broke several of the rules.

Weinberger Powell
U.S. forces should not be committed to combat unless the vital national interests of the U.S. or its allies are involved Is a vital national security interest threatened?
U.S. troops should only be committed abroad wholeheartedly and with the intention of winning Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
U.S. troops should be committed abroad only to achieve clearly defined political and military objectives and with the means to achieve those objectives Do we have a clear attainable objective?
The relationship between the objectives sought and the size and composition of the forces committed should be constantly reassessed and adjusted as necessary Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
U.S. troops should be committed to battle only with a “reasonable assurance” of the support of the Congress and the U.S. public Is the action supported by the American people?
Do we have genuine broad international support?
Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
The commitment of U.S. armed forces should be considered only as a last resort. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?