Deterrence in a New Security Environment   [open pdf - 30KB]

The role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security policy following the Cold War has been the subject of much public discussion recently. The issues are complex-much more so than the headlines suggest. It's important that these issues be debated-it's essential that citizens in a free society understand them. The Cold War is over. It is important to recognize the many advances in arms control and strategic stability achieved by the United States and Russia in recent years. Following the 1993 Bottom-Up Review of our overall defense requirements, the Department of Defense embarked on a comprehensive review of the Nation's Nuclear requirements. That Nuclear Posture Review-completed in September 1994-noted "the reduced role nuclear weapons play in U.S. security" and held out the possibility of further arms control reductions. At the same time, the Review reaffirmed the importance of a triad of strategic nuclear forces-land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers-and stressed that, "as long as nuclear weapons remain a factor in international life" deterrence of attack on the United States and our allies "must be our objective." A common criticism of the 1994 Nuclear Posture Review is that it appears to endorse the status quo by affirming many of the principles that existed in the Cold War. What has often not been appreciated is the extent to which America's nuclear posture has changed since the end of the Cold War. Consider, for example, the following:

Report Number:
Strategic Forum no.109 (April 1997)
Public Domain
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