"For 50 years, the US depended on its nuclear arsenal to provide the underpinning to the deterrent aspect of its military strategy. However, on September 11, 2001, three of four hijacked civilian aircraft successfully completed their suicide missions against high value targets in the United States-the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. US military might, to include its overwhelming nuclear arsenal, failed to deter the terrorists who killed nearly 3000 people, most of whom were Americans. Although the US nuclear force structure, policy and strategy have thus far deterred a nuclear attack on the US, it is not properly postured as a viable deterrent against asymmetric attacks. However, given the proper force structure, policy and strategy, the US nuclear arsenal could provide a greater degree of deterrence against such attacks in the future. This paper will first briefly describe the strategy of deterrence and its underpinnings in basic psychology. Second, it will briefly overview the deterrence strategy of the Cold War and highlight the findings of the Nuclear Posture Review that will serve as the foundation of the Bush nuclear strategy. Next, this paper will consider the ethical issues surrounding the use of nuclear weapons, as both a deterrent and a combat weapon. Finally, the paper will analyze US nuclear strategy and make policy recommendations for using nuclear weapons as part of a deterrent strategy against future asymmetric attacks."
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/