U.S. Strategic Posture Review: Issues for the New Administration   [open pdf - 264KB]

"In the past, U.S. decisionmakers have addressed strategic nuclear force and national missile defense issues in an incremental and uncoordinated manner. Too often, force structure decisions have been driven by near-term programmatic, budgetary, arms control, and political pressures rather than by long-term strategy and objectives. The forthcoming Strategic Posture Review (SPR) needs to fundamentally reassess the purposes of nuclear weapons, missile defenses, and the requirements of deterrence and stability in the new security environment. The Bush administration should develop a comprehensive conceptual framework to decide on the size, composition, and posture of strategic offensive and defensive forces. Such a framework should integrate new assessments of deterrence and stability over the next 10-20 years, in light of the much more diverse threats facing the United States. It will not be easy to come up with solutions that balance competing and often contradictory objectives. Improving U.S. capabilities to deal with one set of strategic concerns may complicate efforts to address others. SPR should include a reassessment of U.S. strategic force levels and targeting requirements; consideration of different hedges and reconstitution options against greater-than-expected threats, such as maintaining production capabilities or making unilateral strategic force reductions outside a formal treaty framework; and development of a broad calculus to assess the impact of national missile defense and other strategic developments on deterrence and stability."

Report Number:
Strategic Forum No.177
Public Domain
Media Type:
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