U.S. Nuclear Policy in the 21st Century: A Fresh Look at National Strategy and Requirements: Final Report   [open pdf - 12MB]

The participants in this report examined the broader trends in the international environment and considered how the United States could both shape and respond to them. A forward-looking paradigm for the nuclear dimension of U.S. security policy emerged that builds on the lessons of the past while addressing the opportunities and challenges of the future. The core of this paradigm is that nuclear weapons will continue indefinitely to play an indispensable role as a hedge against uncertainties, to deter potential aggressors who are both more diverse and less predictable than in the past, and to allow the United States to construct a more stable security environment. Thus, the United States needs a credible nuclear deterrent posture, broadly defined to include forces-in-being; capabilities for weapon system design and production; and the ability to assure the safety and reliable performance of the nuclear stockpile- a fundamental challenge in the absence of underground testing. Because this posture must be both adaptable and responsive to new threats, the national deterrent infrastructure must be treated as a strategic resource. The posture must also integrate the growing role of defenses in our deterrence calculations. All of this requires trained and motivated people, as well as new ways of thinking and considerable agility and foresightedness on the part of U.S. leaders. The more than forty study participants and government observers included present and former policymakers, military officers, scientists, and academics. The Project Report reflects their research, analysis, and intensive discussions that took place during the winter and spring of 1998. This Executive Report contains the key judgments of the study. The individual subgroup papers included in the Project Report -- policy, operations, infrastructure, and stockpile -- provided the foundation for these judgments.

Public Domain
Media Type:
Help with citations