Nuclear-Armed Tomahawk Cruise Missile: Its Potential Utility on United States and United Kingdom Attack Submarines   [open pdf - 3MB]

In July 1998, Britain published its Strategic Defense Review(SDR). The SDR outlined significant changes for Britain's nuclear weapons program and formalized the policy of sub-strategic deterrence using the Trident missile. It is unprecedented for a nuclear power to have consolidated its strategic and sub- strategic nuclear forces into a single system. The benefits offered by the British choice might be enjoyed for only a short time. The British have slashed their nuclear forces and eliminated the range of options previously available to their national command authority. Dependence on a single delivery system could result in the inability to respond to crises, to act autonomously, or to negotiate effectively with other nuclear weapon states. This thesis analyzes the benefits that nuclear Tomahawk could provide the British. Since the United States owns the system, the future of the nuclear Tomahawk in the American arsenal is crucial to any British decision to adopt it or a similar system. An unmanned nuclear cruise missile weapon offers many advantages in today's security environment. The United States should retain nuclear Tomahawk and Britain, with its mature maritime force, should consider acquiring a similar capability. The elimination of nuclear Tomahawk from the U.S. arsenal would be a mistake.

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