Nonproliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament, and Extended Deterrence in the New Security Environment [open pdf - 58KB]
"With the end of the Cold War, in a dramatically changed security environment, the advances in nonnuclear strategic capabilities along with reduced numbers and roles for nuclear forces have altered the calculus of deterrence and defense, at least for the United States. [...] In place of the old Soviet threat, there has been growing concern about proliferation and terrorism involving nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD), regional conflicts, global instability and increasingly serious new and emerging threats, including cyber attacks and attacks on satellites. For the United States at least, in this emerging environment, the political rationales for nuclear weapons, from deterrence to reassurance to alliance management, are changing and less central than during the Cold War to the security of the United States--and its friends and allies. Nuclear weapons remain important for the United States, but for a far more limited set of roles and missions. As the Perry-Schlesinger Commission report reveals, there is a domestic U.S. consensus on nuclear policy and posture at the highest level and for the near term, including the continued role of nuclear arms in deterring WMD use and in reassuring allies. Although the value of nuclear weapons has declined for the United States, the value of these weapons for Russia, China and so-called 'rogue' states is seen to be rising."
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Strategic Insights (September 2009), v.8 no.4